Victim of Terrorism: Esther’s Story

Esther, a single mother with three children, had suffered from domestic violence for 10 years—and needed help making it on her own. When caring donors gave her aid recently through CBN Israel, she said it was like having family there for her, adding, “Thanks to you, I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.” But that was only the beginning of the lifeline you provided to Esther.

Just days later, on October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists invaded Esther’s town of Sderot. As the attacks began, she and her three kids quickly escaped to a bomb shelter. Locked in for over 12 hours, with no food or water, Esther was terrified. Who could she trust to get them out?

How grateful we are that friends like you were there for her again! As she frantically texted and called CBN Israel for help to evacuate, our staff contacted the military and the police.

Esther and her children were soon rescued from this horrific war zone. We brought them to a safe place, where they could finally get water, eat a nourishing meal, shower, and enjoy a good night’s sleep. And your gifts to CBN Israel can deliver food, emergency supplies, bomb shelters, and comfort to many more innocent families caught in the crossfire.

Plus, you can assist new immigrants who have escaped war in their own country, impoverished Holocaust survivors, and others in desperate need. You can be there with groceries, shelter, financial help, and most of all, hope.

Your support is crucial at this time. Alice, a staff member working with terror victims, wept, “Thanks to CBN Israel supporters! You have no idea—we’re all crying; this has been a disaster. Your helping us is just a huge ray of light in this darkness.”

Please join us in bringing relief and God’s love to those who are hurting!


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Biblical Israel: Azekah

Azekah sits on a high ridge in the Judean lowlands overlooking the Elah Valley. Along with Socoh and Sha’arayim, Azekah is featured in the story of David’s confrontation with Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Its location within the Judean lowlands in the Elah Valley meant that it functioned as a guard city between the Judean highlands and the Coastal Plain.

Azekah first appears in the Bible in the story of the five Amorite kings defeated by Joshua at Gibeon (Joshua 10:10-11). According to 1 Samuel 17, the Philistines encamped between Socoh and Azekah. When the kingdom of Israel divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, fortified Azekah along with other sites in the Judean lowlands to protect his kingdom (2 Chronicles 11:9).

Assyrian sources refer to Azekah as aa “stronghold, which is situated in the mid[st of the mountains…] located on a mountain ridge like a pointed dagger.” The Babylonian campaign against Judah in the 6th century B.C. destroyed Azekah along with many cities in the Judean lowlands, and also Jerusalem. The book of Jeremiah remembers a time just before the destruction of Jerusalem when the only cities left to the kingdom of Judah were Jerusalem, Azekah, and Lachish (Jeremiah 34:7).

A letter discovered in the excavations at Lachish, written on a broken piece of pottery (ostracon), attests to this reality. The person writing notes that those at Lachish could no longer see the signal fires of Azekah; the Babylonians had destroyed the city. Azekah fell to the Babylonians in 588 B.C., shortly before Jerusalem fell. When people returned to Judah, under the Persians, some settled at Azekah (Nehemiah 11:30).

Excavations at Lachish have revealed settlement from around 1500 B.C. to the Byzantine period. Evidence of the Babylonian destruction of the city has been uncovered. So too, a fortress, which some archaeologists identified as the fortifications of Rehoboam have been unearthed. Stamped jar handles with the seal lemelek (“belonging to the king”) from the time of king Hezekiah at the end of the 8th century B.C. were discovered, as were some Egyptian scarabs. 

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.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: The God Who Delivers

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by enemies? The psalmist did: “O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God’” (Psalm 3:1-2 NASB).

Sometimes the circumstances appear daunting and overwhelming. The thought comes, God cannot save me from this. Yet as the psalmist reflects on feeling outnumbered by his enemies, he voices, “But You, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head” (verse 3).

The biblical writers repeatedly describe God as one who answers those who cry to Him: “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain” (verse 4). God is near to those who cry out to Him. He is not impotent, nor is He far off. Nor is He intimidated by overwhelming odds.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by life, I’m sure that during those moments sleep has left you. Through dark nights, you lay awake tossing and turning as you wrestled with your circumstances, possibly overcome with fear. The psalmist recognized that God sustained him; therefore, he says, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me” (verse 5; emphasis added). He continues, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me” (verse 6).

