In Touch Quarter 1 - 2019


News, articles and reports from Christian Friends of Israel UK

1 st Quarter 2019 • No 198 Christian Friends of Israel UK

Israel, the people

close to his heart

Psalm 148:14








Encouraging • Challenging • Assisting


Jacob Vince


Gentile support for Israel

About us

CFI-UK seeks to bless Israel

by means of practical and

moral support, and to serve the

Church in teaching about God’s

purposes for Israel and the

Hebraic heritage of our faith.

CFI-UK also produces a monthly

Prayer Letter, an audio Middle

East Report and distributes the

Haverim Hebraic teaching CDs.

Please send for full details of

projects in Israel and also the

teaching resources available.

As an educational charity, we

carry a variety of resources

relevant to our purpose. We do

not necessarily endorse every

view expressed by our guest

writers or authors.

Published by:

CFI Charitable Trust

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BN22 7LZ

Tel: 01323 410 810


Registered Charity

No. 1101899

Registered Office c/o

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22 Upperton Road

Eastbourne, BN21 1BF

Company No: 0498515

VAT Registration No: GB678780275

Front Cover Image:

Western Wall, Jerusalem

At various times in Israel’s

history, as recorded in the

Hebrew Scriptures, there

are Gentiles who have a significant

role in expressing tangible

friendship toward Israel and the

Jewish people.

As we know God caused the

Jewish nation to bring his revelation

to the world in writing, “He has

revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and

decrees to Israel. He has done this for no

other nation” (Psalm 147:19-20). This

is reinforced in the apostle Paul’s

letter to the church at Rome, “What

advantage, then, is there in being a Jew,

or what value is there in circumcision?

Much in every way! First of all, the Jews

have been entrusted with the very words

of God” (Romans 3:1-2). God chose

law-givers, prophets, poets and

witnesses to relay his composition of

what we now have as the four–part

canon of Scripture: Torah, Prophets,

Psalms and Apostles.

One of the Jews that God used,

both to speak in prophecy and to

write down the words, was the

prophet Jeremiah along with his

assistant and scribe Baruch. Toward

the end of the book which takes

Jeremiah’s name there is an instance

where certain officials, not liking

what God was saying through

Jeremiah, and hence the person who

God was using to say it, went to the

king at the time, Zedekiah, to stop

Jeremiah by putting him to death.

“Then the officials said to the king,

“This man should be put to death. He

is discouraging the soldiers who are left

in this city, as well as all the people, by

the things he is saying to them. This

man is not seeking the good of these

people but their ruin.” “He is in your

hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The

king can do nothing to oppose you.”

So they took Jeremiah and put him into

the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son,

which was in the courtyard of the guard.

They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the

cistern; it had no water in it, only mud,

and Jeremiah sank down into the mud”

(Jeremiah 38:4-6).

Here we see the king abdicating

his authority and placing Jeremiah

into the hands of officials, who then

take Jeremiah and lower him into

a cistern with no water but only

sinking mud at the bottom. This is

where Jeremiah would have been

left were it not for the intervention

of a Gentile, Ebed-Melek, who was

a Cushite, or in today’s terms, an

Ethiopian or Eritrean.

“But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, an official

in the royal palace, heard that they had

put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the

king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate,

Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and

said to him, “My lord the king, these

men have acted wickedly in all they

have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They

have thrown him into a cistern, where

he will starve to death when there is

no longer any bread in the city.” Then

the king commanded Ebed-Melek the

Cushite, “Take thirty men from here

with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet

out of the cistern before he dies.” So

Ebed-Melek took the men with him and

went to a room under the treasury in

the palace. He took some old rags and

worn-out clothes from there and let

them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the

cistern. Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to

Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and wornout

clothes under your arms to pad the

ropes.” Jeremiah did so, and they pulled

him up with the ropes and lifted him out

of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in

the courtyard of the guard” (Jeremiah


So Jeremiah was rescued and was

able to continue to speak his hardto-hear

prophetic words, in this

instance concerning the destruction

of Jerusalem and going into

captivity. But he also pronounced a

time limit on that captivity that the

writer Daniel would later recall and

pray into being, the return of the

Jewish people to Israel from Babylon

after seventy years.

