Biblical Artifact: Temple Warning Inscription

By Marc Turnage

The first century Jewish historian Josephus described the Jerusalem Temple in great detail. He noted that the large outer court was separated from the holy precincts by a balustrade that had inscriptions in Greek and Latin forbidding non-Jews from passing this wall. Non-Jews were permitted to be in the outer court, which lay outside the sacred area of the Temple. 

A thick marble slab with seven lines inscribed in Greek warning “foreigners” (non-Jews) from passing the balustrade of the Temple and entering its sacred precincts was discovered in 1871, north of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The inscription reads: “No foreigner is to enter within the balustrade and forecourt around the sacred precinct. Whoever is caught will himself be responsible for (his) consequent death.” It currently resides in the archaeological museum in Istanbul, Turkey. A broken marble slab with six lines inscribed in Greek was discovered in the area of Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. It resides in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. 

Both inscriptions verify Josephus’ description of the warnings on the balustrade of the outer court of the Temple. Paul was accused of violating this prohibition by bringing non-Jews past the partition (Acts 21:26-30). Paul also used this physical partition, which separated non-Jews from the sacred areas of the Temple when he wrote to the Ephesians: 

“So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called ‘the uncircumcised’ by those called ‘the circumcised,’ which is done in the flesh by human hands. At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it” (Ephesians 2:11-16; emphasis added). 

According to Paul, that which served as a sign in the Jerusalem Temple for the separation between Jews and non-Jews had been abolished in God’s redemptive community, in which Jews and non-Jews were now reconciled.

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: A More Excellent Way

Paul’s community of believers in Corinth was a mess. They had all kinds of issues. A man had taken his stepmother from his father. There was the question of eating meat sacrificed to idols. They abused the Lord’s Supper by the wealthy eating and getting drunk while the poor went away hungry.

Their communal times of worship were chaos. At the center of all of their problems were quarreling and divisions, which happened because these individuals put themselves and their rights above those of their neighbors.

We love to read 1 Corinthians 13—the love chapter—at weddings. You may even assume, if you haven’t read Paul’s entire letter in a while, that he wrote it for young married couples. But he didn’t. He actually positions this chapter between his discussion about corporate worship, the gifts of the Spirit within the body of Christ, and words of prophecy and tongues. Why?

In chapter 13, Paul offers a blueprint for how Christian communities should handle division, discord, and ego—the more excellent way: love. He begins by outlining a number of spiritual acts and practices. He concludes that even if he does all of these things, yet lacks love, they are worthless.

He then defines love: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 RSV).

The solution to the problems within the community in Corinth: love. Love as Paul defined it.

Reread Paul’s description of love for a moment. How would the practice of such love within our communities impact them and the wider world?

Paul viewed the divisions within the believing community as reflecting negatively upon the body of Christ. Such divisions undermined their testimony and witness. The solution to their my-way, me-first, my-gifts attitude was to act in love, for it will outlast prophecy and tongues.

Too often, our modern faith can reflect an egocentrism that opposes the teachings of Jesus and Paul. The evidence of our spiritual maturity is not our exercising of spiritual gifts, but rather how we love others.

Read Paul’s definition of love again. How would our world look if we lived like that? What would our proclamation of the living God be if we treated one another with love?


Father, may we love others as You have loved us. May the world around us see Your truth through the love we show them. Amen.

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Rosh Hashanah: Feast of Trumpets

By Julie Stahl

“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn, you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:23-25 NLT). 

Rosh Hashanah literally means the “head of the year.” But biblically it is much more than that. In the book of Leviticus in Hebrew it is actually called Yom Hateruah—the day of the blowing of trumpets or ram’s horn (shofar). 

The piercing blast of the shofar is meant to remind the hearer to repent for his sins and make things right with his brothers and sisters. The rabbis say that reconciliation with God and man will confound the enemy. 

“It’s something that people connect to their soul to hear the sound of the shofar,” says Eli Ribak, third-generation shofar maker. 

