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Single Mother: Yamit’s Story

Born in Israel, Yamit’s life was challenging from the start. She admits, “I come from a family with no money, my mother was a single mom, and I had no contact with my father. I grew up going to a school for kids with special needs and troubled families.” 

Wanting a better future, she moved to the U.S. as a teen and met her husband there. But he soon became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they struggled financially. Desperate and unable to help him, she moved back to Israel with her 2-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter. 

With limited support in Israel and no family to help her, she worked as a caregiver to the elderly, barely making ends meet. Though her husband couldn’t help financially, the couple was in constant contact, with the hope of being a family again. And then, Yamit received tragic news that he had died of an overdose. Devastated, she felt lost and alone, with nowhere to turn. 

But friends like you were there through CBN Israel. Donors provided vouchers to buy food and clothing for her children. They also bought her a computer, to help her kids with school—as well as offering family and financial counseling. Yamit says, “The most important thing to me is my faith. My life is so much better today because of your support and kindness. Thank you!” 

Your gifts to CBN Israel can bring hope to so many who feel alone—offering food, housing, financial aid—and hope. 

The needs are escalating across Israel. Your support is crucial in reaching out to immigrants, Holocaust survivors, terror victims, and others in crisis. Plus, you can help bring breaking news and true stories from the Holy Land. 

Please consider a gift to bless others today!

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Weekly Q&A: How can I study the Bible with a map?

The space of Scripture is a character as much as Abraham and David or Peter and Paul. Biblical authors assume we know they physical settings of the world of the Bible, its geography, flora and fauna, geology, climate, and agriculture.

The Bible does not provide a geography book. Geography often stands in the background of the Bible, yet it is essential to understand the meaning of the Bible. So, how can we learn to study the Bible within its space?

First, get a good map. Never read your Bible again without your map near and open. Pay attention to the spatial details in the passage you read. Does it mention a settlement, hills, valleys, bodies of water, flora, fauna, climate, or agriculture? Note them.

If the passage mentions a place—a village or city, hill, valley, or body of water—find it on your map. Locations matter due to their relationship with roads. Roads provided access, travel, communication, lines of commerce, and security. They place the location you identified within the regional dynamics of the area.

The biblical writers assume of knowledge of these details. These details lurk in the background of their stories, prophecies, and psalms. Read Ezekiel 27:15-26. Notice how the prophet displays an awareness of the geo-politics of his world at the macro and micro levels.

These details help us understand the meaning the biblical writers intended to convey. They do more than add color. The spatial details of the Bible often convey key parts of the author’s message.

If you identify other aspects of the physical settings of the Bible in a passage, the flora and fauna for example, you will need to do further study beyond your map to discover their reality within the world of the Bible. But it begins with a map.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Website: WITBUniversity.com
Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Floating Terror: Iran Weaponizing the Seas Aimed at the United States

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Surrounding Israel through its demonic proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza, Iran’s terror is expanding on the high seas, where they are outfitting Iranian commercial ships with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The Islamic regime’s Ministry of Defense broadcast the launch of its Kheibarshekan (“castle buster”) missile on West Asia News Agency. With a reported range of l,243–1,450 miles, this missile could easily reach Israel. In fact, the ICBM’s name symbolizes the regime’s declared intentions toward Israel; it stems from the seventh century, when Muslim warriors allegedly captured a Jewish castle in the Arabian Peninsula. 

However, surface-to-surface ICBMs are not merely a threat to Israel. Although the Islamic Ayatollahs call Israel the “little satan,” they refer to the United States as the “big satan.” Iran’s stealthy creation of these floating terror bases is not at all surprising. The Islamic regime’s military ambitions must be taken seriously, and it is vitally important that we continue to advocate for a strong, mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel relationship.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Senior Fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, describes Iran’s treacherous strategy: “It’s no surprise that Tehran is looking to extend the range of various unmanned aerial threat systems so that its rockets, drones, and missiles can be launched from containers or vessels at sea and away from Iranian territory. This helps feed the fiction that Iran intends to keep its 2,000-kilometer range cap on ballistic missiles while increasing the severity of the threat and aiding in deniability.” 

