Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

Keep your eye on Jerusalem


Jim Fletcher is a writer, researcher, speaker and director of Prophecy Matters (prophecymatters.com). He is also a member of the executive committee of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI), and author of It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). He writes online for WorldNetDaily; Beliefnet; American Family Association; the Jerusalem Post; and Rapture Ready. He can be reached at jim@prophecymatters.com

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  • Jun 29, 2015

    The Mainstreaming of Falsehoods

    Well, Michael Oren certainly knows how to pick up a slow news day. The June 23 release of his book, Ally (a look at his up-close observations of the Obama White House and its nasty attitude toward Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu), has created that proverbial firestorm of backlash.

    Mostly from the Obama White House, of course.

    In Ally, Oren provides a front-row seat to the behind-the-scenes stuff going on since 2009, when Obama entered the Oval Office. To say that his treatment of Netanyahu has been abysmal is being too nice. Obama has simply drawn on his background as a Palestinian sympathizer and Saul Alinsky disciple.

    In other words, it’s easy to see that Obama has a visceral hatred for Zionism, the Jewish state, and those who defend it.

    Predictably, Obama’s apologists have rushed to trash Oren and his perspective. Philip Gordon, a former Obama aid, has called Ally a “caricature” that is filled with “exaggerations and distortions.”

    It’s a standard denial, issued by your garden-variety leftist who wants to prop up the Regime. Notice carefully how Gordon reacts to Oren’s assertions that Obama’s dealings with Israel have been unusually harsh, even unprecedented:

    “’Really?’ Gordon writes. ‘To take just a few examples, Dwight Eisenhower slammed Israel for the 1956 Suez operation and forced it into a humiliating retreat; Gerald Ford froze arms deliveries and announced a reassessment of the relationship as a way of pressing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai; Jimmy Carter clashed repeatedly with Prime Minister Menachem Begin before, during and after the 1978 Camp David summit. Ronald Reagan denounced Israel’s strike on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq and enraged Jerusalem by selling surveillance planes to Saudi Arabia; George H.W. Bush blocked loan guarantees to Israel over settlements; Bill Clinton clashed publicly with Israel over the size of proposed West Bank withdrawals; George W. Bush called for a settlement freeze in the 2002 road map for peace and afterward repeatedly criticized Israel for construction in the West Bank.’”

    That is all true, but within Gordon’s foray into truth-telling lies…a lie.

    No American president—ever—has consistently treated Israel so shabbily. Jimmy Carter came close, but Obama is far and away the first American president to openly loathe the Jewish state. It’s all documented, from his public shunning of Netanyahu, to his withholding of munitions during last summer’s deadly conflict with Hamas, to public signals that he is willing to abandon Israel at the U.N.

    No, Obama is an Israel-hater of the first rank.

    Oren’s book (I got a Kindle copy this week) is riveting. His analysis of new-Secretary of State John Kerry’s “shuttle diplomacy” in 2013 is fascinating, if only because it recalls how Kerry kept subtly threatening the Israelis:

    “In time, Kerry would caution Israelis about the outbreak of a Third Intifada if they failed to make peace, of facing economic boycotts and of becoming an apartheid state. Perceived as threats, these messages reinforced, rather than weakened, those most opposed to his initiative. Then, as his special Middle East envoy , the secretary named the veteran peace negotiator Martin Indyk. This, too, was counterproductive. British-born, raised in Australia, and naturalized as a citizen of the United States, where he initially worked for AIPAC, Martin later served twice as America’s ambassador to Israel . There , and later, as the Brookings Institution’s policy director, he had a frosty relationship with Netanyahu. I respected Martin’s diplomatic experience and tried to advise him on ways of earning Netanyahu’s trust. Still, the question hounded me: if Kerry was serious about the process, why did he seem intent on shaking Israelis’ faith in it?”

    All through Ally, Oren presents an insider’s view. It is common knowledge among the American people that Obama and his team do not like Netanyahu. So why would Gordon resort to false statements condemning the book?

    Because leftists lie. They attempt to manipulate reality, and in far too many cases, succeed. In other words, what is at once obvious to the outside world—Obama detests Netanyahu and says things in public that weaken Israel—is distorted by the President’s apologists.

    The truth is, Obama, a leftist ideologue all his adult life, is out to damage the relationship between America and Israel.

    The only saving grace is that, on this point, he is also defying his own people.

    jim@prophecymatters.com
    www.prophecymatters.com


    Jun 22, 2015

    Why Israel?

    I began advocating for Israel 20 years ago, when I met Avi Lipkin. Many readers know and love Avi for his dogged pursuit of justice for Israel and her Christian Zionists friends. I remember our first conversation, at a deli in Dallas. He helped me learn to pronounce the name of an Israeli politician who was becoming prominent.

    Netanyahu.

    Net. Ahn. Ya. Hoo.

    In the years since, I’ve done what I could, when I could. I’ve visited Israel a half-dozen times and regularly write for The Jerusalem Post, and others. I speak at conferences and in churches.

    Now, I am pleased to be part of a new endeavor with friends from the America-Israel Friendship League, a seminar program we have titled, “Why Israel?”

    The format is a one or two-day seminar, in which expert speakers provide real information about Israel, her relationships internationally (including with Christian friends); and historical context. This coming Thursday, we will also discuss the plight of persecuted Christians.

