Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering Israel at Easter

This week, around the world, Jews and Christians will be celebrating Passover and Easter (as it is commonly called in the West). In their separate ways, both religions will take time and ceremony to remember and dwell upon the Lord’s wonderful provision of salvation.

While Passover can clearly been interpreted as a metaphor of Christ’s crucifixion and salvation through the shed blood of the lamb, it’s also worth noting that in both instances there is only one way of salvation provided; in Passover through the lamb’s blood spread on the door post and in Easter through Christ’s blood shed on the cross.

This is an extremely important point to note. There do not exist multiple ways in which to reconcile ones self to God as many people today are want to believe. There has only ever been one way, thousands of years ago in Egypt or across the globe today. Jesus clearly states that no one comes to the Father but through Him.

However, there is a stark difference in the stories of the Jewish salvation in Egypt and the work of Christ on the cross in Jerusalem. While the salvation in Egypt was reserved for a single people group, the Hebrews – the Egyptians were not given instructions on how to save their first-born from the angel of death – salvation through Christ is freely available to the entire world. This is the wonderful New Covenant. This is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that through him all the families of the earth will be blessed.

The sad irony in all this is that the Jewish people, who will this week celebrate their national salvation from Egypt, are for the most part as a nation today not partaking in the salvation offered through Jesus. They haven’t recognized His credentials as Messiah nor His direct fulfillment of the redemption towards which Passover spoke.

But, as the Apostle Paul warns us in Romans 11, we should be careful not to “boast against the branches” that are cut off. Many in Church history, and even today, have sadly ignored Paul’s words and have instead chosen to see the Jewish people as despised and rejected by God, not understanding the mystery of what has happened.

Paul clearly explains in Romans 11 verse 25 that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The prophet Isaiah in chapter 8 of his book clearly foresaw this scenario when he spoke of a “stone of stumbling” to Israel and a time when the Lord would “hide His face from Jacob.”

This is clearly echoed in Psalm 118 verse 22-24 where it says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We’ve all happily sung a song to that Psalm probably not realizing its true context nor its seeming contradiction in that the Lord has caused this rejection and yet it is something to celebrate.

The Church at large needs to comprehend what this mystery means for us as believers, especially as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. Simply said, we should recognize that we would have no salvation were the Jewish people not blinded by God himself from seeing Christ as Messiah.

Paul explains this principle in Romans 11 verse 15 by saying that “their being cast away is the reconciling of the world.” This should lead us to love and appreciate our Jewish brethren who have suffered so much for the sake of the gospel to reach the ends of the earth. They are separated from God for our sakes, for our very salvation.

But, there’s more. On Easter Sunday, churches will celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Paul states in Romans 8 that creation itself “waits for the revealing of the sons of God”. We have yet to actually receive our salvation, we are “eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8 verse 23). We are waiting for our resurrection that we may truly become like the risen Christ in whom we rejoice.

Paul finishes his sentence in Romans 11 verse 15, speaking of the Jewish people, by saying of them, “what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” It must be understood therefore that once God removes the Jewish people’s blindness, and they accept Jesus as Lord, this is the trigger that will usher in Christ’s return, at which point we receive our salvation (Hebrews 9 verse 28). Our destiny as God’s people is clearly wrapped up with the people who celebrate Passover.

As we approach the Lord’s Table this Easter and remember all that He has done for us, let us not forget the Jewish people who have also paid such a high price for our salvation. And let us remind the Lord to turn His face towards Jacob again, to free Israel from slavery once more, that they may usher in for all creation the wonderful reign of our King and Savior, Jesus.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Beware the power vacuum

There was a glimmer of hope seen in the Arab world last year when the youth rose up to shake themselves loose of the tyrants who had denied them freedom and opportunity. It was believed that they looked to the West for inspiration, and it was understood that Western technology such as smart phones with cameras and social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter empowered the masses with the ability to report and organize in defiance of the ruling dictatorships. A shift in power had taken place, from the ruling elite to the suffering majority, and as the awareness of this phenomenon grew, so did the unrest in more and more Arab nations.

A year later and what we see taking the place of the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Lybia and possibly even Syria, are not moderate, western minded rulers as expected, but rather Islamic extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood. These Islamists are anti-Western, antisemitic, anti-Christian and discriminating against women.

