Put simply, the agreement signed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and witnessed by Egypt's president and America's secretary of state, is a piece of theater designed to mask the true intention of Israel's enemies: complete domination of all the land they continue to regard as Palestine.
Such an objective remains in their language, in the sermons of their clergy, in their television news, in classroom instruction aimed at creating a new generation of Jew haters and in their hearts. Israel's enemies can be likened to a wild animal. The flaw in Western thinking has always been that such a beast will be satisfied with a small piece of meat and will not want the rest.
In fact, the animal will continue to demand more and threaten you if you don't give it to him. Finally, when you refuse to give any more, he will forcibly take the rest and then eat you. There is a cycle in the
Middle East, of which the scenario in Sharm el Sheik last weekend is a part. Middle East commentator Clarence Wagner Jr. of the organization Bridges for Peace describes it this way:
(1) The Arabs make great peace overtures that get Israel and the
Palestinian negotiators promise minuscule things in exchange for the land that Israel pledges to give them. Who thinks Mr. Arafat is more likely to live up to these promises than previous ones he has consistently broken? Within hours after the signing ceremony, car bombs in Haifa and Tiberias exploded in what appeared to be a terrorist attack gone awry.
Three people, apparently the perpetrators, were killed. An Arafat spokesman predictably denied responsibility, but Hamas and the terrorism network won't be stopped by ink stains dried upon some line. While PLO negotiators claim to want peace, they are making preparations for war.
ACCORDING TO AN ISRAELI MILITARY SPOKESMAN, A NEW TUNNEL HAS RECENTLY BEEN DISCOVERED RUNNING BETWEEN THE PALESTINIAN AND EGYPTIAN SECTIONS OF THE GAZA BORDER TOWN OF RAFIAH (there are many other tunnels in territory relinquished by Israel). Inside the tunnel authorities discovered digging tools, ropes and other devices. Israeli military officials believe terror organizations are using the tunnels to bring arms, explosives and other dangerous items into the autonomous areas.
Israel says all of the tunnels started from the Palestinian side. Why would a people supposedly desiring peaceful coexistence with Israel be engaged in activities one could properly discern as warlike? This is precisely what the Japanese did to the United States in 1941. They talked peace while preparing to bomb Pearl Harbor. Under the latest agreement, which affirms the Wye River Accord, the Clinton administration pressured then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign. Israel, in addition to the land installment plan, will also:
(1) Hand over more than 350 prisoners, many of them involved in violence.
Look for the Palestinians to make only token gestures in living up to
their minimal promises. Once the latest land grab is finished, watch for
Mr. Arafat to demand more land and, when he doesn't get it, the West
will put new pressure on Israel to give it to him. The beast won't be
satisfied until he has it all, including all of Jerusalem. On May 15,
1965, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared "Our aim is ... the
creation of a unified and contiguous Arab region from which Israel will
be eliminated." There is no reason to believe this objective has been
abandoned. There is reason to believe that the latest "peace" accord
will assist Israel's enemies in reaching it.
A NOTE FROM MARK... SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY!We have received a wonderful compliment from an unlikely source, but it's going to cost us an arm and a leg!
At midnight and 11:00 PM on New Year's Eve, Zola's primetime prophecy special Is this
the End. . . or Just the Beginning? will be broadcast nationally on the Family Channel
(FAM). Considering how many ministries would wait hat-in-hand for this opportunity to
usher in the new millennium, we consider this quite an endorsement. Needless to say, this
will be very expensive.
If you already have seen our special, then you are well aware that it would penetrate most any
unbeliever's ambivalence on most occasions. So then just imagine its impact on that lost soul as he already
will be asking himself, "What is to become of man, society and me?"
I don't want to be subtle. We need your help. I hope you agree that we are on a mission of God, ordained by none other. As you probably recall from earlier newsletters, we have a significant array of new programming, including The Prophecy 2000 Series of twelve TV programs, to capture and hold the unbeliever's attention so that he can see unfold the relevance and beauty of God's Word.
For believers, we offer the meat of God's word: The Jewish heritage of Christianity, a chronicle of modern-day
prophecy fulfillment and unparalleled theological dissertation on widely varying topics. Please get with us, stay with
us and consider ZLM one of your favorites to pray for.
Editor's note: We have been receiving so many letters asking about
rumors of a "miraculous" flow of water coming from the Temple Mount,
that we decided to go and check it out for ourselves. I went with my
husband, Tom Brimmer, to the site. Following is his analysis of the
subject. Becky Brimmer
Editor's note: We have been receiving so many letters asking about rumors of a "miraculous" flow of water coming from the Temple Mount, that we decided to go and check it out for ourselves. I went with my husband, Tom Brimmer, to the site. Following is his analysis of the subject. Becky Brimmer
I love a good mystery. For weeks we've been hearing about water flowing from the Temple Mount. What in the world is going on? On June 5th, 1999, I decided to visit the places I had heard about and take a look for myself. One report told of dampness around the rock in the Dome of the Rock. Another spoke of holy water being collected in the tunnel next to the Western (Wailing) Wall. Yet another spoke of water flowing from the top of the Temple Mount and that the Moslem authorities were unable to control it. I decided to visit the El Aksa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, the tunnel, the Eastern Gate and the southern face of the Temple Mount retaining wall.
Our group consisted of Becky, who was on assignment for Bridges For Peace, Dennis, who was acting as escort for two young women who were curious, and myself who just couldn't resist.
