The Word: When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israeli’s. I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through… Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” (Nehemiah 2: 10-14, 18-20)
Pointers for prayer: Once again, as you read through this week’s report please pray in line with the Word of God over these issues.
As I mention in the article below, our eyes are a gate to our hearts. Most people in today’s world receive the news by watching the TV. That makes the media a very powerful tool. How Israel is reported by the media is often the reason behind many people’s inaccurate opinions on issues relating to Israel. Please pray that the western media would be held accountable for any misleading reports, and that the media would only report truth.
Do continue to pray for protection around the borders of Israel, and pray for the current leaders in Israel. Pray too for all those who stand with Israel. There is nothing more that the enemy – Satan - wants than to wipe out the nation of Israel, along with those who stand with her.
Please also pray for all ministries standing with Israel – but especially Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) in the UK, and the International office of CFI in Jerusalem. Pray too for the Christian Friends of Israel annual conference due to take place on Saturday 17th September at Victoria Baptist Church, Eastbourne. We hope to see you there – details are at the end of this report.
Rebuild the wall, stand firm at the gate I’d like to start this week’s report reflecting further on the Scriptures we looked at last week. Apart from the fact that I have felt led by the Lord to study Nehemiah, I’ve also been challenged by a few comments via Social Media from an independent article I posted after being told “Christians should not take sides, and should certainly have nothing to do with politics – especially politics within the Middle East.” With this is mind, I referred them to a Scripture that spoke to me regarding today's situation in Israel. Since then, many more comments – for and against – have been made. Now of course, this is fine, as we live in a democratic nation in the UK which should allow ‘freedom of speech’ providing it’s not hate speech of course. The initial debates came from Nehemiah 2:19-20, where we read about Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab ridiculing the Jews for rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem.
In this Scripture we learn that Sanballat and Geshem the Arab were clearly Israel's enemies, and they were angered by the fact that the Jews were back in the Land trying to rebuild Jerusalem. Yet Nehemiah resents their insinuation, and clearly tells those who are not Jews that “they have no right in Jerusalem, nor any interest in its affairs”, in fact, as I stated last week, Nehemiah doesn't 'mince his words' and boldly states, “As for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” (Nehemiah 2:19-20). How about that for being ‘politically incorrect’ - Nehemiah clearly tells those who are not Jews, “As for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” As I asked last week, was Nehemiah wrong? No, of course not! Should this man of God be getting involved in ‘politics’? Absolutely… in fact, if we study the Bible in its fullness, we see the faith of the nation of Israel (in the One God), and politics interlinking throughout.
Five different times Sanballat and his confederates challenged Nehemiah and the Jews to meet them in battle, but Nehemiah simply got on with the work at hand. Then they send a message stating: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono (located south-east of Joppa).” But, according to the Scriptures, they were scheming to harm the Jews. So here we see that Nehemiah and his Jewish builders decide that “peace talks” were not the “way forward” and vigorously hurried the work, while the enemies in the land organised their forces to fight against Jerusalem.
So how does this relate to how we should be praying for today’s situation in Israel? One section of this Scripture really spoke to me. In verse 13, Nehemiah went through the Valley Gate and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem. The Dung Gate from the Second Temple period (538 BC - 70 AD) was on or near the south-eastern corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys converge. Today, Dung Gate, constructed by the Ottoman Turks, is located near the southern wall, and is the main entrance to the Western Wall and Kotel. The Hinnom Valley received its name from Hinnom who made his children walk through fire in the worship of the pagan god Molek. Following this, it became the rubbish dump and cesspool of the city. There was constant fire and smoke here from burning refuse which continued on into New Testament times and the teaching of Messiah Yeshua. Hinnom, or Gehenna became a symbol of hell where the fire was never extinguished and where there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, which probably reflected the cries of children passing through the fires. The Kidron Valley was also where idols were ground to powder and burned in the ‘Old Testament’ period. On the inside of the city wall, the Pool of Siloam provided the fresh water supply for Jerusalem which was located near the Dung Gate. Hezekiah constructed an elaborate system of shafts and tunnels to channel water into the city here (one can still walk through this tunnel today). After disposing of rubbish and dung, the people washed here before returning to their homes.
