Land for peace is a lie. If Israel follows this path, it will only lead to death and destruction. Much of the world is pushing hard to take away the Bible lands from Israel. They claim that this is the only path to peace. Now some of the leading candidates for president are taking up that cause and using it to rally support for their campaigns. But that ignores both God’s prophetic plan and the reality of history.
In 2005, Israel was pressured into giving up Gaza for peace. It didn’t work. Tens of thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired into Israel since that withdrawal from Gaza. Terrorists have dug dozens of tunnels under the border for use in raids against civilian targets. Israeli soldiers stationed near the border have been kidnapped and either murdered or held for ransom. Twice Israel has been forced into full scale conflicts to try to lessen the incidence of terror attacks.
Over one million Russian Jews have come to Israel. Most of them were very poor, and as a result they moved to the south of Israel, near the border with Gaza, where housing was cheaper. The constant attacks and threats are a huge burden to them. I have visited in their tiny homes and heard them tell me the stories of the PTSD they suffer because of the danger.
I’ve seen the school playgrounds with bomb shelters built in so the kids can reach safety in time in case of an attack. I’ve prayed with Rabbi Cohen whose daughter’s legs were blown off when her bus was bombed. Our Jerusalem Prayer Team members furnished her an advance motorized wheelchair to make her life better. She is living proof that land for peace is a lie.
Any plan that requires Israel to give up the Bible lands of Judea and Samaria to those who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and the Jewish people is foolish. Even worse, it is a direct attack on God’s prophetic promises to the Jewish people. We must NOT let America be part of this plot to curse Israel.
Someone told me recently, “If you want to understand the mindset of the Jewish people, you need to visit two places: Masada and Yad Vashem.” These two monuments to past horrors endured by God’s Chosen People, one ancient and one modern, stand as stark reminders. There has been hatred of the Jewish people in our world for thousands of years. There has been hatred of the Jewish people in our world in recent history. There is still hatred of the Jewish people in our world today, and that hatred is growing.
Masada, the ancient palace and fortress built by Herod the Great, was the final holdout of the Jewish rebellion against Rome that began in 66 AD. Though the city of Jerusalem had been captured and largely destroyed by the Roman forces under the command of Titus in 70 AD, a small band took refuge at Masada, using the stores left there by Herod, and taking advantage of the intricate system for collecting rainwater built for the palace. They were determined not to surrender, no matter what.
The supplies gathered at Masada enabled them to hold out until 73 AD when the Romans finally completed building a massive ramp to wheel siege weapons to the top. But when the soldiers breached the wall, all but two women and five children were dead, choosing suicide over slavery to the Romans. Famed Israeli general Moshe Dyan began the practice of taking elite members of Israel’s armed forces to Masada. They would climb the winding path up the mountain, then in a ceremony at the top would be sworn in for their term of service. The ancient stones echo with their promise, “Masada will never fall again.”
Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to ensuring that the world does not forget the six million Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust. The Hebrew name is taken from God’s beautiful promise in Isaiah 56:5: “Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”
A visit to Yad Vashem is a solemn experience for anyone, but for Believers it carries a powerful weight…the horrors that are remembered and exposed at Yad Vashem largely took place at the hands of those who claimed to Christians and claimed to be acting in the name of Jesus. This widespread slaughter, following centuries of persecution, it is little wonder that many Jewish people think that Christians hate them.
The two places, Masada and Yad Vashem, explain clearly the commitment of the Jewish people to defending themselves. They know full well that they are hated. Once a year the world observes International Holocaust Day on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But every day Jewish people remember the horrors of the past. More than 150,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, and tens of thousands of others around the world are living testimony to the level of hatred directed at them simply because they are Jewish. That is a reason the enemies of Israel expend so much time and energy on denying or minimizing the Holocaust…they know it reveals the evil hatred of the Jewish people too clearly to be concealed or explained away.
In November, students at Oberlin College in Ohio erected a memorial to a group of men who had recently died. Such memorials, both large and small, are not uncommon as friends and family do things to remember their loved ones. This memorial was very different from that. Erected by the Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine, this display was created “in commemoration of the 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli rocket fire this last week.”