Consider geography and our oceans for a moment. Maritime law is fascinating and complex, since oceans cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. For our purposes, here is a simple maritime boundary explanation from NOAA, our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “Once a vessel is in waters that are more than 24 miles off the coast of a country, they are considered to be on the high seas and in international waters.” If an Iranian “commercial” ship is carrying ICBMs that have a range of up to 1,450 miles, 24 miles is miniscule. 

Navigating from Iran to the East Coast of the U.S., Iran’s maritime route would begin at one of its seven ports located along its coastline on the 21-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz. Here’s a significant fact: as ships ply the waters of the channel, they transport a fifth of the world’s oil, around 21 million barrels a day, worth more than a billion dollars. From the Strait, ships sail out into the Arabian Sea, and then up through the Red Sea, which empties out into the Mediterranean. As they sail west for the narrow Strait of Gibraltar located between Spain and Morocco, the Atlantic Ocean is just beyond and with it, the East Coast of the United States. 

Boston, New York, Washington, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah would be in the crosshairs of an ICBM. The ruthless Iranian regime now boasts about the possibility of a 3,300-pound warhead on its “castle buster” missile. Adding a nuclear tip, aimed at our East Coast, is not out of the question to Islamic Imams who are firmly intent on attaining their goal of world domination in a modern-day caliphate. You do not need much imagination to visualize this. 

Iran’s malign sea-born activities are nothing new. The terrorist nation has made trouble in the Strait of Hormuz beginning with motorboats as a nuisance interfering with ships in the Strait. Building on the harassments, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s navy got busy unlawfully seizing merchant ships. They have added oil tanker seizures to their crimes—such as Niovi, a Panama-flagged oil tanker, and Advantage Sweet, a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker. In 2022, an Iranian “suicide drone” launched from an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base in Iran attacked an Israeli-owned civilian tanker near Oman. An Israeli defense source commented, “Iranians are no longer hiding behind proxies.”

Fortunately, in May the Biden Administration undertook a U.S.-led multinational partnership called Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) by creating a new taskforce to train and improve maritime security in the Middle East. CMF is the largest multinational naval partnership in the world, with 38 nations committed to upholding the international rules-based order at sea. More good news: Israel’s famous Iron Dome missile defense systems are being added to their naval frigates. 

Unfortunately, Biden simply will not let go of the disastrous 2015 Iran deal—despite alleging that the deal “hasn’t been on the agenda for months.” The truth is, since January discussions have continued. Foundation For Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz sums up this latest version: “Under this ‘less for more’ deal, Tehran will give up few nuclear concessions, keep most of its important nuclear advancements, and get billions of dollars to rescue its failing economy. Too many will see the hope of a longer and stronger agreement. But they will be like pilgrims in the desert looking at the horizon and seeing a mirage.” 

Beyond what is written above about geography, terror bases on the high seas, threats against Israel and the United States, and a revived Iran deal, the raw reality of dealing with the Islamic Imams is as follows: The Western nations do not yet fully understand that we are in a spiritual battle. The Islamic regime is intently—and patiently—laser focused on their fundamentalist religious goal centered on welcoming their divine Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, who will rid the world of evil in a “final apocalyptic battle.” They have gradually indoctrinated their elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with this outlook, called Mahdism.

It is truly timely that millions of Christians joined in for the Isaiah 62 Global Prayer and Fasting for 21 days, which ended on Pentecost Sunday (Shavuot). With a terrorist ring of fire surrounding Israel within the physical and spiritual realm right now, do not be surprised if Israel must launch a first strike against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran in Syria. May the recent foundation of prayers worldwide enable Israel’s Defense Forces to deter attacks that would come from multiple fronts simultaneously. And may God deliver the Iranian people from the oppressive Islamic regime that is willing to sacrifice innocent citizens longing for freedom in order to achieve its evil intent. 

As we pray for Israel, let us remember the message of Deuteronomy 20:3-4: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Please join CBN Israel in prayer this week for both Israel and the United States:

  • Pray for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to “throw Israel’s enemies into confusion.” 
  • Pray for the U.S. and all Western nations to be wise about the true nature of the Islamic regime. 
  • Pray for protection for at-risk Israeli civilians amid any multiple-front attacks. 
  • Pray for all branches of IDF to experience the Hand of God in every kind of battle. 

