"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; That thy way may be known upon earth, thy salvation among all nations" (Ps 67:1-2)
BETHEL, JERUSALEM, AND THE CONFERENCE AT ANNAPOLIS
The following prayer update was recently sent out by Glory of Zion Ministries for the upcoming conference in Annapolis, MD involving President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and numerous representatives from other nations in the Middle East. One of the primary focuses of the conference will be the issue of the creation of a Palestinian Arab state alongside of Israel.
This prayer update is both timely and informative.
It is troubling that there is consideration of dividing not only the Land, but the re-united city of Jerusalem ... the city whose name, Jeru-Shalom, literally means "Habitation of Peace/Shalom", or "Habitation of Wholeness" ... that discussions may include dividing the city of wholeness ...
May any hidden motives be revealed, what is in darkness brought to the light, and a witness in heaven and earth come with the priestly counsel of Lev 10:10 giving discernment between what is holy and what is common (whether holy people, holy land, or holy principles). May God grant the wisdom of the sons of Issachar to give discernment of the time, that Israel would know what ought to be done.
BETHEL, JERUSALEM, AND THE CONFERENCE AT ANNAPOLIS
Notice: In writing on the upcoming conference at Annapolis, we regret the length required to attempt to bring perspective to such a complex a situation. We appreciate your patience and willingness to join us in longing after God for His guidance and Word in this situation. May He lead you in your prayers and intercession. Glory of Zion Ministries
The Torah Portion for this past week began with Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob is running for his life from the wrath of his brother Esau. He comes to the site which would later be called Bethel and finds that there is an unexpected "meeting" (Hebrew: Translated "came" in verse 11) awaiting him. As he sleeps he sees an open heaven above him, a ladder reaching into it and angels ascending and descending. The LORD is standing above it: "I AM THE LORD GOD OF ABRAHAM YOUR FATHER AND THE GOD OF ISAAC; THE LAND ON WHICH YOU LIE I WILL GIVE TO YOU AND YOUR DESCENDANTS." (Vs 13, Emphases ours). Jacob awakes - "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven!" (Vs 17b).
This site near Bethel, which the LORD specifically promises to Jacob's descendants, lies in the heart of the area which the leaders of Israel and the United States are calling to be made into an independent "state" for Palestinian Arabs, side-by-side with Israel. A conference called by President Bush to the furtherance of that end, is set for next Tuesday in the city of Annapolis, Maryland. Representatives from some 50 countries and institutions (including Syria and Saudi Arabia) were invited to attend.
Last week's New York Times commented on how both the U.S. and Israel are playing down hopes for the peace talks, with officials "not even calling the event a conference anymore, instead referring to it merely as a 'meeting'" (www.nytimes.com, November 12, 2007).
However, unexpected things have happened in such conferences in the past. In 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak stunned the world with the concessions he offered at Camp David to Yasir Arafat. Arafat refused. Barak, temporarily in disgrace was soundly defeated by Ariel Sharon soon afterwards and disappeared from the picture.until a few months ago when he resurfaced, swept to a surprising victory as leader of Labor and was then offered the Minister of Defense portfolio by Prime Minister Olmert. This week Mr. Olmert divulged that he has invited Mr. Barak to go with him to the Annapolis conference.
Also on the table, of course, will be the future of Jerusalem. Ironically, this year in which there are still banners on the streets of the capital commemorating the 40th anniversary of the city's "re-unification", Olmert has made clear that he is prepared for a large part of it to be transferred from Israeli sovereignty to that of a Muslim Palestine. Only a little over seven years ago, as the Clinton-Barak plan to divide the city loomed, Natan Sharansky organized one of the largest demonstrations ever held in Jerusalem, proclaiming the Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as forever integral to the very identity of the Jewish people. We were present at that rally, and heard then-Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert loudly proclaiming against its ever again being divided. Now Olmert is Prime Minister and has voiced a willingness to cede at least six Arab neighborhoods to a future State, while his Vice Premier Haim Ramon has reportedly proposed the release of all Arab neighborhoods in the city excepting only those adjacent to the Old City which a 'special administration' would oversee (cf "Sharansky: Dividing Jerusalem 'crisis'", Jerusalem Post Online Edition, Nov 20, 2007). Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, Israeli Minister-has launched a new campaign aimed at standing against what he perceives as an "identity crisis" in leadership which once again threatens the oneness of Jerusalem.