The group that put up the memorial described those killed as “unarmed civilians,” but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified 25 of them as members of various terrorist military organizations. The IDF even posted pictures of nine of the “civilians” from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in their military uniforms, with one of the “unarmed” men holding a military rifle.
The Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine posted their large sign along with 34 black flags in the college’s Wilder Bowl, a popular open area where students often meet. The group has long been a vocal supporter of the BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—movement and is openly against the existence of a free and safe Jewish state.
They are not alone. It would be easy to dismiss this as the work of a radical fringe group. But while they are indeed radical in their hatred of Israel, and their views should place them outside the mainstream of thought, Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine is far from alone. College and university campuses across America are hotbeds of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and they openly call for the destruction of Israel.
This marked turn away from Israel is not just taking place in the secular world. Recent surveys show a dramatic shift among young evangelicals. While their parents are strongly pro-Israel, the next generation is not. Support for Israel among young evangelicals is at its lowest point since the Jewish state was reborn in 1948. Many Christian colleges and organizations have joined the BDS movement, withdrawing their investments from Israeli companies and calling on others to do the same.
This shift among young people is a terrifying trend. These are the leaders of the future. And this shift highlights the vital importance of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. We are working to counter the lies behind the BDS movement with the truth. We are working to identify and oppose the enemies of Israel. We are preparing to launch the Friends of Zion Institute to create a place for truth in the online world and equip friends of Israel to effectively support and defend the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
The support of the United States for Israel is so crucial because so much of the world is openly anti-Israel. Just before the end of 2019, the International Criminal Court refused to dismiss the ridiculous false claims against Israel filed by the Palestinian Authority. The ICC only has jurisdiction in disputes between nations, and the PA is not and never has been a nation. Yet the judge allowed the case against Israel’s “occupation” and “war crimes” to continue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The claim by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that Jews do not have a right to live in the Jewish homeland is pure antisemitism. So is the claim that Jews have no right to defend themselves against those who seek their annihilation. As we celebrate Hanukkah, the ICC issues decrees that are just as antisemitic as those of the ancient Seleucid Empire against the Maccabees.”
The International Criminal Court has willingly allowed itself to become a political weapon in the ongoing war against Israel. Any court that is open to criminalizing self-defense and condemning Jewish people living in the land of Israel is a deadly threat.
Here’s another example. In November of 2019, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions condemning Israel. There were six resolutions issued concerning various countries and human rights issues. There were twenty others issued concerning Israel. Most of these passed overwhelmingly. Even countries like Canada, which once routinely voted with Israel, voted for these condemnations. Here are some excerpts from the resolution “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan,” which passed by a vote of 156 to 6 with 15 countries abstaining.
“The General Assembly, Guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the need to respect the obligations arising from the Charter and other instruments and rules of international law, Reaffirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 73/97 and 73/98 of 7 December 2018, as well as those resolutions adopted at its tenth emergency special session,
Bearing in mind the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities on the ongoing regional and international efforts to resume and advance the peace process, on the prospects for the achievement of peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and on the viability and credibility of that solution,
Condemning settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as violations of international humanitarian law, relevant United Nations resolutions, the agreements reached between the parties and obligations under the Quartet road map and as actions in defiance of the calls by the international community to cease all settlement activities.”
It goes on and on for five full pages…and this is just one of the 20 resolutions condemning Israel. Several of these resolutions talk about the Temple Mount, but without exception, they refer to it only by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” The Jewish connection to the holy site, dating back some 3,000 years, is ignored. Only Islamic claims are considered.
EDITOR’S NOTE: No matter how severe the threats of disease or economic collapse or war may be, God is faithful to defend and protect His children.
In 1983, I traveled to Lebanon to deliver food, medicine, and Bibles to the people there. Minutes before reaching the city of Sidon, the PLO bombed the area. Had our arrival been any earlier, we could well have been caught in the crossfire. We distributed supplies and then headed for Beirut. We met with U.S. marines on a beachhead by the Mediterranean Sea, ministering to them, giving them Bibles, and praying with them.
Later that evening, the troops returned to their barracks at Beirut International Airport, approximately 500 yards from the beachhead. Our team unrolled our sleeping bags and made our beds on the sandy beach. A little after 6:00 a.m. the following morning, I was standing on the beachhead talking to a contingent of Marines who had just taken up their posts. Suddenly, a terrific explosion rent the air.
