Watching Over Zion - 8th June 2017

The Word: And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, the cloud filled the House of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the House of the LORD. (1 Kings 8:10, 11)

Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore... lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" (Mark 13:33-37)

*   Pointers for prayer:  Last week, the Jewish world celebrated Shavuot/Pentecost.  In the Christian world, this day was celebrated on Sunday.  In the days we are living in, we need to see the power of God’s Holy Spirit upon all who believe in the God of Israel.  In a week that has witnessed what Israel have experienced for the past 30 years plus, may we cry out that the true church within Britain would awaken to the real threat of these terrorist attacks, and that we would be able to give comfort, strength and real answers to those who seek the truth.  

*   Please continue to pray for all the victims who survived these attacks, and pray too for the families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

*   God has a purpose for the nation and people of Israel. Israel's enemies also have a purpose – they desire to eliminate the State of Israel. And so we must continue to press in with our intercession to fight this spiritual war in the heavenly realms. As terrorism is always a huge threat to Israel (and indeed here in Britain), let us battle on in our intercession regarding this issue.  Let us pray for great wisdom and discernment too for the times ahead.

Is there yet hope?   As I was writing these notes, we were approaching the time of Shavuot. In 2017, Shavuot fell on Wednesday, 31st of May. Shavuot, or Pentecost as the church knows it by, is probably one of the most important holidays (holy days) in the Bible, yet how many of us actually even remember this time of the year?   Shavuot is partly the celebration of God blessing Israel with His Word, the Torah. As you might expect, I believe God’s Word - the Bible - is everlasting. I believe the Word of God, which includes the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), and the New Testament, is the definitive Word of God.  And I believe if we have doubts over this, our very foundations are in danger of collapsing.  On top of this, I don’t believe for one moment that if God promises through an oath, one thing, that He could get it wrong and so change His mind (i.e. as in replacement theology). If He promises us everlasting life through the ‘Blood Covenant’ in the shedding of the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), then He’s not going to change His mind later! So on that evaluation, I would say His everlasting ‘Land Covenant’ to Israel - the Jewish people - is what it says it is – EVERLASTING (1 Chronicles 16: 15-18; Psalm 105: 8-11).  For if it wasn’t, if God could change His mind about His promises to Israel, then what hope do we have about His promise to us as Christians?  

In the above gospel reading of Mark 13, we read Yeshua warning His hearers stating, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey [i.e. Yeshua going back to heaven after the Ascension], who left his house [the Church], and gave authority to his servants [Acts 1:8], and to every man his work [all Believers are called to something], and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, [second coming]... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you [His disciples], I say unto all [all Believers through the ages, including us today]... watch.”  One of the key commands to Believers in the last days, and none more important than now, is ‘watch & pray.’  This is particularly so in these days of global Islamic terrorist attacks and the anti-Israel stance of the United Nations.  Today, the Holy Spirit is seeking to prepare the church to be the ‘Bride of Christ’, and to awaken her to their responsibilities to the Jewish people, so that God's purposes for Israel and the Land might be accomplished.

We are also supposed to understand the times and seasons according to I Thessalonians 5, where Paul states “Therefore let us not sleep ...” God intends us to understand the signs of the times. Events in the world are now coming so in line with the prophetic scriptures, that clearly the climax of the age and the return of the Messiah can't be too far off, as is also the restoration (in fullness) of Israel and her turning to the Messiah (Zechariah 12 & 13).  It is within this framework that I believe Shavuot/Pentecost finds its fullness.  God promised to Israel, through Jeremiah, “I will write my Torah on their hearts.”  This He does as He gives His Holy Spirit. The same One God gives both Torah and Spirit on the same one holiday, Shavuot/Pentecost, to the same one people, stretching through history from the fire on Mount Sinai to the tongues of fire at Jerusalem. Yes, we the Church – who are grafted into Israel (Romans 11:11-31) - should hunger for the power of the Holy Spirit and be activated by His Spirit, but I also believe we need to be praying for the people God first revealed His word to. And so, for this very reason, it is my belief, that Satan wants to thwart God’s purposes, and this is what really lies behind today’s Middle East conflict.  

The great revivalist Duncan Campbell once wrote, "How is it that while we make such great claims for the power of the Gospel, we see so little of the supernatural in operation? Is there any reason why the Church today cannot everywhere equal the Church at Pentecost? I feel this is a question we ought to face with an open mind and an honest heart. What did the early Church have that we do not possess today? Here I would suggest that one of the main secrets of success in the early Church lay in the fact that the early believers believed in unction (act of anointing) from on high and not entertainment from men."  As I worked at a recent Christian festival, these words stung my conscience.  How is it that the Church would sooner be entertained, rather than seek the power of God’s Word and Spirit?  Where are the Bereans in our churches today (Acts 17:11)?  

