He will give us an exclusive, inside look at the Iranian nuclear threat, the rising threats from Syria and Hezbollah, the state of U.S.-Israel relations, and the importance of building a strategic relationship between Israel and evangelical Christians.
Ya’alon previously served as the Chief of Staff for the Israeli Defense Forces. I believe his presentation will be a fascinating complement to that of Lt-General Jerry Boykin — former head of Delta Force — in terms of helping us understand the geopolitical threats to the U.S., Israel and our allies. We are honored to have both of these leaders speaking, and I hope you will register todayto join us.
Also, The Joshua Fund staff will be at the conference to meet and answer your questions about who we are and what we are doing to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.
Pastors, please sign up your congregation to show the live webcast of the conference.
Full details on all of this — pus our new video blog reports — can be found at www.epicenterconference.com.
Please also check out The Joshua Fund’s completely redesigned and updated website at www.joshuafund.net. Among other things, it includes a video on the homepage describing the ministry.
I am deeply concerned about recent developments in Morocco, a country I have visited numerous times and have grown to love and respect.
Earlier this year, 43 American Christians were expelled from Morocco by the government, accused of being “missionaries.” Now, an accredited American school in Casablanca has been legally attacked by a parent of a sixth grade boy enrolled in the school, accused of trying to convert minors. Morocco has been a leading “Reformer” country — peaceful, tolerant, friendly to the West and eager to build warm, constructive relations with Evangelical Christians. Has the government decided to change course?
With regards to the expulsions, I have been amazed and disappointed that so many Americans could be so hastily deported or refused entry to Morocco without due process of any kind. It appears that Morocco’s own immigration laws were not even respected. This action will send shock waves into the American business community who could now fear doing business there if due process is no longer respected in Morocco. It certainly has already sent shock waves through the American Christian community as it appears that Evangelical Christians are no longer welcome in Morocco.
With regards to the court case, here’s the background: several sixth-grade classmates shared their Christian faith with this Moroccan Muslim boy and he decided to put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. The legal complaint states the names of 14 people associated with the school and accuses them all with “shaking the child’s [Islamic] faith.” The problem is that only a few of these 14 people have ever even met the boy. The only evidence the lawyer provides that these 14 people have membership in Christian churches and organizations and are in some way connected to the school. In one case, the lawyer cites that a certain individual made charitable contributions through a well known Christian foundation. The lawyer filing the complaint cited an “army of evangelists” from “extremist denominations” (Baptist, Community Church, United Bible Society, etc).
Noteworthy is that the lawyer representing the boy is also the parliamentary leader of the Muslim fundamentalist political party in Morocco (PJD). He is turning the decision of one young boy into a political debate pitting Christians against Muslims. This has potentially far reaching implications and reminds me of the largest complaint of Al Qaeda dating back to 1991. Osama Bin Laden was incensed at the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of “Christian” soldiers in Saudi Arabia. This was the rallying cry that led to most of the terrorist attacks leading up to September 11, 2001. Are the members of the Moroccan PJD party now bringing this same logic to Morocco? Do they want to rid Morocco of all Evangelical Christians? Do they want to turn the tolerant Muslim kingdom into a new Iran or Saudi Arabia?
It appears that Morocco is at the crossroads. It has been reaching out to Christians in the West and seeking to promote the “Morocco Model” as I described in Inside the Revolution. If they convict people of “shaking the faith of a Muslim” who have never even met that person, it will be clear that merely holding the evangelical faith would be a crime in Morocco.
I am contacting Moroccan officials I know to discuss this matter and express my concerns. I would ask Christians to show patience and love towards the Government of Morocco, as well as to pray for Morocco’s leaders to change this policy and to correct and apologize for recent mistakes. Should the Moroccan government not take corrective action soon, then more Christian leaders should speak out directly against this. I will keep you posted. What a shame this would be, given Morocco’s wonderful recent history of relations with Christians.
By God's grace and your financial support, The Joshua Fund's new warehouse in Israel is now being stocked with food and other relief supplies. We now supply humanitarian aid to 7 relief centers all over Israel. (Photo by John Moser, April 2010)
UPDATED: Israeli leaders marked the occassion by warning Iran not to mess with them. Admiral Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon is actively planning for a possible war with Iran, though he accurately noted that this is a last resort option and would have to be approved by President Obama. At the same time, the New York Times reports that a secret memo by Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicates that the U.S. does not have a clear, coherent, decisive strategy to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That certainly seems to be the case, and I have seen no indication that this President would ever use force to stop Iran. Indeed, many in the U.S. government don’t seem to understand the End Times theology that is driving Iranian leaders to feel they need to launch a nuclear war against the U.S. and Israel to accelerate the return of their so-called Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam. The modern Jewish State of Israel, which was reborn in 1948 in accordance with Bible prophecy, turned 62 on Sunday. (On the Western calendar, Israel’s birthday is May 14th. But Israelis live by a the lunar calendar, rather than the solar calendar, so Israel’s birthday doesn’t always fall on our May 14th.)
