USA, Israel and Jerusalem

by Francis Frangipane

I was sitting in the Cleveland airport when an angry businessman, about 14 feet from me, suddenly said, "I hate going through security. They searched everything. I even had to take off my shoes. It’s all because of the Arabs." He continued speaking, but his language and solution to terrorist problems are not fit to print.

We continued talking and, when our flight was called, we walked together toward the plane. Switching from terrorism, he now had very harsh words about the Pope. As we boarded, I suggested we sit together and continue the conversation. However, the seating configuration didn’t permit an easy switch, so instead of talking with him, I prayed. As I did, I felt like the Lord showed me this man’s heart. He wasn’t just angry, he was deeply wounded. His profanity and outrage were his means of dealing with injustice.

We soon arrived at our destination and, as we arrived and the plane locked into the boarding tunnel, I waited for my new companion. As he neared, I said, "You’re Jewish, aren’t you?"

"Yes," He responded. 'Judaism is both my culture and my religion."

I told him I am committed to the Jewish people, and that no matter what else is happening worldwide, I not only financially support Israel, I try to pray for the Jews daily. We had just entered the Detroit terminal when I mentioned, "If there’s any good news for Israel, it’s what has been happening among Evangelical Christians. Truly," I said, "there has never been a people more supportive of Israel than today’s Christians.

"Are you one of those?" he asked. And, suddenly his whole countenance brightened and tears actually rimmed his eyes. Oblivious to other travelers, he put his arms around me and thanked me. In a spectacular moment of grace, we had become brothers.

USA, Israel and Jerusalem
Evangelical Christianity, especially that which is originating from America, has increasingly proven itself over the past decades to be a faithful and committed friend to Israel. Indeed, the heart of the praying church toward Israel has been no secret to the Jewish people, reaching even as far the Jewish business community in Cleveland, Ohio.

This relationship between Evangelicals and Israel is more than doctrinal; God has given a special grace uniting Israel with born again Christians. This unity between America and Israel is not limited to our spiritual bond, of course. Israel’s government, both militarily and economically, is connected with the USA. Yet, in a unique way Evangelical Christians are engaged in a spiritual love affair with Israel and the city of Jerusalem. At times we have suffered emotional turmoil, being fiercely loyal to Israel, while also feeling the heartache attached to Palestinian suffering. Yet, make no mistake, by treaty and by love, America in general is deeply committed to Israel, not only to its "right to exist", but to its prosperity and destiny.

Consider: Although Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world's population, and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes (14th highest), it receives approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget. Yet, in addition to the several billion taxpayer dollars America supplies, several more billions come into Israel from American churches, synagogues and private individuals. (Interestingly, the top two nations, per capita, in charitable giving worldwide are the USA and Israel).

Or consider Israel’s wars, whether the Israelis were fighting Syrians, Jordanians or Egyptians, armed American B-52's flew overhead, like hovering birds protecting a nest, ready to step in and defend Israel. As we know, God Himself gave Israel her victories, but America’s heart and resources were poised to help. Indeed, while America has a genuine rationale legitimizing the war with Iraq, there is also a powerful unspoken reason that is acknowledged quietly by our foes: our war with Saddam is, in part, to keep him from using weapons of mass destruction against the Holy Land.

Indeed, it is profound that the first Gulf War, led by the USA, ended on the Feast of Purim and that this next war has commenced on this feast. (Purim is the Jewish Feast celebrating God bringing deliverance to Israel from a harsh, Babylonian ruler!)

I Know I Will Make Some Enemies, But...
I know that what I am about to write will challenge some of you. A few will react so emotionally to my next words that they will dismiss everything I have just chronicled America does in support of Israel. A few will demand to be taken off our mailing list; so, let me reassure you again before my next point that we believe God will ultimately restore the Holy Land to its biblical borders, according to His promise and in His time. However, when a few suggest God’s wrath has repeatedly struck America because our President proposes a Palestinian state (or that 9-11 was God’s wrath for such a suggestion), this is stretching truth into error.