As we witnessed London being ripped apart by Islamic terrorists in the wake of Manchester only a few days before, I pondered, “Is there yet hope for us today?”  The battle is raging.  The workers in the field need much prayer.  Let us hope that the church will not desire entertainment, but hunger and desire for a mighty move of God through His Holy Spirit today, both in the body of Messiah (the Church) and in the nation of Israel.  This I felt was confirmed by a message from Pastor Agu Irukwu to RCCG Churches on June 4, 2017.  You can hear his message about praying for our nation – especially in light of the coming elections here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxXtCJCMTLo&feature=youtu.be

Too much tolerance of extremism!    These were the words of Theresa May following the latest Islamic Terrorist attacks in London.  I have to admit that, at the time, I was very reluctant to comment on the Manchester terrorist attacks due to the sensitivity of this shocking incident.  However, having watched a report by the BBC, I then felt I needed to speak out, and did so via Social Media.  On May 22, 2017, twenty two innocent people were murdered by an Islamic terrorist and 119 people were injured in the Manchester attacks.  Many children were among the twenty-two young people blown up by a Fedayeen suicide bomber.  Only twelve days later on June 3, 2017, three Muslims shouting "This is for Allah," ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge; then proceeded to Borough Market, stabbing people until seven others were dead. Forty eight people were also injured.

Rightly so, Britain has been shocked by these horrific Islamic terrorist attacks, and these attacks need the strongest condemnation possible, and yes, the British bulldog spirit will not be broken!  However, following the Manchester attacks, the BBC News focused upon the leaders of the Didsbury mosque, where the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, used to pray.  When the mosque leaders faced the media, they used a common argument to distance themselves from Islamic extremism. Fawzi Haffar, one of the trustees of the mosque, stated “Such violence, is so alien to Islam’s principles that it has nothing to do with our faith. This act of cowardice has no place in our religion, or indeed any other religion.” So is Fawzi Haffar reading a different Quran?  Or are those who believe Islam’s founder – Mohammed - taught a radical hateful teaching, simply misquoting or mistranslating the Quran? 

Whatever your views, anyone with the ability to read a copy of the Quran must come to the conclusion that Islamic terrorists can find seemingly inspiring doctrine to support their terrorist actions.  After all, the Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to ‘war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.’ Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. And, as you can see in this YouTube clip, some of their preachers declare “their Prophet has said there is a Jew hiding behind a tree... kill him”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdJ4-eaxz4g

Following the latest attacks in London, Theresa May stated that there is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country and that it is time to be more robust in tackling it. Delivering a statement outside Downing Street following the terror attack that has killed seven and injured 48, the Prime Minister said it was time to say "enough is enough". She said that "identifying and stamping it out across the public sector and across society" would require "difficult and embarrassing" conversations.  Warning that the UK was facing a "new trend of terrorism" she described a copycat situation where "terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack ... by copying one another and often using crudest means of attack."  Theresa May also stated that this was the third terror attack on UK soil in three months and during that time, the intelligence services had also disrupted five further plots.

In response to the wave of attacks, she listed four key points that needed to change in order to tackle the threat of extremism.  Firstly, she said we need to deflect the “evil ideology” of what she described as “a perversion of Islam.” Secondly, she said we need to shut down the “safe space” the internet provides to terrorists, calling for international action to regulate cyberspace.  Thirdly, she said it was time for the country to have the “difficult and embarrassing conversations” needed to stamp out extremism.  Her fourth point was to review the country's counter-terrorism strategy in the light of the changing threat.  But have lessons really been learnt by the UK?  Well if they had looked to Israel, who have suffered hundreds of these Islamic terrorist attacks, and lost hundreds of innocent lives too, they might have learned something.  However, the world, and especially the UK have turned a blind eye for the past 30 years plus.  And I can personally testify to this. I survived a terrorist attack in 2002 in Jerusalem when 15 people were murdered and 50 seriously injured. And that bus, which was ripped apart by the terrorist, was filled with children on their way to school. So, with these recent attacks, will the British press finally wake up and tell the truth?