From the Israeli Jewish perspective, the issues involved in Israel's leaders being drawn towards the idea of a "Two State" solution are extremely complex. It is simplistic for Believers to see it merely as Israel "bowing to U.S. pressure", or carelessly "despising her birthright" while ignoring the very real difficulties in which we find ourselves. The events of the '67 war left Israel with several million Palestinian Arabs living in the lands and in the cities after the ruling forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria had been driven out of Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel soon discovered that continued close military control over that many unwilling subjects spreads her military dangerously thin. (A primary excuse for not invading Gaza to stop the kassam rocket attacks this summer was fear of being dispersed and thus defenseless against a feared attack from Syria.) Another issue is how to have "greater Israel" (including the territories), a Jewish state, and a democracy-all at the same time.
If Israel were to formally annex the territories, and offer full democratic rights to all those living there, the "Jewish state" would be sacrificed-when all the displaced Palestinian refugees returned, there would be more Arabs than Jews [i.e. with a majority palestinian Arab muslims in Israel - as a democratic state - the whole nation of Israel would effectively become a "Palestinian Muslim State" and there no longer be a "Jewish State" of Israel]. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister who will be Israel's chief negotiator at the conference comes from a staunch Zionist family. Both her parents were in the Irgun guerrilla force fighting against the extension of the British Mandate, and she was brought up with visions of a Biblical Eretz Israel-to include Judea and Samaria. She rose in government with Ariel Sharon as her mentor and continues to hold strong beliefs about the necessity of Israel remaining a "Jewish State". But she now sees no way, logically, for such a state to continue except by "holding onto what we have" and allowing the Palestinians to have the rest of the land-the Palestinian refugees living in other Arab lands would then return to that state rather than to Israel. Mr. Bush voiced this same logic when on April 14, 2004 he declared, "It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."
A grave problem with the logic is that the term "Palestinian State" implies permanent sovereignty; in fact, permanent sovereignty of an entity other than that decreed by the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth (see Gen 28:13). Such a declaration holds in contempt the Word of God, and thus constitutes a form of blasphemy.
So how are we as believers to pray? And how to view the coming conference and beyond with spiritual eyes? Believers here in the Land are indeed wrestling with this. Some see any negotiations at all as being evil; others, while not questioning God's ultimate plans and purposes for the Land, see other necessities, such as an atmosphere conducive to evangelism of Israel's lost, as taking precedent for the present. Please pray for the Body in Israel to hear what the Spirit is saying and to conduct itself in its prayers and conversations according to Divine priorities. We would refer you to two perspectives presented by Messianic leaders in Israel whom we respect and which are proving very helpful to us:
Avner Boskey: "Cutting Israel Down to Size" (http://www.davidstent.org/words.htm)
Archived Newsletter for October 17, 2007): This is actually Part III of an xtensive and carefully researched larger work also available at the site ("Shakings, Weighings and Divisions: Syria, Annapolis and the Return of YHVH"). The essay has valuable prayer-points interspersed throughout.
Asher Intrater: Annapolis and the "Peace Process" (http://www.revive-israel.org/2007/annapolis.htm). A shorter article with points for consideration in guiding us in our prayers both for and against the peace conference as well as a look at "Moderate Muslims" and "From a Spiritual Viewpoint".
*That God's Kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
*That Israel will make no covenant with death at this conference.
*That even as there was still a "close heaven" near Bethel lingering from when Jacob's grandfather Abraham had worshipped and prayed there, so that God was able to minister to him through a dream-that the Jewish settlers living there now would be ministered to in dreams and visions about the Messiah, whose righteousness alone will insure that they are rooted and remain in the Land promised to them there (Ezek 36:33). That, as with Daniel in Babylon, there will be believers in the Land with whom they can connect to interpret and explain the implications of what they see.
*For dreams and visions for President George Bush and P.M. Ehud Olmert. Nebuchadnezzar and Abimilech were two kings whom God in His mercy ministered to in this way to guide them and to warn them when they were going a way contrary to His purposes. Pray for men or women with an anointing like Daniel's to be known and advanced to their attention if they experience such a dream.
*For Believers in the Land-that we will be fervent where we need to be fervent -even desperate where we need desperation-in our intercession. But that we will not become so fixated on one perceived "bug-bear" of an issue that we miss God's perspective and priorities for how HE is sovereignly working in the situation.
*Although we know that the problem will not be completely solved before the return of Messiah, pray that God will give us leaders with wisdom and understanding to guide the nation into a way which will allow civil rights for all those under our authority while not compromising the ultimate purposes of God. This will take supernatural wisdom and counsel from Him, who is called Pele Yoetz-Wonderful Counselor.
Informed Intercession - Fervent Prayer and Decisive Action