Oddly enough, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was not initially involved in the protests lending weight to the theory that there was hope of moderation in the outcome of the uprisings. However, the Muslim Brotherhood was quick to seize the opportunity as they witnessed a power vacuum appearing in Egypt. They not only joined the protestors but were able to galvanize widespread support for their brand of Islamic rule as the party of choice to replace the previous more secular regime.

Linked to such terrorist organizations as Hamas, we should not be too surprised by the Muslim Brotherhood's ability to turn a protest against rampant corruption into a vote for a purist form of Islamic law. This is what Hamas had achieved in Gaza when the people there voted out Fatah back in 2006.

Take a journey across the Atlantic ocean and you find that the Occupy Wallstreet protests and other such variants across the US have attempted to duplicate the success of the Arab uprisings in protest of the perceived corruption and greed exhibited in the financial markets, especially as regards the controversial bail-outs of the industry.

The "Occupy" movement continues without a great deal of success, but it has exposed a very concerning development. As it gained momentum initially, a large secret group of hackers calling themselves "Anonymous" came out from behind their computers and took to the streets to join the protests. Masked as the hero/villain of the movie "V for Vendetta", suddenly hundreds of real life versions of their frightening video avatar were now in the midst of a populist social uprising.

Anonymous gained infamy when they claimed responsibility for denial of service attacks Paypal's website in protest over the removal of payment processing for the Wikileaks site when Julian Assange was arrested for the wealth of sensitive state information he had made public. This set off a war with the FBI and several Anonymous users were arrested. Anonymous seem to have been able to strike back in the last week, releasing a recording they claim to have tapped wherein the FBI are discussing with Scotland Yard their efforts to track down Anonymous members. Their capabilities are impressive, and also a little frightening, especially to law enforcement who can't seem to secure their computers against these attacks.

Essentially, Anonymous opposes all kinds of censorship and oppression, which certainly echoes elements we respect in terms of freedom of speech and constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, they seem to exhibit a consistent disregard for the rule of law, the very thing designed to protect those freedoms and rights we enjoy. Remove the law and you find that freedom becomes anarchy, while the rights of the weakest can no longer be protected.

Anonymous feel that we are living in a police state, which may bear some truth if we are indeed moving towards a UK style rule of law with your every public action being recorded on a video somewhere. Their response, however, to perceived police brutality has been to publish online the personal information of offending officers, putting their lives and families at risk. In a CNN report covering this phenomenon, the officers in question would not even come forward to be interviewed, presumably for fear of further cyber attacks:

Here's Anonymous's motto:
"We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us"
Despite the very non-Christian ethos of neither forgiving nor forgetting, Anonymous chose a phrase "We are Legion" which comes straight from the Bible and refers to an exorcism by Jesus where the demon identifies himself as "Legion" since there were in fact many demons which possessed the man. The illustration is at once quite powerful and frightening, depicting a situation where one face, one man, actually represents many hidden forces unknown to those who would try to perceive it.

Except Jesus.

In fact, Jesus gives a warning in Matthew 12: 43-45 which I believe is very applicable for this generation, for these tumultuous days in which we live:

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus takes the illustration of one man and applies it to an entire generation. I couldn't think of a more stark warning for us today. As one evil system is overthrown, and things seem to be getting cleaned up, something even more evil steps into the power vacuum created and assumes control, making the last state worse than the first.

2 Thessalonians 2 warns us that the day of the Lord, Jesus' return, "will not come until the rebellion occurs and the son of lawlessness is revealed". I'm not suggesting or predicting that Anonymous or the Occupy Movement are going to usher in the anti-Christ, but I do see here a clear reference to that fact that some kind of rebellion will occur, that the beast who rises out of it will be lawless, and that what occupies the final "state" will be something far more evil and sinister than that which preceded it.

So, what are we to do? 2 Thessalonians 2 says that God will send a strong delusion to those who did not love the truth, so that they are deceived. We must simply strengthen our love for the Lord, for His ways and for His truth, especially in a world that increasingly mocks and derides the Christian world view.