The classic text used by those who have this view is Joel 3:2, which reads, "I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land." I know people mean well, but accusing the USA of dividing Israel’s land does not overlay into this verse. This verse was addressed to Israel’s enemies, those who plundered and scattered the Jews. The USA has not scattered [the Jews] among the nation’s as this verse warns. Indeed, 600 million of America’s tax dollars each year is designated in our aid package to help relocate Jews on their land!

The Lord's wrath concerning the dividing of Israel’s land had to do with the armies that conquered Israel, scattered the Jews, then "divided the land" among themselves. The USA has not conquered Israel; we are fighting to keep Israel alive. Just listen to Saddam and bin Laden's rebuke to America: both say they are warring with the U.S. because we protect the Zionist state (Israel). In this regard, our enemies can see with better discernment than a lot of us Christians!

Part of ending Israel’s conflict is finding a viable, compassionate solution for the Palestinian problem, a solution that guarantees Israel’s right to exist, as well as a homeland for the Palestinians. For now, who knows, but that the proximity of the Palestinian people clustered on the West Bank are not the prime reason terrorists have not used chemical or biological weapons against Israel, that they are afraid prevailing westerly winds will blow biological warfare onto their own people?

Now, I am not saying that the answer for Israel’s peace is a Palestinian state (I believe the Lord will bring forth a better solution in time), but we should not be paranoid. America is a gift from the Almighty to Israel. The USA is not participating in doing what the spirit of Joel 3:2 warns against. As for the links between Presidential remarks about a Palestinian state and the wrath of God striking American interests, this seems to me a very subjective interpretation of events. Indeed, if one were to chart the headlines during any decade in the past 50 years, there are plenty of storms, accidents, earthquakes, floods, setbacks, stock declines, and other problems and disasters that appear with almost predictable regularity. To link a typically reoccurring pattern in a very large nation to divine wrath seems hard to swallow. If the Almighty would appear to a pagan king in a dream and warn him against sleeping with Sarah, Abraham’s wife (Gen 20:3), I think He could appear in a Christian President’s dream and warn him against dividing the land. The Lord would not have to kill clusters of Americans in hopes we understand His alleged flashes of anger.

You may disagree with me, but I am one voice who says that I do not see Joel 3:2-3 as a warning to America. There certainly are many other things wrong with the USA, but scattering Israel’s people and occupying her land is not one of them.

Again, please remember I am not espousing replacement theology; I love Israel and Jerusalem, and have faith for God’s best, even to extending Israel’s borders to biblical boundaries. I think we simply need to pray for both Israel and the USA, and trust the Almighty to work all things after the counsel of His will. More than anything, let us not be distracted by such rhetoric. For there is a mystery, a divine and holy mystery, unfolding from Gods’ heart. It concerns the intertwining of Israel and the USA. Before Jesus returns, we will see Gods’ heart manifested in a supernatural grace concerning the union of these two nations. Beloved, as you can see, USA has always existed in the center of Jer-usa-lem.

Beware of the Spirit of Strife

By Francis Frangipane

One does not have to do an exhaustive search to become aware of the spirit of strife that is rampant in our world. Whether we look at the strife between Iraq and the U.S. or look at the conflicts between Israel and the Arab world, our world is churning with strife. Consider the ranting of North Korea or the unrest in South America, Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela. Not since WW2 has Europe been more deeply divided: Germany, France, Belgium and Russia on one side and England, Spain, Italy and the Balkans on the other. Pakistan and India are ready to duel to the nuclear death. There are terror uprisings, civil wars and rebellion in the Philippines, Chechen, North and Central Africa, and many other places. Our world is just as Jesus forewarned, "nation [has risen] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matt. 24:7).

Yet we need not be familiar with world events to be personally affected with this invasion of strife. The church itself has had so much conflict that many now identify the ability to create division as a courageous and honorable virtue. Even the home is not safe, as we see divorce rates in the Western World have skyrocketed over the past 40 years. And who is unfamiliar with the phenomenal breakdown of families?

Strife has had a way of touching us all. Beloved, we must recognize that there is a war raging against relationships. It is hitting on all levels, and the sooner we deal with this fact, the quicker we can win our war against it.