What Jeremiah conveyed as

prophecy comes to pass and the

tragedy of the destruction of

Jerusalem and going into captivity

2 IN TOUCH • 1 st Quarter 2019

unfolds, including king Zedekiah

having his eyes put out after seeing

the slaughter of his family – the last

thing he physically sees before his


One of the writers of the Psalms

recalls the sadness of the Israelites

as they sit by the rivers of Babylon

vowing never to forget Jerusalem

and hang up their harps on which

they would have accompanied

the singing of joyful songs of Zion

(Jerusalem) “May my right hand

forget its skill” (Psalm 137:5) - the

skill to play the instrument, and

“my tongue cling to the roof of my

mouth” (Psalm 137:6) without the

use of the tongue they could not


The Gentile Ebed-Melek might

easily have been forgotten in the

great scheme of things, but God

is no man’s debtor. Ebed-Melek

had done the right thing because

it was the right thing to do, not

particularly seeking any reward for

this. But there is a postscript to the

bigger story.

“While Jeremiah had been confined

in the courtyard of the guard, the word

of the Lord came to him: “Go and tell

Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what

the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel,

says: I am about to fulfil my words

against this city—words concerning

disaster, not prosperity. At that time

they will be fulfilled before your eyes.

But I will rescue you on that day,

declares the Lord; you will not be given

into the hands of those you fear. I will

save you; you will not fall by the sword

but will escape with your life, because

you trust in me, declares the Lord’”

(Jeremiah 39:15-18)

In similar way to how Ebed-

Melek was used by God to rescue

Jeremiah, so we find that Ebed-

Melek will in turn be rescued from

He has revealed his

word to Jacob, his laws

and decrees to Israel

the hands of those he feared. He

will be saved, escaping with his life

despite all around being destroyed.

As Gentile Christians we should

take instruction and encouragement

from this story which, as the apostle

Paul reminds his protégé Timothy,

is part of ‘all Scripture’ that is

inspired by God and profitable

for teaching, reproof, correction

and training in righteousness. It

sets an example to us as Christian

friends of Israel to do what is right

in friendship toward Israel and

the Jewish community here in the

United Kingdom.

In this connection, we have all

been aware for some time of the

rise in anti-Semitism, including

manifestations within major

political parties, illustrated by the

failure to endorse the International

Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

definition. Whilst it may be selfevident

that we as Christian

friends of Israel would implicitly

endorse this definition, it appears

timely and right to explicitly state

this, hence our reproducing the

definition and illustrative examples

on page 9, thereby giving you the

opportunity on the Response Form

to add your name in agreement.

Once collected, we will write to

the various representative bodies

of the Jewish community and their

press, setting this out as Christian

Friends of Israel UK on behalf of

our supporters.*

Thank you for giving your early

attention to this important tangible

expression of Christian friendship

for Israel and our UK Jewish

Community, in the manner of


(*Please note that we will not refer to

supporters by name.)

The late Dr John Gillmore

It was with sadness that in the week before Christmas we heard the news that Dr John Gillmore had

died suddenly. But we rejoice in the knowledge that he is gone to be with the Lord.

John collapsed whilst out for a walk with his son, he was taken to hospital where he later died from

a brain haemorrhage.

John was a CFI UK Trustee and an area ‘Rep’ for several decades. He retired from the Board a few

years ago. I had spoken to him on the telephone just a few days before his passing. He was in good

humour as we spoke of many things.

I have always liked and appreciated John, his humour and his laugh remain in my mind. John’s

contributions on the Trustee Board were always prayerfully and wisely considered and gracefully

given. He was a long-standing friend and supporter of the late Gerald Gotzen and visited Ethiopia to

see the work he was doing amongst the Jewish people in Addis Ababa and around that Country.

John was also the only Trustee that could operate the gas fire in the room where we held our three-day winter ‘Way Ahead’


Please pray for Maureen and the family, that they may know the presence, peace and comfort of the Lord.

Let us all be comforted and encouraged with these words - “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall

all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will

be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on

immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to

pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (2 Corinthians 15:52-54).