The ram’s horn is used as the traditional shofar because when Abraham showed his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God provided a ram in the thicket to be used in his place. 

The only animal horn that is forbidden to use as a shofar is the cow’s horn. That’s because the Jewish people don’t want to remind God of the time Israel worshipped the golden calf in the wilderness. 

In some traditions, the shofar is blown in synagogues and at the Western Wall each morning for a month before the holiday to give plenty of time for repentance. 

Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of creation, specifically the day God created Adam and Eve. As such, God the Creator is hailed and crowned as “our King” on that day. 

Christians often blow the shofar throughout the year, but in Judaism it’s only blown during the month of Elul, prior to Rosh Hashanah and at the holiday. It was also blown at the coronation of the kings of Israel, to announce the new king or the coming of the king. 

Boaz Michael, founder of First Fruits of Zion, says that’s a foreshadowing for those who believe in Jesus. 

“And they tell us something, they’re speaking to us, they’re reminding us of something, and one of the things they’re reminding us of is the creation of the world, the coming of the king, King Messiah one day at this time, the coronation of his Kingdom here on earth,” says Michael. “This is what the shofar is to remind us of, and it speaks to us every day when we hear that sound.” 

For Christians, there are a number of references in the New Testament referring to the sounding of trumpets. 

“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31 NKJV). 

Paul writes, “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (1 Corinthians 15:52 NLT). 

The seven trumpets in Revelation also make clear they play a part in the end time calling. 

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the autumn Jewish feasts and begins the “Ten Days of Awe” that lead up to Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”). 

A festive meal at the start of the holiday includes eating apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year; dates, that our enemies would be consumed; pomegranate seeds, that we would bear much fruit; eating round hallah, symbolizing the circle of life and the crown of God’s Kingship; and eating a fish or ram’s head, symbolic of being the head and not the tail in the year to come. 

Another custom is called Tashlich, which literally means “to cast away” or “to throw away.” This concept comes from Micah 7:19 (NKJV): “He will again have compassion on us and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” 

This is a time of reflection to think about and repent for sins of the previous year and to determine how one could do better in the coming year. During this ceremony, Jewish people stand by a body of water and symbolically cast their sins into the water. 

Holiday Greeting: L’Shanah Tovah U’metuka (“May you have a good and sweet new year!”) and Chag Sameach (“Happy holiday!”).

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel full-time for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN—first as a graduate student in Journalism at Regent University; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. She is also an integral part of CBN News’ award-winning show, Jerusalem Dateline, a weekly news program providing a biblical and prophetic perspective to what is happening in Israel and the Middle East. 

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Millions of Israelis Prepare to Celebrate the Jewish New Year Amid Escalating Security Challenges

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

The Jewish community lights its candles for Shabbat tomorrow evening, September 15, signifying the arrival of the Jewish new year, 5784, for Rosh Hashanah (“Head of the Year”) celebrations. It also marks the beginning of the Days of Awe that end on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 10 days later. 

Globally, millions of Evangelicals will express genuine greetings especially toward Israel, our spiritual homeland. Delicious apples and honey treats served at the dinner table reflect wishes for a sweet new year. We might adopt a few well-wishes in Hebrew, including Shana tova (“Have a good year”) and Gmar chatima tova (“May you be inscribed in the Book of Life”).

Entering 5784, Israel simultaneously inhabits two contradictory realities. The nation thrives with bold innovations, long-desired alliances in the Abraham Accords, and countries newly locating their embassies in Jerusalem. The covenant-keeping God of Heaven has kept His eternal promises, preserving a Jewish remnant for thousands of years and into their new year 5784. Unfortunately, the waves of hate—and those choosing to ignore facts about the world’s only Jewish state—are still intruding into the chosen people’s history, decisions, and privileged stature as a parliamentary democracy. And some of Israel’s most dangerous security challenges are escalating.

