Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile

Due to the immense interest and humanitarian concerns about this ongoing war, this special edition newsletter is being more widely circulated. Please do not consider it spam. We are not soliciting you. We are only attempting to offer some biblical insight and rational thought by which to understand the atrocities connected to this war.  The newsletter will shortly be available on the website, www.torahvoice.org.  MbY

25 Tammuz 5766 / July 21, 2006

The Israeli-Hezbollah war:

Another failed State Department initiative

More blood on the hands of the U.S. State Department as diplomats ignore writings of 8th Century BCE prophets yet, a dramatic peace awaits in the aftermath when the Syria-Lebanon sphere of conflict against Israel is finally resolved.

NOTE:  Within a week after the cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon in the fall of 1989, MbY was part of a four-person delegation of Americans invited to meet with South Lebanese Army commander Gen. Antoine Lahad. The late Christian general was wanting ambulances for the war-torn region's two hospitals in Marjahoun and Bint Jibril.  At that meeting, Lahad privately expressed his greatest concern:  If Israel was ever forced to pull out from the South Lebanon buffer zone that Hezbollah would fortify the region.  A devout Catholic, he desperately wanted a Christian American presence south of the Litani River, which was historically part of biblical Israel. As long as Americans lived in the region, he believed the State Department would not press Israel to withdraw. He promised to open the region and provide security for any American ministry organization that would provide each hospital with one ambulance.  Despite MbY's best efforts with Christian mega-ministries in the United States and others with a "medical missions" focus, NONE were willing to commit resources for ambulances or personnel.

Pressure.

The U.S. State Department, in an effort to keep the oil pipeline open with Arab oil-producing nations, has been pressing Israel for decades.

President George H. W. Bush sent Secretary of State Jim Baker to the region within a week of the cease-fire in Iraq in 1991. Baker came with an ultimatum. Israel would stop building settlements in the then-Israeli-administered territories, comply with a U.N. resolution calling for Palestinian autonomy leading to statehood and extradite Robert and Rochelle Manning or lose millions in U.S.-backed loan guarantees.

The promise to press Israel for a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria (formerly called the "West Bank" of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) was needed for Bush and Baker to secure Arab cooperation and alliances in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. That war was fought in the interest of Kuwait, one of America's major energy partners in the Middle East. But it was not as widely known that Saddam Hussein may have had legitimate reasons for invading Kuwait. Directional drilling from Kuwait was tapping into Iraqi oil deposits. He was also miffed that despite his 8-year war with Iran, he was not properly regarded and rewarded by "Arab" Saudi royalty as the "protector of the petro-rich" from "Persian" Iranian aggression. He was also angry that the arms that had opposed him in his 8-year war, had been supplied to Iran by financiers connected to the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International, linked directly to former CIA director and then-President George H. W. Bush and his political campaigns.

Failed U.S. State Department foreign policies in Israel and the Middle East now include:

1)    The underestimation of Arab Nationalism's allegiance to Islam and conflicts with Democracy in Iraq.  As we have stated since the invasion of 1991, the best that could come out of this is civil war between Persian Shi'a and Arab Sunni.

2)    The pressure forcing evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza in 2005, although in the long-term this had to occur, according to the exegesis below.

3)    The pressure forcing Israel to abandon its settlement policy.

4)    And the pressure forcing the departure of Israel from the South Lebanon buffer zone in 2000.

The U.S. State Department is also responsible for the training and arming of Palestinian militia who a) have proven impotent in reigning in terror from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Islamic militant groups, b) have been connected with assassinations of Israelis opposed to a Palestinian State in Judea-Samaria on biblical grounds and c) whose weapons are now in the hands of Hamas.

And, less we forget, at the 2004 Republican National Convention, President George W. Bush held up a rebuilt, democratic Iraq as the light by which the Palestinians would "see the road to peace" with Israel. See Black Roads in Israel and Iraq.

