Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement (Part 1) - By Ronda Lane -
Editor's note from Cynthia Nuara: Ronda will not be able to finish her 4-part series titled "Betrayed: Few Knew it Happened" of which parts one and two are currently posted on the Rapture Ready website. She is terminally ill and would like prayer for relief from pain and for God's will to be done. She will be writing a letter to you all on this site as she is able. Ronda is ready to go Home to be with the Lord when He calls. She will be free from the pain she has endured for years from MS, thoracic spinal syrinx (technical term: syringomyelia), and other health issues, and from her recent diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.
Ronda shows such attention for detail in her writing. As her (and my) dear friend Alice Childs says, "She doesn't just take in the entire forest and the individual trees, but chews on the bark and leaves."
Here is an article she wrote on the Hebrew Roots movement which was originally to be submitted after finishing her 4-part series:
Have you heard about the heretical "Hebrew Roots" movement? It may sound innocuous or even like a "good thing." But it's a cult. Flee from it! Let's take a look at many of the horrible errors which show that the Hebrew Roots movement is both heretical and blasphemous. Beware the false gospel they regurgitate as well.
Here's a short list, and the article will detail each of these errors:
#1. Hebrew Roots movement denies the name of Jesus!
#2. Hebrew Roots movement throws out huge portions of scripture (and twists other scripture).
#3. Hebrew Roots movement tries to put us back under the law (commandments and ordinances of Israel).
#4. Hebrew Roots movement denies Gentiles can be saved! (*Note: A Gentile is anyone not born a Jew).
#5. Hebrew Roots movement uses non-biblical writings and places this above scripture.
#6. Hebrew Roots movement has made themselves a FALSE "god" and has replaced Jesus as merely the successor of Moses!
#7. Hebrew Roots movement falsely claims that only "Rabbis and Priests" can understand scripture.
#8. Hebrew Roots movement falsely claims that the Jews are not the Jews! They claim OTHER people groups are supposedly Jews.
As I started writing this article, I realized even just touching briefly on all the errors, heresy, and even blasphemy of the Hebrew Roots movement could take hundreds of pages! I will try to be as brief as possible, but it's very important that we understand the Hebrew Roots movement IS a cult, gives a FALSE GOSPEL, perverts and throws out a huge portion of God's word, and even goes so far as to attempt to annul Jesus' perfect finished work on the cross/resurrection.
Before we get into the details of the Hebrew Roots movement, I'd like to ask you if you've ever played the game called "Whack-a-mole"? When one mole gets squashed, another one immediately pops up!
Much like the silly "Whack-a-mole" game today, we are seeing cults, false doctrine, heresy, and blasphemy popping up one right after the other. They are ALL of the devil, and it's nothing new... the devil has been trying his evil best to corrupt God's word from day one. Just like the moles popping up left and right in the game, the devil keeps popping up into society and even in churches with so many errors and falsehoods!
The difference is that the Bible is NOT a game! God's word is something we should take literally, reverently, and with much respect! God is HOLY; His word is HOLY... we are mere humans and we have NO RIGHT to go messing with His word!
There IS a cure for the "whack-a-mole" cults and false doctrines. KNOW THE BIBLE. How can you do that? Do what the Lord told us to do... STUDY like a workman!
2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (KJV).
Some other Bible versions water this verse down... But God's word makes it clear that God expects us to STUDY (not just read), and it requires hard work (like a workman). It also requires "rightly dividing" God's word as well so we can see to whom each part of scripture is speaking and what dispensation (time period) it is referencing. Honestly, this is no EASY task... but He does require it of each of us.
We can go to church every time the doors are open, but if we are not in God's word, studying it out ourselves daily (like a Berean - Acts 17:10-11), then we could be carried away by EVERY WIND OF FALSE DOCTRINE (Eph. 4:14).
Sadly, this is why many believers often don't recognize a cult when one pops onto the scene. If we spent more time in God's word, we'd easily recognize how these cults attempt to twist scripture.