One such challenge can be found in the United States Congress. Last Friday, 15 Democratic senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, requesting a phone call. They asked Blinken to stop granting visas to Israelis until Israel makes certain concessions for Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Recent (and long overdue) discussions have been ongoing for a Visa Waiver Program, and a September 30 deadline is looming. In July, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed that allows Israeli citizens to travel to the U.S. without a visa and remain for 90 days. 

In a lead-up pilot program, Israel agreed that Palestinian Americans in the West Bank, as well as Iranian Americans and other Arab Americans, could transit Israel to enter the United States for 90 days without background checks. Right now, Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas seem positive about approving the waiver. A last-ditch effort from a minority in the Democratic Senate caucus accuses Israel of a two-tier system when it comes to Palestinians. This particular group of senators tends to lean toward varying criticisms of Israel, claiming that the Jewish nation discriminates against Palestinian-Americans—ignoring essential facts about Palestinian policies. 

Israeli officials report that during the pilot program, over 12,000 Palestinian Americans living in the West Bank entered Israel under the new regulations within the last two months and several thousand Palestinian Americans who live in the U.S. used the new regulations to land at Ben Gurion Airport. 

However, if Israel must reconsider aspects of the MOU, it is because increased terror is emerging from Palestinian towns emboldened and supplied by Iran’s Islamic regime. As of August 21, 2023 is now the deadliest year for terrorism since the Second Intifada (2000-2005). Thirty-four Israelis—men, women, and children—have been murdered, some simply innocently driving along a highway. These 15 Democratic senators could certainly moderate their positions by recognizing the real terror threats on the ground and remembering that Israel has no Palestinian negotiating partner to help shape a peace plan.

Eighty-seven-year-old Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has refused direct negotiations with Israeli leaders since 2009. Yet Arab refusals began decades ago. For those too young to know or who have forgotten, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted for two states, one Arab, one Jewish. Arabs refused the two-state deal. Jews accepted it and established a modern Jewish state on May 14, 1948. Since then, PA leaders have refused several generous offers from some U.S. presidents and Israeli prime ministers. 

Do Palestinian leaders want peace? History says no. For them, it is all or nothing. Elected in 2005, Abbas is still president in his “four-year” term. His civilian population rightly considers him corrupt. He praises Palestinian terrorists as martyrs, names streets after them, donates money to their families, and approves a sewer of hate to flow through Palestinian state media.  

Despite these facts, the letter itself, penned by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), was co-signed by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The bottom line is, this letter brings into view Israel’s necessary security reality. First Yassar Arafat, and now Mahmoud Abbas—Arafat’s 40-year terror sidekick—have rejected Israel’s consistent efforts to restart stalled peace talks. Without fail, criticisms also emerge not only from segments of the U.S. Congress, but also from the United Nations, European Union, and others when Israel is forced to defend its civilians. 

In the meantime, I encourage readers to contact these senators to respectfully ask them to reconsider their support for our best ally in the region, Israel? 

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

  • Pray for the U.S. Congress to maintain its highest levels of support for the longstanding U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • Pray for the safety of Jewish Israelis during the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
  • Pray for vigilance on behalf of Jews in the United States and worldwide.
  • Pray for Secretary of State Blinken to cautiously approve the visa agreement mindful of Israel’s security.

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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New Immigrant: Diana’s Story

Diana and her daughter were living in Western Ukraine when suddenly, war with Russia broke out. She recalls, “I was scared for my daughter and myself, but I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. I reached out to my local synagogue, asking them for help.”

As their hometown was invaded, this Jewish single mother and her daughter decided to seek refuge in Israel. They fled Ukraine with only their suitcases, leaving everything else behind.

Yet, Diana faced many challenges, admitting, “It was very difficult… I needed to find a job and an apartment, learn Hebrew, and find a kindergarten for my daughter.” She found an apartment in central Israel that was close to a kindergarten and a job. But she still needed several major household appliances, and couldn’t afford to purchase them. Where could she turn?