South Lebanese Army commander Gen. Antoine Lahad's nightmare (see note above) has come true. It was too prophetic that as we left the general's offices and toured the hospital in Marjahoun, word quickly spread. Despite the cease fire, a barrage of katushas apparently aimed at four Americans, kept us from making it to the hospital in Bint Jibril. We were quickly escorted back across the Good Fence bordering Lebanon and Israel.

In the wake of Israel's departure from the buffer zone to the north in 2000, Hezbollah has moved in with more than 13,000 katusha rockets, including some Iranian-made that can reach targets 120 miles into Israel.  As of this writing, 8 days into the Israeli-Hezbollah war, more than 2,000 of those rockets have been launched against northern Israel.  Israel has struck back at Hezbollah and the supply routes from Damascus with a continuous mortar barrage and warplanes targeting Hezbollah strongholds and infrastructure in Lebanon. Despite thousands of leaflets dropped in advance of the Israeli attack warning civilians to distance themselves from Hezbollah leaders and strongholds -- who typically take up positions in residential areas -- and flee to safer precincts, the deaths and casualties include hundreds of civilians with no end in sight. Virtually anything that moves between the Israeli border and the Litani River is a suspect target.

The war began on the eve of Tammuz 17 or Tzom Tammuz as it is called. This commemorates the beginning of the siege by Babylon on the city of Jerusalem which ended with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and forced exile of the House of Judah 21 days later on T'sha b'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av). This year, T'sha b'Av falls on August 3. If this war, like the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War follows biblical parameters, perhaps this is a date to expect a cease-fire ... or some escalation, assuming the U.S. State Department can be kept from offering more bad and unbiblical advice until then. The Persian Gulf War began on T'sha b'Av and ended on Purim, when the rebuilt Jerusalem Temple was dedicated.

The bungling, incompetence and suspect motives of our State Department -- all about protecting private energy and defense establishment interests -- has falsely raised hopes for a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria, where the Bible says it cannot be.  It is high time for these so-called diplomats to recognize the Road Map to Peace in the Middle East devised by the Bush Administration is a Road Map to Hell. The blood and destruction in Gaza and Lebanon is on its hands.  Before Baker came to Jerusalem in 1991, Israel responded to rocks in slingshots and burning tires with rubber bullets and was slowly being shamed into offering equivalent services for its Palestinian Arab population.

Whenever we are critical of persons or policies, we do no service to anyone without proposing an alternative. And so again, we turn to the prophet Zechariah and HIS vision for the Palestinian people in the Last Days with our most detailed exegesis to date of Zechariah 9.

First, a little about Zechariah.  He was a prophet and priest who wrote about events in the far-distant future called the Last Days.  Chapters 9-11 involve Israel's dealings with the nations, beginning with the people known as P'lishtim, which is the plural of the name by which Yasser Arafat referred to the Palestinian people. In a Last Days context, therefore, Zechariah's prophecy should be primary source material in formulating foreign policy with Israel that agrees with the Bible. The real irony is that Bush's support base from the Religious Right has been supporting his anti-biblical blundering.

9:1-2:    "The burden of the word of the Lord: in the land of Hadrach and Damascus its rest, when to the Lord shall be the eyes of man as of all the tribes of Israel. And in Hamath also which bordereth thereby; in Tyrus and Zidon, ... though it be very wise:"

The Lord is burdened by something going on in Hadrach, an out-lying region of Damascus (its rest), Damascus itself, Hamath, another region in Western Syria that bordered Lebanon, plus two Mediterranean coastal regions in Lebanon. Tyre, in Southern Lebanon is below the Litani River and therefore part of biblical Israel. It lies on the same latitude as the northernmost Israeli settlement of Kiryiat Sh'mona. Sidon lies a few miles to the south of Beirut and on the same latitude as Damascus.

It is important to note that the time of this burden is ci l'adonai eyn adam v'kol shivtei Yisrael when or because the eyes of man as of all the tribes of Israel are looking to the Lord. The comment about Zidon being very wise is what you might call "tongue in cheek."