He does not ignore his circumstances or problems. They are still there, even when he wakes. Yet the realization that God sustains him allows him to sleep, and he finds himself fearless in facing those set against him. He understands that he is not alone, and the God who is on his side will deliver him: “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (verse 8).

The expression of the psalmist is not “the power of positive thinking”; his circumstances are real and dire. He recognizes, however, that God is on his side and He will deliver him. When overwhelming circumstances confront us, do we allow worry and fear to consume us? Or do we realize that God is with us and He will deliver us?


Father, today we call to You. Deliver us from those things that threaten to overwhelm us for Your glory. Amen.

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How to Stand by Our Israeli Friends in Wartime: Join an Evangelical Army of Truth

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

In 2006, Hezbollah terrorists—embedded in Lebanon—ambushed an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) border patrol. In a cross-border raid, Hezbollah kidnapped two IDF soldiers and killed another three. A few days after Israel’s Second Lebanon War began on July 12 of that year, my good friend Earl Cox called me. I had been volunteering with him since 2002 on his personally financed projects aimed at blessing Israel. His next words amazed me: “Arlene, I think the Lord wants us to go to Israel as soon as possible.” I countered, “Earl, why would we go now?” His reply made all the sense in the world to me. “When friends are in crisis, true friends go and stand with them.”

He and I had traveled to Israel leading groups both large and small during the Second Intifada (2000–2005). In that offensive, based on untrue allegations that Israel was taking over the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Palestinians murdered more than 1,000 Jews. We were not tourists—either then or during our 2006 Second Lebanon War trip.

We rushed into action implementing the next steps. Immediately after Earl called, we quickly swept through our list of contacts with the help of Earl’s wife, Kathleen, and my husband, Paul. Just seven days later, Earl and I landed at Ben Gurion Airport with 25 Christians. Our agenda rested in four words: ENCOURAGE OUR JEWISH FRIENDS.

And what a reception we got! Israelis were overjoyed to see us at empty restaurants in the Galilee and on Jerusalem buses, where we declared, “We are American Christians. We are here as friends.” At Haifa’s Rambam Hospital we visited wounded IDF soldiers. I still recall how shocked the staff of the Israeli Red Cross was when all 25 of us walked in to donate blood. Our team traveled up to the Israel-Lebanon border as bombs were falling. Israeli tanks were lined up with surprised soldiers who gladly accepted our small American flags. We frequented the Western Wall to pray and left 10 days later after sharing many hugs with senior citizens, leaving toys for children in bomb shelters, and listening to families awaiting word on their loved ones serving in the IDF.

I describe our trip to emphasize that Israelis treated us like family and were deeply touched by our friendship. Yes, when friends are in crisis, true friends stand with them. When any of us are in crisis, we deeply appreciate our friends and family supporting us in our time of need. We are assured that in this war, Israelis will deeply appreciate anything we do!

We must remain motivated by keeping this fact in mind: If we are passive, propaganda will proliferate. Within a few days of the massacre of Jewish men, women, children, and babies in Israel, a hurricane of lies blew through the airwaves of the world villainizing Israel as if photos and descriptions about the Hamas “Nazis” had not previously circled the globe revealing these unspeakable and barbaric killings. Hamas took its own photos during their executions of innocents, using on occasion their victims’ cell phones to post on their own Facebook pages. 

The blood of beheaded Israeli babies cries out for justice amid this existential threat to Israel, which is now clearer than ever. Despite the sound evidence, Jew-hating crowds commit another kind of unholy jihad: a jihad of lethal words. Demonstrators echo a Holocaust theme to “Gas the Jews!” While Hitler’s Nazis generally attempted to hide their mass murders, the Islamic Regime—its surrogates Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps embedded in Syria—wear their hate as a badge of honor. The Jew-hating crowds are pushing full-throttled, murderous messages.