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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Weekly Q&A: What benefits are there to studying biblical languages?

The Bible was originally written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Old Testament is written primarily in Hebrew, apart from some chapters in Daniel and Ezra and some scattered verses elsewhere, which were written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek.

The composition of the books of the Old Testament span hundreds of years; thus, the Hebrew within the Old Testament displays an evolution through time. Because the New Testament was written during the first century, it does not display a similar language evolution as found in the Old Testament.

But, while the New Testament is written in Greek, its authors were either Jews or came from circles closely tied to the Jewish community; therefore, the manner of the Greek used in the New Testament often reflects Jewish (even Hebrew) meanings of words and phrases. In other words, the New Testament belongs to Jewish Greek literature.

Language embeds culture. A culture communicates its ideas, values, beliefs, and perceptions of reality through language. Language reflects the history of a people; thus, language changes over time, sensitive to changing historical circumstances. A major benefit to studying biblical languages, then, is the ability to engage and understand the cultural world of the Bible, its thoughts, beliefs, and values.

Learning a language, even a biblical language, is not about merely translating words and sentences into another language, nor is it about syntax and grammar. Learning a biblical language means interacting with the cultures of the biblical world. It means understanding the development of words and ideas. It helps us to better understand what the biblical authors intended.

Whenever we translate something from one language to another, we lose meaning in the translation. That is inevitable. Idioms, figures of speech, humor, these do not translate easily from one language into another. When we learn biblical languages, it enables us to enter the biblical world through the window of their thought, values, and beliefs.

Learning biblical languages is not about acquiring special or secret knowledge. It is not about unlocking hidden meanings or codes. It means entering the cultural world of the Bible so we can understand how the writers of the Bible and their original audiences viewed the world and communicated their views and beliefs.

For some, learning biblical languages may seem like a daunting task. Even if you do not know Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, you can still be aware of the fact that how language reflects culture and words in one language do not always convey the same meaning as they do in others. At least in this way, you can still position yourself to learn how to approach the words of the Bible.

Reading other ancient literature contemporary with the world of the Bible also provides a repository of language and thought of the people contemporary with the Bible, which can help us understand and interpret the language used by the biblical writers.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Website: WITBUniversity.com
Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Israel Allies Foundation: Networking Worldwide with an Iron Dome of Truth

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

The Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting last Sunday in the Western Wall tunnels below the Temple Mount to celebrate the 56th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. While this was not the cabinet’s first tunnel meeting, the symbolism and biblical mandates endure. How fitting, since Israel just celebrated a national holiday, Jerusalem Day, on May 18-19, where thousands marched through the Old City waving Israel’s blue and white flags in the streets in honor of the capital’s 1967 reunification. Psalm 122:3 established the ancient (now modern) proclamation, “The built-up Jerusalem is like a city that was joined together within itself.” 

On Capitol Hill last week, I attended an inspiring reception celebrating Jerusalem Day in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus (CIAC). Israel’s parliament first created the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) in 2004. KCAC has expanded under the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) into a network of 51 parliaments and congresses globally. From Brazil to Botswana, Canada to Croatia, and South Korea to South Africa, IAF’s faith-based diplomacy is upheld by the eternal fact that “the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders with Jerusalem as its indivisible, eternal capital.” They educate and empower pro-Israel, faith-based legislators worldwide. 

The United States caucus was the first one founded in 2006 after the Israel caucus. CIAC is a bipartisan, pro-Israel working group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hundreds of guests celebrated the two-party pledge with both co-chairs—Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL)—speaking in one voice of support. More than 70 members of the U.S. Congress are in the pro-Israel caucus. Repeated cheers and applause from Israelis, Americans, Christians, and Jews saturated the room. 

Jordanna McMillan, newly appointed as U.S. Director for Israel Allies Foundation, emceed the program, observing: “In one of the most divisive political times that I remember, it’s nothing short of a miracle how Israel brings members together from opposite ends of the spectrum amid the rise of bold anti-Israel forces.” She adds that for legislators in the U.S. or the 51 IAF caucuses worldwide, their “biblical faith compels them to support the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The Judeo-Christian values that bind our nations together will not be broken.”