Zechariah prophesied after the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel led by the House of Joseph were exiled. The timing for this burden relates to the reviving of the House of Joseph, which is only now beginning to occur. The burden may even relate specifically to the preparation of the land for these non-Jewish exiles of Ephraim and M'nashe to return. We mention this possibility because Zechariah 10:10 indicates that when the House of Joseph returns, they will be so numerous that the land will not be able to contain them and they will spill over into Lebanon and the Gilead, which is in today's Jordan.

9:3-4:    "And Tyrus did build herself a stronghold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and He will smite her power (in, by means of, with) the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire."

Tyre was one of the fortified cities of the Canaanites mentioned in the Book of Joshua. Like Gaza, Tyre was never conquered by the Israelites. Its inhabitants were never called Tyrians, but rather Sidonians, coupling its fate with Sidon to the north.  The great wealth for which the Sidonians were noted was acquired under PERSIAN rule, establishing an early claim to the region by Persia.  As we reported in a special edition of Jerusalem Vistas magazine: Apocalypse Now: Mixing Religion and Terror, published two weeks before the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the expansion of radical Islam closely correlates with the spread of the ancient Persian empire. Today, Iran (Persia) masterminds this spread throughout the Middle East and controls Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah in Lebanon and is also complicit in the Shi'a insurgency in Iraq.

The combination of Syria and Lebanon with Persian Shi'ia radical Islam alluded to in this scripture is precisely the scenario on the ground today in South Lebanon.

Tyre also was a divided city, partly on the mainland and partly on an island that once existed connected by a causeway. The island is today submerged but ruins of a castle built into the mountainside with numerous cave entrances are still discernible on the mainland.  While many biblical scholars claim this judgment uttered by Zechariah already has taken place, they have no explanation for its "re-occurence" at the time the "eyes of man as all of the tribes of Israel are toward the Lord."  There is also no existing record of any war between Israel and the Sidonians in Tyre and Sidon.  However, inhabitants of Tyre descended from Esau betrayed the House of Judah when it went into exile by turning in those who had escaped the Babylonian invasion and siege of Jerusalem.

9:5-6:    Ashkelon shall see and fear; Gaza also and be very sorrowful, and Ekron that her expectation hath been ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the P'lishtim.

The destruction in verse four is SEEN not heard by the inhabitants of Ashkelon, Gaza and Ekron. A fire in Tyre far to the north in Lebanon could not be seen from Gaza and these regions in the far south. This alludes to some kind of media coverage of the destruction ... in the Last Days.  Fear, sorrow and shame about some kind of expectation or hope results. In the context of current events, we would submit that this would be the hope by Hamas that Hezbollah would defeat Israel with its arsenal of katusha rockets or the hope in Palestinian ultra-nationalism.

The mamzer (Heb. bastard) who lives in Ashdod is a bit of detail that awaits further clarification. But the Lord's promise to "cut off the pride of the P'lishtim" could be interpreted according to current events as the means to "dash the hopes of the Palestinian people for a state in Judea-Samaria."  Yasser Arafat referred to his people by the same name, P'lishtim.  Palestinian designs on Judea-Samaria have been given false and cruel hope by the U.S. State Department and the Bush Administration's Road Map to Peace in the Middle East.

9:7:    And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: and he, even he, shall remain for our God, and he shall be as a chief in Judah, and Ekron as the Jebusite.

Once the expectation for a Palestinian State in Judea-Samaria ends and the Palestinian people accept the Israeli leadership of the nation, the Palestinian people undergo a radical change toward peace. The verse literally suggests that the P'lishtim even adapt their lifestyle to eating kosher meats, although figuratively it suggests the end of the terror and violence and the abominable language in the Palestine National Charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. The language "aluf" (chief or master) in Judah, implies that there will be no independent Palestinian state, however this would not rule out autonomy for the Palestinian people living in this contiguous area within the nation of Israel when the Palestinians living in Ekron become as the peaceable Jebusites.

9:8:    And I will encamp about Mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now I have seen with mine eyes.

Contextually, the "house" God will encamp about is the new God-fearing Palestinian people who have their own autonomy in the regions of Gaza, Ashqelon, Ashdod and Ekron and probably the fertile Sh'felah adjoining them. God will protect those Palestinians who live in this area from the Israeli army, from instigators of trouble or oppressors passing through and from those returning, clarified two verses down as the House of Joseph.