We have seen many of these false teachings trying to be brought in by those who come in to Christian groups NOT to fellowship, NOT to learn, but intentionally to spread the devil's lies and dangerous cult nonsense! The Hebrew Roots movement is just one of many cults which we want to warn you about. But it is indeed a very dangerous cult with a false gospel.
Let's now look at why the Hebrew Roots movement is so wrong and so dangerous:
ERROR #1: Hebrew Roots cult denies the name of Jesus and blasphemes the deity of Christ.
They claim Jesus is not Christ's name. The Hebrew Roots movement calls Jesus by the Hebrew name "Yehoshua" and some say "Yeshua." As for the name "Yehoshua," the horrible part is that it means "Moses' successor." They believe Christ simply takes Moses' place, and do not believe He went to the cross, died for our sins, and rose the third day (the gospel in 1 Cor.15:1-4). It's blasphemy.
As for the name "Yeshua," this IS certainly an acceptable Hebrew name for Christ. Yet several Hebrew names also could be translated the same. The name "Yeshua" is a translation of the name given which means "Jehovah saves." Joshua also has the same meaning, as do a number of Hebrew names.
If you are a Hebrew-speaking person, it's perfectly fine to call Christ "Yeshua." That IS Jesus' name in Hebrew (or at least the closest translation of the Greek name given during that time).
My intent is NOT to deride anyone who uses the name "Yeshua" for Christ. My intent IS to show that when the Hebrew Roots movement uses either the name of "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua," they aren't referring to Christ, but instead they have made up a FALSE CHRIST who never went to the cross (in their twisted false gospel).
This is trending towards (or the inception of) the false religion that will be prevalent during the tribulation (the church won't be here for that), as we see in the following scripture (among others):
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt.24:24).
That scripture is speaking to Israel during the tribulation. But even prior to the tribulation, the birth pains ("beginning of sorrows") are noted in Matthew 24:4-8. While the remainder of that chapter is speaking to, for, and about Israel during the tribulation, verses 4-8 are speaking both to the church AND to Israel, as we are both present on this earth prior to the rapture.
These birth pain indications noted in verses 4-8 are in full swing right now, escalating daily. This is but one of them:
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt.24:4-5).
This is exactly what the Hebrew Roots cult is attempting to do. Replace our true Risen Savior with their false version of a mere 'Moses do-over,' so to speak. Sadly, they are gaining new converts to their false religion daily. But this is to be expected in these perilous last days.
Jesus is the English translation of the Greek word for Christ. Our true risen Savior! We English-speaking people call Him Jesus. Other languages (of course) translate His name into their own language. This is perfectly acceptable. However, the Hebrew Roots cult demands people call their version of a false Messiah "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua" (in their minds, meaning "Moses' successor, not Christ).
They have no authority to call Christ by another name since there are other names which mean the same thing. They also have no authority to claim only one name for Christ which was NOT given in Hebrew. The New Testament was written in GREEK. The Greek transliteration of the word for Jesus is "Iesou" (if they really wanted to get technical about the name). The English translation of that name is "Jesus." BUT the Hebrew Roots movement has falsely renamed Christ! They claim his name to be "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua," and this is how they arrived at it:
Word Origin from: YHVH and Yasha ("God delivers," one translation added to the other word meaning to form one word). They've taken both names and combined them, so it not only means "Jehovah saves," but INSTEAD (to them) it means "Moses' successor." Did you see that? (To them) Christ is ONLY "Moses' successor." VERY dangerous ground here!
They do NOT believe that Christ is the only begotten Son of God. What does scripture have to say about that?
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:3).
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 1:7).
Clearly, the Hebrew Roots movement has the spirit of antichrist behind it. The devil himself spurring on a false gospel in these perilous last days. And sadly, many are falling prey to this end-time cult.