Josh Reinstein, who has been the director of Knesset Christian Allies Caucus since its inception, is now president of the Israel Allies Foundation. He observed, “The Congressional Israel Allies Caucus plays an important role in stressing the nonpartisan nature of the U.S.-Israel alliance. Faith-based diplomacy unites congressmen across the political divide based on shared values, which includes support for Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel.” 

Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, Gila Gamliel, gave the keynote address. She totally caught my attention when she mentioned the words “Cyrus Accords”—how Cyrus, as king of ancient Persia, freed her ancestors and helped them rebuild their Temple. Gamliel then declared in a powerful statement, “I am honored to be here together with the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus to celebrate our capital, Jerusalem, on this historic occasion,” she said. “The prophets promised that Jerusalem would become a house of prayer for all nations and in today’s times we have seen that prophecy materialize. Over 2,000 years ago, Cyrus, the King of Persia, or modern-day Iran, proclaimed that Jews had the right to return to Israel and rebuild their second temple in Jerusalem. Just recently, as a Minister of the State of Israel, I had the privilege to invite the son of the last Shah of Iran to visit the site of that very temple.”

The exiled crown prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, sat in the audience. Afterward, a long line formed to shake the hands of Minister Gamliel and Crown Prince Pahlavi. Gamliel also asserted that any division of Jerusalem would have a chilling effect on freedom of religion that encompasses billions of people in the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

To amplify her statement: Between 1948 and 1967, Jordanians occupied east Jerusalem with oppressive policies until Israelis liberated and united their 3,000-year-old capital in the 1967 Six-Day War. For the first time in 2,000 years, Jews controlled their holiest sites—freely touching their Western Wall and hearing the shofar sounding the victory. Israel enacted their new Basic Laws guaranteeing religious freedom in the capital city and throughout Israel for the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. 

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s President, Dr. Juergen Buehler, always speaks with eloquence. He summed up a fact we would do well to recall: “What happens in Congress saves lives in Israel.” If you think that nothing good happens in Congress, take time to learn that the Israel Allies Foundation is a ray of political light!

Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, has previously commented about Israel Allies, “We can count on you to be our Iron Dome of truth.” Friends, let us make sure that we in the Christian community live up to his Iron Dome description, shooting down rockets of lies endlessly aimed at the world’s only Jewish state. After all, Israel is our spiritual homeland and worth defending! 

Please join CBN Israel in prayer this week for the Jewish nation and people:

  • Pray with thankfulness that we are grafted into the Jewish olive tree.
  • Pray for the Israel Allies Foundation to grow exponentially amid the rise of Jew hatred.  
  • Pray for the United States Congress to remain a bulwark of security support for Israel.
  • Pray that more Christians will raise their voices of support for our spiritual homeland.

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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Weekly Q&A: What are some of the most significant archaeological discoveries in Israel related to the New Testament?

There are a number of archaeological findings in Israel related to the New Testament, but there are several discoveries that are particularly worth mentioning here: (1) the Pilate Inscription; (2) the crucified anklebone; (3) the Caiaphas Ossuary; and (4) the Thanatos Inscription.

Pilate Inscription: Archaeological excavations at Herod the Great’s seaside harbor city, Caesarea, uncovered a limestone slab bearing an inscription concerning a Tiberium (a small temple to the Roman Emperor Tiberius) dedicated by Pontius Pilate the Prefect of Judea. Excavators found this stone in secondary use in the theater of Caesarea, but they suggest the Tiberium stood nearby.

This stone is remarkable—not because it bears the name of Pilate, but rather, because it provides a window into Pilate’s psychology. Roman citizens did not build temples to living emperors. Pilate’s Tiberium in Caesarea offers the only example. This speaks to the Prefect’s exaggerated devotion to the emperor, a devotion which surfaces in his condemnation of Jesus.

Crucified Anklebone: Excavations in a northern neighborhood of Jerusalem uncovered a tomb with an ossuary (a box for collecting the bones of the deceased). Inside this box, excavators discovered the anklebone of a man who was crucified. One of the nails remained embedded in the anklebone. The nail hit a knot in the wood causing it to hook, so when they sought to extract it from the man’s ankle, they could not.

This discovery enabled forensic archaeologists to reconstruct the anatomy of crucifixion. A piece of wood was placed on the outside of the ankles to increase the surface area of the nail. Two nails were then driven through both ankles while the crucified victim straddled the upright beam of the cross.