Hellish demons are dancing and igniting fires among these rebellious voices as they rail against the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus—in fact, against Jews anywhere. We Christians must beware, as we lay aside apathy and embrace bravery.

Our proactive postures in small and large ways must override this revival of genocidal evil. Slightly reshaping my friend Earl’s compassionate reasoning, I say now, “When friends are in crisis, true friends stand with them.”

There are many ways to do this, and they are available right now, right where we are. Let us stop wringing our hands in frustration and suit up in an Evangelical Army of Truth. Facts and biblical truth must take precedence, not hysteria and ugly name-calling. We must grasp our reality from Ephesians 6:11-13—“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Friends, the “forces of evil in the heavenly realms” are fully deployed on earth promoting and propagandizing unimaginable evil. We must be prayerful, proactive, and put on our spiritual armor daily. Ephesians 6:14-17 directs us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Now, more than ever, is the time to fulfill our God-given calling to stand with Israel and Jewish people! We urge you to watch out for the anti-Israel propaganda you see or hear in the global mainstream media. They have already returned to their habitual, ignorant, and hostile reporting against Israel. Use discernment in consuming the news and guard against faulty information and conspiracy theories. The media listed in this article are factual, trustworthy, and important tools to inform others through your social media, emails, in person, Bible studies, and churches. And please do not believe anything reported by Hamas; they are notorious for threatening their media.

When the IDF, the most humanitarian military on earth, enters Gaza en masse, much of the world will forget Hamas’s most depraved, barbaric murders in Israel’s 75-year modern history and since the genocidal Holocaust. They will forget that the Islamic Regime is the world’s worst, most prolific terror-sponsoring country—reaching far beyond the Middle East while terrorizing their own population! If we are targeted, let it be because we follow the Jewish Messiah. In the media resources I list below, primarily educate yourself with Israel’s Official Digital Resource available to you and everyone from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Give Support to Israel:

Media Resources:

  • Stay updated and informed with Israel’s official site from the Prime Minister’s Office. Read and share its insightful resources with your churches, ministries, contacts/social media, friends, and family: [Learn More].
  • Watch the biweekly CBN News show, Jerusalem Dateline, which is hosted by veteran reporter, Chris Mitchell: [Learn More].
  • Download the CBN News App to stay updated and informed about what is happening in Israel and the Middle East—all from a biblical perspective: [Learn More].
  • Follow Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus (res.), Intl. Spokesman for IDF. He is interviewed worldwide on mainstream and Christian media: [Learn More].
  • Follow Brig. General Amir Avivi, Founder, Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF). Subscribe free to receive briefing notifications: [Learn More].
  • Stay updated and informed with Joel Rosenberg’s All Israel News: [Learn More].
  • Follow Amir Tsarfati, President of Behold Israel: [Learn More].

The best way to remain informed and educated is to subscribe to the media and humanitarian organizations I listed.

I am grateful that the United States is expressing its support for our great ally Israel by deploying the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group. It is now anchored in the Mediterranean Sea along Israel’s coast. U.S. Air Force fighter jets are also in the region, and the Pentagon has ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to begin moving to the Eastern Mediterranean. These military moves were explained by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, “As part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”

Despite our U.S. military strength, it is not enough. This war looks to be a long one. The global pro-Israel Christian community must remain vigilant and proactive in both prayer and advocacy for Israel. We each have a role to play, as expressed in Galatians 6:2—“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Since we are the recipients of the deepest treasure imaginable through the Jews, our scripture, and our Savior, carrying the burdens of God’s Land and God’s people is a holy work and a way to honor our Lord.