Origin of Strife
There are many sources that contribute to strife: personal ambitions, jealousies and fear, to name a few. In fact, James tells us that, "where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16). To look with jealousy upon a role that belongs to someone else creates a world of "disorder and every evil thing." David, though anointed as king twice by Samuel, never sought the place of King Saul; John the Baptist, though greatest of the prophets, never was jealous for the ministry of Jesus.

James tells us that the strife engendered by jealousy and selfish ambition is "earthly, natural, and demonic" (Jam 3:15). To overcome strife, we must therefore recognize the two primary fronts upon which strife advances: our flesh nature and the demonic realm, and the demonic will manipulate the flesh in every way it can.

To repel this attack, it is vital we seek humility. We are all vulnerable to deception. The ability of the enemy to deceive, frankly, is astonishing. Remember that Lucifer deceived one third of the angels, convincing them they could win a war against their Creator! These very angels had seen galaxies roll out from the mouth of God, yet they were seduced into deep deception. To assume we cannot be deceived is itself deception. So we must learn to be "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger" (James 1:19). Indeed, to maintain a humble heart before the Lord is the best weapon we can have before our enemy.

Job 41:15 reveals that the "scale" that protect Satan (called Leviathan in this chapter) are made of pride. Pride is what "protects" Lucifer and keeps him from repenting, and it is pride in us that protects us from repenting as well. What if Adam had just admitted he was wrong instead of blaming Eve? What if Eve simply said, "I'm sorry," instead of blaming the devil? So much of the separation of relationships in our world comes because we simply are too proud to admit we were wrong. To be able to say, "I was wrong, please forgive me," is to eliminate much strife.

Additionally, many quarrels occur because we misunderstand each another or falsely judge based on insufficient information. Pride paralyzes our wrong perceptions. Instead of the peace of Christ guiding and protecting us, we react in the flesh to our environment. A quarrel is often nothing more than a misunderstanding manipulated by the devil until two reactions harden into walls around our hearts.

" The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out" (Prov. 17:14). Strife is like the "letting out of water." Once water pours onto the soil, it is impossible to retrieve or undo. Thus Solomon warns, "abandon the quarrel." There may be another time when things are calm, when you can sit down in peace and discuss what happened, but nothing positive is accomplished in a heated argument.

Yet, there is still another component to deception and strife. Isaiah 27:1 speaks of the serpent, again calling him "Leviathan." But here he is identified as "the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent" (English Standard Version). Isaiah calls the devil the "twisting serpent." I have personally been amazed how words spoken can somehow get twisted between my mouth and someone's ears. Sometimes people are certain of something I've said and I am just as positive something totally different left my mouth. Has that ever happened to you? Satan is a "twisting serpent." We should be aware that both the speaker and hearer may be accurately representing what was said and heard, but that a twisting spirit has stood between two (or more) people to divide them.

If this is the case, stay calm and simply repeat what you just said. Pray with your companions and take authority over the enemies" involvement. Whatever you do, do not react wrongly to one another. Leonard Ravenhill once said, "If your enemy has a social security number, you have the wrong enemy." We often think that the fruit of the Spirit, "self-control," refers to not eating two gallons of chocolate ice cream, but it is more than that. The Spirit can control our mind and emotions, our reactions and insecurities. The Holy Spirit's fruit is called "self-control." Indeed, the Bible tells us the "God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet"(Rom. 16:20).

As we stand on the brink of war, which is strife taken to the extreme, let us purpose to do spiritual war against strife on all levels. After 9-11, considering all the responses available, the USA has shown remarkable restraint in executing justice against terrorism. The rebuilding works in Afghanistan, the efforts to establish an open government and justice, and the billions of dollars poured in to rebuild a nation that had been instrumental in the attack against the U.S. was, in my opinion, divine guided justice.

Therefore, let us pray against strife on all levels, especially as tensions mount. Remember also, Satan rages when he knows his time is short (Rev. 12). If we can keep ourselves from reacting wrongly at the increase of conflict, we will find greater breakthroughs awaiting us on all levels.