    For the event at Calvary Chapel Cypress (thanks to our good buddy, Pastor Chris Quintana!), I will speak, along with Dr. Alex Grobman, a Holocaust researcher, and Dr. Uri Bar-Ner (live from Israel), who will speak about Israel’s standing in the international community. Uri is the former Israeli ambassador to Turkey, and his decades of diplomatic experience are fascinating. Added to the mix is the fact that he lives at Modi’in, near the burial place of the Maccabees.

    Alex has a new book out, BDS: The Movement to Destroy Israel, and his expert analyses of the United Nations, anti-Semitism, and the Jews’ experience with Christians are all riveting. He is also one of my best friends, and loves and respects evangelical Christians.

    The AIFL is led by people I have real affection for; the organization exists to build friendships for Israel. Their many and varied programs, like the Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE) is remarkable.

    Please join us this coming Thursday for a one-day seminar that is sure to arm you with better information to help Israel, in what Netanyahu has called “the battle for the truth.”

    We welcome our friends in southern California to join us at Calvary Chapel Cypress, and for those who can’t attend in person, join us online. See you Thursday!

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymattersisrael.com


    June 15,  2015

    (For those of you in southern California, or who want to watch our “Why Israel?” seminar live-streamed, put Thursday, June 25 on your calendar. Join me, Dr. Alex Grobman, and Dr. Uri Bar-Ner — live from Israel — for a full-day program that will arm you with truth for defending Israel. For more information, go to www.calvarychapelcypress.net)

    The Power of Propaganda

    Having had time to reflect on my time at the Justice Conference in Chicago, I am more convinced than ever that leftist ideology is being pushed on young people.

    Of course, this has been the reality for a long time; a couple years ago I heard Hal Lindsey speak at a conference and he mentioned that Marxism was being taught at Berkeley in 1960.  I think many of us falsely believed some of that went away after the Reagan years and, in the context of evangelicalism, after the Southern Baptists appeared to win over moderates.

    I don’t believe that was the case.

    Leftists never sleep, they never take a day off. The rest of us are hunkered down, raising families and earning a living, paying taxes. As a result, things get past us.

    One of those things is the diabolical worldviews taught to our children. It is one reason there is a shift in support for Israel, to the Palestinians. As I’ve written and said many times, to the eternal shame of evangelical leadership in America, none of them speak up about this. I am referring to denominational leaders, but it is also true that, for example, among what I call The Big Three — Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Andy Stanley — there is either indifference to Israel, or hostility (in the form of Willow Creek’s propagandist efforts to mainstream the Palestinian Narrative).

    From a blog post by Ryan Beiler in Sojourners:

    “Nonviolent resistance against the occupation is gaining more and more participation by Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists—even officials of the Palestinian Authority. Thankfully, these campaigns are also getting widespread coverage by global media, further enhancing their chances at success. While there is still much work needed to promote nonviolence as the only moral and practical means of ending the conflict, declarations such as the Kairos Palestine Document will serve as prophetic milestones toward peace with justice in the Middle East.”

    Other activists work with friends within evangelicalism’s power centers to further demonize Israel and her supporters:

    “Young people tell me that they grow up in churches being told that Jews are God’s chosen people. Then they go to universities where Jewish students laugh at their Christian Zionism and want no part of it.” – Dale Hanson Bourke, author of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers

    “We are challenging evangelicals that rather than looking at the Middle East through the lens of prophecy that they look at it through the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers. … In the past we used to say there will never be peace in the Middle East until Jesus comes. This is a very typical evangelical response. Now we’re saying rather than waiting for divine intervention—get busy! Listen and respond to God’s call to action!” – Dr. Munther Isaac, Bethlehem Bible College and Christ at the Checkpoint.

    Notice Beiler’s nod to “activists” within the Palestinian Authority. It’s like saying, in 1934, that the Kremlin was helping expose injustice.

    Hard to believe some of these people are that gullible.

    In our upcoming “Why Israel?” seminar, my colleagues and I will discuss some of these propaganda efforts, including the evil BDS campaign, which, ironically, gains legions of young people as followers — they think they are exposing an evil regime, when in fact they are propping one up.

    It is astounding to me that many people assume that media images actually always reflect reality. For example, photo editors from New York to Amman know how to crop a photo so that it looks like an Israeli soldier is threatening the life of a hapless Palestinian. In point of fact, the soldier is often pulling the youth away from a mob bent on beating him to death…or, the “Palestinian” is actually an Israeli Jew being rescued by the IDF.

    Media types know what they are doing.

    Added to the propaganda mix (and I observed this at the Justice Conference) is the effort by Palestinians to come alongside African-Americans and profess their love and loyalty, i.e., we are brown brothers being oppressed by the white colonialists — Big Business and European Jews, respectively.

    Day and night, the Palestinian Authority foments violence against Israel and the world is silent.

    The new thing right now is the compromising of American youth, who believe they are helping lift up the oppressed Palestinian.

    In fact, they are tools of propaganda.

    And that’s bad for all of us.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymattersisrael.com


    June 8,  2015

    Justice…for Israel?

    I am just returning from the Justice Conference, a two-day affair in Chicago. From the website:

    “Our vision is to serve the discovery of ideas, celebrate the beauty of justice, and foster a community of people who live justice together. Now, more than ever, people of faith need to come together to wrestle with the injustice in our world. This is the time. This is the place.”