Well I was surprised to read this following article in the Independent newspaper following the Manchester attack.  The Independent stated, “Manchester attack: It is pious and inaccurate to say Salman Abedi's actions had 'nothing to do with Islam'.”  In the report, it stated, “The real causes of “radicalisation” have long been known, but the government, the BBC and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias. It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers [and we should add Hamas, Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah into that group] “have nothing to do with Islam.”  The report went on to say, “The attack on Manchester Arena – and those on the Bataclan and the Pulse nightclub before it – can trace their routes to the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. The U.K. and U.S. governments just won’t admit it.”  Read the full report here.

Before I go any further, I do need to stress that there are indeed many peace loving Muslims.  I even have Muslim Arab friends in Israel and enjoy meeting up with them for coffee when I’m there, but how can anyone pretend that these Islamic Terrorist attacks have nothing to do with Islam? 

Another issue is that Britain has not learned from history due to being too ‘politically correct.’ Terror attacks by Islamic extremists to further their ‘pure Islamic religious traditions’ and ‘political cause’ have occurred globally. However, although many references are given by the media to Islamic terrorist attacks in France, Germany, and now Britain etc., the majority of media reports completely ignore the atrocities that Israel have suffered in the past 25 years or so.  Therefore, I felt I needed to put the record straight, and create, for anyone wanting to view it, a list of these horrific attacks by Islam upon Israelis.

Whilst doing my research for this report, I came across a time lapse map video created by Milan R. Vuckovic which shows global terrorist attacks with more than 20 fatalities over the last 15 years.  That means, if the fatalities from these terrorist attacks are under 20 people killed, they are not featured here.  While there have been several tragic attacks in Europe and North America, it’s the people of Africa and the Middle-East – and specifically Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel who have been the primary victims.  In 2014, deaths from Islamic terrorism increased by 80% from 2013, with a total of 32,658 victims.  Now, while there have been worldwide Islamic terrorist attacks, if you study this video, and concentrate upon the Middle East – and specifically Israel – you will see a predominantly high ratio of attacks here. The time lapse video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHbYk2l9w-E.   So why is it, that Israel not only receives ‘bad press’, but most of the Islamic terror attacks from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority upon Israel go unreported?  And why is it, that when such attacks happen in the UK, as has been the case these past few weeks, that the media will compare these devastating attacks with the ones in France, whilst completely ignoring the terrible frequent terrorist attacks upon Israel?

Yes, terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists, to further a perceived Islamic religious or political cause, have occurred globally as I’ve already mentioned. The attackers have used such tactics as arson, vehicle rampage attacks, bomb threats, suicide attacks, bombings, spree shooting, stabbings, hijackings, kidnappings and beheadings.  However, has any other nation, apart from Syria in the past six years, suffered the constant volume of attacks that Israel has?  And should not this be recognised by any worthy Media organisation if they were truly producing an ‘impartial’ news item?  After all, as you will see from the following list that I have compiled of Islamist terrorist attacks in Israel (and other areas where Jews were killed), the list is frightening.  The full details of this list of attacks from 1986 to the present day can be found on my blog site here: https://davidsoakell.com/islamic-terrorist-attacks-on-israeli-civilians/ . More than 1,060 Israelis have been killed between 1986 and 2017, and more than 4,485 Israelis have been seriously injured during this same period.  Please note, these figures do not include soldiers that have been killed in battle.  These numbers are civilians, with a few police/security people involved with civilians.

Branch FM Radio latest show   The latest interview I did at Branch FM Radio covers issues regarding Shavuot; The Holy Spirit in Acts; The Bereans; The Balfour 100 celebrations; Palestinian teaching of their children and so much more. This show continues to grow and we have had excellent feedback not just from people listening to the show on radio, but also worldwide, as the radio shows can be heard on the internet. 

The subjects I’ve covered so far have been very challenging to the listener, and Israel and the ministry of CFI have been covered in great detail.  The show goes out at different times over a few weeks, so hopefully we are getting plenty of coverage.  The latest show can be heard here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Branchfm/christian-friends-of-israel-may-2017/

And Finally… Anointed worship throughout Israel   Hillsong Israel is one of many Hillsong churches around the world. They aim to serve by being the hands, the feet, and the voice of Yeshua, bringing hope and life wherever they go.  As anyone who has been to Israel will know, the scriptures come alive when you explore Israel.  Just wandering around Jerusalem is an awesome experience.  Visit the empty Garden Tomb, or the Southern Wall steps and you will be walking in the very footsteps of Jesus the Messiah. A trip to Israel will strengthen and encourage your relationship with the Lord.  Add to this powerful experience the sounds of Hillsong United, as they lead in worship and it’s truly an amazing experience.  Here is Hillsong United singing "Oceans" live at Caesarea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVAR85rorvU&feature=youtu.be

David Soakell  

(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio

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