February 2015 Prophetic Observer
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“The Second Aliyah”
by Dr. Bob Glaze
On January 7, 2015, two Muslim terrorists attacked the newspaper offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This attack came after the appearance of a caricature of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in their newspaper. Although the secular atheistic newspaper issues caricatures of all religions, the only backlash is from radical Muslims. The two masked cowards murdered a total of 17 innocent people because Islam has to defend their god, who is powerless to defend himself.
However, this heinous act had an unsuspected consequence: the instant solidarity against radical Islam. This act brought together leaders that would normally not be seen together in any form of solidarity, mainly Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Though this event did make a statement against terrorism, it did nothing to condemn anti-Semitism. Conspicuously absent from the solidarity event was President Barack Hussein Obama. His absence sent a message of either indifference or disagreement of the apparent danger of the radical element of his Mideast Muslim partners. Obama eventually ordered our distinguished secretary of state, John Kerry, to console our European partners with our deep concern. That is the equivalent to sending a firecracker to the front lines in support of the war.
Again, this attack did nothing to spark rage against anti-Semitism. On January 9, 2015, two days after the Hebdo massacre that brought international rage and solidarity against Muslim terrorists, four French Jews were killed by terrorists at a kosher grocery store in Paris. Even though it sent chills through the Jewish world, it did nothing to instill the same rage in the world leaders that were so evident in the Hebdo event. There were also attacks against a Belgian Jewish museum and a Jewish school in southwestern France. These attacks barely raised the eyebrows of the leaders of Europe. Why? Because even though they must in some way condemn these atrocities, they must also please the anti-Semites in their countries.
The increasing scourge of Muslim-led anti-Semitism is enforcing the ever-increasing return of the Jews to their homeland. This could well be the final stage of the second “Aliyah” mentioned in Isaiah 11:11, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” This prophecy was actually given before the advent of the first exile under the Persian Cyrus mentioned in Isaiah 44:28. This second “Aliyah” actually began shortly after World War I.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French Jews Saturday, after 17 people including five Jews were killed there during three days of Islamists attacks, that Israel is their home. . . . ‘To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home,’ he said in a televised statement, referring to the Jewish practice of facing Jerusalem during prayer. . . . All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state,’ the prime minister concluded” (The Times of Israel, 01/14/15). The article further states that not only is Israel the safest place for Jews, but the State of Israel is the only home of Jews.
This may well be God’s last call to Jews everywhere to return home to Israel. This call is causing an increased immigration of European Jews to return home. According to an Associated Press release on January 12, 2015, France is the number one country for Jews immigrating to Israel. In 2014, 7,000 French moved to Israel, which is twice the number from the previous year (European Jewish Congress). Immigration from Western Europe is up 88 percent from the previous year, with the total of 8,640 arrivals in Israel.
Of the millions of Jews in Europe, many are defiant about leaving what they now call their homeland, especially French Jews. The above-mentioned Associated Press article states, “France, without the Jews of France, is not France anymore,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. Haaim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, emphasized Jews’ 2,000-year history in France in comments to iTele, “We dream in French, we think in French, our culture is French, our language is French,” he said. “Obviously France is our country.” Along with the immigration to Israel, it is estimated that 1,000 French nationals have immigrated to become jihadists in Iraq and Syria.
The global100.adl.org website has surveyed the adult population over the world and found the following percentages to be anti-Semitic: the Americas, 19%; Asia, 22%; Western Europe, 26%; Eastern Europe, 34%; Oceania (including Australia), 14%; Middle East and North Africa, 74%; and Sub-Shara Africa, 23%. Of the 4,161,578,905 adults surveyed, 1,090,000,000 were anti-Semitic for an average of an astounding 26%. According to www.DailyMail.com, “Nearly half of Britons think at least one anti-Semitic view presented to them was ‘definitely or probably true’, as the survey has revealed. One in eight said they thought Jews talked about the Holocaust to get sympathy, the poll found. One in four believed Jewish people ‘chase money more than others’, while one in six felt Jews thought they were better than other people and had too much power in the media.”
According to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), some 269,000 Jewish people live in Britain, or just 0.4 percent of the population. In comparison, the Muslim population according to www.gatestoneinstitute.org in 2013 was already 3.3 million, or around 5.2 percent, with Germany leading the pack with about 13 percent. It is easy to castigate the Jews because they don’t lead terrorist attacks on their accusers. However, Muslim terrorists do. They rule by intimidation. For instance, “In January, Muslim gangs were filmed loitering on streets in London and demanding that passersby conform to Islamic Sharia Law. In a series of videos, the self-proclaimed vigilantes—who call themselves Muslim London Patrol—are seen abusing non-Muslim pedestrians and repeatedly shouting, ‘This is a Muslim area.’”