    I have many thoughts about the conference, and will be writing and speaking about it more in the coming weeks, but for now I want to focus on two things: Israel and Bible prophecy.

    I sat in on workshops led by Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart of The Global Immersion Project, then heard Lynne Hybels speak. Although Hybels didn’t address this subject (rather, she spoke about efforts at reconciliation between Jews and Arabs), Bible prophecy was on the stand.

    Specifically, I heard from presenters and from attendees having roundtable discussions that Dispensationalism is a problem. I listened as speakers lamented the wild speculations from some prophecy teachers.

    One speaker, Malcolm London, mentioned babies being “blown to bits in Palestine.”

    One of the books for sale in the conference expo area was Garth Hewitt’s “Occupied Territories.” In the book, Hewitt alleges that the Israeli security fence completely encircles Bethlehem. As I’ve pointed out many times, it does not.

    These kinds of remarks about Israel were indicative of what conference organizers and attendees believe about the Jewish state and her supporters.

    Justice was on everyone’s lips during the weekend, but one could be justified in wondering whether anyone believes Israel deserves justice. Justice in terms of Arabs accepting the presence of the Jewish state. Justice in terms of all terror attacks ceasing. Justice for the victims of Palestinian terror since Oslo, two decades ago.

    Et cetera.

    You need to understand that while there were many sincere, well-intentioned people at the Justice Conference, the gathering was left wing to the core. Whatever you want to call us — conservative Christians, fundamentalists, Bible-believing Christians — our worldview is very different from the presenters in Chicago. We do not see many things the same.

    Especially Israel.

    For them, Israel is an Occupier. Her Christian Zionist supporters are rigid, angry obstacles to peace.

    There was a lot of talk about tolerance and reconciliation, but I got the distinct impression that the sweet words aren’t meant for Israel and those who support her.

    The capper was the keynote address by Cornel West, the radical Princeton professor who is no friend of Israel.

    There was also a lot of talk about white supremacy, white guilt, white privilege. Racial injustice toward minorities. American Colonialism.

    This is not the same Church we grew up with. It is not the same nation. Such a conference as this would have been unthinkable a generation ago. Now, I fear it is the norm.

    Whatever lay ahead, though, we must remain in the Word and remain in the Lord. The future is going to be remarkable.

    And He is a just God.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com


    Jun 1, 2015

    (Join Jim and his friends Alex Grobman and Uri Bar-Ner at Calvary Chapel Cypress, CA, on June 25 for a seminar entitled “Why Israel?”)

    The Israelites and Modern Israel

    At this year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), delegates voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions. The diabolical “BDS” movement (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) is intended to hurt Israel economically. In fact, it is one element of the larger war against the Jewish state.

    A lesser-known resolution was no less sinister. From a piece in Jews News, we read that some will no longer accept acknowledgement of Israel’s biblical history:

    “According to a report in The Algemeiner, the Church’s proposed resolution, which was rejected, stems from a complaint filed by a ‘Palestinian American Presbyterian’ who is an Elder in the church.

    “The new Presbyterian Hymnal, Glory to God, published in 2013, contains a section of hymns under the heading, ‘God’s Covenant with Israel.’ The Elder who filed the complaint stated, ‘Because I am a Palestinian Christian, I am uneasy with the word ‘Israel’ in ‘God’s Covenant with Israel.’

    “In an effort to deal with the situation, the resolution proposed a re-education process regarding the difference between ‘biblical Israel’ and the modern State of Israel. This included printing up stickers to be placed in all the hymnals.”

    That last paragraph is chilling.

    Re-education process.

    You need to know that key American Christian leaders have for some time helped spread the diabolical lie that modern Israelis have no connection to the ancient Israelites. The Palestinians came up with this totalitarian-style propaganda to drive a wedge between Christians and Israel. If the modern residents of Israel are not really Jews, then how can they lay claim to the land?

    The whole premise is wholly absurd, and yet it has gained traction in some shocking quarters.

    Two decades ago, I received a letter/reply from Dr. Maxie Dunnam, then president of Asbury Theological Seminary (probably the only “conservative” seminary within the United Methodist Church).

    When he addressed the issue of modern Israel and the ancient Israelites, Dunnam told me that he didn’t believe there is a connection. This from a leading member of the Confessing Movement, the effort to turn the UMC back to its biblical roots!

    Dunnam, though, is far from alone in his thinking. The late D. James Kennedy made similar statements, and such faulty worldview has made its way into evangelicalism, big-time.

    All across the board, evangelical leaders are allowing such trash to be part of the curriculum within denominations.

    When studying this phenomenon, which is anti-Semitic to the core (can you imagine denying that modern Chinese have no connection to ancient Asian cultures, or that Coptic Christians have no relation to the ancient Egyptians?), it is also important to understand this: the anti-Israel networks are so vast and layered within evangelicalism, it would take a miracle of biblical proportions to reverse the problems. One must follow the networks.

    For example, back when Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd’s Cross Church had a LifeWay bookstore in the church building, just two of the books offered were authored by Gary DeMar, the well-known preterist, and Carl Medearis, perhaps the leading channel between evangelicals and Muslims. Both authors have many friends and associations that deny Israel’s biblical heritage.

    It should be obvious that I don’t mean Floyd would subscribe to the disconnection theory between Israel and the Israelites. He does however associate with plenty of people who do. And, I also recognize that a pastor’s first role, especially the head of a denomination, is to lead evangelism efforts — not promote Zionism.