Palestinians who leave Judea-Samaria will have safe haven in this autonomous Palestinian state within the nation of Israel. But for those Palestinians who do not leave Judea-Samaria, the fate is dire. (See Obadiah 17ff). Their hearts will be hardened and harbor the hatred of Esau toward Jacob, evidenced by Obadiah calling them "the House of Esau."

9:9    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy king cometh unto thee:  he is just and deserving to be helped; lowly and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Traditionally, this verse is believed to refer to the coming messiah. HOWEVER, contextually, once the Palestinian people have rid themselves of the mindset of Palestinian ultra-Nationalism, they are also called by God, a "daughter" of Zion and Jerusalem. He will send Israel a king who will be just, deserving and humble, possibly the king messiah.

9:10:    And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river od ofsei eretz (even to the ends of the land).

The chariot of Ephraim may refer to the mass annihilation that will occur in the northern two-thirds of Judea-Samaria in the inheritance of Ephraim due to Palestinian resistance there. As Obadiah phrased it at the time Jacob returned to his inheritances, the fields of the Shomron and the fields of Ephraim  -- both regions that are the inheritance of the House of Joseph -- would be occupied by the House of Esau. "And the House of Jacob would be a fire and the House of Joseph (Ephraim) would be the flame and the House of Esau for stubble and they (Jacob-Joseph) would kindle in them and devour them and none would remain from the House of Esau." (Obadiah 18).

As I have tried repeatedly to warn the last three American administrations, the worst thing the U.S. State Department can do is promote a Palestinian state in this region, which means the eventual certain death of millions of Palestinians who would return there. Our State Department in taking the birthright from Jacob and handing it to Esau is betting against the Bible. Judea-Samaria is set aside by the God of Israel for the return, reunion and reconciliation of the House of Joseph with the House of Judah.  In our June 6, 2006 (6-6-06) Newsletter, we present the case for the identity of M'nashe among the wave of Xicano (Chicano) immigrants coming from the South into the American Southwest. Ephraim is an assimilated people most heavily concentrated in the isles and coastlands of the Earth. Therefore, the biblical policy the U.S. State Department should be pursuing is to help the Chicano people and persons being displaced from coastal regions due to hurricanes, tsunamis and various Earth changes relocate to the inheritance of the House of Joseph. As the prophet Isaiah stated in the context of this return, "Send Me your Not Comforted (one of the judgments against the House of Joseph), homeless and "tempest tossed."

The oil companies and major defense contractors who have benefited from decades of State Department and CIA intervention in the Middle East on their behalf should contribute some of their obscene windfall profits toward picking up the tab for this relocation as well as the relocation of Palestinians from Judea-Samaria into the Gaza-region state. It is only fair, after all. State Department policies that have resulted in death and destruction in Israel, the Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq were put into effect to keep them profiteering on Arab oil.

Back to the exegesis. This king who will unite the nation of Israel with its Palestinian "state" therein will be an emissary of world peace. His dominion is defined here within the context of the borders of Greater Israel ... or possibly a broader context that encompasses the entire world. The Hebrew suggests either context.

9:11    As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

If the "thee" in verse 11 refers to the daughter of Zion in verse 9, it fits with the context of a repentant Palestinian people. Today, their plight appears as that of Joseph, who was thrown into a pit where there was no water. His situation looked hopeless. The House of Joseph comes out of that pit biblically and historically with the renewed covenant made possible by the blood of Jesus (Y'shua) and spiritual gifts commensurate with that covenant.  The same is promised to the Palestinian people when the violence and terror ceases.

On the other hand, the "thee" in verse 11 could refer to this emissary of world peace, whose covenant earlier applied to the assimilation of the non-Jewish House of Israel led into exile by the House of Joseph. In this case, the prisoners would depict the House of Joseph who would be free to return.

9:12:    Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today will I bring again unto thee a maggid of double peace.

Shalom Shalom and Hashem's love and blessings,

Maggid ben Yoseif

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