The German church in World War II failed to see the danger that Hitler presented. They had lost their love for the truth, and were deceived into believing that Hitler would save them from the great evil of Communism. The fact is that Hitler did indeed rescue Germany from Communism, but his rebellion paved the way for something far more evil to occupy Germany, and his lawlessness produced the massacre of millions of lives, not the least of which were 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

We should pray that we are not deceived when the next "son of lawlessness" is revealed. And we must beware the power vacuum.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stop poking God in the eye

I Samuel 11 tells the fascinating story of how Israel came to be united under Saul’s kingship. As with all Old Testament stories, God has given them to us so we can learn from them and apply the principles revealed therein. This story is no different, and even gives us invaluable insight into how the Lord views events happening in our own lifetime.

In this chapter, the Ammonites come up against Jabesh. The people of Jabesh seek terms of peace but are presented with a horrible proposition; in return for peace the Ammonites want the right to cut out the right eye of every man and bring a reproach on all Israel.

Apart from the stigma and shame attached with having a whole community’s eyesight disabled, it is also evident that the Ammonites sought to ensure that Jabesh remained immobilized, defenceless against future attacks. If the men of Jabesh could not defend themselves well with both eyes, removing the right eye would certainly ensure that even in the future they would not be able to rise to the challenge and the Ammonites could seek further sacrifices for “peace” whenever they desired.

On May 19th, 2011, the President of the USA announced a change in policy regarding his country’s position as peace broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Whereas previously no administration had outlined what it believed was the territorial starting position for negotiations, but had left that for the two parties to work out, President Obama stated that the pre-1967 borders should now be the basis for the renewal of talks. Areas that do not fall within these territories, such as many Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, along with historic Jerusalem (so-called East Jerusalem), could be resolved, the President said, via land swaps.

The Group of Eight leaders, representing the most economically powerful nations on earth, were swift to endorse Obama’s position in a statement released on May 27th, 2011.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel’s premier, was quick to reject this new approach since it would return Israel to a territorial position that is not defendable. Every American administration up until this one has understood that after all the wars Israel has fought to defend itself against the Arab plans for her annihilation, she requires defendable borders to live in peace and security.

Not only that, but if the pre-1967 borders are the starting point for peace, Israel faces again the shameful prospect of having to send in its own armed forces to forcibly uproot thousands of its citizens from their homes as the world watches on through the lenses of western media companies that have systematically reduced these people to dehumanized illegal settlers, and blamed them for the lack of peace in the entire region, if not the world.

Make no mistake, the Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and they have always sought an agreement with Israel that leaves the door open for further attacks on her sovereignty. Like the Ammonites, they offer peace in return for Israel’s shame. They will only come to an agreement if the Israelis cut out their right eye by removing their so-called settlements, and in so doing, also return to a situation where they are more vulnerable to further attacks. Unfortunately, the US President has led the way in adding considerable weight to their cause and the Israelis, like the people of Jabesh, find themselves isolated and outnumbered in this conflict.

Going back to I Samuel 11, we find that the people of Jabesh seek help and their messengers reach Saul. But, the Saul they find is not sitting in a kingly palace with thousands of troops at his command; he’s out in the field herding flocks. He had been crowned king already, but not all the people accepted his appointment and it seems as if life just went back to normal for Israel and Saul, up until this point that is.

When Saul hears the news, something remarkable happens. The Spirit of God comes upon him and he becomes extremely angry. He hews a yoke of oxen into pieces, sends them throughout the land as warning of what will happen to the oxen of those who don’t come out to fight, and he manages to raise an army of 330,000 which goes on to demolish the Ammonites and save Jabesh. The people rally around Saul after this victory, gathering in Gilgal to renew the kingdom and make Saul king before God.

Saul clearly didn’t have the force of arms to back up his threat, but the fear of Lord fell on the people as Saul followed the Spirit’s leading and this brought forth salvation.

It’s not often that we associate the Holy Spirit with anger, or righteous indignation as some translations use. We are more accustomed to the Holy Spirit bringing peace or joy in the face of adversity. But God is clearly able to experience the emotions we humans know and when the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, He can even impart on us His very personal feelings regarding a situation.

In Zechariah 2: 8 it says of Zion, “he who touches you touches the apple of His eye”. Your eye is the most sensitive part of your body. When the Ammonites came to Jabesh with the intent of cutting out the men’s right eyes, they didn’t realize that they had poked God in the eye, in His most sensitive area, and aroused His anger. It’s a warning to all nations that would seek to come up against Israel to dispossess her of her God-given inheritance.