David Greer

Chairman Board of Trustees

1 st Quarter 2019 • IN TOUCH 3

Hebraic Bible Teaching

James Whitman

serves as president

of The Centre for


Studies (JC Studies)

Deeper insight into our

Father in heaven and his

actions on earth emerge

when we take time to explore the

Bible’s historical context.

By employing the literary tools of

language and culture, we can see a

familiar gospel story — and hopefully

ourselves — in increasingly biblical

ways. Take, for instance, the cleansing

of the temple.

Set in first century Jerusalem, our

story takes place during the season

of Israel’s Passover. We find Jesus

confronting merchants plying their

trade in the precincts of the temple

that Herod built. It is an event that

will become iconic in the historical

imagination of Christianity; the fiery

young prophet raging against a nation

of hypocrites, calling down judgment

upon their place of worship.

However, is that an accurate

portrayal of what happened and why?

To better comprehend the significance

of this event we need to ask the

question, how did those who left us

eyewitness accounts understand these


John not only recounts Jesus’

explanatory words but gives insight

into how the early church processed

both his words and deeds, “To those

who sold doves he said, “Get these out of

here! How dare you turn my Father’s house

into a market!” His disciples remembered

that it is written: “Zeal for your house will

consume me”” (John 2:16-17).

The first important concept to grasp

is the phrase “my Father’s house.” The

Jewish people of the day recognised

from Scripture that God is a Father to

his covenant children. “Our Father

and our King” is language from ancient

prayer formulas still active in Jewish

worship today. However to say, my

Father, was unthinkable. This was a

day and age when even the sacred

name of God was not spoken for fear

of defiling the Holy. By saying ‘my

Father’, Jesus was making messianic


Though subtle and easy for us

to miss, to those who heard him it

Messiah’s zeal,

Our passion

James Whitman

was a shocking claim of exclusive

relationship evoking Psalm 2:7, Psalm

89:26-29, and 2 Samuel 7:12-16. These

sacred texts were front and centre in

a vibrant cultural conversation about

the coming Messiah’s identity. The

result was polarising. Luke’s record

of the event observes, “Every day he was

teaching at the temple. But the chief priests,

the teachers of the law and the leaders

among the people were trying to kill him.

Yet they could not find any way to do it,

because all the people hung on his words.”

(Luke 19:47-48)

Further, our Lord’s description of

the temple as a “house of prayer for

all the nations” (Mark 11:17), gives

evidence of his heart for the place and

the people. We first encountered this

revelation in another story that took

place at Passover. At that time, the

young Messiah answered his parents

with a single phrase that carries the

interchangeable ideas of needing to

be about his Father’s house and his

Father’s business (Luke 2:49).

The second important concept to

grasp is the meaning of zeal, the word

his first followers chose to describe

Jesus’ state of mind as he cleansed the

temple of merchants and merchandise.

Behind the English word zeal, is the

Hebrew word qin’ah which means

ardour or passion. We all know the

experience of our blood pressure

rising as we get passionate about a

subject – that is qin’ah. Some scholars

have linked the Hebrew word to a root

related to colour that flushes our cheeks

when we experience zeal. Zelos, the

Greek equivalent, suggests being hot

enough to boil.

Biblically speaking, ardour is

manifested in relationships: God

towards humanity, men and women

towards God, or between one another.

Most importantly it can have negative

connotations (often translated by the

word jealousy) or positive connotations

depending on the context. Out of

which kind of zeal is Jesus acting in

our story? Said another way, what

clue does John give us regarding Jesus’

motivation that sheds light on his


The third important concept to grasp

is the early church’s use of Psalm 69 as

a commentary on the temple incident.

The New Testament provides evidence

that Psalm 69 played an active role

in first-century Judaism’s messianic

expectation. Not only is it cited or

alluded to at least six times, but each

usage also draws on a different verse

in the psalm showing its rich range of


Patterned after the five books of

Moses (Torah), the Psalter has a fivefold

division. Psalm 69 is part of Book

2 (Psalms 42-72), which is categorised

as, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse”

(Psalm 72:20). The psalm itself has a

title attribution as a Psalm of David. So

when “His disciples remembered that it is

written, “Zeal for your house will consume

me,”” (John 2:16-17), they expect us to

go back to the popular but commonly

misunderstood figure of King David to

know what is going on with Jesus.

