This week the case opened in court against ultra religious groups who have been persecuting the Messianic congregation in Beer Sheva and attacked their building causing much destruction. Howard Bass, leader of the Beer Sheva congregation, asks for prayer that the truth will prevail; that Judge Iddo Ruzin will discern what really happened; that the leaders of the attack will be brought to justice; that the lawyers will have wisdom to present the case. The judge has already admitted, "It is indisputable that a very serious incident occurred." The next hearing is scheduled for June 21.
We are thankful that in the elections in Lebanon this past week the coalition of moderate Muslims, Druze, Westerners and Christians, called "The Future" party led by Saad Hariri, took the victory over the Hizballah terrorist group backed by Syria and Iran. The voter turnout was high at 53 percent. Hariri's coalition took 67 seats as opposed to the 57 by Hizballah. The challenge remains as to whether Hariri's coalition will submit to Hizballah's demands to have veto power on all cabinet appointments.
Tomorrow, Friday June 12, are scheduled presidential elections in Iran. The two front runners are Ahmadinejad, who has the support of Iran's supreme leader Ayatolla Khamenei, and Mir Hossein Moussavi, who has the support of former president Hashmi Rafsanjani. The race is close and heated. Ahmadinejad (in his charming way) has accused his opponents of being traitors, of spreading lies like Adolph Hitler, and worthy of being imprisoned for having insulted him. While Moussavi may not be that much different in ideology from Ahmadinejad, his camp represents the possibility of reform in the country and a vote against the madness of Ahmadinejad.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to give a dramatic policy statement in a speech at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv. His statements so far have indicated that he wants to recognize all of Israel's previous commitments to the US and to the Palestinians, including the "Road Map" outlined by George W Bush, but that he is opposed to other unilateral concessions. Netanyahu has to stand in a difficult place, resisting pressure from the international community and President Obama on the one hand, and those of more extreme right wing position within his own coalition on the other hand.
Two State Solution
One of the demands of the international community is for Israel to agree to a "two state solution". Actually, most Israelis would be happy for a two state solution if it were to lead to peace, but there is little chance of extreme Muslim factions every really agreeing to peace with Israel. In fact the very idea of "two states, for two peoples" sounds a little illogical. Which two states, for which two peoples? One state for Palestinians and the other for Jews? What seems to be planned is one state for Palestinians and the other state for Palestinians and Jews. If there was really supposed to be two separate states for two separate peoples, why is everyone speaking of moving Jews out of their homes, but no one is speaking of moving Palestinians? Why is everyone speaking of freezing all Jewish settlement in so called Palestinian territories, but no one is speaking of freezing Arab settlement in Jewish territories?
Jerusalem Sabbath Demonstrations
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat is facing a challenge from the ultra Orthodox community in Jerusalem. Barkat has approved allowing the parking garage at the municipality to remain open on Shabbat (Saturday) to encourage tourism and cultural events in the city. The ultra Orthodox see this as a violation of the Sabbath and of rabbinic law. Last Shabbat they staged a violent demonstration confronting police. Barkat has stated he will keep the parking lot open anyway. Most of the seculars see the demonstrations of the ultra Orthodox as an attempt to drive all other groups out of the city and to bring Jerusalem under Orthodox rabbinic control.
IHOP Israel Mandate Conference
We thank the Lord for another successful Israel Mandate Conference at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Mike Bickle, Dan Juster and Asher were the main speakers. In parallel messages Saturday, Mike spoke on The Fullness of Israel and Asher spoke on The Fullness of the Church [Asher's other messages included: Fighting Jezebel and Jihad; A Passion for Yeshua to Rule and Reign; and The Coming Second Holocaust]. We are touched by the degree of commitment that IHOP has for God's purposes for the nation of Israel. The team at IHOP is leading the way for the kingdom of God in much of the Body of Christ today.
While Asher and Betty were busy ministering this week at IHOP, Tikkun and the Call2All Hong Kong, their apartment in Jerusalem was broken into by illegal Muslim workers. Documents, jewelry, money, keys, check books, etc. were stolen. "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren of our trouble… we were hard pressed on every side… that the life of Yeshua (Jesus) may be manifested" – II Corinthians 1:8; 4:8; 4:10. "Joyfully accepting the plundering of your possessions" – Hebrews 10:34. We are thankful to God that this insignificant loss is nothing to be compared to the eternal fruit in our Lord and Savior.
No Revival without Persecution
Recently our team had a chance to fellowship with "J", a leading Arab evangelist. Many of his family are Muslim religious leaders. When he came to faith in Jesus, his family demanded that he recant. At one point, his relatives cornered him in a room, beating him and threatening to kill him (an "honor killing" in the Muslim world and not even to be brought to trial). At that moment one of the relatives had a heart attack and they rushed out to the hospital leaving J alone. He also shared about many of the miraculous breakthroughs they are seeing in Muslim evangelism. J's concluding statement to us was, "There can be no revival without persecution."
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