We would soon learn that as the American troops were beginning a new day, the Marine sentry at the gate looked up to see a big yellow Mercedes truck barreling down. The sentry reported that the driver of the truck smiled at him as he crashed through the gates. The truck was on a course for the lobby of the barracks. The sentries, armed only with loaded pistols, were unable to stop the speeding vehicle. The truck carried explosives equal to about six tons of TNT.
The driver rammed into the lower floor of the barracks and discharged his deadly cargo. The explosion was so great that the four-story building collapsed in a heap of rubble. Many of the dead had not been killed by the blast itself but were crushed beneath the cinder-block building as it pancaked in on itself.
News would soon spread that Islamic Jihad, a pseudonym for Iranian armed and funded Hezbollah terrorists, had taken credit for the attack that had blown up the Marine barracks. The explosion and collapse of the building killed 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel, and three Army soldiers. Huge guns from warships off the coast of Beirut began to shell the area in retaliation.
Upon hearing the explosion, my friends and I hurriedly gathered our belongings and headed for Nahariya, Israel, on the border. I had followed the sea to Beirut, but it would be dark soon. That became a problem as we drove south. I made several wrong turns that took us to Tyre and into the midst of the funeral procession of a Hezbollah operative. Our vehicle was an Avis rental car from Jerusalem with a distinctive Israeli license plate—not a good thing to have when you’re surrounded by raging, grieving terrorists!
Somehow God blinded their eyes, and we were able to get through the city. Once we reached the outskirts, I made another wrong turn. Instead of going to Nahariya, we were headed down a dirt road toward Damascus. Soon our vehicle was spotlighted and tracer bullets raced overhead, then 37-millimeter mortars began to crash into the desert near us. We had been on God’s business, and now we were being targeted! Next, our car’s engine sputtered and died. We had left Beirut so quickly I had forgotten to check the fuel tank. Now we were lost on a desert road, amid hostile fighters, and out of fuel. What else could happen? There seemed no way to survive. It could only be a matter of minutes before our vehicle would be blown to shreds. One of the men with me shouted, “We’re dead!” “You’re not dead; you’re talking! We have to pray,” I responded.
As I began to petition heaven for our safety, I was startled by a rap on the car window. Despite my bravado, I jumped at the sound. I thought, “This is it! We’re going to meet our Maker on the backside of nowhere. God help us!” Standing there was a young Arab wearing a kaffiyeh—the traditional head covering—and hefting not a weapon but a fuel can. I wondered how he could possibly have known we were out of diesel. He went to the back of the car, removed the fuel cap, and poured the diesel into the tank. He then walked over to the passenger door and pointed at the lock. I hesitated only briefly before pulling up the lock. He opened the door and climbed inside.
“Drive,” he ordered. We had no idea where he was taking us. I looked in the rearview mirror at my passengers, shrugged, and complied. For 32 kilometers the young man did not speak another word, only pointed in the direction he wished the car to go. After what seemed like hours, he barked, “Stop.” The man opened the door and climbed from the car. He stuck his head back inside, said, “Safe,” and then slammed the door.
I turned to look at my friends in the back seat…when I turned back, the young man was gone. We were out in the open. There was no place for him to disappear as quickly as he had. No one spoke a word until we drove over the border into Israel. One of my friends looked at me in awe and asked, “Can you explain what just happened?” I couldn’t, other than that God answered the prayers for safety that had been prayed over us before we left Beirut.
Psalm 91 is a wonderful song of God’s precious protection over His people. As the Believer reads through the chapter, it is soon evident that God doesn’t promise that we will never find ourselves in tight places, in desperate situations, or be exempt from trouble or affliction. It does promise that God will walk with us through each trial and tribulation. He is omnipresent—everywhere—and is our Strong Deliverer, our Mighty Tower, our Strong Refuge, our ever-present help in time of need. God has promised never to leave us alone.
Psalm 91:1–2 says: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Like the psalmist, the Believer has a choice to make: Dwell in the “secret place” or walk in the counsel of the ungodly and stand in the path of sinners. The place of Psalm 91 is a place of safety and protection, a place where we are totally dependent on God. It is a place of strength for the obedient; the only true sanctuary. All the blessings of God are available to the one who “abides under the shadow of the Almighty.”