Please join our CBN Israel team in prayer this week:

  • Pray for the IDF as they enter the Gaza Strip with its three hundred miles of dangerous underground tunnels.
  • Pray for traumatized families of the missing, murdered, and hostages. As of Sunday, the Sukkot War’s toll includes 30 Americans murdered and 13 missing.
  • Pray for Gazans to ignore Hamas’s threats not to leave Gaza as warned by Israel to save civilians.
  • Pray for each Christian to wear the mantle of spiritual warfare matched with practical support and advocacy for Israel.
  • Pray for our CBN News team headquartered in Jerusalem as we work around the clock to report the unbiased truth during these unprecedented times.
  • Pray for our CBN Israel team as we rush emergency relief to terror victims, war zone evacuees, and others impacted most by these horrible attacks. 

Scripture verses are quoted from the New International Version.

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Biblical Israel: Gath

Famous as the hometown of Goliath, Gath of the Philistines sits at the opening of the Elah Valley into the coastal plain (1 Samuel 17) in the northwestern Judean lowlands. Archaeological excavations, as well as ancient sources (like the Bible) have led to the identification of the site of Gath with a place known as Tel es-Safi. Gath was one of the five cities of the Philistine Pentapolis, along with Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron. The Bible mentions Gath more than any other Philistine city.

It serves as a key city within the narrative of the wandering of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 5). Most of the biblical references to Gath come from the stories relating to David. He fought Goliath from Gath (1 Samuel 17); he escaped from Saul fleeing to Achish the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21 and 27). Ittai the Gittite (meaning he’s from Gath) served as the commander of David’s trusted warriors (2 Samuel 15).

Gath’s prominence diminished during the later Old Testament period. 2 Kings 12:17 mentions the capture of Gath by Hazael of Aram (around 830 B.C.). The prophet Amos spoke about the state of Gath’s destruction (6:2), most likely as a result of the destruction of Hazael. In later biblical texts where the Philistine cities are mentioned, Gath is not, indicating that it was no longer important by the 8th century B.C.

Excavations at Gath (Tel es-Safi) indicate that in the Late Bronze Age a distinct cultural change happened with the appearance of Philistine culture. During this period and the early Iron Age, excavations reveal that Gath was a large urban center. Up until the destruction of Gath as a result of Gath’s conquest by Hazael, the site grew reaching its zenith in the 10th-9th centuries B.C. It covered 16 to 20 acres, with an upper and lower city making it one of the largest sites in this period within the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank). Excavators discovered evidence of Hazael’s siege and conquest including a destruction layer throughout the site.

Scholars have recognized that the origins of the Philistines lay within the Aegean world. An inscription discovered in the excavations of Gath have underscored this. The inscription dates to Iron Age IIA and is inscribed with an archaic alphabetic script. It preserves two non-Semitic, Indo-European names with parallels from Mycenaean Greek and Luwian. It is the earliest decipherable Philistine text. It shows that the Philistines used Aegean scripts for their early writing, and that the Philistine language had Indo-European roots.

The size of the site of Gath and the excavations carried out there are significant not only for Gath but understanding Philistine culture in general. This gives important background to their appearance within the biblical record.

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.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: Be Steadfast

“He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:29-31 NASB).

The word “to wait” in Hebrew also means “to hope”—“those wait [hope] for the LORD.” The ability to remain steadfast, unmoved no matter what the circumstances—that’s what the Bible means by faith.

Faith in the Bible does not refer to “belief” in the sense of some inward, psychological state; rather, faith is steadfastness. It’s hard to remain steadfast when you’re tired. It’s hard to continue hoping when nothing seems to change, “yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength.” 

One of the reasons athletes train and condition is so that when they call upon their bodies to perform at peak levels during a performance, they can do so without becoming tired. When we are tired, we lose focus; we don’t function well. Tiredness affects mental and physical performance; it impacts our emotional health. It opens us up to giving up. Do we have patience to wait on God? 

That’s becoming increasingly difficult in our world today. We want rapid answers to our questions and prompt solutions to our problems. Waiting is not a part of our 21st-century DNA.

Paul spoke about what produces hope in our lives: “Affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 HCSB). 

Affliction, or suffering, produces endurance, and endurance produces hope. Our waiting and steadfastness produce hope in our lives.