Thankfully, friends like you were there to help. Several Ukrainian refugees told her about CBN Israel. Donors provided her with an oven, a washing machine, and paid for much-needed repairs in her apartment. And they gave her food vouchers, so she could put nutritious food on the table.

Diana exclaimed, “It makes a colossal difference for people like me, who come to Israel without any belongings. It gives me peace of mind knowing you are there. Thank you so much!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can extend a hand of friendship to many in need across Israel—offering food, housing, furniture, appliances, and financial aid.

And your support will bring hope and help to Israel’s refugees, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, and terror victims. Your generosity can do so much—please join with us today!

Will you reach out in kindness and compassion to those in need?


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Biblical Israel: Jerusalem

By Marc Turnage

The most mentioned city in the Bible is Jerusalem. From the time that David made it the capital of his kingdom, it became the focal point of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and later of the Jewish people and faith. 

Jerusalem’s origins date back to over four thousand years ago. It originally grew up around the Gihon Spring, a karstic spring, which served as the water source of the city for thousands of years. Over its history, the city expanded and contracted. The original city that David conquered from the Jebusites occupied the eastern hill of the city, where the modern City of David sits (this was biblical Mount Zion). 

David’s son Solomon expanded the city to the north building his palace, administrative buildings, and the Temple. As the importance of the city grew, and with the collapse of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., people began to settle on the western hill (modern day Mount Zion), which lay outside of the walls of the city at that time. King Hezekiah encircled the western hill with a wall, portions of which are still visible in places where it has been excavated. 

This was the city destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. When the Judahites returned from the Babylonian Exile, they resettled the eastern hill, and the city shrank in size. This was the situation during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. 

In the second century B.C., during the Hasmonean kingdom, a wall was built around the city that followed Hezekiah’s wall line and even incorporated portions of it. Then, sometime in the first century B.C., a second wall was added that incorporated a northern, market section of the city. This was the extent of the Jerusalem known to Jesus. It had two focal points, on the east the Temple Mount, and in the west, the palace of Herod the Great with its three towers perched on its northern side. 

During the reign of Agrippa I (A.D. 41-44), a third wall was begun, but construction was halted at the request of the Roman Emperor. This third wall was not completed until shortly before the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt. At this point, the city reached its largest size in antiquity. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and tore down the three walls. The destruction of the city was so complete that the footprint of the city moved north and west. 

Jerusalem would not reach or exceed the size it was prior to the destruction in A.D. 70 until the modern period, when, in the 19th century, people began to settle outside of the modern Old City Walls, which were constructed by the Ottomans in the 16th century.

The modern Old City, which has little to do with biblical Jerusalem, follows the layout of Jerusalem established in the Late Roman Period. Subsequent centuries left its imprint on the city, Byzantine Christians, Umayyads, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, and British all left their marks on Jerusalem. 

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: When God Rains on Your Parade

“Elijah the Tishbite, from the inhabitants of Gilad, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word’” (1 Kings 17:1 NKJV).

Nobody likes a prophet. Biblical prophets always communicated inconvenient truths, especially to the corrupt political and religious leaders.

They saw the world differently. They saw the world the way God did. And their vision often contrasted with that of those around them. They made life uncomfortable because they did not allow abuses of power and people to be ignored or whitewashed. They reminded Israel that obeying God’s commands extended beyond mere cultic religious ritual.

Israel disobeyed God during the reign of King Ahab. Rather than serving God, the Israelites followed after Ba’al, the Phoenician storm god.

The book of Deuteronomy instructed the Israelites, “If you carefully obey my commands I am giving you today, to love the LORD your God and worship Him with all your heart and all your soul, I will provide rain for your land in the proper time, the autumn and spring rains, and you will harvest your grain, wine, and oil” (verses 11:13-14 HCSB). If, however, Israel decided not to obey, then the opposite would happen; namely, the rains would not come and the crops would not be there.

