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With the epicenter on fire, Israel’s leader holds another Bible study in his home. Here are the details.

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu hosted another Bible study at his official residence on Sunday evening. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu hosted another Bible study at his official residence on Sunday evening. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The epicenter is on fire. Radical Islamic jihadists are pressing their offensive in Syria and Iraq. Iran continues marching towards nuclear weapons. Hezbollah briefly attacked Israelis on her northern border yesterday. U.S.-Israeli relations are frayed. Anti-Semitism is rising.

And amidst all his national security briefings and strategy sessions, Israel’s premier is studying the Bible.

Indeed, one of the most interesting but least known aspects in the life of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that he has developed quite an interest in studying the Bible in recent years. The premier was not raised in a religious home growing up. But as he has gotten older, he has developed a noticeable curiosity in the ancient Scriptures.

Here is some news coverage of what was discussed: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a Bible study session attended by the parents of three Israeli teens killed in June,” reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Iris and Uri Yifrach, Rachel and Avi Fraenkel, and Ophir and Bat-Galim Shaar joined the Tanach Study Circle at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Sunday evening. Netanyahu renewed the circle two years ago. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had started the tradition. Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron also joined the study group, which focused on the upcoming weekly Torah portion of Beresheit, the opening chapters of the Bible.”

“We are preparing to celebrate Simchat Torah, when we will conclude reading the Torah and begin it again,” the Prime Minister said as the meeting began. “The cyclical nature of reading the Torah and starting it again from Genesis also symbolizes the renewal of our people in our land. Despite all attempts to destroy us, each time we build ourselves up again, deeply linked to also growing the tree called the Jewish People, with our deep roots and branches that reach ever higher.”

These are excellent steps by the Prime Minister, and he should be commended for them.

One would have to go back to Menachem Begin — and before him, to David Ben Gurion — for Israeli premiers who have publicly studied the Bible and openly encouraged others to do the same. It is simply not a typical activity of Israeli leaders.

Therefore:

  • Let us pray that the study of the Word of God has a powerful, personal impact on the Prime Minister and his family and each of his colleagues and guests.
  • Let us pray that many Israelis would follow the Prime Minister’s lead and begin reading the Holy Scriptures again.
  • Let us pray that Bible studies in people’s homes would spring up all over the Land of Israel.
  • Let us pray that pray that more and more Israelis — Jews and Arabs — would develop a new and deeper curiosity about Bible prophecy, both the dramatic prophecies in the Scriptures that have already been fulfilled, and those that will come to pass soon. We explored such themes during the 2013 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem this summer, which focused on “The Power of the Word to Change A Leader,” “The Power of the Word to Change A Nation,” and “The Power of the Word to Change the World.” I commend these messages to your attention.

Are you studying through the Bible this year? I hope so.

Currently, I am studying the life of Abraham in the Old Testament, and I Thessalonians in the New Testament.

Would you like to join me?

How deeply blessed you will be as you read and meditate on the Holy Bible, the very word of God, each and every day.

As we read in Psalm 1….

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

More coverage:

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Blistering criticism of President’s handling of ISIS threat coming from former top aides. Here’s the latest. Plus an update on a possible major ISIS victory that is brewing.

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2014 at 1:27 pm
Will ISIS forces soon score a major victory?

Will ISIS forces soon score a major victory?

Blistering criticism of the President’s handling of the ISIS threat — as well as much of his approach to the Middle East — is mounting rapidly. But it is not coming merely from conservatives. The criticism is coming from the President’s own former senior advisors, as well as from journalists typically sympathetic to the White House.

Key insiders and supporters of Mr. Obama now say the President:

  • Created the vacuum in the Mideast that ISIS is now exploiting.
  • Has largely ignored Iraq and botched his much-heralded exit strategy.
  • Is not taking decisive action to defeat ISIS.
  • Has imposed severe limitations on the U.S. military hampering our commanders’ ability to prosecute the war effectively.
  • May soon hand ISIS a major victory if he allows the strategic city of Kobane — near the Syrian-Turkish border — to fall.

Consider the latest:

It is my sincerest hope that the joint military effort that the U.S. and several Sunni Arab countries launched in September will be able to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But I confess I am deeply concerned that not only have President Obama and the international community been slow in taking action against ISIS, they are still not taking every step needed to win decisively.

  • Please pray that the President will give the military the “green light” to do the job right.
  • Please also pray for the Muslim and Christian people of Syria and Iraq — and particularly the Kurds in Kobane — who are in grave danger.
  • Further, please pray that ISIS is defeated before they can launch terrorist attacks against Americans or Israelis in the epicenter, the homeland, or anywhere else.