According to their erroneous theory, only those of the Hebrew roots movement who call upon the name of "Yehoshua" (or their version of "Yeshua") will be saved. They believe him to be only Moses' successor, and so they negate the cross entirely! Along with their other erroneous beliefs such as keeping commandments, etc. We will discuss that shortly.
So, when you ask them (someone in the Hebrew Roots cult) if ANYONE was saved prior to the Hebrew Roots movement inception, they will either not answer, or say that everyone during the last 2,000 years who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior is doomed! This is just the first of their numerous, heretical, and even blasphemous errors.
PLEASE keep this in mind when someone tries to tell you that you must call Jesus by the name of "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua." Jesus IS the English translation of the Greek word "Iesou." Our risen Christ. And again, "Yeshua" IS indeed a proper translation for Christ in the Hebrew language. But the Hebrew Roots cult does NOT mean Christ when they say either "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua."
What does the Bible say?
Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Acts 15:11 "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
The bottom line on the renaming and blaspheming of the name of Christ that the Hebrew Roots cult demands is this: While, if a person speaks Hebrew, this is perfectly acceptable to call Christ "Yeshua" if they so desire; however, it is NOT acceptable to demand that other folks must do the same (nor to demand the use of the word "Yehoshua"). We are English-speaking people. The name for Christ in English is "Jesus."
There is plenty of scripture to show that, for the English-speaking person, believing on the name of Jesus alone for salvation is the faith that saves us, and has saved countless English-speaking people throughout the age of grace/church age. Calling on and believing on the name of JESUS saves!
The Hebrew Roots cult would say that anyone who called on the name of Jesus was NOT saved! See how very dangerous this cult is? It's the exact OPPOSITE of the truth!
The Hebrew roots movement mistakenly claims that the New Testament was written in Hebrew. We know this to be false. History proves that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but that the New Testament was written in Greek. However, the Hebrew Roots movement has an agenda here. They falsely claim that the New Testament was written in Hebrew because they then attempt to sneak in false writings of latter years (after Christ) which are occultic and even mystical. (The Bible warns of these things very severely.) Yet, we know from factual evidence that Greek was the New Testament language and also was the international language spoken and written at the time of Christ.
We can also see why they want to make this false assertion... to cast doubt on the name of Jesus! Once you see their motives, you realize how demonically inspired their cult is. If their erroneous belief were true, then no one has been saved for the last 2,000 years (supposedly) until the Hebrew Roots movement came out.
That is one of the most outrageous and false claims of the Hebrew Roots movement. There are MANY more errors with that cult.
ERROR #2: Throwing out massive amounts of scripture.
Next, they focus on only a few verses (taken out of context) in the New Testament, and then they THROW OUT 99% of the rest of the New Testament. They even falsely claim that Paul's epistles are not true (omitting HUGE portions of vital scripture).
The reason they attempt this horrific tossing out of scripture is so that they can deny MANY parts of scripture that do not fit with their false theory and their false gospel!
Paul wrote 13 epistles of the New Testament (Romans thru Philemon). That is a HUGE amount of scripture the Hebrew Roots movement attempts to throw out or twist! All so they can push their false teachings.
This is much like (but even worse than) the cults of Mormonism and Jehovah's witnesses. Both of those cultish groups ADD to scripture (as does the Hebrew Roots movement). All 3 of those cults have fabricated their "own Bible" (a fake one). But even worse, the Hebrew Roots movement TAKES AWAY from actual scripture. They have not heeded God's words of warning. God gives mankind a VERY SEVERE WARNING not to tamper with His word (Rev. 22:18-19).
ERROR #3: Trying to drag the church back under the law.
The Hebrew Roots movement disregards the truth of Christ's FINISHED WORK on the cross/resurrection. But just as dangerous and false a teaching of the Hebrew Roots movement is that they believe (erroneously) that they have to follow the Old Testament commandments. Let's take a look at what God's word has to say about this:
Romans 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Galatians 5:4 "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
So, what does the Hebrew Roots cult do with that clear and concise scripture? They simply throw it out! They reject and refuse to hear God's word.