Archaeology of the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab and his father Omri suggests that Israel experienced a golden age of sorts during this period. Large building projects, growing wealth, Israel exploiting its strategic location within the region—life in Israel during Ahab’s reign was good. Prosperous. Things were going well.

Then Elijah showed up. He made Ahab’s life difficult. It wasn’t going to rain in Israel for several years except at Elijah’s word.

Kings within the ancient Near East provided a connection between the people and the gods, responsible for the people’s well-being. When Ahab’s wife Jezebel—a Phoenician princess—learned it wasn’t going to rain, she encouraged Israel to worship her god, the storm god Ba’al.

As modern readers of the Bible, we look at Elijah from the position of our comfort. He is God’s man. A hero of the faith. But to Ahab and Israel, he was a pain. His proclamation interrupted their prosperous comfort. No one living in the kingdom of Israel looking around at the prosperity of the kingdom would think anything was wrong. Life’s good. We’re prospering. Surely something is right. But not in the eyes of God, so He sent the prophet, the proclaimer of inconvenient truths.

Within the Bible, God’s pleasure is tied only to our obedience—not the prosperity we find ourselves in within the moment. In the same way, when we find ourselves in want, that is not the sign of His displeasure.

God, however, will not tolerate our disobedience forever. He will eventually rain on our parade. Or, in the case of Ahab’s Israel, not rain, which is actually worse.

Do we listen to those inconvenient voices in our lives that challenge us to see things from God’s viewpoint? Do we respond with repentance and obedience? That can make all the difference.


Father, thank You for sending inconvenient voices into our lives, voices that challenge us to see our actions the way You do. Lead us Lord to walk in Your ways, and in all things, to obey You. Amen.

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Weekly Q&A: Why is it so crucial to rediscover the Jewishness of Jesus?

God’s greatest revelation of Himself is Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-18; Galatians 4:4; and Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus was not a religious idea, a man for all generations. He did not belong to the Old Testament world of ancient Israel and Judah, nor was He a student of the Reformation. Jesus belonged to the world and faith of ancient Judaism, in the land of Israel, in the first century A.D. (Galatians 4:4). Failure to encounter the historical Jesus of Nazareth means we follow a Jesus we have made in our own image. The Jesus of faith is only the Jesus of history.

This has often been ignored within much of Christian history and interpretation concerning Jesus. Faith in Jesus has often superseded the faith of Jesus.

Jesus did not belong to the world of the Old Testament. His words, parables, faith, view of God all grew from the soil of ancient Judaism. To understand His words, we must understand the world that bore him. So too, Jesus did not belong to the world of Medieval or modern Judaism; He never wore a kippa.

Our encounter, then, of the Incarnation—God entering a specific time, within a definite space, in a particular culture—must place Jesus within His world, the world of ancient Judaism. This does not mean dressing a Gentile Jesus as a modern Jew, nor does it mean turning the historical Jesus into a modern Gentile Christian.

The Incarnation calls us to encounter Jesus as a historical person whose words meant something within their historical and cultural context. He is not a religious ideal, a superman to be worshiped. Rather, He is our Lord, and as His disciples, we must study His words, do them, and teach others (Ezra 7:10; Matthew 28:18-20). To understand His words, however, we must enter His world, the world of ancient Judaism.

Jesus’ most frequently used story parables to teach. Outside of the Gospels, the only other place we encounter story parables are on the lips of the Sages of the land of Israel. To understand His words, we must understand His world. The most common phrase Jesus used was the kingdom of Heaven. So too, this phrase only appears on the lips of His Jewish contemporaries, the Sages of Israel. To ignore His world means we will misunderstand and misinterpret His words.

That Jesus was a Jew of the first century does not mean His non-Jewish followers should become Jewish (see Acts 15). But we should not deny Him His historical identity because we are not Jews; moreover, we should not seek to cast Him as a modern or Messianic Jew. Encountering the Jesus of history brings us face-to-face with the Jesus of faith.