This is going to be a very challenging year for Israel . As the U.S. administration continues to purposefully denegrate Israel and distance itself from Jerusalem, rumors of a coming major regional war are growing. Jordan’s King Abdullah warns a war could break out by this summer. The Russians are planning to turn on Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr (near the Persian Gulf), which means Israel would have to strike sooner than August if it plans to hit the reactor before it goes hot. These were issues we discussed at length at the “Preach the Word” prophecy conference in Riverside, California, last week, and on Hormoz Shariat’s satellite TV shows into Iran last week. Lord willing, we will go into more depth at the 2010 Epicenter conference this summer.
* Update from The Joshua Fund’s executive director who just returned from Israel with our director of operations:“We have 7 storefronts [food distribution centers] up and running and hope to have the 8th one set up a little later this year….During our stay we received the equivalent of approximately two semi truckloads of food. The warehouse is beginning to fill up. Soon, as we bring more storefronts on line we will most likely need to install shelving and begin to go vertical to accommodate the supplies. We currently have approximately 77 tons of food in stock….Our first food delivery from the warehouse was made to an organization in Jerusalem. [The director] just told me that the first bag of food that they delivered from the food we supplied went to a holocaust survivor. It was a small delivery (approximately 1 ton) as they are desirous of starting out small and building to a larger operation as the Lord directs….Our new truck has a lift gate that allows us to easily make deliveries that do not have a dock or a forklift and as we were beginning to unload all the children came out to help us unload the truck, so instead of using the lift gate we decided it was very exciting to see the children getting involved wanting to help with the ministry. It was an awesome blessing to watch and be part of this.”
Russia has just announced that it intends to allow the Iranian nuclear reactor facility located in Bushehr (near the Persian Gulf) to go live in August. This is an ominous development. Now Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has a fateful decision to make. Will he order a preemptive military strike against all of Iran’s nuclear sites before August when the Bushehr site becomes “hot”? His mentor, Menachem Begin, ordered an Israeli air strike against Saddam Hussein’s Osirik nuclear reactor in Iraq before it went hot in 1981. Netanyahu wants the world to act with decisive unity to stop Iran from getting the Bomb. But that is increasingly unlikely. The Obama administration is no longer calling for “crippling sanctions,” and even if they were, it appears to be too late for sanctions to be effective. U.S. officials — including Defense Secretary Robert Gates — says Iran could have the Bomb by next year. German intelligence thinks it could be sooner. We need to pray for peace, but prepare for war.
UPDATED: The past two days have been among the most remarkable in the ministry I have had in the past decade or so. My dear friend Hormoz Shariat — the most watched and listened to Iranian evangelist in the world — invited me to join him on his live satellite TV program into Iran on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are a few highlights:
Each show was 90 minutes long. Hormoz asked me to share how I became a follower of Jesus Christ with a Jewish father and nominal Christian Gentile mother. He asked me why Jews are considered the “chosen people” in the Bible and why many Iranians are bothered by the idea that maybe God loves Jews more than Iranians. We even got several calls on this. I noted that in Deuteronomy 9, God says He did not choose the Jewish people to bless us and bless the world through us because we were more righteous than other people. God just decided in His sovereignty to choose the Jews to reveal Himself to the world, to send the Bible through us, to send the Law through us, and to send the Messiah through us. I also noted that while it’s wonderful that God chose us, the really important question is whether we as Jews choose Him and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we may experience general blessings as Jewish people, but we can’t experience forgiveness of our sins, or eternal life, or the hope and peace and joy that is only promised by God to a born again follower of Jesus Christ. Finally, I noted that the Bible clearly teaches that God loves everyone in the world and desires all to be adopted into His family, and this most certainly includes the people of Iran.