Caiaphas Ossuary: Archaeologists discovered the ossuary—bone box—of the high priest Caiaphas in a southern neighborhood of Jerusalem. Ossuaries were part of secondary burial used in Jewish burial practices from the first century B.C. into the second century A.D. The body of the deceased was laid into a tomb for twelve months for the flesh and organs to decay. After twelve months, friends or family members gathered the bones and placed them in an ossuary.

Many ossuaries have inscriptions bearing the name of the person buried inside. Caiaphas’ ossuary bears the name Yosef, Caipha—Joseph Caiaphas. When excavators discovered the ossuary, they found a skull inside; within the eye sockets, they found two coins, a practice usually attached to pagan burial.

Thanatos Inscription: Josephus, the Jewish historian, describes a small wall separating the outer court of the Temple, where non-Jews were permitted, from the inner, sacred area of the Temple, where only Jews who had been purified could go. Josephus relates that this wall bore signs written in Greek and Latin prohibiting non-Jews from passing beyond this point, under punishment of death (in Greek Thanatos). Two separate copies of this inscription were discovered in Jerusalem.

A complete inscription currently resides in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. A broken fragmentary version of the inscription is housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The book of Acts records how Jews accused Paul of bringing non-Jews past this barrier, which caused a riot in the Temple precincts. Paul refers to this in Ephesians calling it the “middle wall of partition.”

Archaeological findings like the ones highlighted above shed light on the world of the Bible. They provide crucial information for us to understand the past. These and other archaeological discoveries add new evidence and information to help us reconstruct the biblical world.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Website: WITBUniversity.com
Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Israel’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations Undeterred by Terrorism

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Among Israel’s friends—600 million evangelicals worldwide—good news surrounding Israel’s 75th anniversary is keeping pace with the bad: deadly rocket barrages from Iran’s terror proxies in Gaza. Among the good news is this: countless Christian-organized celebrations are taking place in Israel, the United States, and other locations across the globe to recognize the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948. 

Last night, I attended a gala in Washington, D.C., hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s U.S. branch, to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary. Fifty ministries joined in as sponsors, including CBN Israel. Hundreds of us enjoyed renewed longtime friendships built while networking together in the pro-Israel movement. Inspiring speakers and music motivated us to become even stronger advocates for the world’s only Jewish nation, our spiritual homeland.  

Each anniversary is a miracle engineered by the promise-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus. Recognizing Israel’s modern independence, followed by Jerusalem Day on May 18 in Israel’s united capital, is a flag-waving signal to Israel’s enemies and critics that Israel is not alone. It’s also a signal that Israel, on the 75th anniversary of its modern founding, stands strong.

Another sign of strength is tourism. I am relieved that mass cancellations of Christian tours are not happening, at least for the time being. Rev. Dr. Tony Crisp remarked that thus far no one has canceled on any of his TLC Holy Land Tours. He added, “It seems tourists understand the risks/rewards and are making deliberate choices to go.” They choose walking in Jesus’ footsteps, an unforgettable experience in the small country that is only 290 miles long and a scant 85 miles at its widest point. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports that between January and April of this year, 1.35 million foreign visitors entered Israel. Some tourists are understandably nervous, especially first timers, yet a recent study ranks Israel as the fifth-safest country in the world, safer than the UK, U.S., and most European countries.

Today’s ongoing tourism amid coalescing enemy attacks and mounting Jew hatred is a welcome contrast to the 2000–2005 Second Intifada (uprising). Instigated by Palestinian terrorists, the intifada resulted in Christians and Jews canceling numerous tours. A few of us kept our Christian tour schedules and hoped our Jewish friends were aware of our friendship and support when they saw us walking on the streets, eating in closely guarded restaurant entrances, and visiting Holocaust survivors. We remained vigilant yet felt safe. However, Israelis suffered dreadful losses during the Second Intifada, with more than 1,000 Jews murdered.

Likewise, tour cancellations during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 left the streets of Israel practically empty, with millions of citizens tucked away in bomb shelters and safe rooms. Nevertheless, some Christian tours took place anyway. Forty of us organized a tour in a week’s time—a process that involved passports for several of our travelers being renewed within a few days! We agreed with Israel Always founder Earl Cox, who was compelled to launch the trip.