    However, the anti-Israel feeling among evangelical elites/leadership is now systemic.

    (And before you fault me for using “guilt-by-association” tactics, consider that such a method of “discovering the networks” is legitimate. Only those who don’t want the rank-and-file in the pews to figure out what’s going on whine long and loud about being criticized through guilt-by-association.)

    Here is another example of how this network operates.

    Recently, Gabe Lyons, the founder of “Q Ideas,” a center-left leadership entity within evangelicalism, tweeted:

    “Summer parenting book I can’t put down? #NeverSayNo by our mentors Jan and @markhforeman. So, so good.”

    Foreman is the pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel in California. Two years ago, he hosted a “Hope for the Holy Land” event, featuring Mae Cannon of World Vision, Lynne Hybels, and Sami Awad — three anti-Israel speakers. Among those Foreman follows on Twitter: Shane Claiborne, Rachel Held Evans, and Joel Hunter. Each has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

    Foreman is something of anomaly within the Calvary Chapel system.

    For his part, Lyons has used his forum to host anti-Israel speakers like Sami Awad.

    Everywhere, rising stars in the evangelical leadership universe are abandoning long-held positions, including solid Israel support. That these young leaders and their mentors (think Bill Hybels and Rick Warren) allow the “Israel bears no connection with the biblical Israelites” tripe to continue reveals much about their ultimate agenda, which I maintain focuses-on transforming the Evangelical Church into a leftist entity.

    It is a fact that among American Christian leadership today, evangelical leaders are much, much closer to the radical views of people like Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Marcus Borg, and John Shelby Spong — among many, many others — than they are to the views of Adrian Rogers and Chuck Smith.

    It is an outrage that Christian leaders do not clearly stand with the Jews on this issue. The denial of the Jews’ biblical heritage is a spiritual nuclear weapon aimed at destroying Israel.

    At the same time, American political and religious leaders stand (with a straight face) with PLO leaders who claim they are descended from the Canaanites.

    You get that, don’t you? If the Palestinian Arabs could prove they are the direct descendants of the ancient pagan culture, then they can make some claim to the land of Israel. By the way, show me any scholar anywhere on the planet who would subscribe to such a theory, and I’ll show you a scholar who got his academic training from a box of Cracker Jacks.

    The whole re-education model smacks of Soviet-style methods for forcing people to change long-held views. It is fiendish, sinister, and anti-biblical.

    Any seminary president, pastor, or ministry leader who doesn’t unequivocally affirm the obvious truth that today’s Jews are direct descendants of the ancient Israelites forfeits his credentials and should get into fast-food management or banking, or general contracting. Anything but sitting as a phony teacher/leader.

    Until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, the Jews’ genealogical records were kept in Jerusalem. In other words, everyone knew where he came from. That’s how Paul new he was from the tribe of Benjamin, for example.

    Since that time, wherever the Jews were dispersed around the globe, they maintained their Jewish identity. The famous phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem” has been a plaintive cry from Jews around the world, longing to return to Zion.

    Their return — surely the greatest single miracle in 2,000 years — has happened in our time.

    Eternal shame on evangelical leaders in America who not only fail to affirm this reality, but work to undermine it.

    Unreal.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com

     


    May 25, 2015

    Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

    For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

    Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:1-3)

    (Note: please avail yourself of the excellent reporting by Israel correspondent Brian Schrauger at www.bridgesforpeace.com/us)

    Zechariah On Deck

    For 67 years, the state of Israel has been a burr under many saddles. The Jewish state, the modern dream of the ancients (and men like Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion), is an astonishing miracle, in myriad ways.

    I have been gripped by this fact since my first trip in 1998.

    Before that, since birth really, I was privileged to grow up in a home where Bible prophecy was taught and believed. Not only do I look back on that fondly, contrary to much opinion among evangelical leadership elites today, I consider that heritage to be vital to my worldview. Especially as we face the future.

    The soon future.

    I am often struck by how quickly Israel is being marginalized and encircled by her enemies. Those enemies are not only the obvious ones: jihadists, Middle East despots, and political foes.

    They also very much include diplomatic elites, media figures, entertainment figures, and religious “leaders.” It is the latter category that I find the most odious. Many Christians in the pews, and even many pro Israel folks, simply do not grasp the enormity of this problem.

    Writing in the newsletter for the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society, Janet Lahr Lewis (“Advocacy Coordinator for the Middle East”) presented this profoundly immoral statement:

    “Don’t participate in Holocaust Remembrance Day without participating in Al Nakba Remembrance Day. Don’t visit a Holocaust museum until there is one built to remember the other holocausts in the world: the on-going Palestinian holocaust, the Rwandan, the Native American, the Cambodian, the Armenian… You could be waiting a long time!”

    One hardly knows where to start, and that is another telltale sign that we are living in the last days, which call to mind 2 Timothy 3. Presumably, Lewis is not stupid, and knows that there is no such Palestinian genocide going on, nor was there ever one. The Holocaust, perpetrated by the Nazis, but acquiesced to by many others, is unique in history.

    It was the campaign to murder every single Jew.

    The fiendish statement by Lewis is symptomatic of what ails the American Church: a misunderstanding (in many cases, willful misunderstanding) of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Decades of leftist thought have now reached full-flower in the American Church. The United Methodist Church is officially one of the most anti-Israel denominations in history, but far from alone. The President’s own United Church of Christ is also front-and-center.