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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Iran’s Campaign of Aggression Against Israel Also Targets the United States

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

Both history and the sacrifice of U.S. military troops are vital proofs to help us understand threats in our world today. Although significant facts may have slipped from the minds of most Americans, our military, their families, and friends have not forgotten the direct, deadly attacks engineered by the Iranian regime for decades.

Forty years ago, a horrific terror attack killed 241 U.S. marines, soldiers, and sailors deployed to Beirut, Lebanon, as part of a multinational peacekeeping force during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack had the highest single-day death toll for the U.S. Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. That day—October 23, 1983—a Hezbollah terrorist financed and armed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps drove a 19-ton Mercedes truck into an American barracks near the Beirut airport. Marines standing guard outside were following the peacetime rules of engagement, which required their guns to be unloaded. The truck plowed through concertina wire and exploded at the barracks while our soldiers slept. Although our military came in peace, it mattered not to the Islamic regime and its proxies. Then, as now, terrorists’ rules of engagement do not value life and freedom as we do in the United States and in Israel.

The Iraq War (2003-2011) is still fresh and painful for American families whose loved ones died or suffered traumatic wounds to mind and body during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iran’s border with Iraq, stretching for 994 miles, allowed easy access to our heroic American soldiers on the ground.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) used “asymmetric (irregular) warfare” against our troops. Using a simply made, deadly mixture that utilizes homemade elements such as fertilizer, gunpowder, and hydrogen peroxide, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are quite versatile. Ranging in size from small pipe bombs to larger, sophisticated devices, IEDs can be hidden in the dirt, thrown from a distance, or placed in cars or inside innocent-looking packages. Tucked out of sight, they can exact massive damage. Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) are roadside bombs that penetrate even armored vehicles. Overall, Iran is responsible—either directly or indirectly—for nearly one out of every six American combat deaths in Iraq.

The number and severity of injuries—and the devastating loss of life—from Operation Iraqi Freedom are heartbreaking, with 4,492 U.S. service members dead and 32,292 wounded. During the Iraq war, American deaths were a cause for elation among Iranian leaders and their elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran has established itself more deeply now in Israel, within Palestinian-run towns right in Israel’s biblical heartland. Remember that the Islamic regime views the United States as the “great satan” and Israel as the “small satan.” Our freedoms and cooperation are closely tied together as targets of the biggest terror-sponsoring state on earth.   

Security threats are tightening around Israel. The Islamic regime’s surrogates surrounding the tiny Jewish State have now implemented the use of IEDs and EFPs to murder Israeli civilians and members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). On 24/7 alert, Israel is already fully engaged in tracking every inch of its borders due to terrorists in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria funded by Iran’s apocalyptic leaders.

Not since the Second Intifada (2000-2005), where terrorists murdered over 1,000 Israelis and injured thousands more, has Israel faced such a growing number of internal dangers. In that uprising, Palestinians enlisted human suicide bombers to kill and maim Israelis. Now IEDs and EFPs are becoming murder weapons for Palestinian terror groups that are banding together, united by hate. Among them are Hamas, the Jenin Lion’s Den, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, IRGC in Syria, and others—inside, outside, and alongside Israel.

Now, the deadly devices can be manufactured in Palestinian towns. Thus, in early July, the IDF were forced to carry out a two-day defensive operation in Jenin to find and remove weapons and manufacturing labs. An example of what they discovered: The IDF located a large weapons cache in tunnels dug within the al-Ansari mosque. During the 48-hour counterterrorism operation, Israeli Ambassador Mike Herzog tweeted: “Over the past two years, Jenin has become a major hub of terrorism and an Iranian stronghold close to Israeli population centers. Most of the terror attacks against Israelis originated from Jenin. No nation would sit idly by as terrorists strike its citizens.”