OUR FIRST STOP WAS THE TOP OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT. There was no water flowing. We moved on to the El Aksa mosque and there was no water there either. Next, we went to the Dome of the Rock where we actually went in and under the rock. We took our shoes off and walked in our socks. We could not possibly miss any dampness on the floor. We did not notice any water. Then we went out to the inside side of the Eastern Gate. Here we did see some water. There were two hoses and we could hear a pump. There was just a small trickle of water coming from the two hoses. We decided to leave the top of the mountain and go down to the wall on the western side. There we did see a trickle of water dripping into the tunnel on the men's side of the prayer area. Someone had placed a cup under the dripping and they were collecting water to be given away as holy water.
Well, that's all the water there is to report about on the Temple Mount. It is not a breathtaking fulfillment of Biblical prophecy as far as we could tell. The question remains, is it anything at all?
THE BIBLE PREDICTS WATER FLOWING FROM THE TEMPLE MOUNT IN ZECHARIAH 14:4-9: And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, [and] all the holy ones with Him!
And it will come about in that day that there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And it will come about in that day that living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be [the only] one, and His name [the only] one. (NAS)
Even a cursory look at the preceding passage will convince almost anyone that this prophecy has not been fully fulfilled at any time in history. If you are looking for literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, this is one that should be ahead of us on the time line. It has a lot of details. The flowing of water is only one of them. Yet, as we can see, the element of water does exist.
Ezekiel 47 speaks of water flowing from under the threshold of the future Temple, on the southern side of the house, from south of the altar. He mentions that the house faces east and that the water flows as a trickle from the Eastern Gate on the south side of the gate. Naturally, the fact that there is no temple standing on the Temple Mount presents a small problem. There is no house at all on the mount that faces east. There are several small cupolas that might qualify but certainly nothing that could be mistaken for a temple with an altar of sacrifice.
On the other hand, there is a lot of illegal construction activity. We saw no less than hundreds of men busily moving stones and debris from a hidden building site under the El Aksa. There were many tons of cut stone near the eastern gate that were ready to be moved into place. We also know that there are a number of huge water cisterns cut into the stone of the mountain. It would take very little imagination to believe that one or more of these cisterns had been broken or was being drained for some reason. Last year a group of BFP staff visited Solomon's Stables on the Temple Mount. They had been completely renovated for use as overflow for the Al Aksa Mosque. It is likely that they are now turning cavernous cisterns into usable space.
OK, I'll attempt to draw a few conclusions. There are no streams or rivers of water flowing from the Temple Mount. The Bible prophecy that deals with the idea of water from the Temple requires a few additional details to be literally fulfilled. There is no physical Temple on the Temple Mount. There is no deep valley across the Mount of Olives for the water to flow through. On the other hand, there is indeed a small amount of water present on both the east and western sides of the mountaintop. To complicate matters, there is a lot of illegal construction. Since the construction is not legal, there is no way a reporter can find accurate information about the possibility of a broken cistern or water being drained from other sources.
I would be interested in knowing the chemical characteristics of the
water being collected in the tunnel near the Western Wall Plaza. I have
a suspicion that it is neither pure nor holy. The same is probably true
of the water that seems to be coming from the eastern gate.
A JOKE FROM ZOLA
A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of bearing false witness. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17." The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Many hands went up. The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only 16 chapters. That concludes my sermon on the sin of bearing false witness."
Zola's Bulletin Board
Let me give you a report from Israel as I saw it on our Fall Tour. Our TV crew was with our pilgrims, and we were taping a new series of programs to be called "This Is Israel!" showing the truly fine and beautiful Israel that one never sees on CNN or the networks, but is there all the same.
It struck me as I stood by the country club at Caesarea, or the broad boulevards of Jerusalem, or the gorgeous flowers of Galilee, that Israel is pictured by Americans as some kind of banana republic of dusty streets and violence. Never does the media indicate that 6 million folks go to work and come home every day in contentment, or that Jerusalem has one of the highest real estate rates in the world (so badly do people want to live there), or that there is peace in the land other than the familiar ghetto problems that plague every democracy. There has not been a war involving Israel since 1973, and that country never goes over its own borders in military actions (like Vietnam, Granada, Iraq, Kosovo, etc.).
But its internal problems are real headaches. Here is Arafat preaching that he will fly the Palestinian flag from all mosques and churches in Jerusalem. Right after he signed the recent prisoner exchange agreement with the new Prime Minister Barak, he headed off to visit his friend, the Pope, and plan a mutually profitable celebration in Bethlehem for the year 2000. Bethlehem has become a discouraging site for our tourists to visit at this point. Since taken over by Arafat, it has become a typical Palestinian city, not particularly clean or safe, and unfriendly to Christians. (The Christians who actually live in the town where our Lord was born have mostly been run off, and the others are afraid to speak. I tried to interview a Christian I have known for years there, and he only repeated, "We don't know," in answer to my every question. That was scary.)
Israel was compelled to release over 250 prisoners in this last exchange, and these included actual murderers and terrorists who will replenish the Palestinian ranks of such disruptive forces.
The so-called peace process (which David Bar-Ilan, Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, now calls only the Oslo Process, not using the word "peace" any more) affects everyone. Burger King probably gets the American prize for appeasing dictators. They closed their hamburger restaurant which they had built at an Israeli settlement because of Palestinian accusations that they had used "occupied territory." This would be like American Indians telling a Japanese auto company not to build a facility anywhere in the United States because the land was occupied. (The problem with the analogy: in Israel the Israelis are the Indians!) I'm afraid in the real world the land goes to its last conqueror, and those are the rules in America and everywhere else except, apparently, in the Promised Land, where not even God's country goes to the victors to whom He gave it.