Then finally, our own president responded to the attacks upon the Jewish community in France, not in person, but through White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough while in attendance at an American Jewish committee event in a Washington synagogue. “On behalf of the president [Barack Obama], I am here to affirm out nations’ solidarity to the French people and the Jewish community in France, and around the world, to condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent attacks of last week. We will not waver in our commitment to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism, from the president on down, you have my commitment that we will wage this fight tirelessly, and together.” It was also noted that Mr. Obama himself issued several public statements about the attacks, made a condolence trip to the French embassy in Washington, and spoke to French president Hollande on the telephone.
God has often in the past used persecution to motivate His people to obey His commands. He used Pharoah to create an atmosphere of fear to cause the Hebrews to leave their home of 400 years to return to Israel. And He is using anti-Semitism to encourage today’s Jews to return to a safe place from lands where they were scattered so long ago. Like Egypt, the world has been the Jews’ safe haven for their survival until now, and God is ready to close this chapter in His plan for the Jews.
The second “Aliyah” is now near the close, and God is giving his final call to His people to return home to get ready for the Tribulation and their judgment. Of all the signs of His soon return, the greatest is the final “Aliyah.” The Jews’ course mentioned in Matthew 24:9, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” is being fulfilled. Then after the Jews’ seven years of purging and refinement, God promises Israel’s restoration, “At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I bring you: for I will make you a name and a praise among the people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
Should We Be Discouraged at the Progress of the Gospel?
by Dr. Larry Spargimino
We would be foolish to ignore all the bad news that’s breaking around us, much of it coming from an all-out assault on the Christian faith. But, the writer of this piece can say that he is not in the least bit discouraged. He doesn’t feel doomed, downtrodden, discarded, and defeated. Is he insane, or is there sound biblical warrant for such a statement?
For one thing, Christ is Lord and he is presently ruling from his throne. Though Jesus was brutally murdered for crimes He did not commit, and physically died, it is also true that He was raised from the dead—all according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1–8). Christians should remember that we are not fighting FOR victory but rather FROM victory. We have already been rescued from the rule and reign of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom (Col. 1:13).
While faith makes all things possible, the Bible never tells us that faith makes all things easy. Christianity began as an apparently small sect with some Jewish connections in the Greco-Roman world and grew to be a major force on the planet. However, this advance was not without its martyrs, many martyred with their wives and children in a most brutal way in the Roman Coliseum—slaughtered by hungry lions and swordsmen brought in from the remote reaches of the empire. Indeed, the door of opportunity swings on the hinges of adversity. The apostle wrote: “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9)
So, the Lord is presently ruling, and secondly, he has not changed his mind about saving the lost. The Lord Jesus proclaimed the saving Gospel to a variety of people in a variety of contexts. He challenged the religious establishment of His day, sometimes taking on the leaders in a direct and confrontational way (see Matt. 23). He ministered to children and used them as an object lesson, teaching faith and confidence in God (Mark 10:13–16), despite the fact that children were virtually regarded as non-entities in the first-century world. Jesus ministered to the then-despised Samaritans (John 4), and had a saving encounter with a Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:21-31). His Spirit-led apostles and disciples went everywhere preaching the Gospel. There is no indication in the Bible that once a predetermined number of people come to faith, that Jesus would change His mind about saving the lost.
Thirdly, despite all the press about the Middle East and central Asia becoming a land devoid of Christians, the pundits have been wrong before. Charles Sennott, Middle East bureau chief for the Boston Globe published a book titled The Body and the Blood: The Middle East’s Vanishing Christians and the Possibility for Peace (2002). The purpose of the book was to document “the dramatically diminishing Christian presence in the Middle East,” a veritable “Christian exodus” that has left the Christian community there “withering” and “imperiled” in the face of war, persecution, and radical Islam. Is Christianity truly going to die out in the land where it began? The Christian Science Monitor lauded the book for its reporting and insights, and Foreign Affairs called the book a “touching account of a venerable community whose numbers are sharply declining.”
Sennott’s book reflects the prevailing media view. “Christians Leaving Middle East,” declared a CNN headline, and the BBC reported “Christians Quit Christ’s Birthplace.” The Denver Post reported that “Christian communities have shrunk to a miniscule portion of their former robust selves” and “. . . in 50 years they may well be extinct.”
