.; A compilation of news reports from the past week for the information of those committed to .praying.for Israel
David’s Comment: CoronaVirus – A Shake Up and a Wake Up. Are we Ready ?
Almost the entire world is being affected by the virus outbreak with 115,000 infected people in more than 100 countries. The death toll worldwide is now more than 4200. Here in Israel the number of infected people is 80 and growing daily – quite high considering the total population is only 9 million. Israel under the leadership of PM Netanyahu has taken some of the strongest measures of any nation to prevent the spread of the virus. The national airline EL AL has stopped flying to most of Asia and Europe, and people from those countries are not allowed to travel to Israel. Earlier this week Israel decided to place all people arriving in Israel in 14 days isolation. That decision will decimate the airline and hotel sectors. More restrictions are likely to follow in an attempt to contain the virus and prevent a national epidemic. This week also saw the biggest fall on the stock markets and crude oil prices since 2008. News media outlets around the world and the internet are saturated with information and dis-information, causing confusion and panic buying in many cities. Who (apart from GOD) knows where it will end, how long it will last, and how long will it take for the world to get back to some form of normality. I was intending to look at the various statements that are being made about the source and the severity of the virus, but the LORD has shown me to proceed in another direction and to pose the question – Are we ready ?
Josie and I came to faith 32 years ago now and one of the first ministries that I was impacted by was an New Zealand End Time evangelist Barry Smith. Barry had a lot of information about the Illuminati and the New World Order plan to bring in a One World Government and a One World Religion. Behind this plan is the Devil’s scheme to set up his kingdom headed by the Anti-Christ or the false messiah before the true Messiah returns to Jerusalem to set up the Kingdom of YHVH on the Earth. I believe that the restoration of Israel in 1948 and the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 unmistakenly place us in the time zone the Bible calls the End of the Age or the Last Days.
In Matthew chapter 24:3 – 14 and Luke chapter 16:7 – 13, Yeshua clearly lays out the events that lead up to His return, and it will be a very distressing time. Most Bible teachers involved in Israel related ministries believe that the Lord will not return until the end of 7 year period that is prophecied in Daniel chapter 9. That means that Believers who are still alive when the 7 year peace treaty is signed will have to live through those difficult last 3-1/2 years, also known as the Great Tribulation. I am not sharing this to alarm you, but to encourage to be prepared for what we may need to endure in the next few years. You have probably heard me say before Failing to prepare is preparation to fail. And let us not forget that the Israelites survived in the desert for 40 years with no supermarkets or water bottles even close. GOD provided all they needed and miraculously their shoes and clothes did not wear out in the harsh conditions of the desert.
I have been speaking about this for years and trying to encourage others to get ready by buy at least building up a stock of water, non-perishable food and medical supplies. We could even have some form of alternative energy supply to enable us to have some of the electrical comforts that we are used to. Most people I have shared this have not taken any action, but to be honest, neither have Josie and I. If we really believe that we are living in the End Times then we should be taking the warnings in Matthew 16 and Luke 14 much more seriously, and changing the way we live in preparation for the Mark of the Beast system that we read about in Revelation 13.
When that system comes in, no one can buy or sell unless they take the 666 mark, whatever that actually means, but it seems very clear that unless we take that mark we will not be able to pay our mortgage or rent, buy food and medicine, put gas in our cars – in short we will not be able to fuction in the world system, and our congregations will not be able to operate either. That scenario makes the current situation with the virus seem like a picnic. Are we ready – apart from the ‘Preppers’ who are mainly in the USA who have been mocked for their preparation, the answer is NO.
So what can we do to effectively prepare for the next big thing to hit the Earth and for the time when the Anti-Christ takes full control ? For this current outbreak and similar outbreaks that are very likely to follow in the future, stocking up on water, non-perishible food and medical supplies are a good but temporary measure to help your family to get through, but when the Anti-Christ rises up to take control of the world, those stop gap measures will not be enough. The only way we may be able to continue to function in our families and in our congregations is to change our independent lifestyle to a communal lifestyle. Even then it will be almost impossible to function unless the LORD supernaturally covers and protects it from those in control at the time.