We may get tired; everyone does, even the young. We may be weary, life does that. But do we focus on remaining steadfast in our commitment to obey God? That, Paul says, produces hope, and those who hope in God will renew their strength. 

The true test of our faith is not what we say, not what we feel, but how steadfast we remain. Hope does not disappoint because we serve a God who brings rest to the weary, who restores the downtrodden, and who strengthens the weak.

Our steadfastness also offers an incredible testimony to a watching world that wants everything now.


Father, renew us, we are weary. May we remain steadfast, hoping in You. Amen.

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Weekly Q&A: What is the Talmud?

The Talmud refers to the expansive commentary which developed around the Mishnah in the centuries following the collection and editing of the Mishnah. There are two Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud and Babylonian Talmud. The Talmud consists of two parts: the Mishnah and the expansive commentary on the Mishnah known as the Gemara.

The Jerusalem Talmud—often referred as the Yerushalmi—follows the Mishnah’s organization down to the chapter level. However, the Yerushalmi lacks certain Mishnaic tractates (chapters); thus, it is incomplete. The Yerushalmi cites Sages who lived between A.D. 200-400. The main collection and editing of the Yerushalmi occurred within the land of Israel, most of it taking place in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The language of the Yerushalmi is both Galilean Aramaic and rabbinic Hebrew.

The Babylonian Talmud is the longest literary work produced in Late Antiquity (roughly 6,000 pages in standard printed editions). It provides a full expansive commentary on the Mishnah. Like the Yerushalmi, the Babylonian Talmud includes the Mishnaic text and Gemara. Its size and thoroughness made the Babylonian Talmud the crowning accomplishment of rabbinic Judaism and the most important source of Jewish religious instruction.

The Babylonian Talmud follows the organization of the Mishnah, but the Mishnaic sayings often follow a different order than the Mishnah. The Babylonian Talmud was composed primarily in Babylon; thus, outside the land of Israel. Like the Mishnah and Yerushalmi, the Babylonian Talmud underwent a period of editing and collecting, until it came to its final form sometime in the 6th-8th centuries A.D. It preserves many sayings in Mishnaic Hebrew, but the anonymous glue which holds it together is in Babylonian Aramaic.

Both Talmuds cite sayings which go back to Sages from the time of the Mishnah but are not contained in the Mishnah. These sayings are referred to as baraitot. They provide important additional ancient opinions and sayings from earlier Sages. The Yerushalmi and Babylonian Talmud contain sayings ascribed to Sages as well as anonymous sayings.

The Talmud contains legal material, like the Mishnah. It also contains material derived from Scriptural interpretations, parables, and narrative stories, which are not as plentiful within the Mishnah.

The Talmud was composed much later than the New Testament. Due to its lateness by comparison, some scholars doubt its value for helping us to understand the world of ancient Judaism of which Jesus and the New Testament were a part.

Yet, when we account for the forces which shaped its composition, the oral nature of Judaism and its ability to transmit sayings, interpretations of Scriptures, and instructions, the Talmud can shed light into the world of Jesus. For example, apart from the Gospels, on the lips of Jesus, story parables only appear in rabbinic literature, like the Talmud. Therefore, they have merit in helping us to understand Jesus’ most common manner of teaching.

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.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Islamic Regime and Hamas Boast About Their Genocidal Goals—What’s Next?

By Arlene Bridges Samuels 

On a beautiful night in the southern Israel desert, thousands of young men and women were celebrating the final hours of Sukkot—one of three main festivals, this one known for great joy. Billed as a “friends, love, and peace” festival, it instead ended in a shocking display of hatred and evil. Iran-backed terrorists cruelly began shooting to kill partygoers who scattered, running for their lives. In a cowardly, terror-laced version of celebration, Hamas infiltrators aimed their weapons at innocent civilians whose only “crime” was that they were Jewish.

Reportedly, the genocidal terrorists encircled a large group and shot all of them dead—like they were animals or pests. The numbers are still mounting, but at this writing over 1,000 people were slaughtered or kidnapped.

“Never Again” is Again!