    As I’ve documented, too, even the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God are now slowly emerging as supportive of the Palestinian narrative, or at least softening their stance on Israel.

    When Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government was seated earlier this week, President Reuven Rivlin had some interesting remarks (as reported by Brian Schrauger at www.bridgesforpeace.com):

    “Before they were positioned for Israel's de facto yearbook photo, President Reuven Rivlin admonished the new administration. And to vicarious observers on the other side of press corps lenses and computers, he also exhorted the country, its enemies and a watching world.

    “Most new governments have the benefit of a honeymoon or grace period for one hundred days. This one, he implied, probably does not.

    “’There are great challenges that this government must deal with from the outset, without a 100-day grace period,’ he said. ‘Previous [Israeli] governments did not face such challenges in the same way or with the same intensity.’ This government, he noted, has unusually intense matters at hand in both foreign affairs and domestic. ‘With regard to foreign affairs,’ he said, ‘you are required to deal with international pressure in a manner that demands endurance and the ability to make considered decisions which will not lead the State of Israel to isolation, but will preserve the red lines of Israeli diplomacy. On the domestic front, you face the urgent and crucial mission to present a budget which will provide an answer to the social and economic needs of the citizens of Israel - from housing and employment to welfare.’

    Quite interestingly, Netanyahu departed from a purely political line by invoking the founding document of Zionists for all time:

    “...Alluding to the Bible, as, it seems, he does with increasing regularity, Netanyahu made a direct link to his vision for Jerusalem and the ethos by which Israel sets its governmental compass.

    “’The People of Israel returned to its land, and established here the State of Israel, a Jewish and democratic state,’ he said. It is ‘a state which preserves the rule of law and respects every human being. Here in our eternal capital of Jerusalem, the Prophets of Israel embedded the eternal values of humanity, but also embedded the eternal values of our people—to which we are committed in each generation. I am proud to be the Prime Minister of Israel, and I will do all in my power, together with my ministers, to honor the mandate we have been given by the citizens of Israel. There is nothing more valuable than that.’”

    When Rivlin says that Israel must preserve the red lines of its diplomacy, he is certainly calling to mind the challenges Israel faces. The international political climate for Israel at present is nasty and vicious. However, as I constantly repeat, the epic fail on the part of American Evangelical leadership, with regard to Israel and the Palestinians, is bordering on catastrophic.

    I think that language is not over-the-top.

    Not only are celebrities like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels negligent in supporting Israel, in important ways they are complicit in the drive to marginalize and defame the Jewish state. In a blog post published by Lynne Hybels’, the Willow Creek Association co-founder had this to say:

    “So . . . it was October 2008. I had been invited by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian—Bill’s mentor and mine—to attend a conference in Amman, Jordan, taught entirely by Arab Christians from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and the West Bank. To a person, these ministry leaders said they felt abandoned by Western Christians. And, of course, they are; to most Western Christians the phrase ‘Arab Christian’ is an oxymoron. We experience a severe case of cognitive dissonance when hear about indigenous Iraqi Christians or the ancient Egyptian Coptic Church or—even more surprising—Palestinian Christians whose ancestors have been ‘on the land’ from the time of Christ. What? Why didn’t we realize this? What should we do about it?”

    Bilezikian, of Armenian descent, and a teacher in Beirut, Lebanon for many years, the concept of pro Israel support is unacceptable. He has mentored Bill and Lynne Hybels since at least 1975. Here is a statement from his book, “Christianity 101,” published by the left-leaning publisher Zondervan:

    “Since the link between current events and ‘prophetic truth’ is sometimes made in connection with the biblical concept of Israel, it is appropriate to sketch a brief outline for the discussion of such teachings. The view that Israel, defined as an ethnic people, has an eschatological role to play is especially prominent in an approach called Dispensationalism. The foundations of this system of biblical interpretation was laid in the writings of a nineteenth century Plymouth Brethren leader from Britain named J.N. Darby. Those views have been ardently received and propagated by certain groups in North America, primarily the fundamentalist groups.”

    Here, of course, Bilezikian, trots out the propaganda that biblical support for Israel started with a 19th century Irish preacher.

    If it seems like I’m digressing and meandering, I hope you’ll see the vast network of anti-Israel conspirators (who really operate in the open), all of whom have helped push Israel into the place she now finds herself: having “unusually intense matters at hand in both foreign affairs and domestic.”

    All this causes Zechariah’s later prophecies to loom large, for as I also often say, the single greatest sign we are living in the last days is the increasing international pressure on Israel, which, I would argue, borders on psychotic.

    What else can you call a comparison between the Palestinians’ lack of statehood and the…Holocaust?

    Truly, we are on the edge of something epic. Far from fearful or even worried, I am in fact thrilled that Someone is in charge, loves all of us (including the Palestinians), and wants the best for us. Since we cannot accomplish that ourselves, He is preparing to usher in glory. Thank you, Father, for your mercies, which are everlasting.

    That remnant of us that prays intensely for our Jewish friends, let us resolve more than ever to stand with Israel right through to the end, when the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will intervene, to fight for her in the day of battle.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com


    May 18, 2015

    The Teutonic Hordes

    One feature of the human condition is that we have fairly short attention spans. When the subject is something important, severe consequences can follow.

    Witness the younger generations of Germans today, as apart from their older fellow citizens. When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited Germany a few days ago, he was welcomed; signing the guest book, Rivlin chose to include Psalm 122:6—

    "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they that love thee prosper."