In the Old Testament, God gave commandments which Israel was to obey. He knew it was impossible for mankind to completely follow the commandments because ALL have sinned (Rom. 3:23). We see in God's word that Jesus is the END of the LAW (commandments) (Rom.10:4). If we try to justify ourselves by works and law, we make Christ's finished work on the cross/resurrection to no avail! And to be sure, we cannot 'save ourselves.' Only Christ saves. Not our own works.
This issue alone would take quite a lot of discussion to fully cover; but in brief, the Hebrew Roots movement believes the following:
There are many more errors with the Hebrew Roots cult movement as well. What does God's word say about dragging the church back under the law?
Acts chapter 10 gives the account of Peter. Having been raised and steeped in the Mosaic law, he had always eaten only those things the Jewish people considered to be "clean" (as was the Old Testament law). God gave Peter a dream, and showed him 3 times that HE had cleansed what was formerly thought of as "unclean." Since the cross, no longer are we required to eat of the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament law. God answered Peter and said "...What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (impure)" (in Acts 10:15).
Paul also had much to say about this as well. He was irate with Peter for his mistake of trying to force Gentiles to keep the Jewish laws. Here is how Paul "called Peter out" about his grievous error:
Galatians 2:14 "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"
Paul was righteously upset that Peter was trying to Judaize the Gentiles rather than teach the truth of the gospel.
Here is more of Paul's answer to Peter in how we are now justified by FAITH and NOT WORKS.
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
In the Old Testament, Israel was required to sacrifice innocent/blemish-free animals to cover their sins because they could not keep the commandments (no one can; we ALL have sinned, Rom 3:23). Christ came and HIS perfect finished work on the cross/resurrection did MUCH MORE than merely COVER our sins... it totally WASHED AWAY OUR SINS. The Hebrew Roots movement is a total mockery of what Christ did on the cross!
The book of Hebrews is a thorough study in the differences between law and grace. It's another discussion which would take pages and pages of information to fully discuss. So, in brief, we need to understand that Jesus paid the "ONCE FOR ALL" sacrifice of His perfect, sinless self, shedding His own innocent blood.
Heb. 10:10 "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
No longer are we required to sacrifice animals for covering of sin... because Jesus was the PERFECT sacrifice. Not just a million times superior to animal blood, but not even comparable. Jesus alone is the only propitiation acceptable to God.
Heb. 10:4 "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."
We see there that animal sacrifice only covered the sins of the people, and it did not TAKE AWAY the sins (as did Christ's finished work on the cross).
Hebrew Roots also attempts to say we must keep the feasts. They go so far as to demand that we keep the Passover. What does God's word have to say about that?
Christ IS our Passover! 1 Corinthians 5:7 "... For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
No longer does ANYONE need the blood of animals to merely COVER sins, as was done in the Old Testament. Jesus IS our passover sacrifice. A ONCE and FOR ALL perfect passover sacrifice. No further sacrifice needed. Again, His precious blood shed for our sins didn't just cover them; it washes our sins completely away!
The Hebrew Roots Movement implies that Jesus' perfect work on the cross/resurrection was un-needed. THAT IS blasphemous!
The Hebrew roots cult tries to drag people back under the law - not just in dietary restrictions, but in keeping of the feasts, keeping the commandments, and so many other ERRORS.
The important thing to note: We are NOT under LAW but under GRACE. We no longer are required to keep any of the dietary laws either.
One of the reasons the Hebrew Roots movement wants to THROW OUT all of Pauls' epistles is because they prove beyond a doubt that Christ is the END of the law! (Rom. 10:4).
We need to recognize that since the cross we are NOT required to keep ANY of the feasts, customs, or the Mosaic or Levitical law. Jesus paid it ALL for us! That is not to say it's in any way wrong to observe the feasts, should we so desire to (see: Colossians 2:16-17 and Hebrews 10:1). But by no means must we!