Cox, appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu as his Israel Goodwill Ambassador to Jews and Christians, declared, “Friends stand by friends in times of trouble.” The staff of Jerusalem’s Red Cross (Magen David Adom) expressed surprise when about 30 of us showed up to donate blood. Some in our group prayed on and off for hours at the Western Wall, while others traveled up to the Israel-Lebanon border to give out small American flags to the IDF soldiers. They were astonished but encouraged to see American Christians visiting them while rockets fell.  

That modern Israel even exists is an act of God as foretold by the prophet in Isaiah 43:5-6 (NIV): “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” 

For 2,000 years, during the Jewish dispersion worldwide, the Hebrew language did not completely die out. It survived in its scholarly and liturgical form until Eliezer Ben-Yehuda immigrated to Israel in 1881 from the former Russian empire. He devoted himself to fashioning Hebrew into an everyday language. Ben-Yehuda’s restoration of Hebrew, and the Jewish immigration (Aliyah) to their ancestral homeland, began in the late 1800s. It signifies Israel’s unique destiny as the world’s only ancient land and language to be restored in modern times. 

It is important to emphasize good news while the mainstream media reports its own barrages of bad news. Israelis go on with their lives as best they can. For example, an estimated 40,000 Israelis attended a May 11 outdoor rock concert at HaYarkon Park near Tel Aviv. The IDF allowed it to go on and sent text messages to ticket holders with these instructions if the rocket alarms sounded: “Do not run (dangerous in a large crowd) but drop to the ground and protect your heads with your hands for 10 minutes.” Israel’s countrywide alarm system with military innovations like the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system helps Israelis to feel safer. Another innovation, David’s Sling, was recently used successfully for the first time to shoot down rockets fired from 62 to 124 miles away. Israel’s cyber security expertise also saves lives in every conflict. 

May we remember the words of Micah 5:8 (NLT) as God promises, “The remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations.” Let us make sure we remain part of the Christian remnant praying and actively advocating for Israel. 

Please join CBN Israel in praying for Israel and her people this week: 

  • Pray with thanks for the valuable Christian tourism to Israel.
  • Pray for wise decisions by Israel’s leaders to halt Iran’s influence. 
  • Pray for more Christians to spread facts about Israel by forwarding and posting trustworthy sources like CBN Israel News. 
  • Pray for Israeli security’s safety as they protect their country. 
  • Pray for Israel to remain unified as they face existential challenges.

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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Urgent Relief for Terror Victims

The immediate aftermath of a terror attack presents enormous challenges for the victims and their families. These can include an urgent need for childcare while a family member is hospitalized, having to take leave from work, and the pressure to replace essential belongings destroyed by rockets and other weapons of terror.

Fortunately, through CBN Israel and our local partners, compassionate friends like you are there with immediate relief to help meet the urgent critical needs of Israelis whose lives have been torn apart by terror, violence, and post-traumatic stress. 

What’s more, through our special partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel, caring donors are making it possible for survivors to receive the ongoing care they need to recover from trauma and rebuild their lives—care that includes psychological counseling, job retraining, and more. Within 48 hours of an event, a representative visits the victims and provides comfort and emergency financial aid. 

Danielle Mor, who is with the Jewish Agency, describes just how critical CBN Israel’s support is for victims of terror: “According to studies in recovery and resiliency, people who have suffered terrorist attacks often succumb to the feeling that the world is a cruel place and their trust in people is shattered. The experience often tests a person’s faith.”

Mor goes on to explain, “As Jews, they expect to receive support from their people and government. But when support and kindness is extended from an unexpected source—and in this context, a gift from Christians—it helps to shift the scale to having their faith reaffirmed.”

Because of you, we can counter these vicious attacks with tangible expressions of love and compassion. You can make it possible to respond quickly as new threats arise, protecting the vulnerable and aiding the victims.

Please help us reach out and make a difference! 

GIVE TODAY

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Weekly Q&A: What are some of the most significant archaeological discoveries in Israel related to the Old Testament?

There are a number of archaeological findings in Israel connected to the Old Testament, but three specific examples are especially worth highlighting here: (1) the Ketef Hinnom Scrolls; (2) the Tel Dan Inscription; and (3) the Mesha Stele.