    But a new report indicates that German youth do not feel the same way about Israelis, and that poses a problem. From the Jerusalem Post:

    “Many young Germans simply cannot internalize Israel’s self-defense wars against lethal anti-Semitic terroristic organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad.”

    Stunning, but perhaps not so given the moral relativism that is choking younger generations. There, moral equivalence between Jews defending themselves and the “freedom fighters” of Hamas is the order of the day. Incredible, but where we are.

    Rivlin noted that German hatred of Jews did not begin overnight, but rather emerged from centuries of anti-Semitism:

    "The German people did not wake up one morning to the swastikas of the Third Reich. Anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and frustration grew like a cancer under the surface for many years. This poisoned soil was the foundation, on which the Nazi monster acted unchallenged. Seventy years have passed since the last transport left Platform 17; yet once again, fascist and neo-Nazi movements are growing stronger and stronger on European soil. Apathy, indifference, or denial is not the answer."

    (The above report is courtesy of Brian Schrauger, writing for Bridges for Peace: http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/il/news/article/israel-and-germany-truly-amazing)

    I have a young American friend (of Hispanic origin) who moved to Germany. He is fully a part of the Millennial Generation and its far left views. He is a sweet young man, but would no doubt buy into the anti-Israel views sweeping Europe.

    By contrast, I have an Israeli friend, in his 60s, who refuses to even visit Germany. Like all Israelis, he has lost friends and family to Islamic terrorism, and well remembers the lessons of the Holocaust.

    The Germans through history have been a war-like people, and we must realize that the gasoline poured on that fire was religious bigotry directed at Jews. Martin Luther, the same one lionized by much of Christendom today, was a vicious anti-Semite in the latter part of his life, and the religious instruction fed the German people for many years prior to World War II contained a high dose of Luther’s views.

    Now, 70 years after the Holocaust, the mere fact that the generation witnessing the awful scene of the death camps is itself passing away only heightens the problem. Even showing youth a film like “Judgment at Nuremberg,” with its ferocious moral underpinnings, would no doubt elicit eye rolls.

    In some ways, the relationship between Israel and Germany is remarkable and healthy. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strong for a half-century, and economic ties are healthy.

    However, as we all know, such scenarios can change overnight. The specter of German youth having affinity for the death squads of Hamas bodes ill for the future.

    We are watching dramatic events unfold from every direction, every day. It is a remarkable time to be alive. As we see the nations slowly but surely turn against Israel, we must steady ourselves, and resolve to stand with Israel, come what may.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com


    May 11, 2015

    Calling All East Coast Churches!

    Some terrific friends of mine are launching a new pro Israel church seminar program — yours truly will be along as a speaker — and I’d like to offer our lineup to churches in the Northeast. That’s the first geographical region we are “targeting.”

    The “Why Israel” program will feature Dr. Alex Grobman (one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars), Ambassador Uri Bar-Ner (former Israeli ambassador to Turkey), myself, and another friend or two along the way.

    The aim is to offer a comprehensive look at Israel: historically, culturally, politically, strategically and, most important, biblically. Drs. Grobman and Bar-Ner are experts on a wide range of issues, including the threat from jihadists, and our one or two-day seminars offer audiences the chance to interact with, and ask questions of these advocates for the Jewish state.

    I’ve known both men for years and am excited to be part of this model, which is capable of addressing adult and youth audiences. We will also have a full slate of resources available at each event.

    As an added bonus to churches, there is no expense for the host site. We ask only that we can address audiences from both the church’s sanctuary and a fellowship hall. If you choose to take up a love offering, we would appreciate that. We also are flexible on scheduling: if you want a weekday program, we can do that. Weekends are also available.

    Alex has written several books, including Nations United; Denying History; License to Murder; and The Palestinian Right to Israel. Uri is a key member of the America-Israel Friendship League, and from his post in Turkey, attained a comprehensive knowledge of Israel’s diplomatic situation.

    I invite you to consider hosting our group; you can contact me directly.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com

    May 4, 2015

    Sweating the Small Stuff

    With the world watching “big picture” items regarding Israel (such as, of course, Iran, but also including Hezbollah rocket stockpiles in Lebanon, and ISIS and Al Qaida presence in Sinai and surrounding Arab countries), it is sometimes easy to miss the “smaller” threats posed to the Jewish state.

    These are the more fascinating moments to spotlight, for me.

    On April 25, a Palestinian terrorist named Ali Muhammad Abu Ghannam was shot dead by IDF troops after he ran toward them with a meat cleaver. This incident occurred near Ma’aleh Adumim, at the Al-Za’im roadblock. Ma’aleh Adumim, many readers know, is the somewhat infamous Israeli community east of Jerusalem. It is routinely criticized as Israeli encroachment onto “Palestinian land” by activists and diplomats alike.

    Predictably, various terror organizations exploited the tragedy. Fatah, the political wing of the PLO, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, claimed the killing of the terrorist Ghannam was a criminal act by Israel and called on the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people!

    Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called on retaliaton from Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

    It is profoundly sad that Abu Ghannam, a resident of east Jerusalem, was only 17. His whole life ahead of him, and it was snuffed out due to a steady diet of anti-Jewish hatred taught in the Palestinian society.

    Yet, Israel is blamed.