There is MUCH more scripture dealing with this, but if we stayed on just this one issue, we would never get to the rest of the Hebrew Roots errors.
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey -
There are major prophetic signs unfolding across the world that we do not hear about in the mainstream media. One of the most important is the rapid and dramatic increase in the persecution of Christians.
Recently, in Sri Lanka and Nigeria, hundreds of Christians were brutally murdered while attending church services. In Burkina Faso last week, jihadists entered an Assemblies of God church during the service and executed the pastor and five men, including his son.
Few prominent leaders on the Left will even acknowledge that these are Christians being murdered and persecuted. They refer to them as "Easter worshipers."
And after the recent fire destroyed the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the world press and globalist governments have worked tirelessly to convince us that it was an accident that caused the blaze, even though strong evidence suggests otherwise. Even some influential conservative media-types refuse to allow any discussion of other possibilities on their programs.
They fail to mention that in 2017, more than 800 churches and synagogues were destroyed or defaced in France alone! Hundreds, maybe thousands, of incidents of persecution against Christians and Jews happen every year across Europe and Africa. Almost none of which even receive mention in the Western media.
And almost every instance involves Muslims.
We are now beginning to see Islamic influence being exerted in the halls of Congress. Shocking, heretofore intolerable, examples of anti-Semitism and anti-Christian attitudes are being articulated by prominent leaders. Most importantly, though, they are not being challenged by the leaders on the Left.
Instead, those attitudes are being defended, and thus seconded, by the nation's most senior and prominent Democrat leaders -- and wannabes.
But you shouldn't be surprised that this day would come. I, and others, have been sounding this warning for years. But few people in leadership seem to be listening.
(To be fair, I thank God that we currently have an administration that is taking these issues much more seriously and is quietly -- and sometimes publicly -- exerting pressure on other nations to actively defend their Christian and Jewish communities against these Islamic forces. It is critical that we daily pray for courage, encouragement, and inspiration for our leaders.)
In view of these developments, I have chosen to present an "Encore Presentation" of a show that I produced on September 25, 2015. It directly deals with these issues. It is eerie how so many of the stories I discussed on that program are figuring prominently in what is happening across the world now. And it explains how we reached the crises points we face today.
Here is the description of that program that I shared with you on September 25: 2015:
The refugee crisis in Europe grows uglier by the day. Mobs of angry migrants, many of whom are fleeing the Syrian civil war, are encountering resistance from the European nations they are seeking to enter.
The influx of refugees and migrants, most of whom are Muslim, threatens to overwhelm existing European abilities to cope with the human tsunami.
Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's Foreign Minister, recently said that it is not an exaggeration that there might be as many as 35 million migrants flooding Europe and the West.
The image of 35 million angry, rioting migrants, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" and demanding free entry raises an awful question that leaders in Europe and the United States do not seem ready to address: When does a migration become an invasion?
"Hijrah" means "jihad by emigration." The Koran teaches immigration as a way to spread Islam.
Already, the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount in Jerusalem is threatening Europe. Imam Sheikh Muhammad Ayed recently admonished his congregation, "Europe has become old and decrepit and needs human reinforcement... Soon, we will trample them underfoot... we shall conquer their countries!"
In February, ISIS threatened to send 500,000 migrants into Europe. They even published a booklet for potential jihadists with information on how to move to Libya, then from there emigrate more easily into Europe. But now, they are passing directly into Europe via Turkey.
Even though some writers have criticized European nations for resisting this flood of Muslim refugees by comparing them to the Jewish refugees prior to World War Two, the analogy is flawed. The Jews in the 1930s were fleeing those who were murdering them because they were Jews. Most of today's refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern nations are running from the results of Islam.
But they're not running from Islam itself.
Instead, they're carrying the destructive religion of Mohammed with them. They're bringing with them the very thing that made their lives miserable in the first place - the false religion of Islam!