To carry out this three-pronged incursion by land, sea, and air, the Islamic Regime and its proxy Hamas must have plotted for months to develop such a sophisticated strategy. Many ask, “How did this happen to Israel?” In a country known for its vigilance and advanced technology, this question will be debated and examined in the weeks, months, and years ahead. But for now, here is my perspective as a longtime advocate for Israel.

First, Israelis had celebrated their annual weeklong Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) this year between Friday, September 29, and Friday, October 6. Sukkot commemorates the 40 years Jews spent in the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt. Secondly, the next day, October 7, was Shabbat. Families throughout the country slept in a state of contented exhaustion, with Israel shut down as it is each Shabbat. And then, out of nowhere, the Hamas air attack utilized bomb-carrying drones that targeted IDF outposts near the Gaza fence, also disabling the technology. Thousands of coordinated rockets began falling in Israel as bulldozers breached the supposedly impregnable Gaza fence. Bloodthirsty terrorists zoomed in on motorcycles and in pickup trucks packed with men who were all too eager to kill, kidnap, and rape. The sneak attack from Israel’s cowardly enemies is all too reminiscent of the 1973 Yom Kippur War attacks on their holiest day of the year.

Meanwhile, showing the true nature of Iran’s leaders, video clips appeared shortly on social media showing their Parliament members on October 7th chanting, “Death to Israel. Death to America.” You can be sure they saw the first unspeakable photos of the murderous rampage into southern Israel’s kibbutzim and towns.

The trusted non-profit organization Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which specializes in skillfully translating Arab media into English, reported a sample of Palestinian Fatah hatred with this headline: “Strike the Sons of Apes and Pigs … slaughter everyone who is Israeli.” Fatah controls the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is led by President Mahmoud Abbas, the 87-year-old tyrant who has not held an election since 2009. Fatah has now called for violent Palestinian uprisings in Judea and Samaria. Early on, Abbas “…stressed the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves against the terrorism of settlers and the occupation forces.”

Again, the true nature of another dictatorship, with a man who leads a movement that glorifies terrorists. Abbas enforces the “pay to slay” policy aimed at recruiting Palestinians to become “martyrs”—and then financially rewards their families for a lifetime.

The above examples of the Iranian-backed proxies, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah—and others like them—reflect the dreadful and dangerous reality of the evil terror mindset. Hate has deformed too many Arab minds through using media and an educational system that begins with kindergarteners. Tutored by hate, these indoctrinated children grow into adults manipulated by their leaders. Millions are victimized by the poisonous emotions pouring into the minds of those living in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria (in Palestinian-controlled towns) or under Imams weaponizing fanatical Shia Islam. It is my hope that the horrific photos and video clips of these human beasts will finally wake the world up to what Israelis have dealt with for decades.

Similar to the unspeakable Nazi genocide of six million European Jewsrounded up, incarcerated in prison camps, and killed en masse using industrialized methodsthese Islamic murderers are enacting the same, malicious Jew hatred. Shouting their Arabic “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”) as they paraded in the streets of Gaza with American, Israeli, and other hostages with ghastly cheers and shouts while abusing dead bodies and Jewish men, women, and children still alive.

Numerous Israeli military and political leaders tell us this will be a “long war.” For the first time in 50 years, since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the 37th Israeli government’s Security Cabinet officially declared war. On the night of October 8, 2023, as per Article 40 of Israeli Basic Law, they stated: “The war that was forced on the State of Israel in a murderous terrorist assault from the Gaza Strip began at 06:00 yesterday” (Saturday, October 7, 2023).

While I understand the comparative magnitude of the terms, “Israel’s 9/11 and Israel’s Pearl Harbor,” the moniker of this war must be distinctly Jewish. I am calling it The Sukkot War.

Since 2020, the Abraham Accords have been a welcome breakthrough with Israel amid ongoing talks with Saudi Arabia. Likely this plays into Iran’s demonic strategy launched on October 7, a threat to their hegemony in the region and beyond. Nevertheless, it is time for Arab nations to resettle—into their nations—Arab civilians from Gaza who are not part of Hamas.