    Later in the day, another 17-year-old terrorist, Mahmoud Yunis Abu Jahisha, was shot dead after he tried to attack troops at the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron.

    Further, according to a report from Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:

    “On  April  22,  2015,  the  Shaheed  Nabil  Masoud  units  of  the  Al-Aqsa  Martyrs Brigades  (Fatah's  military-terrorist  wing  in  the  Gaza  Strip),  held a  joint  military exercise with the Popular Resistance Committees. It was carried out at a training

    camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The exercise included simulating storming IDF posts and attacking armored vehicles.”

    Astonishingly, the Palestinians admitted the leadership supports such violence:

    “Referring to the riots  in  east  Jerusalem  over  the  weekend,  during  which Palestinians confronted Israeli security forces,

    Amin Maqboul, secretary of Fatah's Revolutionary Council,  told  the  Huna  Al-Quds  TV  channel 3 that  the  Palestinian leadership supported the ‘popular resistance’ against Israel and fomented it. He said the Palestinian leadership called for ‘popular resistance’ and also supported the riots against Israel in Jerusalem and all the Palestinian cities.”

    Then, a piece on Al-Quds TV spotlighted a deeply troubling development from a leading Palestinian educational institution:

    “On April 22, 2015, student council elections were held in Beit Zeit University. The Hamas faction won a majority of 26 seats, while Fatah won 19. A spokesman for the Fatah faction congratulated Hamas on its win. However, Amin Maqboul,

    secretary of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, claimed they were weighing the possibility of appointing a committee to investigate the election results (Paltimes.net, April 23,

    2015). Khaled Mashaal,  head  of  Hamas'  political  bureau,  gave  a  speech congratulating the Islamic Bloc on its win, claiming the elections ‘celebrated good democracy’ and  that  Hamas  was  founded  on  democracy  and  constructed  its

    institutions democratically.”

    For more than two decades, the Israelis have tried in vain to get the international community to help put a stop to this insane incitement on the part of the Palestinian leadership.

    To no effect.

    Indeed, Hillary Clinton in the past has been tasked with helping ensure that the Palestinians halt incitement, but all she can do is pose with Palestinian terrorists and grin.

    Ditto for European diplomats. All the while, the Israelis must deal with these acts of terror on a daily basis. Think of that, thousands and thousands of acts of terrorism against Jews in the approximately 8,000 days since the Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn. U.S. officials and other Western leaders have known all along that the Palestinians were violating terms of the agreement.

    But Jewish life is cheap to these cowards.

    That’s why we should pay just as much attention to a rock-throwing incident that wounds a couple IDF soldiers, as we do to Iran’s menacing threats.

    Because it’s all the same thing.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com


    April 27, 2015

    Trip of a Lifetime

    Growing up, I would occasionally hear of a member of our church going to “the Holy Land.” In the wake of the Six Day War, an explosion of tourism boosted Israel’s economy, and what once seemed like an improbably exotic and unattainable vacation became reality.

    Having been seven times myself, I am always anxious to go back to see the land and its people.

    Now, some friends of mine are making arrangements to take pastors to Israel, and I’d like to know how many readers of “Israel Watch” are pastors and would be interested in going.

    The all-expense paid trip will include of course plenty of sightseeing, but also insights into what it’s like for Jews to live among a sea of hostile neighbors.

    (An important aside: I never feel safer than when I’m in Israel. The country’s security apparatus is non-invasive-but-effective, and the Israeli people go about their daily lives and business calm and full of life.)

    When you first see the coastline of Tel Aviv, your heart will pound faster, and upon emerging from Gen Gurion Airport, you’ll find palm trees and balmy temperatures. The drive along Highway 1 will allow you to see both historical sites (for example, the famed Valley of Ayalon), the leftover military vehicles from the War of Independence, which litter the sides of the highway, and you will become aware that you are literally going “up to Jerusalem,” as you leave the coastal plain and ascend to the mountains of Israel, which run north-south through the middle of the country.

    The itinerary of course will be tailored for pastors, so that they can take the experience back home to their people.

    The Garden Tomb, the Temple Mount, the Israel Museum, and Jerusalem’s Old City bazaar are must-sees, of course.

    If you are a pastor interested in such a trip, contact me and I’ll pass you along to the right people.

    We can’t take everyone all at once, of course, but you won’t want to miss this chance for the trip of a lifetime.

     

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com


    April 20, 2015

    Pentecostals and Prophecy

    As the American church moves further into apostasy, it is fascinating (and dismaying!) to watch attacks on Israel and Bible prophecy teaching coming from within the ranks.

    So to speak.

    As readers of “Israel Watch” well know, we have been documenting for several years now the erosion of support for Israel among celebrity elites within evangelicalism. Pastors, ministry leaders, denominational leaders.

    The rot in the Southern Baptist Convention is well underway, with Rick Warren leading the way. The globalist senior pastor of Saddleback Church is a well-known critic of Bible prophecy teachers. Now, Russell Moore, the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, also gets his digs in. And Moore is of the opinion that Israel is really the Church. As he wrote in 2009:

    “All Christians everywhere believe in a future for Israel.

    “Where Christians disagree is on is [sic] exactly who Israel is.”

    This Christian is clear on who Israel is. It’s an obvious answer, except to faux intellectuals like Moore, who subscribe to a “big-tent” philosophy within evangelicalism. Evidently, Moore sees another identity for Israel, but he also is anxious to mainstream that thought on a wider scale.