In 1478, Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I established a tribunal now commonly known as "The Spanish Inquisition." It was a futile attempt to maintain Catholic orthodoxy by intimidation and torture.
Historians now see The Inquisition as one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Well, there's a new religion on the scene and a new inquisition on the horizon. And it's not happening in Europe, but right here in the United States.
The religion is Scientism, especially as it relates to man-made climate change. And the tribunal may well be a collaboration between insecure (and dishonest?) climate change scientists and power-hungry politicians.
Do you think I'm just being an alarmist? Consider this. Recently, 20 prominent climate change scientists and professionals wrote a letter to President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. They asked the President to utilize RICO laws to find, prosecute, and punish other scientists and organizations who do not believe as they do.
RICO stands for "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act." This is the law that Congress passed many years ago to fight organized crime.
In other words, these scientists are asking the government of the United States of America to launch a New Inquisition. And you just thought we lived in an "enlightened" age! Obviously, human nature remains the same.
But even more frightening is the fact that these scientists were not the first to think of this cowardly and unconstitutional ploy. A sitting U.S. Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, beat them to the sucker punch. In a Washington Post editorial, Senator Whitehouse accused the fossil fuel industry of funding research that directly contradicts conventional climate science.
Hey, forget about free speech or freedom of opinion. He thinks that anyone who doesn't see things his way is only in it for the money. Never mind that the climate scientists who toe the elitist line clean up with grants, university tenure, publishing contracts, plum teaching positions, and mega-dollar research projects.
Peer pressure in the academic community is almost unbearable. That's why even though huge numbers of reputable scientists do not believe in man-made climate change, you seldom hear about them. They fear for their jobs.
And they fear condemnation and ostracization by the complicit mainstream media.
Ironically, even Pope Francis, who is currently pushing man-made climate change right here in the United States, is contributing to the New Inquisition. By joining with the world's elitists to promote this bogus catastrophe, the pope is contributing forcefully to changing world opinion on this trumped-up power grab.
The upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, may turn out to be a major milestone on the road to one-world government.
Remember, this is not just about climate. This is ultimately about control. If enough people buy into the false premise, they will relinquish control to international governing bodies who will then control the world's corporations and countries through taxation and regulatory mechanisms.
Did you ever think that one-world government might actually come into existence by virtue of its ability to tax you for exhaling or drinking water?
The Apostle Paul warned that in the last days, "perilous times will come." He could have also added "bizarre," and "strange" to that description!
These are those times!
But, do not fear. God Himself, in one of the strongest promises given in the Bible declared that man cannot and will not change the climate on earth. He said, "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night SHALL NOT CEASE!"
Personally, I choose to stand on the promises of the Architect of the Universe, the Creator of the earth and the heavens. If He says that man cannot change the order of things, including the climate, then I believe Him.
Don't miss this week's Report on Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Why does Israel need the American peace plan? - By Yaakov Katz - https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editors-Notes-Deciding-our-future-on-our-own-588549
Why doesn't Israel simply decide for itself and by itself what it wants and then implement that vision?
Sometime next month, the United States will unveil the peace plan it has been working on amid great hype, hope and attention ever since President Donald Trump moved into the Oval Office in 2017.
What the plan contains is a closely guarded secret in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah. Three people hold the keys: Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner, Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Each of these men has a small staff that is also familiar with the plan, and to their credit very little has leaked out until now.
Here is what we know: As first reported in The Jerusalem Post a few weeks ago, the plan will be unveiled sometime in June. At first the administration had seriously considered releasing its plan immediately after last month's elections in Israel but before the establishment of a new government. In the end, though, that idea was shelved after the Americans understood that such a move would be perceived as interfering in Israel's post-election governmental process.
So why June? Because that will be after a new government has been formed in Jerusalem, after Israel's Independence Day and Remembrance Day, and after Ramadan. There will be no more excuses - for Israel or the Palestinians - why the plan cannot come out.