The Arabs are so universally rebellious against the Israeli society they so profit from that they've virtually stopped paying their taxes. According to one of our tour administrators, Arabs probably pay 1% of what they owe, and they can't be censured for it, or the world would scream and rage at the "intractable" Israelis. Meanwhile, the Palestinian government-supported anti-Semitism goes on. The schools use the PLO Charter, still very much in force, as a catechism for every student. On an international scale, Moslems are active everywhere with bombs in Russia, violence in East Timor, and the like. In this country, they are organizing to get out the vote in the next election, though I'm not sure which candidate might favor their agenda (Buchanan, I would suppose, if he were not so against all ethnic minorities).
Coming to Israel, breathing the air, talking to the people, and looking around is the best way to appreciate this crucial situation. Our tours go and return with no problems whatever, and a good time is had by all. Please avail yourself of this wonderful experience in this life if you possibly can.
Now read this paragraph carefully. Our November Kibbutz Tour is the smallest of the year. For those of you who have complained over the years that our tours are too big, here is one where there is a chance you can all sit around the same dinner table with the guide and the teacher and have real fellowship and miss nothing. So if you want to go on a really intimate tour with our excellent itinerary, airlines, guides, buses, etc., this is your chance, and at a bargain price, too.
Our Kibbutz Tour is November 19-28, a perfect time for students and teachers to make a pilgrimage to our Lord's land because the dates encompass the Thanksgiving holiday. The lower cost is an added plus for those of you who are mindful of a budget. The itinerary is the same as our Deluxe tour, with the addition of a few "desert extras" such as camel rides and a visit to a Bedouin tent.
The December Deluxe Tour (Dec. 11-21) brings you to the land of Jesus in time to celebrate His birth and worship Him with your fellow pilgrims. Our guides, learned in the Bible, do a superb job of unfolding Israel's history and Biblical significance. We invite you to view the cool serenity of the Sea of Galilee, the austere heights of Masada beside the Dead Sea and, of course, the magnificent Holy City itself—Jerusalem. You will visit the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, the Garden Tomb, and the Upper Room, along with the site of the Sermon on the Mount. You can be baptized in the Jordan River just as our Lord was.
Our December Grand Tour (Dec. 11-26) brings you to Eilat on the Red Sea, where you will stay at a luxurious resort. You will tour the starkly beautiful Negev Desert, En Gedi, Ashkelon, and Beer Sheba. You will never forget the magnificence of Petra, the city and monuments carved directly into the mountains. Most importantly, you will spend Christmas in the shepherd's fields of Bethlehem! Experience the Christmas of your lifetime in God's Holy Land.
And remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Earlier this spring in Aledo, Texas (near Fort Worth), Aledo High School students elected senior Katherine Hackleman to pray for the class at the May 30 graduation ceremony. The principal required her to submit the prayer in writing.
When she got it back, she found large portions crossed out by the school attorney, and was told she would be pulled from the program if she did not comply. Among the offending terms and phrases: "Heavenly Father," "Thank You for having a prayer to prosper us," "Help us to lean on Your direction and follow in Your footsteps" and "We love You."
Miss Hackleman informed school officials that she couldn't abide by their orders, and they removed her from the graduation program, She then sought help from the Liberty Legal Foundation, a state-based group specializing in religious-liberty cases. After the Foundation contacted the school board, the board backed down—but only part way. Miss Hackleman was told she would be allowed to remain on the program but that the school would not change its policy...
Miss Hackleman found herself torn between two scriptural principles:
submission to secular authority and the call to pray in the name of
Jesus. So when she stood up at graduation, she kept her comments
brief. "I said I can't break the school's rules but I also couldn't pray an
ambiguous prayer to a God without a name," she said. "Then I said,
'Go in grace and peace, class of 1999' and sat down." To her surprise,
she was greeted with a standing ovation.
First Christian Church
Tikvat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue
Shalom, Shalom Messianic Congregation
Israel Winter Tour
In your article "A letter to Dan and Mike" you have misstated my position on this matter which I would like to correct.
First of all you left the impression that I am very influenced by the liberal media and current White House spin regarding West Bank autonomy. Actually, endorsement of some variant of home rule for the indigenous population of the West Bank is not just a Clinton thing, it has been the policy of each and every US administration since Henry Kissinger was doing shuttle diplomacy for Richard Nixon after the Six Day War. I am quite certain it will remain the American policy under George W. Bush, whom I believe will be the next President. As you know, this policy has been endorsed enthusiastically by three of the last four prime ministers of Israel including the current one. I am influenced by the consistent and unanimous opinion of our statesmen, both Republicans and Democrats, far more than I am by CNN or The New York Times.
I don't necessarily agree with your argument as to why the West Bank Arabs should not have their own independent nation, but that argument is not to the point as far as I'm concerned. I have never advocated an independent "Palestinian" nation, just some form of domestic self-government in the West Bank as suggested by the Oslo Accord. Arafat has threatened to unilaterally declare an independent nation if Israel does not follow the Wye River Agreements and schedule.
The autonomous West Bank I advocate would have a police force but no army and would be subject to IDF security surveillance. It would have its own courts but would be compelled to extradite individuals who commit crimes within Israeli territory. It would not be able to unilaterally negotiate treaties with other countries.
I see Jerusalem as being distinctly different from the West Bank territory since Israel has annexed Jerusalem and declared all residents to be citizens while the Arab residents of the West Bank territories are left without any citizenship.
