Israel Update

JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE
August 27, 2012

 “Behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.” Isa 60:2

AHMADINEJAD: JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY DON’T EXIST: In his opening speech at an Islamic conference in Tehran last month the President of Iran said God didn't create Judaism, or Christianity. "Islam is a world religion and God has only one religion, that of Islam," Ahmadinejad said. "He did not send Judaism or Christianity. Abraham was a harbinger of Islam, as were Moses and Jesus." For the record, nowhere in the Bible does Abraham, Moses or Yeshua ever foretell of Islam. The only supposed account of this prophecy can be found in "The Book of Barnabus," a 15th century fake distributed throughout the Islamic world as a lost book of the Bible. (Worthy News) “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Phil 2:9-10

CHRISTIAN PASTOR YOUCEF NADARKHANI MAY FACE NEW CHARGES IN IRAN: A Christian pastor, who has spent nearly three years behind bars in Iran and has been sentenced to death for refusing to renounce his faith, has been ordered to appear in court next month, where he could face new charges. Youcef Nadarkhani, 32, was imprisoned in 2009 when he went to complain about mandatory Koran classes at his son's school. An Iranian court accused him of apostasy, or leaving the Muslim faith. He has since been found guilty of other crimes, including extortion and security violations. At the hearing next month, Nadarkhani will answer "charges brought against him," according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has taken up Nadarkhani's cause. Nadarkhani's attorney, who also has been jailed, has said the married father of two faces execution because he refused to renounce his religion. According to Sharia law, an apostate has three days to recant. The pastor refused to do so and sources close to the matter say executions in Iran can happen at any time, often without notice. (Fox News) Pray for a miracle to happen in the life of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who has suffered much for the sake of his beliefs. May he be completely cleared of the charges that could lead to his execution and fully released from prison.

THE RELIGIOUS SILENCE ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: In July, the Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani marked his 1,000th day of incarceration in Lakan, a notorious prison in northern Iran. Charged with the crime of apostasy, Mr. Nadarkhani faces a death sentence for refusing to recant the Christian faith. He embodies piety and represents millions more suffering from repression - but his story is barely known. The principal reason public opinion hasn't been galvanized around the persecution of Christians is that various church leaderships either ignore or dance around the issue. If churches don't speak up forcefully, it is unrealistic to expect the world's democratic governments to do the same. At their recent annual convention Presbyterians in America approved a divestment campaign targeting Jewish communities in the West Bank. Pastor Nadarkhani wasn't even mentioned. At the Episcopalian convention days later, resolutions about Gaza and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process were tabled, but the imprisoned Iranian pastor was similarly absent. As for the bombings of churches in Africa and Asia, it's as if they never even happened. (Wall Street Journal)

LAWYER WANTED COPTS REMOVED FROM EGYPTIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE: A lawyer from Alexandria submitted a report to the public prosecutor requesting that Egypt's Copts be excluded from the committee forming the nation's new constitution. Sherif Gadallah claimed Orthodox Copts are not Nasara, the so-called "true" Christians of Islam's Quran, a book in which the word "Christian" never appears. He then reasoned that since Orthodox Copts are not Nasara, they can be counted as polytheists, which will make Copts non-representative of Egypt's Christian population. The revised constitution is expected to be ready in late September. With the unveiling of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's new cabinet in early August, it became clear Egypt's Christians would be shoved further into the corner. During its presidential and parliamentary election campaigns, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood promised to give Christians fair representation. But despite increasing the size of the government to 35 ministerial posts, only a single portfolio was given to a Christian. (Worthy News) August 14, 2012, a publication called El Fegr posted a copy of a letter inciting violence against Christians. The document refers to Christians as enemies of Allah and slaves of the cross. It calls for Allah to curse them and for all Muslims to physically attack or kill Christians throughout Egypt. Pray for believers in Egypt who are suffering persecution daily including death, injury, property damage and loss of political rights as a result of the recent Muslim Brotherhood takeover. Newly elected President Mohammad Morsi said he was going to be the leader of all Egyptians, including the Copts. Unfolding events, however confirm this was just another ruse to gain power and Islamize Egypt.