    And that’s a Southern Baptist leader!

    Yet, we are also watching this kind of muddled thinking within Pentecostalism, and in true Twilight Zone fashion, bad teaching is coming from formerly traditionally strong sources.

    Charisma magazine is the flagship periodical of the Charismatic world, founded by Steve Strang in the ‘70s. For the longest, the readership would have understood very well who Israel is, and they were among the strongest supporters of Bible prophecy teaching.

    Think David Allen Lewis and even Derek Prince.

    Strang has also been known far and wide as a supporter of Israel. He is, however, more identified with the Messianic movement and a couple years ago stepped down from the board of Christians United for Israel. This is about the time that bestselling author John Hagee (founder of CUFI) moved away from Strang’s stable of book authors and began publishing with giant New York houses.

    Strang’s son, Cameron, is publisher of Relevant magazine, the flagship periodical for Millennials, and the son is particularly nasty when it comes to Bible prophecy. Relevant routinely skewers prophecy teaching, including Rapture talk.

    Oddly, Charisma has become home to the same kind of dissing.

    Not long ago, I wrote about a piece in Charisma by Margaret Feinberg, who manipulated a question by a young man who was rightly wondering if we are living in the last days. The whole piece was a thinly veiled swipe at prophecy teaching; Feinberg clearly isn’t a fan. The teaching doesn’t fit her progressive views and agendas.

    Now, though, comes yet another swipe, this time from former Charisma editor J. Lee Grady, also known as Lee Grady. Somewhat of an evangelical gadfly, Grady has pontificated from his perch at Charisma for a long time, on a whole range of issues. He is fairly famous for skewering the excesses among Pentecostal charlatans, even while Charisma ran their ads in the same issue!

    Which is comical, on a certain level.

    Grady might have become bored, however, with his humanitarian efforts in various venues, so now he has written another piece hammering Bible prophecy. In 2009 (one wonders if Grady and Moore met at a Cracker Barrel and vented about Israel and prophecy teachers), he admonished readers for spending too much time thinking about the last days.

    In a piece titled “Don't Get Infected With Last Days Fever,” written in 2009, Grady had clearly had it with the doomsday crowd:

    “Don't let the sensationalism of eschatology distract you from the priority of evangelism.

    “You might remember Edgar Whisenant. He wrote a best-selling book called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988—and a much less popular sequel, The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989. The second book said Jesus didn't come back in 1988 because the author, who was a former NASA engineer (!), missed his mathematical calculations by a year.”

    Whisenant, of course, is an easy target. As is Harold Camping.

    What you never see, though, are critics like Grady and Feinberg taking on the likes of Tommy Ice, or Randall Price, or Terry James. Or a whole host of other top-notch prophecy teachers.

    The Dominionists and Purpose-Driven crowd don’t like last days talk, because it runs up against their agenda of making the world a better place, so that the triumphant Church can hand the keys to the kingdom to Jesus, whenever He returns. Like in a half-million years.

    The signs of the times annoy them. None more than restored Israel.

    Grady this week did it again, dusting off the 2009 column and only slightly changing things, including the title:

    “Don’t Get Caught Up in Last Days Hysteria”

    Again, Grady launched into a diatribe against eschatology teaching:

    “Everywhere I go today I meet Christians who are wringing their hands and fretting about how dark the world has become. Some are conspiracy theorists who say the world's economy is controlled by dark forces. Others are convinced that recent astronomical phenomena signal the end of the world, and they are stocking their garages with food to prepare for Armageddon. If I suggest that Jesus might want to pour out the Holy Spirit in a fresh way on this generation, some people get angry. They want God to hurry up and judge America!”

    First of all, I’ve never talked to anyone, anywhere, who wanted God to judge America. Do we think He is, or will? Of course, just as He judges all the nations.

    But Strang’s friend Lee Grady didn’t stop there. He listed four reasons not to get caught up in eschatology teaching (he no doubt would argue that he meant don’t get caught up in the faulty teaching, but it’s clear he has a problem with prophecy teaching).

    Point no. 3 is…interesting:

    “It's deceptive. A group known as the Adventists predicted that Jesus would return to earth in 1874. When this didn't happen, the group's leaders covered their error by suggesting that Jesus appeared "invisibly" on that date. A theology developed around these ideas that is still accepted by Seventh-day Adventists. In the 1970s, when Americans were so worried about gas shortages and war in Israel, author Hal Lindsey sold millions of copies of his book The Late, Great Planet Earth—and he predicted the world would end in a few years. Many other Christians have made similar predictions—such as the Y2K scare in 1999 or Harold Camping's infamous warning that the world would end on May 21, 2011.”

    That’s Grady’s evidence that prophecy teaching is “deceptive” (would that he’d put Emergents and other deceivers in his crosshairs, but they’re just too popular, I guess): Adventists in 1874, Hal Lindsey, and…wait for it…Harold Camping.

    I have no problem with Grady lampooning date-setters, but the fact is, there is a strong—very strong—movement across the evangelical spectrum to marginalize Bible prophecy teaching and, with it, the specialness of Israel and the Jewish people.

    Most people I talk to about this can’t wrap their minds around it, yet there it is. Again, the attacks are not coming from Catholics and mainliners. The attacks are originating within the fort, from Southern Baptist and Pentecostal sources.

    Amazing.

    jim@prophecymatters.com

    www.prophecymatters.com