The Heart of David

Perhaps no character in the Old

Testament is more familiar than

King David. We have his exploits

and accomplishments recorded in

both narrative histories and artistic

compositions. Most Christians are

not aware that within Judaism, David

stands as a powerful voice in the

tradition of the prophets (see Acts

2:30). These prophets call God’s people

to return to him in such a way that

provides insight into what he has done,

is doing and will do on earth.

David’s life consistently exhibited a

zeal that had three clear components.

First, it arose from a burning heart of

love for the God of Abraham, Isaac

and Jacob. Second, David’s inward fire

longed to see God’s covenant purposes

worked out through his people in

his own and future generations.

Third, David desired to be an active

contributor to those loving ends.

That is why he wanted to build

the Temple; it represented the one

true God dwelling in the midst of his

chosen people to extend his redeeming

love to the nations. That is why God

chose David as king and called him a

man after his own heart.

4 IN TOUCH • 1 st Quarter 2019

“Let heaven and earth praise him, the

seas and all that move in them, for God will

save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah.

Then people will settle there and possess

it; the children of his servants will inherit

it, and those who love his name will dwell

there.” (Psalm 69:34-36)

The Heart of Jesus

This background provides an

essential framework for going forward

in our gospel story. The zeal of Jesus is

not against his Father’s house, heaven

forbid! His passion is for God and

God’s people. His action is directed

at what the temple had become in the

hands of greedy and unscrupulous

leaders. The divine design to reach

the poor and poor in spirit was now

working against God’s goals. In

both Mark and Luke’s account, Jesus

quotes Jeremiah in his condemnation

of corrupt religious leaders and those

who profit by working for them, “but

you have made it a den of robbers” (Mark

11:17; Luke 19:46; similarly Matthew


Sadly, that powerful prophetic

indictment echoes through the

corridors of time, ringing true of

religion in our generation as well.

However, we cannot see our collective

selves in the mirror of Scripture if we

paint all of Israel or her leaders with

the same brush. The Jewish historian

Josephus and others recognised the

problem in their day; there were

reformers and reform movements

within Judaism. One prominent part

of messianic expectation in the first

century was that God would raise

a leader like King David to get his

redemptive project back on track.

Jesus would do just that, renewing

the covenants by making them new

in his death, resurrection, and Spiritoutpouring.

John makes an intriguing

edit when he quotes Psalm 69:9.

Instead of “zeal for your house consumes

me” he modifies the text to say “zeal

for your house will consume me” (John

2:17). What is going on here? The text

illuminates the temple event, but it

seems to have more to teach us. The

early church discerned that Jesus’ allconsuming

passion for God and his

redemptive work on earth explain both

his life and his execution.

Keep in mind that when a New

Testament author references the Old

Testament, they include the context of

the text as well. When John takes us

back to Psalm 69, we hear echoes of the

suffering servant reminding us what

kind of king we serve. Further, when

we watch how the psalm is employed

by an author like Paul (Romans 15:3),

we see that the reproach and rejection

Jesus experienced will be, at some

level, our portion as we attempt to love

people for whom he died.

The Heart of a Disciple

Passion for God, his people and his

purposes fuelled the entire trajectory

of Jesus’ life. He encapsulated this in

his vision of the Kingdom of God and

identified it as a gift of the indwelling

Spirit. As a result, his life had a

cruciform shape long before the cross

came into view. As our Master, he

longs to share his passion with us.

I want you to know that even while

sharing these thoughts with you I am

both convicted and conflicted by the

beauty of this zeal and my natural

aversion to it; deep down I know

the cost. I also know from personal

experience the perils of a counterfeit

religious zeal that leaves my temple

unclean and unchanged.

At the same time, we find tremendous

encouragement in this story. Jesus is

indeed our champion defeating Satan,

sin, and death. The invitation to join his

redemptive movement reminds us that

though we have a place in the salvation

story, it is about so much more than us.

Partaking in the Messiah’s passion and

contributing to his kingdom is possible

— by his Spirit, who generates a dayby-day,

lifelong quest to be faithful to


On this point, David has much to

teach us as well. He asked the Lord

God to share his heart with him,

repeatedly, over the course of his life.