Ketef Hinnom Scrolls: Archaeologists excavating a tomb complex from the seventh to sixth century B.C. discovered two small silver scrolls. Both contain the earliest biblical text discovered anywhere. One preserves a portion of the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26, although with slight differences. The other shares language parallel to several passages within the Old Testament. These scrolls served as amulets worn around the neck of the deceased. Archaeologists dated them to the sixth century B.C. They reside in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Tel Dan Inscription: Excavations at the ancient site of Dan uncovered three fragments of a stele dating to the ninth century B.C. Dan sits in northern Israel on the largest of the three headwaters of the Jordan River, the Dan Spring. The site received its name from the Tribe of Dan, who was forced to relocate from their allotted land in the Judean Shephelah and conquer the city of Laish, renaming it Dan. The inscription was in Aramaic and was likely erected by Hazael the king of Aram-Damascus who defeated the kings of Israel and Judah.

Within the inscription, the Aramean king boasts of his defeat of the king of Israel and the king of Judah, which he refers to as the king of the House of David. This part of the inscription is important for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that the kings of Judah traced their dynastic lineage back to a figure named David. Second, the Old Testament refers to the royal house of Judah as the House of David on many occasions. Within the biblical story, this language derives from God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7, to give him a “house” meaning a dynasty to sit on the throne in Jerusalem.

Mesha Stele: Also known as the Moabite Stone, this stele dates to the time of Jehoahz (c. 810-805 B.C). Written in Moabite, a Canaanite language akin to Hebrew, Mesha, king of Moab, tells how Chemosh, his god, helped him throw off the yoke the king of Israel and recover Moabite lands. Mesha references the end of the House of Omri, the dynasty of the northern kingdom of Israel to which Ahab belonged and was overthrown in the coup of Jehu. Mesha also liberated his lands from the House of David.

The Mesha inscription refers to the ruling dynasty of Judah as the House of David, like the Tel Dan Stele. It was discovered at Dhiban, Jordan (biblical Dibon). Researchers made a squeeze of the inscription, which is housed in the Louvre in Paris. Shortly after the squeeze was made, Bedouin destroyed the stele. While many of the pieces were recovered and are also housed in the Louvre, it affected the ability of researchers to read the inscription from the stone itself.

Archaeological discoveries like the ones mentioned above shed light on the world of the Bible. They provide crucial information for us to understand the past. These and other archaeological findings add new evidence and information to help us reconstruct the biblical world.

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Website: WITBUniversity.com
Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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When Dictators Rule with the Help of Accomplices

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

In the current era of lawlessness, inflation, soaring mental illness, and appalling number of fentanyl deaths, it is easy for Americans to overlook news about world-altering events. However, an event on May 4 is worth noting. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi flew into Syria for a two-day meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. This may not sound momentous, yet when Raisi deplaned he stepped onto a red carpet and was welcomed by al-Assad. 

That official, deadly handshake marking the Islamic regime’s total takeover of Syria occurred right there on Israel’s northeastern border. The expanded reality bodes ill for Israel, called the “little satan” by Iran, which has dubbed the United States the “big satan.” I now call Syria “little Iran.” Most mainstream media overlooked or downplayed the gravity of Raisi’s visit.

Bashar al-Assad is a dictator whose cruel policies have shredded his country for 12 years. The results of this tyrant’s autocratic leadership are staggering. A horrific personal toll has been exacted since the civil war began in 2011. Upwards of 400,000 civilians are dead, 12.3 million have fled to other countries, and of the Syrians remaining in the country, 90 percent live in poverty.

Iranians call Raisi “Ayatollah Mass Murder.” As a judge in the 1980s, Raisi willingly oversaw the executions of some 3,000 political prisoners following fake trials. He remains a monster to more than 88 million Iranians, many who have bravely revolted against their oppressors in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests. The ayatollahs and their enforcers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) wield the tools of unjust murder and imprisonment against millions in their own population who crave freedom. 

Not only is Iran’s elite IRGC embedded in Iran, but these military units are also entrenched in Syria and beyond. For years, the regime has shipped strategic weaponry and troops into “little Iran,” resulting in an ever-more-dangerous country next door to Israel. Raisi and the Supreme Ayatollah are Hitler-like in their hatred for the Jews.