Why were the walls and gates important places and why was Nehemiah so determined to rebuild them? Well, walls and gates kept the enemy out. Of course if Nehemiah lived today, he would be highly criticised for building a wall. I have to admit, I don’t particularly like the wall and fence Israel have built near Jerusalem, but it has certainly dramatically reduced Islamic terrorist attacks. But there is more importance to the walls and gates than we might realise. In Nehemiah’s time, the gates of Jerusalem were not just places of entrance and exit into and out of the city; they were also places where authoritative decisions were made. The elders sat in the gates and made decisions that affected the city (Proverbs 31:23). Important agreements and commercial transactions were also made in the gates.
Now think about today. In many ways, our eyes are a gate to our hearts. Most people in today’s world receive the news by watching the TV. That makes the media a very powerful tool. Our bodies also have gates through which truth and error, good and evil, enter into and exit our lives. We too are "elders" at our own gates and must make wise and responsible decisions for our lives. We have the ear gate, an eye gate, a mind gate etc. etc. and the enemy is busy using the World’s Media in how they report news specifically from Israel to invade our hearts. That is why many people oppose Israel today – they have not carefully screened and deemed safe or sound (or Biblically correct) what is permitted to enter. We must guard these gates, lest an enemy try to penetrate our defences, but we must also pray, pray and pray that truth and error is exposed – especially with the world’s media. We must monitor these gates diligently to speak out for truth when the media are in error. We must also petition our members of Parliament and our Government when they speak unjustly or in error against Israel’s political, legal and Biblical rights to Jerusalem and the whole land of Israel. Now please forgive me if, rather than being a news report, this is sounding like a ‘preach’, but I really believe we need to press in with our intercession regarding these matters, but also be allowed to speak out the truth – politically or otherwise – regarding our calling, our stand, and our love for God’s people and the land of Israel.
UK to build £2 million Wall of Calais to stop migrants As I stated earlier, why were the walls and gates of Jerusalem important places, and why was Nehemiah so determined to rebuild them? Well, walls and gates kept the enemy out. However, as already mentioned, had Nehemiah been alive today, he would be highly criticised for building a wall. Again, I have to admit, I don’t particularly like the wall and fence Israel have built near Jerusalem, but it has certainly dramatically reduced Islamic terrorist attacks. Needless to say, this wall that Israel has built has always been condemned by the British government and the United Nations. Back in 2004, the world court branded Israel’s concrete and steel barrier through, what the world classes as ‘the West Bank’ or what should be termed Judea and Samaria, a “political not a security measure, and a de facto land grab”. They then demanded that Israel should tear it down – which understandably Israel completely ignored.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague said signatories to the Geneva Convention, such as Britain and the US, are obliged to ensure Israel upholds the ruling. It condemned what it described as “the widespread confiscation and destruction of Palestinian property, and the disruption of the lives of thousands of protected civilians, caused by construction of what Israel calls the "anti-terror fence".” Oh how times have changed!
This week, the UK government has stated that construction is soon to begin on a “big new wall” in Calais following a surge in the number of migrants trying to get across the Channel, the Government has announced. Many of my sources are now reporting this, however even national newspapers such as The Telegraph are reporting that this 13 foot high (4 metres) concrete wall will be funded by Britain, at a cost of £2 million, and will stretch over a half a mile along the main dual carriageway approaching the ferry port. Work is expected to begin as soon as this month. Is this not hypocrisy of the highest kind? How can the UK build a wall – not even in Britain, but in France – yet demand Israel to stop building walls and even houses in their own country?
This news of the wall in Calais, France was confirmed yesterday by the immigration minister Robert Goodwill who stated, “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up with better equipment. We are going to start building this big new wall very soon. We've done the fence, now we are doing a wall.” According to reports, the wall will be placed on either side of the road to prevent migrants from trying to stop traffic and climb into lorries and other vehicles. The Road Haulage Association has criticised the measure as a bad use of taxpayer money, which could instead be spent on "increasing security along approach roads".