On the US side, June is pretty much the last date to try to build some momentum to give the plan a chance. After Labor Day, in the beginning of September, the president and his staff will completely shift their focus to the 2020 race. Their ability to invest time, energy and other resources in trying to mediate a peace deal in the Middle East will be severely limited, and if the past has shown anything - without buy-in from the president himself, there is almost no chance a plan can succeed.
While the plan is not yet public, based on conversations I have had in recent months with Israeli, European and US officials, it seems we can expect the so-called "deal of the century" to be the most sympathetic (or pro-Israel) plan unveiled to date.
First, it seems that the plan will not call for the evacuation of Israeli settlements. All, or at least the vast majority (including isolated ones), will be allowed to remain.
Second, the plan apparently has some interesting things to say about the IDF's continued presence in the West Bank, and particularly the Jordan Valley.
Third, while it seems the Palestinians will get some sort of presence in Jerusalem, it will be minimal and in areas which 99.9% of Israelis have never visited.
Such a plan breaks a lot of conventional wisdom when it comes to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The continued presence of settlements and the IDF in the West Bank are enough to keep the Palestinians far away from the negotiating table.
This is where the plan potentially gets interesting, and the issue on which American officials are quietest: How will they entice the Palestinians to engage? This is especially complicated at a time when the Trump administration is almost completely boycotted by Ramallah, and when PA President Mahmoud Abbas doesn't miss an opportunity to publicly attack the president.
Here the strategy seems to be split into four: First there are the Gulf states, countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that Trump has been trying to woo to his side to help pressure the Palestinians to not immediately reject the plan.
Second is to drop a large amount of money on the table, enough to force the Palestinian leadership to think twice before rejecting.
Third is what seems to be a strategy on the part of the administration to use the plan to reach out directly to young Palestinians. The message will be something along the lines of: We are trying to help improve your lives but your leadership is stopping us. The hope will then be that pressure from the Palestinian street will get Abbas to join the negotiations.
Fourth is a declaration by the administration that it supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, which while it might not have an army or even full control of its borders, would still be able to call itself a state. While this might not seem like much, the administration has until now refrained from endorsing a state.
What will come of this? It is difficult to know. On one side there is Abbas, who seems dead set on rejecting any proposal Trump and his staff put on the table.
On the other side is Netanyahu, who is in the midst of negotiating the establishment of his fifth coalition with a partner - Union of Right-Wing Parties - that is adamantly opposed to any concession to the Palestinians, even if some small steps translate into big gains for Israel. This is without talking about Netanyahu's own Likud Party, which has strengthened its far-right branch in recent years. There, too, it would be difficult to authorize a Palestinian state.
THE QUESTION I wonder about, though, is, why does Israel even need this American plan? Why doesn't it simply decide for itself and by itself what it wants and then implement that vision? Why does Israel - a country known for its amazing innovation and courage - need a foreign sovereign power to draft a secret plan that will one day be dropped on it? Does it not have the ability to decide what it wants on its own?
Next week, Israel will celebrate 71 years of statehood and independence. This is an amazing achievement. From a nation of refugees, we have become a military and economic superpower. Do we not know how to decide how to end our conflicts and work toward peace?
If he only wanted, Netanyahu could decide to do whatever he wants when it comes to the Palestinians. Now in the midst of coalition talks, he could form his next government around this issue: If he were to decide suddenly tomorrow morning to negotiate a two-state solution, he'd likely be able to bring Blue and White into his government; and if he were to decide to annex all of the West Bank, he could already do that with his outgoing government as well as the one he seems bent on establishing in the coming weeks.
So why doesn't he decide? Because indecision is sometimes easier than decision. Having to decide what to do with the Palestinians will determine Netanyahu's legacy forever. Why do something if there is no reason to? This recent election season was a case example - no party spoke about "peace" or gave a detailed vision of how the conflict with the Palestinians could be resolved.