MORE DETAILS ABOUT HOW THE ISIS ASSAULT ON THE CITY OF KOBANE & ITS IMPLICATIONS:

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As fires rage across the Mideast, a key man to watch is Jordan’s moderate King Abdullah II.

In Uncategorized on October 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm
A key man to watch: Jordan's moderate King Abdullah II.

A key man to watch: Jordan’s moderate King Abdullah II.

On January 10th of this year, I began writing a series of columns on key people in the epicenter who I planned to keep an eye on in 2014. The first name on my list was Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Sure enough, the King has proven himself a central player in a region set aflame by the forces of Radical Islam this year.

As the flames get higher, several critical questions come to the fore:

  • Will ISIS or other Radical groups try to topple the King and raise their black flag over Amman?
  • Will the U.S., NATO and other allies stand closely together with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, one of our most important allies in the region, to make sure this does not happen?
  • Will the U.S., Israel and Sunni Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia — as well as some of the emirates — forge a quiet but effective alliance not only to stop jihadists like ISIS but to stop the ayatollahs in Iran from going nuclear?

As the year draws to a close, I remain intrigued and impressed with King Abdullah II both a monarch and a Reformer. He is actively trying to lead his small, oil-less, but vitally important nation towards progress and freedom, tolerance and modernity. He’s keeping close ties with the Arab world. He maintains a close friendship with the U.S., and is maintaining his nation’s courageous peace treaty with Israel. He’s also actively trying to help the Palestinians and Israelis make peace, as well. But the Radicals desperately want to topple the King and seize Jordan for themselves.

When I was in Amman in May doing research for my forthcoming novel — The Third Target — I met with Jordan’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Interior Minister and other key officials. They warned of an “explosion” of Radical Islamic extremism and foreign jihadist fighters coming out of Syria that could threaten other nations in the region, including them.

“I’m not worried about Syria imploding,” a senior advisor to Jordan’s Foreign Minister told me, “I’m worried about it exploding” and sending newly emboldened terrorists across the region and across the globe.

I specifically asked Jordan’s Interior Minister, His Excellency Hussein Hazza’ Al-Majali, if ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Arabic for the “Levant,” or Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel) — was a particularly serious threat. Without hesitation, he agreed it was.

Majali said he wasn’t worried about ISIS toppling King Abdullah II, assuring me that he and the King’s intelligence and security forces work around the clock to prevent just such a disaster. But when I asked him if the plot of my novel about the rising ISIS threat was credible, he assured me that, unfortunately, it was.

  • Please pray for the moderate Arabs in the epicenter — King Abdullah II chief among them — to be strong and decisive in putting down this rapidly rising threat from ISIS and other jihadists.
  • Let’s pray for the safety of the King, and the millions of Jordanians who live a very stable and peaceful life.
  • Let’s also keep praying for the people of Iraq and Syria who are suffering terribly at this dark time.

Finally, consider this headline from earlier this summer: “ISIS THREATENS TO INVADE JORDAN, ‘SLAUGHTER’ KING ABDULLAH.”

Here are a few excerpts from the story:

“The recent victories in Iraq and Syria by the terrorists of ISIS — said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda — have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East,” writes Khaled Abu Toameh, a former Arab affairs reporter for the Jerusalem Post. “Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon. Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamic empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.”….

“According to the sources, ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed with his lieutenants the possibility of extending the group’s control beyond Syria and Iraq,” Toameh notes. “One of the ideas discussed envisages focusing ISIS’s efforts on Jordan, where Islamist movements already have a significant presence. Jordan was also chosen because it has shared borders with Iraq and Syria, making it easier for the terrorists to infiltrate the kingdom.

“Jordanian political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi sounded alarm bells by noting that the ISIS threat to move its fight to the kingdom was real and imminent,” the report states.

“We in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring,” he cautioned. “The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms. It has become a strategic danger; it is no longer a security threat from groups or cells. We must start thinking outside the box. The time has come to increase coordination and cooperation with the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus to contain the crawling of extremism and terrorism.”

“The ISIS terrorists see Jordan’s Western-backed King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and have publicly called for his execution,” says Toameh. “ISIS terrorists recently posted a video on YouTube in which they threatened to ‘slaughter’ Abdullah, whom they denounced as a ‘tyrant.’ Some of the terrorists who appeared in the video were Jordanian citizens who tore up their passports in front of the camera and vowed to launch suicide attacks inside the kingdom.”

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