When the inevitable failures to live

out the grace of God in a fallen world

overwhelmed him, his aim remained

true because his core passion continued

to burn.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me

your paths; guide me in your truth and

teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and

my hope is in you all day long.”

(Psalm 25:4-5)

David Soakell

Reflections on the past

to press on in the future

For those who stand with Israel,

the months of December and

January can seem miles apart.

In one we have the joy of Chanukah,

Christmas and lights; then suddenly

we are plunged into the dark days of

winter and look towards the difficult,

but much needed, remembrance of the

Holocaust. Throughout January 2019

many such remembrance events have

taken place.

On 29 th November 1941, Reinhard

Heydrich invited 14 senior members

of the Nazi party to a ‘Final Solution’

conference. That conference was held

on the 20 th January 1942 at a beautiful

lakeside villa in the Wannsee suburb

of Berlin. It was attended by Heydrich

and all 14 of the other high-ranking


11 million! 11 Million! That was the

number of Jews sentenced to death

after what was effectively a 90-minute

lunch meeting of those Nazi leaders.

It has become infamous and is known

as the Wannsee Conference. The

outcome was that those Nazi officials

decided upon the ‘Final Solution of the

Jewish Question.’ It set in motion the

implementation of a plan to perform

the systematic, industrial-scale murder

of all the Jews within Germany’s reach,

both in Europe and north-west Africa.

Deciding the fate of 11 million Jews

was followed by a ‘celebratory’ drink

of Cognac.


1 st Quarter 2019 • IN TOUCH 5

It is important that we realise that the

Nazi officials who deliberated at Villa

Wannsee over their ghastly plans for

exterminating European Jewry were

all well-educated, with at least half of

them holding doctorates. Some were

also the sons of Protestant ministers,

yet not one of them raised any moral

objections to this heinous plot. Yes,

these were powerful men. But is God,

the God of Israel not more powerful?

Could he not have intervened?

A few years ago, whilst out working

in Israel on one of my many visits, I felt

the heavy burden upon my shoulders

of a responsibility to the people of

Israel. I questioned the Lord, “Could I

really bring anything worthwhile and

lasting to these people who carry the

burden of being ‘God’s chosen’?” But

chosen for what, they may ask?

For my News Reports I met and

interviewed both young and old

civilians – both religious and secular,

as well as army commanders. Other

people included victims of terrorist

attacks, the many Holocaust survivors

that CFI minister to… so many people

6 IN TOUCH • 1 st Quarter 2019

who have suffered so much. Many

times I have heard the same response

from these Holocaust survivors who

left the death camps of Europe to

battle for a life in Israel; who witnessed

their fathers, mothers, friends, family

and others of the six million Jews

massacred in the Holocaust at Belsen,

Auschwitz etc. What were these people

chosen for? Yet at the end of the day,

God reigns, and no solution to the

problem of suffering that questions this

will ever satisfy.

During the Holocaust, Rabbi Yisroel

Spira experienced great suffering as

many did. He lost his wife and children

to the death camps during the Shoah.

Yet it was there, precisely in the valley

of tears that his holy personality

stood out. He displayed goodness

and kindness to his Jewish brothers,

encouraging each Jew to place his

trust in the Lord God and to await

deliverance. After being saved from

the Holocaust he settled in Brooklyn,

New York, and it was there that he

had a great influence on the Jewish

community. He used to say, “The

reason I remained alive was so that I

could continue recounting to future

generations what happened to us

during those times.” As anti-Semitism

is at an all-time high now, we who

stand with Israel must never forget.

One story he told was during the

days of Chanukah, when Rabbi Spira lit

‘candles’ made from fatty food waste in

the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The Chanukah Menorah was cut out

of raw potato and a secret ceremony

was arranged. But when he recited the

blessings while lighting the ‘candles’, a

Jew asked him a question: “Rabbi, even

if you stubbornly lit the Chanukah

candles why would you say the

blessing [“Blessed are you Lord God,

who has granted us life and sustained

us and enabled us to reach this time”]

during a time in which thousands of

Jews are dying terrible deaths.” “I

too asked myself this question,” the

Rabbi replied. “I looked for an answer

and found one: When I recited the

blessing, I saw that a large crowd had

gathered – risking their own lives in

so doing – to watch the lighting of the

candles. By the very fact that God has

such loyal Jews – prepared to give their

lives for the lighting of the candles – by

that very fact alone we may recite the


A Holocaust survivor I ministered to

for many years’ survived the Auschwitz

concentration camp and Bergen-

Belsen. Her story can be read in my

booklet ‘Crimes Against Humanity’.