Hopefully the scenario of the previous paragraph is still some years off, but we need to prepare for it now as best as we can. When the Holy Spirit redirection the focus of this comment, I had the sense that the LORD was saying that most of the Body of Messiah in every nation, myself included, who believe that we are living in the End Times, have not taken Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Revelation 13 seriously enough, and we have not prepared for it. Again I am not wanting to be an over-alarmist, but maybe I even need to repent for not being bolder in my calling to be a light to the nations, to encourage Believers to prepare for the days ahead.
For now we need to deal with immediate effects of the Coronavirus on our lives but please do consider what I have written and at the very minimum ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in how to prepare for your family to function as best as it can in whatever adverse circumstances lie ahead. We also need to share this with our friends, both Believers and those who do not yet believe in the Lord and the Bible. Like Barry Smith did we can use the events that are taking place in the world as a powerful evangelism tool. And no matter what is happening in the world around us, never forget the testimony of the Israelites in the desert – GOD provided all their needs for 40 years, and He is still the same GOD today.
The LORD bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on all of the land given to the Jewish people by the GOD of Israel. Please pray that all Israel will turn back to their GOD. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for a breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray Divine protection for all of the soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom ….. David & Josie
This Week’s News Items
1. PM Netanyahu May be Ousted by Opposition Coalition
The Likud Party won the most seats in last weeks e;ection, but Benjamin Netanyahu?s rivals might have found a way to oust him as prime minister, regardless. On Sunday, Avigdor Liberman posted to Facebook a list of five demands that must be met for his Yisrael Beiteinu party to join the next government. Liberman emerged as a ?kingmaker? in the last two elections, and hopes to again play such a role. Benny Gantz, head of the opposition ?Blue and White? party, immediately responded to Liberman on Twitter with: ?Agreed. We need to move forward.? Liberman?s demands included:
- A boost in monthly pension payments;
- Local governments will have authority over whether or not public transportation and shops can operate on Shabbat;
- Push forward legislation requiring ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students to also serve in the IDF;
- Legislation approving civil marriage in Israel;
- Any municipal rabbi should have the right to establish a religious court and perform conversions to Judaism.
Given that ?Blue and White? is a secular party, Gantz had no issue with accepting Liberman?s conditions, most of which are aimed at loosening the grip of the Chief Rabbinate over all religious affairs in Israel. So, what does Gantz?s acceptance of Liberman?s conditions mean in regards to forming Israel?s next government? At present, both PM Netanyahu and Gantz would have to form a minority coalition if given the task by Israel President Rivlin. Likud and its religious right-wing allies command 58 seats, three short of an absolute majority. ?Blue and White,? the left-wing Labor-Meretz alliance and Liberman?s Yisrael Beiteinu can boast just 47 seats. But, Gantz, Liberman and the Left might be able to count on the external support of the Joint Arab List, if for no other reason than to bring the Netanyahu era to an end. According to such logic, Gantz?s minority government would actually be more stable, and as such many are calling President Rivlin to use his power of discretion to tap the ?Blue and White? chief as the next prime minister. Pray that the LORD will be sovereign and establish the leader and government of His choosing
2. PM Netanyahu: CoronaVirus is a Global Pandemic World Israel News March 8th
The World Health Organization isn?t calling the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, saying the word might spook the world further. But PM Netanyahu has no trouble calling a spade a spade, saying it?s the most dangerous outbreak in the last century. ?First of all, this is a global pandemic, whether the Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls it such or not. It is a matter of days or hours. It is doubtful whether there has been a similar pandemic in the last 100 years. It seems that the rate of infection is greater than we figured,? PM Netanyahu said. Many scientists around the world agree. ?I think it?s pretty clear we?re in a pandemic and I don?t know why the World Health Organization is resisting that,? said the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, as quoted by Time Magazine. ?This outbreak meets all the definitions for a pandemic that we had pre-coronavirus,? Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Time. The World Health Organization defines a pandemic as ?an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads easily from person to person across the globe.? But WHO says ?we?re not there yet.? ?For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or deaths,? Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said late last week. Israel?s leadership isn?t waiting for an official declaration and has issued harsh guidelines to try and contain the potentially deadly contagion. Pray that the virus is brought under full control in Israel and in every nation as soon as possible