Stabbings and car rammings are already prevalent, with added cross-border weapons smuggled from terrorists to terrorists. Last week, an IED injured four IDF soldiers. It was set off while the soldiers were securing the entrance for Jewish pilgrims visiting Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem located in Samaria. 

However, two incidents last month make it clear that Iran is also activating its dangerous assaults anywhere possible. Israeli Arab citizens were caught smuggling explosives into Lod, a city in central Israel. Then two large explosives were stopped, this time coming in from Jordan.

Commemorations will take place once again in the United States marking the 40th anniversary of the 241 peacekeepers—service members who were murdered in Lebanon while they slept in their beds. Our great ally Israel has encountered (and will encounter still more) loss, trauma, and burials due to actions sanctioned by the evil Ayatollahs and their surrogates, who applaud when IEDs, EFPs, cars, knives, and guns enable the murder of innocents—even among their own desperate population.

In closing, the Biden administration’s appeasement plan to release billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets via Iraq and South Korea empowers Iran. Although those funds are ostensibly to pay Iraq’s gas and electricity debt to Iran—so Iranian gas will keep flowing to Iraqi citizens—the Iranian regime will undoubtedly use that money to do what it’s always done: perpetrate hate and killings and imprisoning its freedom-starved population. For decades, Iran has annually provided roughly $700 million to Hezbollah, $100 million to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and hundreds of millions to IRGC in Iraq and Syria to attack Israelis and Americans. Does the Islamic regime need more money to murder Americans, Israelis, and others?

A fact: Mr. Biden is bypassing Congress despite their Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). The legislation does not allow the president to issue any “statutory sanctions relief for Iran in connection with any broadly defined agreement … regardless of the form it takes … and regardless of whether it is legally binding or not.”

Although John Kirby, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, stated that Iran is only using the money for “humanitarian purposes,” the Iranian foreign minister has declared, “The decision on how to utilize these unfrozen resources and financial assets lies with the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Again, history shows American naivete. The relief money will not reach Iran’s desperate population. Instead, it will empower Iran’s terror and its unceasing quest for a nuclear weapon.

Our CBN Israel team welcomes you to join us this week to pray by holding fast to Psalm 46:1-3 NIV: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Gold Star families amid their tragic losses.
  • Pray for American soldiers wounded in mind and body from traumas of war.
  • Pray for Israeli families burying their loved ones to sense comfort and relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus.
  • Pray for wisdom for the Biden administration.
  • Pray for Americans and Israelis to remain strong together.

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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New Immigrant: Olga’s Story

As the Russians invaded Ukraine, Olga and her husband were suddenly living on the frontlines. In fact, their apartment in Mariupol was completely destroyed during the bombings. When their rabbi left the city, they took refuge in the synagogue’s basement. But as the explosions intensified, they realized the building could not withstand further bombardments.

So just several weeks into the attacks, with only half of their city still standing, the couple decided to leave Mariupol and flee to Israel. They headed for Berdyansk, and came under fire. “It took us awhile to finally get out of Ukraine,” Olga recalled. “Everywhere we turned, there was chaos and danger. Sadly, many tried to leave but did not make it. It was very risky.”

They dodged numerous landmines in the road and saw cars that had been blown up. Looters tried to attack them. They refueled in Crimea and made it to Rostov—where they were finally able to board a rescue flight for Israel. Yet, as new immigrants, who would help them?

Thankfully, friends like you were there. Upon arriving, they heard CBN Israel could assist them, and called the number. As they settled near Nazareth, donors provided finances to purchase food, clothing, furniture, and other necessities. Olga exclaimed, “We are deeply grateful to you for helping us start a new life in our ancestral homeland. We will never forget your generosity!”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can offer compassionate relief to many others in need—including single mothers, Holocaust survivors, and terror victims.

And your support can bring essential aid—such as groceries, housing, appliances, and financial help—to those who are hurting. Please let us hear from you today!

Will you reach out in kindness and compassion to those in need?


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