Zola, what do you advocate regarding the West Bank Arabs? Do you believe they should be kept stateless despite international agreements? Do you believe they should be forcibly deported to Jordan? What is your solution? I look forward to future Levitt Letters for your answer.
I had hoped for a more detailed answer to my various
points on why I would not make a nation of the Palestinians
in Israel. But to take your arguments in the order
you give them: I wouldn't be so sure the "indigenous
population of the West Bank" are really the Arabs. I
believe that most of the Arabs came to Israel since 1948
when the Jewish immigrants started building a new
nation. It is a familiar pattern: when roads and buildings
are to be constructed, skilled workers come across
borders to help out, as in Texas and California. These
workers may, in the long run, consider themselves an
important part of the population, and indeed they well
may be, but that does not make them "indigenous." The
West Bank of Israel, sewn with ancient ruins of Jewish
constructions, altars, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc., is Jewish
land and always was. The Arabs are no more indigenous
to Israel than white Europeans are to North America.
As to the policies of various U.S. administrations, I
believe they are based on U.S. interests: pleasing Arabs
and obtaining advantageous oil
prices, for one. I don't really believe
very many Americans in their heart
of hearts dream of a new Palestinian
state in Israel. I don't believe
Americans have much connection to
Arab societies at all. As to the Prime
Ministers of Israel, like various political
officials of America, they court
constituencies for votes, and they
also need to appease American
administrations. Also, I wouldn't say
the opinions of our statesmen are unanimous on the
creation of a new Arab dictatorship. Many congressmen
and senators are quite uncomfortable with that prospect.
As to your "domestic self-government in the West
Bank," it is already there. And in a perfect world, it
would "have a police force but no army" as you advocate,
and it would be "compelled to extradite individuals
who commit crimes ..."
What you propose are, in fact, the very rules in place in
the West Bank and Gaza, but those rules are violated
seven days a week in those territories. As to controlling
the ability of the Palestinians to "negotiate treaties,"
(read, "plan terrorism, import arms, etc.") how in the
world could you ever control that?
And as to citizenship in the West Bank, Israeli citizenship
isn't passed out to people who simply cross borders and
squat on land. That's also the case in the United States.
It's certainly not a question of any bias, since all Arab
residents of Israel proper are citizens, vote in elections,
and are represented in Parliament.
"Zola, what do you advocate regarding
West Bank Arabs?" Mike, I think
they are among the most fortunate
Arabs in the world. They certainly
are the only ones in the Middle
East to be privileged to live in a
democracy, to enjoy modern medical
care, to have the advantages of
living within a 21st century nation
if they choose, rather than in a 10th
century nation, as in some Arab
quarters. I would advocate that
they enjoy this democracy as any American minorities
enjoy the democracy in this country. Certain minorities
may have serious exceptions to American government
policies, but none of them, to my knowledge, are
demanding half the country because they have somehow
been wronged. Rather, they live within a participatory
democracy, and in this manner, they are free, franchised
Why ask me if "they should be forcibly deported?" Do
you think I hate those people?
The outstanding fact that neither of us has mentioned
is that Israel has a divine grant to its land, and no other
nation has anything like that. Whether one is a believer
or not, 3,500-year-old holy writ contains that land
grant, and it is taken very seriously by Christians and
Jews the world over. I kept my arguments to purely secular
points in the last newsletter in an appeal to common
sense about nation-making.
But, ultimately, the bottom line is that this land is
God's country, and He will give it to whom He will
choose. Biblically, historically, archeologically, religiously,
all of Israel, including the West Bank, is Jewish land
because all of that land was given to the Jews by God.
Without going into the fact that the Arabs own 600 times
as much land as the Jews, and that the Palestinians could
be perfectly comfortable within Israel if only they cooperated
with the Israelis, who are the leading society of
the Middle East, I would say that the status quo in Israel
is the best we have for the moment.
If a cold peace is necessary, like the one between the
U.S. and the Soviets, then let it be. Making a nation
within a nation is an unwise and ungodly response to a
largely imagined problem.
I had hoped for a more detailed answer to my various points on why I would not make a nation of the Palestinians in Israel. But to take your arguments in the order you give them: I wouldn't be so sure the "indigenous population of the West Bank" are really the Arabs. I believe that most of the Arabs came to Israel since 1948 when the Jewish immigrants started building a new nation. It is a familiar pattern: when roads and buildings are to be constructed, skilled workers come across borders to help out, as in Texas and California. These workers may, in the long run, consider themselves an important part of the population, and indeed they well may be, but that does not make them "indigenous." The West Bank of Israel, sewn with ancient ruins of Jewish constructions, altars, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc., is Jewish land and always was. The Arabs are no more indigenous to Israel than white Europeans are to North America.
As to the policies of various U.S. administrations, I believe they are based on U.S. interests: pleasing Arabs and obtaining advantageous oil prices, for one. I don't really believe very many Americans in their heart of hearts dream of a new Palestinian state in Israel. I don't believe Americans have much connection to Arab societies at all. As to the Prime Ministers of Israel, like various political officials of America, they court constituencies for votes, and they also need to appease American administrations. Also, I wouldn't say the opinions of our statesmen are unanimous on the creation of a new Arab dictatorship. Many congressmen and senators are quite uncomfortable with that prospect.
As to your "domestic self-government in the West Bank," it is already there. And in a perfect world, it would "have a police force but no army" as you advocate, and it would be "compelled to extradite individuals who commit crimes ..."