In these days when the nations are out repeating the mistake of the Ammonites, the question for us is how in tune are we to the Holy Spirit? How well are we connected with God’s feelings on the issue? Are we outraged? Are we speaking up to ensure that our nations are warned as to the consequence of their actions?

Like Saul, we have been anointed, but haven’t yet received a kingdom. I Peter 2: 9 says we are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation”. We don’t have physical armies under our command, but our power is in the fear of the Lord. He will bring the victory.

Isaiah 41 confirms that the Lord will deliver Israel and will destroy those who come against her. We should speak words of comfort to Zion, to let her know that her God will surely rescue her, while also speaking a word of warning to the nations about how they treat the people of the covenant. Never has there been a time when these messages are more important.

For the sake of our own nations, we must find our voice and tell our leaders to please stop poking God in the eye.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In or out of Jesus this Easter?

At the ICEJ’s 2010 Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, David Pawson made some comments on being "in Jesus" that really stuck with me. It's not a concept I’ve often heard explored from the pulpit yet it essentially defines for the believer how the world is divided from God's perspective. Our Father in heaven sees us as either being in or out of Jesus. The concept is simple, easily understood, and to a lot of people, totally offensive.

I can fully understand the world not embracing such a seemingly extremist worldview. The Word of God tells us that the message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing (I Corinthians 1: 18).

What's disturbing to me is that among those who consider themselves to be in Jesus there is a trend underway to deny either who He is, the completeness of His work on the cross or even the necessity to be found in Him for salvation. And the world loves it.

A recent piece in Time Magazine (April 25, 2011) entitled “Is Hell Dead” celebrates the controversial view mega church pastor Rob Bell has espoused in his new book, “Love Wins” wherein he casts doubt on the central notion that when you pass from this life you must be found in Christ to avoid hell and find entry into heaven. Bell believes that none of us know who will and who won't be in heaven, a point I’m willing to grant him, but you have to achieve some amazing theological acrobatics to get around Jesus’ simple words "No one comes to the Father but through me". In other words, God can reveal Himself to anyone at any time, even in their dying moments, but there’s still only one way to get saved. So, while none of us can truly know definitively who will and who won't be in heaven one day, we do know that no one gets there unless they pass through the correct door, and that door is Jesus.

This controversy has rocked the evangelical world, and rightly so. For those of us who are more closely involved with Christian Zionist work in support of Israel you may be forgiven for doubting if this could have any impact on our corner of the evangelical world. I would have discounted it myself had not the Christian Zionist movement itself had difficulties in sticking to the script (as in Word of God) as far as Jesus is concerned.

The magazine Israel Today was recently embroiled in a heated debate surrounding the reaction of leaders of the Messianic movement in Israel to a pastor who had denied the divinity of Jesus. This wouldn't be of much concern did it not reflect a larger problem in the Messianic movement where agreement on the true identity of Jesus is a major issue. If Rob Bell is denying that Jesus is the door, there are Messianics are trying to redefine what that door looks like.

And if that's not disturbing enough, there's another group, also involved in supporting Israel, who are trying to reinterpret how the Door works. They call themselves Ephraimites and their belief that salvation is reserved only for those who are physically Abraham's seed not only ignores the references in Galatians to Jesus being "the seed", in which we find our identity, but also effectually undermines the complete work of Jesus on the cross. Has John 3:16 become so familiar to us who have memorized it since our first day in children's church that we have ignored its simple yet powerful message?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life"

The "door" that is Jesus is open for anyone and everyone because God loves the entire world. That door is divine because Jesus is God's only son. Enter through that door and you not suffer an afterlife in hell, but rather heaven in the presence of the Father.

This Easter, let's honour the work of Jesus in its completeness, and ensure that we are found in Him that we may join Him in the resurrection!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

From Darwin to Planned Humanity

One thing the UN's climate conference in Copenhagen has not suffered from is a lack of controversy. Starting from the viral video of Lord Monckton warning of plans for a one-world government to the hacked emails of British and American scientists that uncovered a global-warming cover-up, the conference was always going to struggle to find credibility. The latest revelation from the conference takes the real motives of some of these so-called "green" people to another insidious level altogether.