In his book Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future (2005), Joel Rosenberg writes: “There is just one problem with such stories. They are not quite accurate. Not anymore, at least” (p. 204).
Botrous Mansour is an Arab Israeli evangelical Christian living in Nazareth. Ray Bentley, pastor of Maranatha Church in San Diego, asked Mansour: “What would Jesus want an Arab Israeli Palestinian evangelical Christian raised by Greek orthodox and Catholic parents living in His hometown to do?” Mansour’s answer:
“‘The Lord has prepared me to minister for Him in His hometown in a unique way,’ Mansour said. Working through the Nazareth Baptist School, Botrous and his colleagues are a bridge that crosses another seemingly unbridgeable gulf: linking the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish worlds. The student population of the school is more than 20 percent Muslim. Botrous’s quiet, diplomatic demeanor has navigated dangerous conflicts between powerful Muslim families who were determined to send their kids to the finest school in Israel—sometimes at great risk to Botrous and his team.
. . . ‘My heavenly identity is most important,’ Botrous said. ‘I want to love my neighbor, not put on masks, be what the Lord wants me to be.’ To American Christians he says, ‘We’re your brothers and sisters here. We are a small minority, we have challenges, but please remember that we exist. . . . It would be easier to move to America, where we won’t feel excluded. But we know we are called to be here and to work for transformative change in the land of our Savior’” (Bentley, The Holy Land Key, pp. 63–64).
But there is a fourth reason why I am not discouraged by the progress of the Gospel, and that is because God is raising up faithful servants in non-ordinary places to proclaim the Gospel. For example, God is raising pastors from house churches in China who will minister in house churches in China. There is a very fine Christian college and seminary on one of the South Pacific islands that is training them.
In America, God is raising a number of ethnic language pastors who are planting growing ethnic language churches. Pastor Oleg Xu, a powerful preacher of the Word, was born in Kazakhstan (former USSR) and speaks fluent Russian. His parents are Chinese and he speaks fluent Mandarin. A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, Oleg has served as pastor of the First Slavic Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. At present, he is the pastor at Sugar Land Chinese Baptist Church in the Houston metro, one of the fastest growing ethnic language churches in America. This writer has spoken at meetings sponsored by the Southwest Chinese Baptist Association’s youth meetings and has seen young men and women come to know Christ and to walk with Him in commitment of life. Many go on to attain the highest degrees in science and engineering.
Fifthly, everything that Satan does that is bad, God is able to reverse and bring about good. Romans 8:28 reveals that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God. In the persecution following the martyrdom of Stephen, Christians were scattered everywhere in the ancient world. Yet their scattering led them to preach the Gospel where they would not normally have gone (Acts 8:1–4). What looked like a defeat was actually a victory! Joseph’s brothers were jealous and sold him into slavery, but this dastardly deed put Joseph in Pharaoh’s court. He became ruler over the food supply and thereby could save his family from the evil effects of the famine (Gen. 45:1–8).
Added to all of this is the very significant fact that sixthly, there are signs of “pushback.” In a recent issue of Charisma, Christian apologist and social commentator Michael Brown notes: “The gay revolution will continue to overplay its hand. As those who were once bullied now bully others, this will produce an increasing backlash, as seen with the “Houston Five” last year. And as gay activists win more and more battles in the courts and society, that will actually work against them, and their goals will continue to become more and more extreme.”
This same pushback is doing great damage to radical Islam. The recent horrific attack by the Taliban on a government school in Peshawar, Pakistan, where nearly 150 school children and teachers were massacred, has produced outrage and an all-out attack by the government of Pakistan on Taliban strongholds. The same is true with the tragic immolation of a Christian man and his wife, who was five months pregnant, in a furnace in a brick kiln in Punjab Province of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan is now considering this a “barbaric and horrific” murder and is seeking to bring the culprits to justice.
Following the terror attack in Paris The Wall Street Journal featured a revealing front-page report titled: “A Backlash Swells in Europe.” “This bloodshed shows that anyone who ignored or laughed off the concerns about the threat Islamism poses is a fool,” said Alexander Gauland, a leader of Alternative for Germany. In the past, such rhetoric would have been quickly dismissed, but now it is gaining in support. And the arguments of the Muslim clerics who are trying to justify the bloodshed is producing more anger and resolve. The radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary has blamed France rather than the terrorists: “So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?” he asks. This kind of blame-shifting is intellectually perilous. If somebody is unhappy with what is permitted in a country, does that allow such individuals to commit horrific crimes?
Psalm 67:1-2 reads: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among ALL NATIONS.”