Helen’s Chanukah menorah (pictured)

was used during two CFI Chanukah

events in the North of England during

December 2018.

Even in the dark days of winter, we

have to believe that God is a God of

miracles, and a God of the impossible.

One story that really spoke to me

during Chanukah 2018 was when

Rabbi Teichtel gave the best German

response to the hatred and evil of the

Nazis 80 years ago. He desired to light

the biggest Chanukah Menorah in all

of Europe at the Brandenburg Gate

in Berlin – the very place that Hitler

called for the destruction of the Jewish

people. Rabbi Teichtel had his prayers


We have no idea what the rest of

2019 will bring. But we must stand

firm, and keep standing with God’s

ancient covenant people – the Jews and

the nation of Israel. ‘Am Yisrael chai!’

(Israel lives!)

Special Report

The changing situation

around Israel

Robin Lane

After a year of significant events

in the Middle East, it is worth

noting the situation that is

developing around Israel. So with a

map of Israel and its neighbouring

countries in mind, let’s consider the

situation by moving anti-clockwise

around the land.

The Mediterranean Sea dominates

Israel’s western border and presently seems

to hold little threat. But the southern section

contains the Gaza Strip, the source of many

problems over the last 12 months. Once

the USA decided to recognise Jerusalem

as Israel’s capital, Hamas started a long

series of border protests called ‘The Great

March of Return’ which yielded a number of

propaganda successes as Israelis used live

fire in defence. Hamas also developed the

troublesome tactic of flying fire bombs over

the border attached to kites and balloons.

Thus it surprised many when Benjamin

Netanyahu reached a ceasefire agreement

with Hamas in November – especially given

the support it receives from Iran. Overall the

events of 2018 seem to have strengthened

Hamas, enabling it to celebrate its 31 st

Anniversary on 16 th December in front of

thousands of supporters and speak of moving

towards national unity for Palestinians. 1

Further to the south, the peace agreement

with Egypt is holding and the Egyptian

authorities seem to have been very active in

ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and

Israel throughout recent months. Indeed,

there has been covert co-operation between

Egypt and Israel in tackling the threat posed

in the Sinai Peninsula by ISIS – a common

enemy that is still active.

Turning our gaze round to the south east,

we see an unlikely ally for Israel in Saudi

Arabia, largely again because of a common

enemy – in this case Iran. Sadly, the

improved relationship has become politically

toxic after the controversial murder of

journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 2

Looking across to the east we see Jordan,

the second Arab country to sign a peace

agreement with Israel. As with Egypt, that

peace agreement seems to be holding, but

the Jordanians have become slightly less

co-operative recently over a land ownership

issue on the border with Israel.

Further east the picture is very different.

Iranian leaders continue to state their

intention to destroy Israel. This is not

new, but Iran’s actions in supporting and

equipping both Hamas and Hezbollah have

become more obvious during the last twelve

months. Whilst the Iranians do seem to be

in significant difficulty economically, due to

renewed sanctions placed upon them by the

USA, this does not seem to have reduced

their enthusiasm for attacking Israel. 3

As we turn our attention further north to

Syria, we see the most significant changes

that have taken place recently. At long last

the Syrian Civil War is almost over, largely

due to Russian support for Bashar al-Assad’s

government. Russian forces are now firmly

established in the country. As a result, Syria

can start to recover and turn its attention

back towards its long-term enemy, Israel.

There have been repeated attempts by Iran

to use Syria as a route to ship improved

weapons to Hezbollah, prompting Israel

to mount a series of air strikes to destroy

shipments en route. However, the necessary

communication with the Russians has

become much more difficult since a Russian

plane was shot down by Syrians who were

retaliating against one of those air strikes.

Immediately to the north of Israel,

Lebanon continues to suffer weak leadership.