God’s protection is not some nebulous, abstract thing; it is a demonstrable element. God’s Word declares that we are surrounded, embraced, sheltered, and overtaken by His kindness and are secure in Him. How all-encompassing is God’s love for us and protection over us! Another thing you have to do to ensure God’s protection, besides walking with God and obeying Him, is to speak your faith. The psalmist declares, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress’” (emphasis added).
The psalmist gives us a mighty tool in invoking the Lord’s protection. He reminds us that we must speak up. The tongue is a powerful force, either for good or evil. When we speak the Word in faith, it is a powerful reminder of God’s grace and favor in our lives. When faced with the temptations of the Enemy in the wilderness, Jesus did not just “think” His responses. No, He spoke out against the wiles of Satan. His physical weakness from the lack of food did not deter His faith in the Father. He declared the Word with power and conviction, and as a result, received the benefits of God’s protection.
Storms do come to us even though we would much prefer that God hold them at bay. However, “Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” If you, like me, have ever seen God’s profound protection during times of tremendous trouble, you have benefited from an unfathomable grasp of His divine protection that may have been missed had He simply spoke, “Peace, be still,” to the storm. It is in these times that our faith is multiplied, and we receive new and awe-inspiring awareness of God and His matchless love. God’s mercy and shield are more than enough to keep us safe in the stormiest of situations.
No matter what diseases or plagues or economic unrest may come into your life, remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Why did Donald Trump order the drone strike that killed General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force? What was the threat? The question of why is exceedingly more important than what.
Every U.S. president beginning with James Monroe has established a doctrine that defined their foreign policy. For example, President Jimmy Carter had a doctrine of tolerance and weak allies. In his State of the Union speech of January 23, 1980, Mr. Carter vowed that the U.S. would strongly defend national interests in the Persian Gulf. That pledge apparently came too late for 66 men and women. They were taken hostage after the American Embassy in Tehran was stormed. Fourteen were later freed, but 52 were held hostage for the 444 days of Carter’s remaining presidency. No overt military action was taken to stop the travesty.
President Ronald Reagan faced one of Iran’s proxies on October 23, 1983, after Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. I would know; I was there sleeping on the beach a few hundred yards from the building that was targeted. On February 7, 1984, Reagan ordered the Sixth Fleet to evacuate the remaining U.S. troops from Lebanon.
After an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 31, 2019, Donald Trump had a different response: He made it perfectly clear that he would protect American interests abroad. He did not leave the defense of the compound to a few but ordered an additional 100 Marines to defend the embassy and its inhabitants. What President Trump did was to make it perfectly clear to the largest terrorist regime worldwide that it was a zero-sum game; that Americans would not be besieged on his watch without consequences. Iran is not accustomed to that.
Iran has swept like an Ebola virus throughout the Middle East. It has almost taken complete control of Iraq. It is the reason for the Syrian massacre and has funded Yemeni terrorists in their battle against Saudi Arabia. An Iran with nuclear capabilities would be an existential threat to the world.
President Trump’s decision to remove Soleimani from the equation was a very courageous one. The vast majority of U.S. heroes who lost life and limbs in Iraq did so because of improvised explosive devices—IEDs—with the general’s prints on them.
Yes, Iran was shocked and needed to be; her leaders never calculated a president who would be this strong. Mr. Trump advised the Iranian leadership that if they continued to attack Americans, he had designated 52 Iranian sites (in memory of the 52 hostages) that he would target. Iran has never before had to deal with such moral clarity in a U.S. president. Nor has Iran had to deal with a Secretary of State such as Mike Pompeo who also exhibits moral clarity. In the past, it has too often been the State Department doing battle with the White House.
President Trump explained that he ordered the hit on Soleimani to prevent a war. He is 100 percent correct. However, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the U.S. is prepared to “finish one.” In an interview with CNN, he said:
“The fact of the matter is Soleimani was caught red-handed … one terrorist leader, of a terrorist organization meeting with another terrorist leader to synchronize and plan additional attacks on American diplomats, forces or facilities. I think we took the right action to remove these players from the battlefield.”
The events of 9/11 occurred because the U.S. capitulated with an appeasement policy. If Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were considered a grave threat before that day, I can assure you that today Iran is ten times the threat.