What you propose are, in fact, the very rules in place in the West Bank and Gaza, but those rules are violated seven days a week in those territories. As to controlling the ability of the Palestinians to "negotiate treaties," (read, "plan terrorism, import arms, etc.") how in the world could you ever control that?
And as to citizenship in the West Bank, Israeli citizenship isn't passed out to people who simply cross borders and squat on land. That's also the case in the United States. It's certainly not a question of any bias, since all Arab residents of Israel proper are citizens, vote in elections, and are represented in Parliament.
"Zola, what do you advocate regarding West Bank Arabs?" Mike, I think they are among the most fortunate Arabs in the world. They certainly are the only ones in the Middle East to be privileged to live in a democracy, to enjoy modern medical care, to have the advantages of living within a 21st century nation if they choose, rather than in a 10th century nation, as in some Arab quarters. I would advocate that they enjoy this democracy as any American minorities enjoy the democracy in this country. Certain minorities may have serious exceptions to American government policies, but none of them, to my knowledge, are demanding half the country because they have somehow been wronged. Rather, they live within a participatory democracy, and in this manner, they are free, franchised and prosperous.
Why ask me if "they should be forcibly deported?" Do you think I hate those people?
The outstanding fact that neither of us has mentioned is that Israel has a divine grant to its land, and no other nation has anything like that. Whether one is a believer or not, 3,500-year-old holy writ contains that land grant, and it is taken very seriously by Christians and Jews the world over. I kept my arguments to purely secular points in the last newsletter in an appeal to common sense about nation-making.
But, ultimately, the bottom line is that this land is God's country, and He will give it to whom He will choose. Biblically, historically, archeologically, religiously, all of Israel, including the West Bank, is Jewish land because all of that land was given to the Jews by God. Without going into the fact that the Arabs own 600 times as much land as the Jews, and that the Palestinians could be perfectly comfortable within Israel if only they cooperated with the Israelis, who are the leading society of the Middle East, I would say that the status quo in Israel is the best we have for the moment.
If a cold peace is necessary, like the one between the U.S. and the Soviets, then let it be. Making a nation within a nation is an unwise and ungodly response to a largely imagined problem.
Give 'em hell, Zola! Or should I say save them from it. I have never seen anyone with the nerve to tell the truth about any of the churches, much less all of them. Your comments in the September letters to Zola were strong and very true. Don't back down from your inspired confrontation of the established religions. They need your wake-up, soon. Keep up the good work.
We viewed Zola's wonderful presentation with Hal Lindsey as guest this evening on TBN (9/9/99). It was terrific and such a joy to see these two exchanging comments and presenting their teaching. Sure hope there are plans for more with these two in the future.
Religious people are killed because of their faith all over the world on a daily basis. Recently it's begun happening here in America. Those who believe the Bible know such events are just a sign of the end times. But government would like us to believe that if we give them some of our freedom, they can stop Christians from being martyred. They're wrong.
Shalom brothers and sisters:
While surfing last night, I came upon Zola's website and was both shocked and amazed: amazed at the wealth of available biblical knowledge, and shocked to suddenly realize that, amidst the business of military duties, family obligations and constant moving about the country, I had totally neglected Zola Levitt ministries for entirely too long. Forgive me for being inexplicably dense of spirit.
Now, as I can see an end, sooner or later, to my military career, I am taking slow steps towards the investigation of a call to the ministry that has been on my heart for years. Accordingly, I have enrolled as a visiting (undeclared) student with Trinity International University (TEDS) through their Washington DC program. I carefully examined their statement of faith and investigated the EFCA before enrolling. How shocked I was to see in one of the newsletters in the archive that TIU uses the Gundry text. Indeed, I web-surfed to the TIU library and found it in its 3rd edition. I cannot accept the use of this text in an evangelical seminary purported to be premillennial and predicated upon the inerrancy of Scripture, especially if I intend to study there.
I intend to write to the president of TIU/TEDS and the chief administrator of the Washington DC program, using material from the April 99 on-line newsletter. I will be sure to inform you of whatever response I receive.
Having realized my shameful neglect of a ministry that has given me so much to think about in years past, please be assured that I will speak with my wife and send along a giftin fact, I'll do it tonight. As finances settle, perhaps it will become every month. Raising four small children on Army pay isn't easyeven for an officer but I have neglected you, my friends for many years via TV, print and now Internet, for too long. My sincere apologies.
Thank you for being His messengers to us.
R.C.R. Lieutenant Colonel, US Army
P.S. Although you certainly may include the above if you desire, I'd prefer you save space in the Levitt Letter for more important correspondence. I'm more than a little embarrassed to realize how long it has been since I did my part.
Dear Mr. Levitt,
I was skimming through television stations when I heard the word Israel. I caught the last moment of your program (I'm familiar with your program). I got the impression here is a Christian minister that is pro-Israel, so I decided to look in your website and not to my surprise I found another very popular deception We love Jews line.