This leaves Hezbollah in a very powerful

position in the country – thousands of its

members are now free from fighting in Syria

and have gained battle experience there.

Hezbollah has a significant stockpile of

weaponry, but it recently suffered a setback

when Israel publicised its discovery of attack

tunnels that have been dug in contravention

of UN Resolution 1701.

Further to the north Turkey features

strongly in the situation, having joined the

alliance between Syria, Russia and Iran

fighting in the Syrian Civil War. Turkey has

increased its influence through its large

army – on one occasion even preventing

the Syrians and Russians from attacking

a rebel enclave. President Erdogan has

previously stated his desire to re-establish

the Ottoman Empire, and seems determined

to move against the Kurdish people in North

East Syria as his next step. Perhaps more

surprising is his interest in Jerusalem,

revealed by several sources in a warning to

the Israeli Prime Minister that President

Erdogan wants to ‘claim ownership over the

Jerusalem issue.’ 4

Finally our attention moves to the far

north. Russia has become more influential in

Syria, providing extensive air support in the

civil war and supplying better anti-aircraft

defence systems. Russia condemned the

Israeli air strikes in Syria carried out on 25 th

December as ‘provocative’ and seems intent

on asserting more control over the region. 5

This may seem surprising given the distance

between Russia and Syria. But it comes

within the context of Vladimir Putin wanting

to re-establish Russia as a superpower,

indicated by the annexation of Crimea in

2014 and support for pro-Russian forces

fighting for control of Eastern Ukraine.

Thus the overall situation around Israel

bears an uncanny resemblance to that

described in Ezekiel chapter 38. It would

be good to watch developments closely and

continue to pray for all aspects of God’s will

to be done.


1. Hamas leader Haniya says movement wants

‘national unity’ (

2. All you need to know about Saudi journalist’s

death (

3. Iran pledges to destroy Israel within 25 years as

tensions rise (

4. ‘Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel

against Turkey’ (

5. Russia condemns ‘Israeli’ air strikes on Syria


1 st Quarter 2019 • IN TOUCH 7

Hebrew Word Focus

Melissa Briggs MA

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Melissa is an experienced Hebrew

teacher with a desire to make the

rich language of the Scriptures

accessible to Christians.

הָלְַך Walk


Melissa Briggs


assumed I would have my life all sorted out by

the time I reached thirty. As a child, I observed

respected adults and presumed ‘they must

have arrived by now.’ In my naivety I thought any

insecurities or sin struggles would be resolved by this

point of ‘proper adulthood.’ Relationships would

be established and stabilised. All doubts and fears

would be dispelled; plans settled. I would enjoy a

comfortable status quo.

Now, firmly in my thirties, I realise there is no cruise

control in the adventure of life. Life is not just about the

destination, as glorious as eternity with the Lord will be.

John Bunyan so aptly described in Pilgrim’s Progress that

‘life is a journey.’

Truly some hurdles have been overcome along the way.

Many questions have been answered. A number of victories

have been won. However, new challenges and lessons are

always around the corner.

Sanctification is an on-going process that

cannot be rushed (especially as some of the

deepest spiritual growth can occur in seasons

of waiting). Our relationship with God has

a constant, daily, dynamic, on-going nature.

God is constantly wanting to reveal himself

more, to sanctify us more, and to draw us into

deeper trust and intimacy.

This adventure with God entails daily

choices to position ourselves ‘in step’ with his

Holy Spirit: “Blessed is the man whose strength

is in you, whose heart is set on pilgrimage”

(Psalm 84:5).

The Hebrew word for walk, הָ‏ לַ‏ ‏ְך ‘Halak’ is

a general term for walking or going. It can

have the connotation of regularly walking

in companionship and relationship with another person or

a way of life. Other words in this same family of Hebrew

words on the topic of movement include:

‏’‏Mahalak‏‘מַ‏ meaning journey and הֲלְָך

Law. ‘halakah,’ the term used for the Jewish Oral הֲלָכָה

This offers interpretations of the Torah for the daily ‘walk’

of Jewish life, encapsulated in the Jewish literature of the


It is closely linked with another verb יָלְַך ‘Yalak’ meaning

to walk or flow (together). Walking is a metaphor that relates

to progress, unity and intimacy.