3. Israel has Developed Virus Quick Test Kit Israel Today March 9th
Israeli biotechnology firm BATM has developed a rapid diagnostic kit that can be used to determine fairly accurately whether or not someone is infected with COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus. The kit allows the laboratory to detect the virus within 25 minutes. They will be manufactured in Rome, where the Israeli company maintains a branch. In cooperation with academic and scientific institutions in Europe, the goal is to keep the kit as cheap as possible in order to facilitate rapid mass production. BATM had previously developed diagnostic kits for SARS and MERS. The company?s experts believe the coronavirus, like is predecessors, will weaken and its spread will halt as the weather gets warmer toward the end of April. And that will give BATM an opportunity to develop ways to more quickly and efficiently diagnose outbreaks should the virus return later in the year. Pray that this test kit is effective and becomes readily available as soon as possible
4. Israel Working Hard on Virus Vaccine Times of Israel News March 11th
An effective Israeli-developed vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready for testing within ?a few weeks,? though it won?t be available for months because of the lengthy and sometimes bureaucratic testing and approval process, a member of the development team said Tuesday. The new oral vaccine for adults and children could ?turn this disease into a very mild cold.? For many people who are inoculated and then infected by COVID-19, ?potentially it will not affect them at all.? The rapid potential progress stems from the fact that the Migal Galilee Institute has been working for four years toward a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, and has now adapted that work to focus on the coronavirus. Nonetheless, while Israel?s science ministry made headlines last week by touting the institute?s work and saying that its vaccine could be three months away, Dr. Asher Shalmon, the Health Ministry?s director of international relations, has warned against placing ?false hopes? in it. Pray that this virus is effective in treating COVID-19 and becomes available in record time.
5. PA Arab Fractures 14 year old Israeli Boys Skull
A 14-year-old Israeli boy was severely wounded by ‘Palestinian’ Arabs on Tuesday for no other reason than that he was a Jew in a place where the ‘Palestinians’ insist Jews are forbidden. The boy was riding in a car with his brother and a friend when they hit a traffic jam in the Arab village of Huwara in central Samaria. Hearing Purim music, the boy and his brother got out of the car to dance.
They were quickly assaulted verbally by ‘Palestinian’ Arabs in another vehicle, while others moved to block the Jews? escape. Suddenly aware that they were in danger, the brothers got back in their car. But they were unable to flee before one of the Palestinian Arabs hurled a cinderblock through an open window, striking the 14-year-old in the head and fracturing his skull. He is currently on life support in serious-but-stable condition at Schneider Children?s Medical Center in Petah Tikva. Pray for the supernatural healing of the young boy and that the attacker will be quickly apprehended.
6. Israel Virus Cases 109 – Education System to Close from Friday World Israel News March 12th
The Education and Health ministries have decided to close down the Israeli education system through Passover, Israeli media reported Thursday. The decision comes as the coronavirus spreads across Israel, reaching 109 patients. The decision was already presented to the prime minister, who accepted it. A formal announcement is expected Thursday evening and will contain the details of the closure. Earlier in the day, the Education Ministry held a preparatory meeting on the subject, in which they discussed the possibility of moving to distance learning programs so that students could stay at home. Schools and kindergartens are incubators of infectious diseases, posing a serious and immediate danger to students, teachers and their family members ? especially those with poor immune systems or pre-existing conditions. Pray that the drastic measures taken by Israel will be successful in halting the spread of the virus
7. Israel Tourism Broke Record in February World Israel News March 6th
Some 344,000 tourists entered Israel in February, an increase of 0.5% compared to February 2019, and an increase of 14.7% compared to February 2018. A total of 652,500 tourists visited Israel in January-February, an increase of 4.1% compared to the beginning of 2019. The estimated revenue from tourism in February is $486 million. Since the beginning of 2020, the estimated revenue from incoming tourists is $922 million. Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin stated that the industry is registering tremendous achievements when, for three years, every month, all-time highs in tourist numbers are broken, highs that put tens of billions into the state coffers. He also expressed satisfaction over February’s extraordinary numbers. Despite the outbreak of the virus, the number of tourists arriving in Israel did not decline, but rather it further increased, he stated. However, he cautioned that the continued spread of the coronavirus is expected to reduce the number of tourists and will be felt in the coming month. Tourism Ministry director warned that Israel was at the beginning of a crisis, which could damage the entire industry in Israel, as well as in many countries in the world.
The constant growth of tourism in Israel has been broken by the virus – pray that the virus outbreak comes to an end as soon as possible.