I have to admit we Jews and especially Israel need friends wherever we can get them, but please do not play games with us especially American Jews which most of them are completely ignorant about their won Judaism and are easy prey to organizations like yours. And here I come to my point, in reply to a letter to you by C.Z. (Catholic person) you said "The Catholic church puts me in mind of the synagogue where the Jewish people indeed read the scripture faithfully in every single service but never study it for what it means. And they, too, ironically, know very little prophecy." My first impression is, here is arrogant person with very little knowledge of Judaism. But I know that it is not truth, you have knowledge of Judaism. But since they do not believe in a false messiah the poor ignorant Jews do not understand scripture. I don't know how old you are and if we assume you study the scripture all your life you do not come close to the 3,000 years of Jewish study of our holy scriptures. Through all ages the Jews were known as the people of the book. I challenge you to debate your knowledge of the Jewish scriptures with an average yeshiva student. I am sure they will oblige. You see, I am not a religious Jew, but I went to a religious school in Israel and I know falsity when I see it. Lastly, please do not manipulate people and call them emotional and biased in your response. I am a person that fought in the Six Day War (which was a miracle performed by God for His people) for the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish people resent the wolf in sheep clothes syndrome performed by Jews for Jesus. They are not Jews the same as if you become a Moslem you no longer be a Christian. But as a good Jew I believe that you as a Christian or any Gentile can go to heaven as long as you follow seven laws of Noah.
Best wishes, M.C.
You are an equal opportunity offender. Now Orthodox Jews and Gentile Christians who observe the commandments of God (not Jews) are your target. The God of Israel is the God of the nations (all races). Just as Jesus would never say anything contrary to the law of God, I am suspect of any believer who criticizes the saints who honor the commandments of God.
It is an age-old dilemma, if you observe the commandments of God you're condemned on whether your motivation is a true devotion to Yahweh or performance. Ultimately, God is the discerner of men's hearts. You are setting yourself up to be a bearer of truth. But there is no salvation in expounding truth with no love attached. Truth alone won't save you; just as performance alone will not save. You can expound truth with a dark heart. You expound truth to make yourself look right or have the desire to be right.
I am constantly disappointed when I read your articles because you have many valid points but your heart shows through on so many of them. Your heart does not appear loving at all. It appears frustrated, egocentric and ethnocentric. You appear to be overwhelmed at the schemes of Satan to subvert the Word of God. Believers expect it. But God opens up the understanding of any believer who sincerely loves Him and reveals His Word to them. Who would qualify for salvation with your scathing criticisms of the saints' motives and practices? They have accepted the God of Israel and the commandments of God and His salvation Jesus and that is not enough? If you are the example of what the heart of God is like, I would not want to be saved. I looked for mercy, and I found none. I looked for compassion, and I found none. I looked for rejoicing over what God is getting ready to do, and I didn't find it. I looked for humility, and I didn't find it. Even when the saint brought to your attention that she was offended by your generalization of "liberals," you apologized and still defended yourself, negating what the real issue was, that you were wrong to castigate a whole group of believers. There are many intelligent people reading your magazine and we are expecting better from one who has quantitative knowledge of the Word of God. We also desire that it be qualitative and responsible. I desire that the Spirit of God would be manifested in the writing and not the rambling of a man. I know it is possible. Believers face enough enemies, we look for refuge and encouragement from those of like faith. You can instruct us without destroying us. Our blood will be required of you. Don't become a stumbling block in an effort to make us aware of the wiles of the devil. We are not as ignorant as you presume and Jesus is mightier than you are giving Him credit for. The battle has been won. I hope your staff will give this email to you.
Oh, please! I am not destroying you, and your blood
will not be required of me. All I have told these denominational
believers is that they need more Bible study.
Perhaps my heart is not perfect; perhaps I am "frustrated,
egocentric, and ethnocentric." (What ethnic
group are you accusing me of criticizing, by the way?)
God has to use very imperfect teachers like me since
the perfect kind are not yet available. If I have truly
offended you, I'm sorry for that. But honestly, brother,
your writing seems overly dramatic and out of place.
If you're really "constantly disappointed" with my articles,
then follow one of the many ministries who vie to
be considered the nicest guys around. I'm going to tell
the truth as I see it and hope that some of what I say
does somebody some good.
Oh, please! I am not destroying you, and your blood will not be required of me. All I have told these denominational believers is that they need more Bible study.
Perhaps my heart is not perfect; perhaps I am "frustrated, egocentric, and ethnocentric." (What ethnic group are you accusing me of criticizing, by the way?)
God has to use very imperfect teachers like me since the perfect kind are not yet available. If I have truly offended you, I'm sorry for that. But honestly, brother, your writing seems overly dramatic and out of place. If you're really "constantly disappointed" with my articles, then follow one of the many ministries who vie to be considered the nicest guys around. I'm going to tell the truth as I see it and hope that some of what I say does somebody some good.
Messianic Jews are reporting a "significant increase" in their numbers
over the past three decades. The movement's growth was discussed at the
Aug. 12-17 meeting of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism in
Hempstead, N.Y., attended by 130 people from 16 countries. A statement
cites growth in the former Soviet Union, Germany and Israel. Tuvya
Zaretsky, the consultation's new president, said Messianic congregations
in Israel have grown from "six or eight" in the early 1970s to more than
35. He said the number of such congregations in the United States has
grown from a handful in the 1970s to "around 80 to 85."
Would your denomination be guilty of this accusation?
Are you witnessing to the Jews? Zola
Would your denomination be guilty of this accusation? Are you witnessing to the Jews? Zola
ONLY RARELY DOES THE PUBLICATION OF A PRAYER GUIDE INCITE A CONFLAGRATION, but this time the Southern Baptists have hit a nerve. Americans are accustomed to controversies over public prayer. But now a controversy has erupted over private prayer Christian prayer for the conversion of Jews.
The origin of the controversy is simple enough. The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board recently published a prayer guide intended to assist Baptists in praying for the conversion of their Jewish friends. The guide was released in time for the Jewish High Holy Days, and Baptists were encouraged to pray that their Jewish friends would believe in Christ as the Messiah.