Yesterday, a Chinese ministry official proudly declared that their one-child policy was a successful way to reduce emissions. The Chinese claim that their restrictive birth policies have resulted in an emissions saving of 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

I like to call this ideology Planned Humanity and I'll explain why.

Let's start with the Nazis. They relied on the theory of eugenics when implementing a strategy of purifying the German race from what they considered unwanted elements such as Jews and homosexuals. Eugenics has been described as "the self-direction of human evolution" which of course seems like a somewhat natural progression in thinking if you subscribe to Darwin's theory of evolution. If we are just evolved monkeys, then we should act like the rest of the animal kingdom and only allow the strongest to survive.

Although discredited by the actions of the Nazis, eugenics managed to continue its legacy through Planned Parenthood. The founder of the American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood) was a lady by the name of Margaret Sanger, who just also happened to be a racist and a promoter of eugenics. Today, most of Planned Parenthood's locations are in minority areas and even though blacks only make up 13% of the US population, abortions in this minority group are one third of the total performed. Sanger's racist legacy lives on in the most diabolical way.

Okay, so that's how we get from Darwin to Planned Parenthood. How do we get to Planned Humanity?
Just this week the EPA declared carbon dioxide to be of public danger. Yes, that means you and I are polluting the earth every time we breathe out. By that measure, China is suddenly a very responsible, earth friendly country that's limiting its CO2 emissions by birth control.

So, if humans are reduced to a pollutant on the earth, and abortion is morally acceptable, then it's not a stretch to believe that having an abortion will be elevated to more than just a "choice". Now you're taking it to a whole new level of global responsibility: Have an abortion, and save the planet!

In fact, forced abortions for irresponsible CO2 emitters who over-populate would be perfectly feasible. A plan would need to be made to reduce humanity's emissions by controlling the population's growth. We'd need Planned Humanity.
We might like to believe that we have evolved beyond the excesses of the Nazis, and that no one thinks one race of man is more "efficient" than another, but as we've learnt through Planned Parenthood, an ideology based on something as evil as eugenics will never ensure a non-discriminating approach to the annihilation of human life.

Most of us would probably not believe that the shocking Planned Humanity of the Chinese could ever find itself a home here in the West, but my feeling is that the groundwork has already being laid. The evolution and pro-choice movements might just have found in global warming the spark to light their fire.

May God save us from ourselves.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What will be left after the West has gone?

For the last 70 years, one thing has stood between tyrants and their ability to have their way in this world; American hegemony. Despised from Europe to the Middle East, it nevertheless managed to rid the world of the Third Reich, the USSR and yes, even Saddam Hussein. So, how is it that the land that afforded the West so much of the freedom it has enjoyed is not much appreciated around the globe?

The only way I can explain it is to say that I do not believe the concept of "The West" even exists much in Europe anymore, let alone any other part of the world. I lived in Finland for a few years, and people there hardly knew what I was talking about when I referred to the West. This may be a result of a historical disconnect from the concept, but I think it more attributtable to a conceptual disconnect from history.

Wikipedia explains the West to be:

Western European or Western European-derived nations which enjoy relatively strong economies and stable governments, allow freedom of religion, have chosen democracy as a form of governance, favor capitalism and international trade, are heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian values, and have some form of political and military alliance or cooperation

It doesn't take a genius to look at that description and realize the components missing in Europe and America today that makes titling them "the West" incompatible.

Europe long ago gave up favoring capitalism and Judeo-Christian values, choosing instead socialism and the removal of God from their constitution. The idea of personal responsibility before one's Creator was replaced with a government ensured Utopia where narcissism was propelled to the national level, leaving Europe unable to even defend itself let alone resolve conflicts such as that in Kosovo without American intervention. Even democracy has been eroded as the European Union elitists in Brussels decided what is best for their happy, carefree masses.

It has taken the United States a long time to get to the point where it is ready to follow Europe's example, but now that it has, the pace of the change is startling. In less than a year, banks, automobile manufacturers and possibly now the health care industry would have been socialised. American's willfully chose a President who ran on the platform of big government that would replace personal responsibility. And it wasn't long after he came to power that he declared that this was not a Christian nation. Unless something dramatic happens, it is safe to say that America will soon look a lot more like Europe, and the West just be a relic of those days sometime before the Berlin Wall came down.