GAZA CHRISTIANS EXPERIENCING PRESSURE TO CONVERT TO ISLAM: Hundreds of Christians have staged protests in Gaza's main church since July 16.  Demonstrators have demanded the return of members of their community whom they said were kidnapped by Islamist proselytizers and forced to convert to Islam. Christians are blaming the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Scholars Association. The church and a number of congregants see the latest conversions as the thin end of the wedge and say they are being targeted. Christians are a minority in Gaza, a territory with 1.7 million Muslim residents. The number of Gaza Christians has shrunk from some 3,500 to about 1,500 since the Islamic terrorist group Hamas seized power five years ago. During this time, Christians have felt increasingly embattled but have largely kept silent. The protest was a rare exception. (J.Post/AP)

MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS CLASH OVER GARDEN TOMB: A dispute over a holy place in Jerusalem is threatening the fragile status quo between Christians and Muslims in the Holy City, with Israel caught in the middle. The Garden Tomb outside the Old City walls, with an ancient tomb carved into a rock, resembles the place where Yeshua was buried according to biblical accounts. Some Protestants believe it is the very place of His resurrection, though most archaeologists place the actual site at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City. The serenity of the site has been disturbed by the expansion of a Muslim cemetery adjacent to the Garden Tomb. Though the construction was approved by the Jerusalem Municipality, it is threatening the physical integrity of the Christian holy place, according to an investigative report. (Israel Today)

SYRIA’S CHRISTIANS TARGETED BY ISLAMIST REBELS AMIDST MASSIVE EXODUS: "Religious minority groups have become a primary target of rebels linked to terror group al-Qaida and other Islamists who are executing attacks in the name of Allah," said International Christian Concern, a major advocacy group. "Recent threats and violence against Syria’s Christian minority include the murder of a Christian family in Damascus on July 23. The flight of thousands of Christians from the city of Qusayr took place after an ultimatum to leave the city was issued by a rebel commander," ICC said in a statement. There was no response from the Free Syrian Army, a growing force fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. (Worthy News) Pray for the protection of Syria’s believing remnant. May they be comforted, encouraged and given places of shelter, hidden from all who would carry out violence against them.

PAKISTAN GIRL JAILED, ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY: A Christian, mentally handicapped girl, 11 years-old, was sent to a Pakistani prison after being accused by her furious Muslim neighbors of burning pages of the Quran, in violation of the country's strict blasphemy laws. One police official said when the girl was brought to the police station, she had a shopping bag that contained various religious and Arabic-language papers that had been partly burned, but there was no Quran. Never-the-less, hundreds of angry neighbors gathered outside the girl's home last week demanding action in the case raising new concerns about religious extremism in this conservative Muslim country. Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws anyone found guilty of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad or defiling the Quran, can face life in prison or even execution. Critics say the laws are often misused to harass non-Muslims or target individuals. (Knox) This is an urgent matter for prayer! May this young, handicapped girl be comforted and kept free from further harm and persecution at the hands of Muslim neighbors and authorities.

19 KILLED AT CENTRAL NIGERIA BIBLE STUDY: Three men entered a central Nigerian church Monday night August 6 just before a Bible study began, but instead of joining the worship service they opened fire, killing at least 19 people in an attack that shows that violence is spreading in the divided nation. Witnesses and the military described a chaotic, blood-soaked scene at the Deeper Life church in Otite, a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of the city of Okene. No group claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, but the violence came as Nigeria is facing attacks from a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. (AP)

MUSLIM GUNMEN KILL FOUR CHRISTIANS IN NORTHERN NIGERIAN CITY: Motorcycle gunmen opened fire on the car of a Nigerian air force officer on Sunday, July 30, killing the driver and an aide, while two other people were killed in a nearby neighborhood, authorities said. It was not clear who was behind the attacks in the city of Kano, the largest in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, but they resembled similar killings in the past blamed on Islamist militant group Boko Haram. A police source said the victims were from the mainly Christian Igbo ethnic group. (Jihad Watch) Igbo people are one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria. Pray for their protection against murderous terrorist groups, especially Boko Haram that has increasingly been targeting Christians and church property in the region.


Blessings from Jerusalem,

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 

 

As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is http://www.visionforisrael.com/

 

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    

 

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