"We are deeply offended by the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention," said Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, referring to the release of the prayer guide. Within days, the furor hit the nation's news media and editorial pages.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? This prayer is clearly out of step with postmodern culture. As a matter of fact, it is off the charts. Nevertheless, it is deeply rooted in Southern Baptists' passion to see all persons come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Lost in the debate is the idea that what we Baptists want to give our Jewish friends is what we consider our greatest possession: our faith. We see it as a gift and recognize that, for principled reasons of differing beliefs, it may be refused.
While liberal churches have largely abandoned all conversionist missions, evangelical Christians remain committed to telling all persons, regardless of racial, ethnic or religious background, of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the great evangelistic mission of Christianity. It is as old as Jesus' command to go and make disciples. Southern Baptists have not singled out the Jews as more needful of the gospel than others. But this prayer guide reminds Christians that the Jewish people are not less needful, either.
It is important to point outamid the cries of "theological hatred" now directed at the Southern Baptiststhat we have not launched a crusade to coerce conversions. Instead, our denomination is bearing witness to the truth as we see it: the gospel as revealed in the New Testament. No less than the Apostle Paul, who identified himself as a "Hebrew of Hebrews," reminded the Christians in Rome that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jews first and also to the Gentiles. Having felt the sting of persecution, Baptists are staunch defenders of religious liberty. But this liberty does not mean that it is "intolerant" or "imperialistic" to tell others the Good News.
EVANGELICALS HONOR THE JEWISH ROOTS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, and also honor the constitutional provisions that apply to religious belief, which include the freedom to speak out on behalf of one's convictions yes, even to proselytize. As Rabbi Daniel Lapin has asked: Why should Jews "protest against Christianity's internal doctrine?" The evangelizing mission is eminently respectful of democratic pluralism, so long as no coercion or duplicity is involved.
ALL OF THIS COMMOTION COMES AT AN ODD TIME. It has been argued that the real enemy of Judaism today is not Christian evangelism but the corrosive secularism that has so poisoned American culture. According to some polls, many American Jews even a majorityno longer believe in a personal God. Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz and others have warned that Judaism could effectively disappear in the next century not because of conversion to Christianity but because of assimilation into the secular culture.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, argues that it is "pure arrogance" for any religion to claim to know "the truth." But most religions, in one way or another, make this claim: It is in the nature of religious belief, which stands precisely against today's cultural relativism. It is certainly at the heart of Christian belief. After all, we are followers of the one who said: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Southern Baptists didn't invent these words. Rather, we have chosen to
believe themand to follow. We hope and pray that others will too.
For us, such a hope is the greatest act of love not hatethat
a Christian can extend to any non-Christian.
[ Mr. Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary in Louisville, Ky.]
[ Mr. Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.]
The City of Boston is shocked shocked to find praying going on at the Keys of Life Bible School. And not only praying, but Bible reading. And as if those weren't bad enough, there are religious emblems in plain view crosses and spiritual posters right out in the open where anyone might see them.
This is intolerable, the city says, and Keys of Life must be punished.
Keys of Life is a summer day camp run by the Mason Cathedral Church in Boston's low-income Dorchester neighborhood. It is a modest operation a large room in the church's lower level outfitted with tables and chairs, a few computers, a pile of books, and a large screen TV. The church has no athletic facilities of its own, but Franklin Field, a public park, is just down the street and there's a pool at the nearby Boys and Girls Club. As camps go, it isn't much. But it's run by people who care deeply about their community, and it helps keep 30 city kids, many from homes with no fathers and few luxuries, off the streets and out of trouble.
The doors open at 7:30 every morning; some children don't leave until 6:30 p.m. Most of those 11 hours are taken up with physical activities and recreationswimming, drawing, ball playing, video-watching. But the first order of business every day is a few minutes of devotion and Bible study. The children usually recite the Lord's Prayer. Sometimes a child mentions he is praying about something specifica lost pet, a sick grandmother. "Mostly," says Kenya Cross, who directs Keys of Life, "we ask God to let us make it through each day in peace. And He does."
Now that peace has been torn.
In late July, the camp's seven teenage counselors, participants in a federally funded summer jobs program, were yanked from Keys of Life and sent elsewhere. City officials accuse the church of asking the counselors to pray, in "direct violation" of the federal Job Training Partnership Act, which pays for the summer jobs. But that law merely requires that participants not be employed "on the construction, operation, or maintenance" of a place of worship. That restriction has never posed a problem for Keys of Life; its counselors spend their day taking care of kids, not building churches.
Indeed, the camp has repeatedly been praised by Action for Boston Community Development, the agency that administers the jobs program.
"For five years they've been saying I do good work," says Rev. Thomas Cross, Kenya's father and the pastor of Mason Cathedral. "This year, everything changed."
On July 15, ABCD sent a letter to Mason Cathedral, warning the church not to involve the counselors in "religious activities."
"These include but are not limited to the following: praying, reading Bible stories, drawing Bible pictures, and cleaning in the areas of the church where there are religious symbols ... All religious activities must cease immediately."
To Mr. Cross and his daughter, this was preposterous. Ban prayer at a church-run summer camp? But the city was adamant. Larry Smith, the official who supervises ABCD's operation of the summer program, came to the church to insist that the Crosses toe the line.
"He sat right here in my office," Mr. Cross says in amazement, "and told me, 'My job is to make sure those kids don't pray.'" According to Mr. Cross, Mr. Smith also told him to remove any religious symbols visible to the childrenincluding the crucifix on the pastor's door.