Israel, the U.S., the UN, and Europe have supplied Gaza with almost-daily humanitarian aid since 2005, when the Israeli government forcibly evacuated every Jew (around 8,000) from their homes, businesses, schools, and synagogues. The same day the last IDF soldier closed the gate as he departed, Palestinians tore through Gaza destroying every asset left behind to help them. Two years later they elected Hamas, beguiled by promises to help them—promises that are still unfulfilled. Israelis literally handed Palestinians a state hoping they would create a “Singapore by the Sea.” Instead, 18 years later the Jewish state is facing a dire existential crisis.

We are witnessing a crossroads in world history. American churches must make serious decisions. Will we advocate openly for the world’s only Jewish state? (Not because the Jewish nation and people are perfect; they are not, and we are not.) We advocate for Israel because we love Jesus, He loves them, and He loves us unconditionally anyway.

The Sukkot War looks like it is only about an argument between Israel and Palestinians—like nothing but a political tug of war, with different sides pulling hard on a rope. Yet it is much bigger and deeper. Satan has fashioned a deadly rope around the necks of nations to destroy Israel. It is a war against God, against His land, and against any believer who stands in the way. Are we ready?

Evangelicals cannot imitate the apathetic German church during World War II. Most churches looked away as trains full of Jews stuffed in cattle cars rolled by on the tracks while church members sang hymns. A remnant of Christians risked their lives, but it was not enough. Will we be enough in the dark days ahead?

We must prepare ourselves. Media will drop any current sympathies and revert to their habitual condemnation of Israel. It has already begun. A rebellious world is embroiled in a storm of accusations. Be ready as believers.

Choose to be truth tellers by remaining close to our Savior, drawing strength from Him, fellowshipping with believers, and reading our Bibles often. Consult trusted media: CBN News, Erick Stakelbeck, TBN’s The Watchman, Amir Tsarfati on Telegram, and All Israel News. Grab this fact now: Remember that the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new Nazis, are responsible for endangering the entire Gazan population as pawns. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reports that already more than 74,000 refugees are in shelters. They have become refugees at the hands of their hateful dictators.

Unquestionably, pray. Multiple prayer efforts are well underway. However, actions must emerge from our prayers.

Lastly, the U.S. Congress remains a bastion of passing bipartisan legislation that bolsters Israel’s security needs and in turn benefits the U.S. with vast cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Israelis. I served on staff of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee between 2007-2016 as their first Christian Outreach Director covering 69 congressional districts in the Southeast. Reaching out to members of the U.S. Congress via AIPAC and its lay leaders is important and effective to make sure we help our spiritual homeland by appealing to Congress to remain pro-Israel. Lay aside your disdain for politics and put it to holy use on behalf of God’s land and people. You can easily learn and act right away.

Israel needs humanitarian aid right now. Victims of terror and violence need emergency relief. Evacuees from the warzone need food, clothing, and shelter. Your loving support can help fulfill the words of the prophet in Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. Please give a special gift to CBN Israel as they mobilize coordinated relief efforts. Donate today.

Join our CBN Israel team this week to repeatedly pray for Israel. Lamentations 3:46-48 NIV describes the shock, trauma, and grief Israelis are experiencing. “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed.” Verse 66 is a request: “Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.”

Prayer points:

  • Pray for the 300,000 plus Israeli Defense Forces reservists and those who are currently active military as they defend their homeland in the air, sea, land, and cyber security.
  • Pray for the hostages kidnapped into Gaza (including Americans) and for a leader to negotiate with Hamas effectively.
  • Pray for the many families who are already burying their loved ones among more than 1,200 dead and 2,700 wounded.
  • Pray for Americans who have lost family members or do not yet know where they are.

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

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Victim of Terrorism: Malka’s Story

Years ago, a Jewish couple narrowly escaped the Holocaust, and eventually moved to Israel. They thought the worst was behind them. Over 70 years after the war, Malka and Michael faced more danger, when their home in Israel was targeted in a rocket attack. 