Hormoz asked me to teach about Bible prophecies related to Iran and the “last days.” We talked specifically about the implications for Iran of the prophecies found in Matthew 24, Ezekiel 38-39, and Jeremiah 49. For the past two months, Hormoz has been teaching his audience about these prophecies so they are becoming increasingly well-versed in the Biblical concepts of wars, rumors of wars, false prophets, the persecution of believers and a coming Russian-Iranian war against Israel. I noted that a cataclysmic war is coming to the Middle East soon. Either Iran will launch it, or Israel will launch it, or God will launch it. But it is coming. We must pray for peace, but we must also prepare for war. We cannot stop the trauma that is coming, but we can do everything in our power to make sure that every Iranian and every person in the epicenter has the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and consider it, and process it, and make a decision to receive Christ or reject Christ. Satellite TV gives us an extraordinary opportunity to reach millions of Iranians with the gospel, and our love for the Iranian people compels us to do just that.
Each show included live calls from Iranians asking questions. They called from inside Iran, from Europe, from the U.S. and even from somewhere in Central China. I’m excited to report that two Iranian Shia Muslims called in to pray to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord! What a great joy to have seen that happen.
Each show was watched by millions inside Iran, Europe and North America. The programs can be seen on-line at www.mohabat.tv. The shows will also be re-aired on the network in the near future.
I was touched by the Iranians who called in who used to be Shia Muslims but are now followers of Jesus Christ and the love they have for Israel and the Jewish people. That was striking, and further evidence of how dramatically Jesus changes the hearts of those who receive Him as Savior and Lord.
For the last several days, Hormoz and me and several of our colleagues have also held several meetings with donors and pastors, sharing with them what God is doing in the Middle East and asking people to help Hormoz financially continue to grow and expand this vital ministry.
I will add more details, but need to head to one more meeting with Hormoz right now.
On Tuesday morning, I am scheduled to be interviewed by Iranian evangelist Hormoz Shariat on his live satellite TV program that will be seen by millions of Muslims inside Iran. Hormoz and I and several friends had dinner tonight and I have to say I’m really excited about this opportunity to address the people of Iran, share my heart and teach them from the Bible. My family and team and I have been praying so much for the people of Iran over the years that the opportunity to talk to the Iranian people directly is really an incredible notion.
Hormoz is planning to interview me about how I came to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord coming from an Orthodox Jewish heritage on my father’s side, and a nominal Protestant background on my mother’s side. He will also interview me about why Jesus loves the Iranian people and desires so passionately for them to find salvation. We will discuss numerous Biblical references to the people of Persia, as well as End Times prophecies that relate to Iran. Lord willing, we will also answer live call-in questions. Please pray for me to have the right words to say. Please also pray that people’s hearts are moved and that many come to faith in Jesus Christ as a result. To learn more about Iran Alive Ministries that was founded by Hormoz Shariat, please click here.
I’m excited to announce that The Joshua Fund has just launched an entirely redesigned and updated web site at www.joshuafund.net. We’ve made some changes that we think will make it easier for you to use, including better navigation and site design, access to news about Israel, and more content that keeps you current on activities that bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. Please visit regularly as we post updates on what The Joshua Fundis doing to educate Christians about God’s love and plan for Israel and her neighbors; updates on what we and our allies are doing to bless the poor and needy in the epicenter in real and practical ways; prayer updates; and other “news you can use” from the Middle East. What’s more, we’ll give you the latest on conferences and tours that we are organizing or in which we are participating.
MORE EVIDENCE OF THE TRAIN WRECK IN MOTION BETWEEN THE U.S. AND ISRAEL: World pressure is mounting against Israel to force Israel to disclose and dismantle its defensive nuclear weapons capability. This week’s upcoming nuclear weapons non-proliferation summit could turn into a “beat up on Israel” forum. And President Obama refused to schedule a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this week. So Netanyahu made the decision not to attend the summit. [See Washington Post story, “Israel’s Netanyahu cancels trip to nuclear security summit in Washington”]
TRAGEDY FOR THE POLISH PEOPLE:“The president of Poland was killed in a plane crash on Saturday in western Russia, setting off a new cycle of grievances between Russia and Poland on a day that was supposed to serve the cause of reconciliation between them,” reports Time magazine. “President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and some of his top security officials were among the 96 people killed in the crash. As the fuselage of the Soviet-made Tupelov airplane (operated by a Polish airliner) still smoldered in forest near the city of Smolensk, the grim irony of their deaths became clear to the stunned Polish nation: Their president had been on his way to Russia to commemorate the massacre of tens of thousands of Poles, who had been executed on the order of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1940 in those same forests in the region of Smolensk.”