24 Apr 2023

The Rockets’ Red Glare

 (I am planning a tour group of Israel for Spring 2024, with Pastor Chris Quintana of Old Path Ministries. Message me if you’d like to go with us!)

 On Passover Eve this year, rockets from different directions were fired at Israel, precisely at the same time Iranian officials were meeting in Beirut. Fifty were launched from Gaza, 34 from Lebanon, and three from Syria. All came from Palestinian terror groups.

In response IDF aircraft and artillery attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, south Lebanon, the rocket launchers and several other targets in southern Syria, including a military facility of the Syrian army’s Fourth Division, radar and Syrian army artillery.

As usual, the terrorists created a pretext for the murderous impulses. It was claimed that the rockets were sent due to the Israelis storming the Al-Aksa Mosque. According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:

“The clash spread to the mosque itself when police entered to remove several hundred men and woman who refused to leave. During the riots Palestinians threw chairs and other objects at the Israeli police and shot fireworks at the forces, who were employing teargas and shock grenades. The Palestinians reported many casualties and claimed they had been beaten by Israeli police forces. They also reported extensive damage to the mosque. Dozens of Palestinians were detained. The riots were documented by videos which were uploaded to Palestinian and Arab-Muslim media outlets and received extensive coverage. In addition to rocket fire, riots broke out in east Jerusalem and at locations in Judea and Samaria, and Palestinians carried out several terrorist attacks.”

The terrorists framed all this in an interesting way: that opening “three fronts” against Israel ensured victory. It is a symbolic premise, to be sure.

Of the rockets fired from Gaza, 23 landed in Israel, and eight were intercepted by the Iron Dome. One scored a direct hit on an Israeli home at Sderot, but the family was in a shelter.

The details of this terror activity are quite interesting, showing the close coordination between various Palestinian factions.

“The Lebanese army and UNIFIL began a joint investigation to locate the site from which the rockets had been fired (al-Mayadeen, April 6, 2023). According to reports, they searched the Qlaileh area and along the Lebanese border (al-Araby al-Jadeed, April 6, 2023).

“The Lebanese army said the rockets had been fired from the regions of Qlaileh, al-Malia and Zibkin. Patrols found additional rockets, ready for firing (Lebanese army Twitter account, April 6, 2023). The Lebanese army later announced that another rocket launcher with unfired rockets had been found near Marjayoun in south Lebanon, and that the rockets were being neutralized (Lebanese army Twitter account, April 7, 2023).”

The Lebanese army and UNIFIL aren’t exactly Israel-friendly, of course, but at least they know it’s better to quell the violence, or Israel will greatly go up-tempo. That could quickly escalate into the Third Lebanon War. And I want you to notice something from this next part of the report:

“Lebanese sources reported that targets had been attacked near the al-Rashidiya refugee camp south of Tyre and near the village of Qlaileh and the al-Malia junction, from which rockets had apparently been fired (al-Jazeera, April 7, 2023). It was also reported that the attacks destroyed the al-Limona Bridge near the al-Rashidiya refugee camp and an electrical transformer, and that buildings and vehicles had been damaged by the concussion from the attack (Lebanese National News Agency, April 7, 2023). Attempts were made to minimize the damage done by the attack, claiming Israel had attacked a sheep farm in Rashidiya, a house and a banana plantation in Qlaileh while Israel claimed it had attacked Hamas military targets. Hezbollah did not react to the attack.”

Israel attacks sheep farms? Banana plantations? The absurdity is so off-the-charts, one struggles to understand how and why the West doesn’t just go Chuck Norris on the Palestinian terrorists. The terrorism in Israel could be stamped-out with the same speed Trump used to liquidate ISIS. But too many people are invested in perpetuating the evil “land for peace” deal. Meanwhile the death rains down on Israelis and Arabs alike. The leadership doesn’t care.

And I saw a report this week that both Democrats and Republicans in Washington condemn anti-Semitism. This simply isn’t true. In fact, I would guess that relatively few actually care and do anything to combat it. That’s one of the outcomes of a Washington regime and Deep State so corrupt it can never be reformed. So while lip service is paid to supporting Israel and “fighting” anti-Semitism, rockets continue to come down and Jews are shot in the biblical heartland.

It is the rocket attacks, along with internal political struggles in Israel that in the short-term present the worst challenges. Iranian rhetoric about destroying Israel aside, the more serious threats are much closer to home.







Revealed in Upper Room: Holy Spirit & New Testament :: By Paul J. Scharf

As Jesus taught His disciples in the Upper Room on the night before His death, He addressed them in light of their collective position as “the foundation” (Eph. 2:20) for the forthcoming church.

The church age would begin on a specific “day” (John 14:20), which we know would occur on Pentecost Sunday. Once this age began, these men would bear the responsibility of leading a worldwide evangelistic and teaching ministry.

But, as we have seen, this would require renewed strength and direction. Jesus combined these subjects by speaking to these men regarding “the Spirit of truth” and His purpose to “guide (them) into all truth” (John 16:13).

The Holy Spirit would have an entirely different kind of ministry during the church age, in which His relationship with the disciples would change. “He dwells with you,” Jesus said, “and will be in you” (John 14:17).

Jesus gave revelation regarding the Holy Spirit in numerous texts in this Upper Room Discourse. Consider the following passages that speak about His new role in this dispensation of the church:

  • John 14:16-18 speaks of a new, permanent relationship for believers only.
  • John 14:20, 23 explains how Christ would be “in” His disciples in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
  • John 14:26 expands on the revelatory nature of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
  • John 15:26-27 touches on the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit, unleashing the worldwide “witness” (v. 27) of the disciples.
  • John 16:7-11 explains the relationship that the Holy Spirit would have to the world.
  • John 16:13-14 explains the relationship that the Holy Spirit would have to Scripture and to Christ Himself.

In light of Jesus’ impending departure (John 16:28), His teaching about this promised “Helper” (John 14:26; 15:26) and this expanded place of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ministries must have truly brought tremendous “peace” (John 14:27) and comfort to these beleaguered disciples.

The Holy Spirit would, in fact, work miraculously within the apostles to produce the inspired writings of the New Testament—a brand new revelation providing instruction for this new church age. Jesus gave the disciples several key points related to the way in which He would disclose this new revelation:

  • He would enable the disciples to record history—the four gospels as well as the book of Acts—based on a “remembrance” (John 14:26) of Jesus as their Divine teacher.
  • He would equip the disciples to receive and communicate a more complete revelation (John 16:12). This would include previously unrevealed truths that only then they would have the capacity to “bear” (v. 12).
  • He would authorize the disciples to write both the 21 epistles of the New Testament and also “things to come” (John 16:13)—especially the book of Revelation.

The Upper Room Discourse is certainly one of the most significant messages that we have from Jesus as recorded in the gospels, based upon both its content and its context. It is amazing that He shared it before engaging in His High Priestly Prayer of John 17—and, then, before a long and arduous night of trials and physical suffering.

Perhaps because of its setting amidst such other incredibly weighty subjects, we do not seem to give this discourse the proper attention, in my opinion. Jesus truly presented the disciples with an outline of their assignments for the coming church age. Surely, they must have looked back upon it with intense interest many times in the years that followed.

May we, likewise, return often to study the inspired recording of this most momentous sermon.

Paul J. Scharf (M.A., M.Div., Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) is a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, based in Columbus, WI, and serving in the Midwest. For more information on his ministry, visit sermonaudio.com/pscharf or foi.org/scharf, or email pscharf@foi.org.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.