"I told him I've got two Stars of David and the Ten Commandments on the facade of the church," Mr. Cross relates. (The building used to be a synagogue.) "He said, 'They'll have to come down too.' Well, I am not tearing down my church."
The city isn't budging, either. When it isn't claiming erroneously that its hands are tied by the Job Training Partnership Act, it is pointing to the Constitution.
"There is a total separation of church and state in this country," Constance Doty, director of the city's Office of Jobs and Community Services, told The Boston Globe two weeks ago. "This program is funded with federal dollars, and it's very clear that the youths... cannot participate in religious or political activity."
But there isn't a total separation of church and state in America, and there never has been. God is mentioned four times in the Declaration of Independence. Congress hires chaplains, as do most state legislatures and the military. Presidents take the oath of office with a hand on the Bible. Every piece of U.S. currency proclaims, "In God We Trust." The same words are mounted over the Speaker's rostrum in the U.S. House of Representatives. By law, the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag includes the words "one nation under God."
The Constitution says nothing about a "separation of church and state." The words come from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association. The Baptists had suffered much persecution, and Jefferson wanted to reassure them that under the First Amendment, the government had no authority to hinder or control their activities. The First Amendment, Jefferson was saying, is designed to protect religious establishments, not to hassle and harass them.
Nothing in the Constitution requires pastors to take down the crucifix from their office door or bars teenagers from helping little kids say a brief morning prayer. The federal dollars that paid the Keys of Life counselors were not being used to promote religion. They were being used to enable a humble summer camp to provide a safe summer haven in a neighborhood that badly needs such havens.
Will nobody reverse this decision? The kids at Mason Cathedral still say
their prayers, but they miss their counselors.
In the official Internet site of the Palestinian National Authority, Israel is barely mentioned and Jerusalem is already the capital of a Palestinian state! www.pna.org
Message from the Imam: Islam "respects all of the
prophets, and it very highly respects the prophet Jesus.
Whether the person is Muslim or Christian or even Jew,
if they believe in the one God, then we are all on the
same level. We all have the same basic belief."
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat drew angry reactions from the government last Wednesday by pledging in Ramallah that his people would "continue with our struggle, our jihad... and once again enter the city of Jerusalem as the Moslems did for the first time."
Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office declined to comment, but Foreign Minister David Levy went on Channel 1 news to say that "This is a different Arafat... This style does not advance the peace. We are not going to accept a situation whereby someone threatens Israel. This will undoubtedly raise within every Israeli question marks about the future. This is not peace."
Levy reiterated the prime minister's pledge to carry out the Wye agreement, and said the Palestinians were creating a false sense of crisis by claiming otherwise.
Palestinian leaders responded by voicing bitterness over the Barak government's conduct, and took issue with Levy's statements that the PA has deliberately created a crisis atmosphere.
Salah Tamari, chairman of the Land and Settlement Committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said: "We reached and signed an agreement, and one would expect that a respectable government would implement the agreement. We are not in a position to renegotiate it."
Arafat made his jihad remarks while celebrating his 70th birthday in Ramallah. He accepted bouquets of flowers from young children, and voiced his hope that "some day soon, our children will be able to fly the Palestinian flag from the mosques and churches of Jerusalem... God willing we will continue with our struggle, our jihad... and once again enter the city of Jerusalem as the Moslems did for the first time."
Despite the remarks, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Malka told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the PA has a real interest in maintaining calm and certainly understands the impact attacks can have on the peace process and wants to prevent them.
"The PA has gone up a notch in its crackdown on terror. But it isn't enough and it needs to go up even more and crack down on the terror infrastructure, leadership and links abroad," Malka was quoted as saying.
He added that the PA is trying to enter into dialogue with Hamas and Palestinian resistance movements. Palestinians previously opposed to peace with Israel now understand that a Palestinian state is on the way and want to join in.
But Malka predicted there would be very dramatic attempts aimed at bringing about a collapse of the peace process.
The army's intelligence assessment holds that the PA feels strong
support from abroad for its sovereignty and wants to be seen by the
world as in control of a "state in the making."
Sir, What type of peace can it be when one side refuses to accept the existence of the other?
It is 20 years since Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David peace accords, yet the route maps contained in the in-flight magazine of Egypt Air ignores totally the existence of Israel as a country, and Tel Aviv as a destination.
Apart from the fact that Egypt Air is not properly informing
its passengers, this is a statement by a national airline,
completely under state control, which goes against
the letter of the peace agreement and does little to instill
hope that the spirit of peace will prevail and result in
normal relations at every level.
Our ministry's new congregation is meeting each Friday evening at 7:30 at:
The Biblical Arts Center
For more information, please call our office at (214) 696-8844 during business hours.
Please, no children under 5 years old. Though it's not required, it will help us have enough chairs, etc., if you RSVP.
See you there!
Three books in one. First, the Messiah's own words warn about the conditions that would prevail in the world at the end of God's plan. Are we now approaching the Great Tribulation and the return of our King?
Second, Zola and Dr. Thomas S. McCall take up a crucial subject both from a Biblical perspective and from current events. Zola's famous teachings from the prophetic word are enclosed in one volume with Tom's concise analysis of the remarkable events of what could well be the final decade of the Church Age.
Third, the most recent update, entitled The Millennium, Tom and Zola update us to the present with a fascinating discussion of the prophetic twists and turns of the 90s. This may well be the final update! Please see page 15 to order both the book and the teaching audiocassette.
Copyright © 1999 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.