Sovereign nations, though, determine their fates on their own. They don't wait for foreign powers - no matter how supportive or friendly they might be - to tell them what to do.
In so many different areas, Israel knows how to take the initiative. It is a culture Netanyahu knows well. The motto of Sayeret Matkal, the IDF commando unit in which he and his late hero brother Yoni served has a motto: "Who dares, wins."
It is time we see that dare again, and not only when it comes to political survival. Change was once Israel's story. It still can be.
Daily Jot: Liars calling others liars - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
When will all the lying come to an end? Now we have Democratic Party liars calling the Attorney General and the President liars. Trouble is that the news media is only reporting what people are saying rather than writing about the truth of what is happening. They are so caught up in trying to convict someone of something that they are missing the point. But, then again, they are part of the entire coup-machine that is hammering the public. The pith of the problem is that Democratic Party leadership paid for a false dossier on candidate Donald Trump and used it to get secret FISA Court approval to spy on the Trump Campaign. Operatives in the FBI were working to undermine the Trump presidency even before it took office.
All this came out in the Wednesday hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) cut to the chase, saying that deep state bureaucrats like former FBI agent Peter Strzok tried to overturn the results of the 2016 election by launching a Russian collusion investigation into the Trump campaign. Hawley said: "In my view, you want to know what's really going on here? You want to know why the counterintelligence investigation really happened? You want to know why we're all really sitting here today?... It's because an unelected bureaucrat--an unelected official in this government who clearly has open disdain if not outright hatred for Trump voters, like the people of my state for instance...then tried to overturn the results of a democratic election, that's what's really gone on here. That's the story."
He continued, "That's why we're here today. I cannot believe that a top official of this government with the kind of power that these people had would exercise their own prejudices, and that's what this is--it's open, blatant prejudice--would try to use that and try to overturn a democratic election, and to my mind, that's the real crisis here, and it is a crisis. Because if there's not accountability--if this can go on in the United States of America, then my goodness gracious, we don't have a democracy anymore." Senator Hawley has nailed it. The essence of all the lying, accusing, and visceral boils down to one side was trying to take over with a very specific brand of politics that is against the founding principles of this country.
People still do not understand the significance of this. The media is drowning out clear thought with its outrageous noise. The strategy is to break you down with anger, a sense of betrayal, and confusion. Are these things of God? 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" and by this we know that we need to be sober and vigilant because our adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We as Christians are in a fight for the very soul of this nation. We need to discern when liars are calling others liars. We need to engage with people to plant a seed for the Lord, or water it, or disciple it. We need to pray and act.
Daily Devotion: Praying and Working - by Greg Laurie -
They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. - Nehemiah 4:8-9
Sometimes, in the name of spirituality, people are not spiritual at all. Let's say, for example, that you don't have a job, and you're praying that God will give you one. It's good to pray, of course. But you also need to submit your résumé to as many places as possible and pray over each one.
There's a place for the spiritual and a place for the practical. We miss that sometimes. As Nehemiah set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he was praying, but he also was practical and prepared. In Nehemiah 4:9 we read, "But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves" (NLT).
In Nehemiah's story, we see, among other things, how the practical and the spiritual go hand in hand. We see in Nehemiah how to plan our work and then how to work our plan.
When David faced Goliath, he said, "This is the Lord's battle, and he will give you to us!" (1 Samuel 17:47 NLT). But David also put a stone in his sling and started swinging it. The stone hit Goliath in the forehead, and he fell to the ground. David prayed-and he took action.
Nehemiah and the others prayed as they were rebuilding Jerusalem's walls, but they were practical as well. They took practical steps and held their course. Nehemiah set up a system. There was a twenty-four-hour guard in place, and if anything happened, if there was any problem, they were to sound a trumpet. Nehemiah 4:18 tells us that "All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm" (NLT).
We need to finish what God has called us to do. And we need to do it with passion and persistence.
FROM THE HEART
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