The question is what will fill the vacuum? With American power and dominance out of the way, what opportunity does this present for the world? A scary one to say the least, if the suggestions to date are to be taken seriously.

Russia, China and India have called for a new world reserve currency to replace the dollar, with President Medvedev having already minted a new coin which he proudly presented to G8 leaders this month. A picture of that coin is below.

They see a declining US economy that offers a chance for a new global financial system not so controlled by America.

The Pope has even weighed in, calling in his most recent encyclical for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy. He also supports wealth redistribution by governments on so-called moral grounds.

If capitalism, so long championed by Americans, is being targeted for removal by a system of globalised socialism, then what of democracy, a system the US has tirelessly tried to export? Look no further than Islam. Emboldened by the seeming collapse of capitalism, they are now ready to export their own political system to what once was the West. Make no mistake, Islam is much more than a religion. It means submission, and the proof of that is seen clearly in every political system that it produces. Ask Iranians today whether or not they feel any pressure to submit to the Islamic system that governs them. It's also worth mentioning that President Obama in his now famous Cairo speech spoke in clear terms to the Islamic world in ways that compared America's form of governance to those of Islam's.

Just this past weekend, a global Sunni network called Hizb ut-Tahrir openly held a conference in Chicago entitled "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam". Their aim is to establish a global Islamic empire, or caliphate, as commanded by Mohammed. Below is the YouTube video they used to advertise the event.

Now, few would believe that this group will achieve world dominance, but one only has to look at the success that Islam has had in countries like the U.K. to understand that the global Islamic agenda of world dominance is not abetting and is now being sought with greater encouragement than ever. And let's be clear, it is not ultimately your death they seek, but rather your submission to Islam, or in technical terms, Sharia law.

Whether the current US administration is willfully guiding America towards a new world order , or if they are simply ignorant to what's going on is yet to be seen. Unfortunately, if you believe anything Kissinger has to say then it's the former, since America's role in the world clearly needs to be changed for a new system to evolve.

So, what will be left after the West has gone is not really a sure thing. What we do know is that one day all of man's vain attempts at world dominance will be laid waste as every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Oh, and by the way, unlike other gods, He doesn't need man to bring in His kingdom through holy war, or jihad.

Laying claim to Jerusalem Part II

This is a follow up to my previous blog about the mystery that is Jerusalem and the struggle that still rages over its sovereignty. As if to prove the point I made about President Obama laying a foundation upon which Israel's claim to sole sovereignty is denied, his administration has now been found to have asked Israel not to build apartments in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

There are numerous problems with this development.

The primary issue goes back to Israel's sovereignty. What's apparent is that Obama, like so many other Presidents before him, lusts after the Holy Grail of world peace; reconciliation between Israel and the Arabs. What's frightening is that he's decided Israel's natural expansion in the land is the greatest impediment to that peace being achieved. On the one hand, it's confirmation of the fact that Israel's contribution to this conflict has little to do with its military endeavors, and a lot more to do with the outrage and violence that is produced on the part of the Arabs as a result of Israel's very existance on the land. On the other hand, it shows a complete lack of impartiality, and even a dangerous tendency to support the notion that Palestinian areas should be Judenrein.

In this particular case, the land in question was in fact purchased by an American Jew in 1985, and is currently abandoned. It was not annexed, stolen, nationalized or assumed control of by any method other than in a legal manner as exercised in most parts of the world where exists the rule of law. Unfortunately, for a President who believes that Israel's right to exist flows from the horror of the Holocaust, it is not surprising that a different standard is applied to the Jew when seeking to operate as any other citizen in the world.

It is my belief that the American administration is working hard to ensure that the final peace deal does not fail. To do that, they have decided that Israel must understand that their claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem is not only under contention, but is ultimately to be denied. To put it another way, the issue of Jerusalem, which was always a final status item, has already been decided upon by Obama, and now Israel only has to submit and the Holy Grail will be securely within his grasp.

Netanyahu must be commended for standing firm under the mounting pressure. There's much at stake. After all, either Jews have a right to exist in the land of their forefathers or they are just refugees displaced after the great and many evils of World War II.