On Monday the main motorway into Calais was blockaded by lorries, police, union members, shopkeepers and farmers demanding that the migrant camp be demolished. The immigration minister Mr Goodwill said, “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up… We are going to start building this big new wall very soon as part of the £17million package we are doing with the French.” Goodwill also told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that the aim of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands was a "big challenge".
Of course, in the USA, the current President Obama has always condemned Israel’s security wall/fence, even though the USA also have a fence right along the Mexican border. Should Donald Trump become the next President in November 2016, he wants the fence along Mexico tearing down and a concrete wall to replace it. However, on top of this, as I reported in September of last year, the Saudis are also building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall” to separate the country from Iraq to the north? This is due to the threat if ISIS. Many other countries also have security walls such as Kenya. This wall is however not just any wall, but a “separation barrier”, along sections of its notoriously porous border with Somalia – of bricks, mortar and barbed wire. Along with this, 64 other nations have also built walls due to security fears and an alleged widespread refusal to help refugees including Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Greece, USA, Morocco, Turkey and India? Of course Northern Ireland have an 18-foot-high (5.5 m) wall along Springmartin Road in Belfast and have done so for years, with a fortified police station at one end, to separate Irish nationalist and unionist neighbourhoods. And, of course, as mentioned, US presidential candidate Donald Trump wants an actual wall instead of a fence along the US-Mexican border, and he wants Mexico to pay for it! So taking all this into consideration, why do the nations rage against Israel's security wall, knowing full well that terrorist attacks such as bus bombings and blowing up cafes and nightclubs from Islamic Palestinian terrorists have been reduced to almost zero in Israel? So, will we now see the BDS supporters and palestine solidarity campaigners scrapping their nonsense against Israel and start attacking all these other nations? I somehow don’t think so! However the next time you hear a British MP criticise Israel for defending themselves, just remind them of their own actions in France.
Will Israel get ‘slammed’ for Gaza wall? Irrespective of how many nations build walls and erect fences, I’m sure once the world sees the ‘finished item’ of a wall on Gaza’s border, there will be further outcries of ‘injustice’, ‘prison camps’ and ‘unjust occupation of Zionists’ from the many pro-Palestinian groups, not to mention the UN etc. However, the work is now well under way of building a ‘barrier’ both above the ground – and below it – to stop Hamas from terrorising Israel. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisencott has called the project the "largest project" ever carried out in the history of the IDF. The residents of the south are following the project closely, knowing that this is the best solution to prevent against the terror tunnels.
However, this project is already at risk of being de-funded, as no money has been allocated to the project for fiscal years 2017-2018. Yet according to sources, officials from the Ministry of Defence have clarified that the project will not be delayed, and the Ministry of Finance has said that there is in fact a budget for the project. With a budget of two billion new Israeli shekels, the barrier on the border with Gaza will help defend against Hamas cross-border attack tunnels. The concrete wall, tens of metres deep underground and above ground is seen as a great need by the IDF. A senior defence official stated, “A confrontation with Hamas is inevitable, it must be the last one.”
No bookings needed, and it’s free – Israel and the New Covenant It seems only weeks ago that CFI had their annual conference last year – how time flies - as this year’s conference is happening next week. The Christian Friends of Israel annual conference is due to take place on Saturday 17th September at Victoria Baptist Church, Eastbourne.
This year the guest speakers are David Pawson, a well-known Bible teacher and Christian Zionist, and Werner Oder, the son of a Nazi war criminal and now pastor of a church in Dorset. My son Matthew (drums) will be supporting the worship team of Paul, Zyg and myself once again, and of course there will be other ministries involved along with an extensive CFI book stall. We hope to see as many of you as possible – do spread the word. For full conference details click here: http://www.cfi.org.uk/downloads/CFI%20Annual%20Conf%202016%20Web.pdf
(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent) Tweet me @David_CFI
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio