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September 7, 2006

Shalom from Jerusalem,

Let’s continue with the study in Ezekiel, but be sure and catch also the personal news at the end.

Ezekiel Chapter 36:

Notice how all the action verbs in this chapter are the Lord’s.

V. 1, “Also, [Not through yet!] thou, son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say: Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.”

The land is mostly mountains and they are the backbone of the land. They were the former idolatrous heights. Let us see some of the effects of this summer’s war and involvement of the mountains. The Lord is saying, “Listen up!”

V. 2, “Thus saith the Lord GOD: Because the enemy hath said against you: Aha! even the ancient high places are ours in possession.” We hear the enemy of Israel saying this today.

V. 3, “Therefore prophesy, and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Because, even because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the rest of the nations, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people.”

The present day “infamy” is the propaganda that the Jewish settlers of these mountains are “the biggest obstacle to peace.” That was first said by our Secretary of State James Baker. Satanic forces have had a hay day with that expression ever since, repeating it over and over until most of the world - and even many in Israel - believed it!

But this summer’s war has changed a lot of things. Many soldiers in the reserves were from “the West Bank” and when the Prime Minister said the war would expedite the disengagement process, they protested, “Why should we fight a war that will take away our homes?” Now, the PM is in danger of losing his job, and admits that giving up land is not in the offing ─ for now, at least!

The war was a wake-up call in many ways - but it’s not over yet as everyone knows. And the kidnapped soldiers are not back home at the date of this writing. And just today was the announcement that Israel is giving into international pressure and will lift the sea blockade on Lebanon, even though the UN troops haven’t met the quota, and even though the kidnapped men are no where to be seen.

When Israel shows such weakness, her enemies rejoice and take advantage. Those who hate and live by their instincts only understand in terms of strength.

So will we soon see the powerful arm of the Lord on behalf of His own Name and people? They, also need it - and so do we.

More than ever we need to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6), and for all of Israel as we go through a difficult time of heart-searching and heart-rending. Many things went wrong during the war, and soldiers went without necessary food and water. Everyone is asking, “WHY?” - especially of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense who said he was taken by surprise. Not prepared when that is his job?

There are many questions demanding to be answered. I read some passages in Jeremiah this week that seem apropos -- but we are studying in Ezekiel!

V. 4, “Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers [Heb.: river beds; wadies- ravines, that become rivers during the wet season. I understand the Hebrew word can also mean “channel of thought”!] and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which are become a prey and derision to the residue of the nations that are round about;”

V. 5, “Therefore [There is that “therefore” again which is always followed by the explanation of God’s where-fore! He is reasonable. He gives the purpose of His judgment] thus saith the Lord GOD: Surely in the fire of My jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the nations, and against all Idumea, which have appointed My land into their possession [claiming it for themselves] with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey” - as a “Palestinian” state -- which there has never been. Though other peoples and nations have controlled this land, only the Arabs contend it is their “homeland” - their possession instead of Israel’s. But there never was a state or nation called, “Palestine”.

V. 6, “Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because ye have borne the shame of the nations.”

The world media, in general, join with the nations about Israel in accusing Israel of what they themselves are guilty of - such as abusing human rights. But God’s judgment (read “justice) will expose it so that the nations shall bear their own shame for not giving Israel her rightful land. Whoever coined that expression, “Israel has a right to exist”? Is it said about any other nation or peoples in the world? Why should their “right to exist” be questioned?

V. 7, “Therefore [These verses are full of “therefores” and they are there for a reason] thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the nations that are about you, they shall bear their shame.”

As pointed out in verse 5 of our previous study of chapter 35 of Ezekiel, the continuing hatred is self-destructive.

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Friends, I see this is getting too lengthy. I will try to continue with Ezekiel 36 in a day or two, but now I must share some news with you.

Since the decease of my husband of 35 years, Elmer Josephson, in 1996, we have been carrying out several projects in Israel in his memory to be of help in restoration - mainly in an Ephraim mountain community named Ma’ale Michmas.

Then a little over a year ago, we began the project of planting date palms at Biblical Tamar Park in the Arava desert a few miles south of the Dead Sea. Dr. DeWayne Coxon, whom the Israeli government authorities for the region have appointed curator of the park, has informed me we have reached our goal for planting date palms along and on each side of the entrance to the 53 acre park.

A museum in the park will house the archeological artifacts and will tell the history of this ancient city.

NOW, Bible Light has been given the challenge of a library and learning center at this location. This is a great honor and meets the goal of both Elmer’s and my heart to see a place in Israel where people of all nations can learn of Israel, her history and the glorious future, as He establishes His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven to bless ALL the nations of the earth.

I will be writing more about this project and God willing it will be featured in the up-coming Bible Light on the News.

To hopefully get this big ball rolling, I am returning to the States for a two month period to write and talk of this project wherever doors may open and according to the strength He will give me. As with the trees, so will this project carry the privilege of your honoring a loved one or friend with a certificate of acknowledgement in helping to build this learning center in the heart of the Arava, which the Israeli authorities are calling, “The Jewel of the Desert”. Watch for our Bible study concerning this place.

                    Be blessed in His Word,

                         Chris Josephson