However, times have changed since the birth of the modern State of Israel. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has kept His promises to His chosen people to reestablish their ancient Holy Land into a modern Jewish nation 75 years ago on May 14, 1948. 

Zechariah 9:16 (NIV) reminds us: “The LORD their God will save His people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown.”

Israel is not helpless. The Israel Defense Forces are among the world’s best. No one should question Israel’s repeated attacks on Iranian weapons convoys and depots in Syria. The Islamic regime frequently announces its goal to destroy Israel. Jews absolutely understand the hateful mentality of genocide after the unending tragedy of the Holocaust.

Many Americans hear about Iran, Israel, and the Middle East—a complex region that changes sometimes by the hour. However, there are aspects of the Iranian threat that directly affect the United States of America in three ways. 

First, I daresay most Americans are unaware that the U.S. deployed our soldiers to northeast Syria in 2015 as part of the fight against ISIS. Some 900 American troops are still there, working with Kurdish forces that control this part of Syria. U.S. officials report that Iran has launched “80 attacks against U.S. forces and locations in Iraq and Syria since January 2021,” mostly in Syria. President Biden responded, ordering retaliatory air strikes and saying he will “forcefully” protect our soldiers. An Iranian drone killed a U.S. contractor and injured five U.S. troops and another contractor on March 23. 

In addition to the despotic rule in Iran and Syria, Venezuela is ruled by dictator Nicolás Maduro. He has carried out the destructive policies of the former tyrant, Hugo Chavez, leading to the ruination of this once- prosperous country. Maduro’s policies have brought Venezuelans to their knees in a food and jobs crisis, and 5 million have fled their country since 2015. Maduro and the Islamic Ayatollahs are closely aligned. IRGC’s elite military personnel are posted in Venezuela, and Iranian embassies are scattered throughout South America to help promote Iran’s plan to create another caliphate, this time worldwide. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a U.S. research group, confirms in a report that the Latin American branch of Iran’s al-Mustafa International University is Iran’s main institution for recruiting, indoctrinating and training foreign converts to Shi’ite Islam. 

Indeed, of grave concern on our open southern border, rivers of illegals are flooding in from more than 100 nations. Not all of the illegals are friendly, and thousands of Venezuelans are among them. Many would be considered refugees because they are targets of their dictatorship. Nevertheless, a bigger problem exists for Americans. The overwhelmed U.S. Border Patrol cannot adequately determine who is an Iranian or Iranian-trained Venezuelan terrorist. 

Accomplices to dictatorships are not confined to one region. Iranian, Syrian, and Venezuelan leaders are bent on no good toward their own populations. An accomplice “actively participates in a crime, even if they take no part in the actual criminal offense.” Accomplices, for instance, like the European Union, have increasing trade with Iran—€5.23 billion in 2022, a 7.95 percent rise over the previous year that helps fund their IRGC. The U.S. administration is still attempting to revive the failed Iran deal from the Obama/ Biden administration in 2015. If enacted, it would result in aiding Iran’s nuclear weapons quest.

During the last 44 years, the Islamic regime has vaulted itself into the position of being the world’s worst terror-subsidizing country. When Raisi visited Syria, he met with leaders of both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In April 2023, IRGC commander Hossein Salami said, “Invisible hands [Tehran’s clerical regime] have armed the West Bank, and you [now] see modern automatic rifles and automatic weapons in the hands of the Palestinians.” With Iran’s regime now installed in the West Bank (Israel’s biblical heartland), it is clearer than ever why Israel is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists plus Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria. 

Tremendous prayer and advocacy for Israel among the World’s 600 million evangelicals is broadcast by CBN Israel and other ministries to gather one million believers for the Isaiah 62 Global 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting (May 7-28, 2023). We invite you to join us! 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the both the U.S. and Israel during the 21-day call to prayer. 
  • Pray for our American soldiers stationed in northeast Syria.
  • Pray for citizens in Iran, Syria, and Venezuela who are suffering oppression.
  • Pray for wise decisions from leaders in the U.S. and European Union about how to stop Islamic hegemony. 
  • Pray for Israeli security and unity.

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.

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