Malka remembers, “When I heard the blast, I thought the world ended, and saw my husband covered in blood. Shrapnel pierced his ear. He has Parkinson’s disease, and I couldn’t move him to safety. It was so horrible.” As thousands of rockets rained down from Gaza, medical personnel eventually reached and treated Michael. But their nightmare continued. 

Their apartment building had massive structural damage, so the government declared it unlivable. They evacuated and had to rent an apartment. After saving up for years to pay off their home, Malka says, “Now we are using what little money we have to pay for this rental apartment, while the government decides what to do with our old building. It’s heartbreaking.” 

In desperation, they turned to CBN Israel. Thankfully, friends like you brought them groceries, and have paid their rent as they wait to hear from the government. Michael says, “After all the hardships, it’s great to see that someone cares.” Malka added, “We knew you were Christians—I had never received help like this. Without it, we wouldn’t have made it. We are so thankful!” 

Your gifts to CBN Israel can bring aid and comfort to other terror victims—along with single mothers, lonely immigrants, frail Holocaust survivors, and more. 

In the face of rocket attacks, poverty, and those fleeing war, your support can supply food, shelter, financial help, and job training to those in need. 

Please help us give urgent relief to victims of war and terrorism!


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Biblical Israel: Ashkelon

By Marc Turnage

Ashkelon sits on the southern Mediterranean coast in the modern State of Israel. The Bible identifies it as one of the five Philistine cities along with Gaza, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Ashkelon sits on the Mediterranean coast between Gaza and Ashdod. The ancient site sat on a ridge of cemented sandstone called kurkar. Its elevated vantage point allowed for the observation of the sea routes from Egypt to Lebanon. 

Ashkelon receives, on average, almost fourteen inches of rainfall a year, which, while not a lot, is sufficient for viticulture and the cultivation of gardens. The high-water table meant that the city had an abundant supply of freshwater throughout its ancient history. Over a hundred ancient wells have been uncovered in excavations. 

The land around Ashkelon consists of sand ridges that run parallel to the coast. The local kurkar served as a basic stone for building at the site. Its location on the sea and just west of major land trade routes made Ashkelon a maritime trading center. Ancient seafaring vessels traveled using the trade winds and currents, tacking their way following the coast. Thus, Ashkelon served as an important location along the sea route between Egypt and Lebanon. 

Its close proximity to the most important overland route in the Ancient Near East, a route that connected Egypt with Damascus and Mesopotamia, meant that Ashkelon could capitalize upon its location for both land and sea trade. Throughout its history it maintained this dynamic; in the Byzantine period (4th-6th centuries A.D.), wine from Ashkelon was found in England. 

Ashkelon functioned as an important site in the Middle (1950-1550 B.C.) and Late (1550-1200 B.C.) Bronze Ages. Its fortifications from the Middle Bronze period are quite impressive including an arched gate, which is one of the oldest arches in the world. In Iron Age I (1200-1000 B.C.), Ashkelon underwent a change within its material culture. 

Excavations have revealed that during this period a distinct Philistine material culture emerged. With the Philistine appearance, both pig and dog entered the diet of the people; food avoided by both the Canaanites and Israelites. Excavators have uncovered tools and elements necessary for the manufacturing of textiles. 

Two Phoenician shipwrecks discovered off the coast of Ashkelon illustrate the importance of Ashkelon for maritime trade. These vessels contained over four hundred wine amphorae. Ashkelon, like Gaza, Ashdod, and Ekron, was destroyed around 600 B.C. by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The strategic importance of the city meant that it was rebuilt in the Persian period, and it continued to serve as in important trade center through the Byzantine period. It was eventually destroyed in A.D. 1270. 

The Bible says little about Ashkelon. That was likely due to the biblical writers being unfamiliar with the cosmopolitan center of Ashkelon. The prophets Amos, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah denounced the city, but it did not serve as an important focus of the Bible. That, however, does not reflect the significance of this ancient site.  

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.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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