What does God desire for us and from us? To daily

walk by faith in humility and love, illuminated by his light

(which is his Word that became flesh, Jesus) according to his

instruction (expressed through the holy Scriptures and the

Holy Spirit):

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord

require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk

humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

“For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet

from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life”

(Psalm 56:13).

Any progress in our spiritual life is only by faith. There is

no other way to grow and move on with God except by faith:

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,

as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

This means we do not know all the details of our pilgrimage

ahead of time. It requires trust in his wisdom and plan: “For

we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

There is a Biblical metaphor from farming where a stronger,

wiser ox is yoked together to a weaker, less experienced ox

to guide and teach him:

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and

humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke

is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

A modern equivalent to the yoke imagery

would be a tandem bike. The driver on the

front of the tandem bike does all the steering,

so the rider on the back must put their trust

in the driver to direct them both. All the back

rider has to do is to choose to get on and pedal

in sync with the leader to enjoy the benefit of

arriving where the leader planned.

God has gifted us with both the map for the

journey (the life giving instruction recorded

in his written and living Word), as well as a

perfect guide, the Holy Spirit, who can be our

helper and comforter along the way:

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you,

saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you

turn to the right or when you turn to the left”

(Isaiah 30:21).

Jesus provided us with the perfect example of a walk with

God, so he is not asking us to take a journey he was not

willing to take himself.

“Whoever says he abides in him [Jesus] ought to walk in the same

way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).

Walking according to Jesus’ example is a testimony to

the world and gives us the basis for fellowship with other


“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship

with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from

all sin” (1 John 1:7).

God does not promise we will be exempt from hard or sad

circumstances, in fact we are told followers of Messiah will

share in the fellowship of his sufferings. Thankfully he does

promise that he will stay near to us the whole way:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I

will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they

comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Walking with God started all the way back in Genesis

8 IN TOUCH • 1 st Quarter 2019

when Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden:

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden

in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8).

The whole redemptive narrative is about the restoration

God desires - a renewal of the way God intended fellowship

with him to be.

“And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall

be my people” (Leviticus 26:12, quoted by the apostle Paul in

2 Corinthians 6:16).

We are specifically told that certain men of faith ‘walked

with God’: Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.

To begin walking with God first requires a decision to

meet with him: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to

meet?” (Amos 3:3)

Jesus invites us on a journey to take up our cross and

follow him (see Luke 9:23). When we enter through the

gates of salvation it is not the end of our walk but only the

beginning of it (see Matthew 7:13).

God provides the example, the light, the guidance and the

companionship - everything we need for the journey.

“For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet

from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life”

(Psalm 56:13).

The other option is to walk in darkness and the Bible

warns us firmly against taking this wide path that leads

to destruction: “Let us walk properly as in the daytime”

(Romans 13:13).

Have you begun the adventure of a ‘halak’ with God? Are

you daily enjoying his precious, sanctifying companionship,

help and guidance as you navigate the joys and challenges of

life? He delights to ‘halak’ in fellowship with his children. It

is what he intended all along.

“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we

will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever”

(Micah 4:5).

If you are interested in learning the Hebrew language through online tuition (or in person if you

are local to Berkshire), or if you are interested in hosting a Hebrew language day for a group

in your area, please contact Melissa for more details at:

or at:

The IHRA working definition

of antisemitism 2016

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may

be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical

manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish

or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward

Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as


Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of

Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of

Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot

be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges

Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used

to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in

speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister

stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the

media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could,

taking into account the overall context, include, but are not

limited to:

• Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews

in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of


• Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonising, or

stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of

Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the

myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling

the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

• Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or

imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or

group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

• Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers)

or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the

hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and

accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

• Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing

or exaggerating the Holocaust.

• Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to

the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests

of their own nations.

• Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,

e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a

racist endeavour.

• Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not

expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

• Using the symbols and images associated with classic

antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel)

to characterize Israel or Israelis.

• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that

of the Nazis.

• Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state

of Israel.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by

law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of

antisemitic materials in some countries).

Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks,

whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools,

places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they

are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of

opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in

many countries.

Response Requested

Please confirm your agreement with this definition on the

accompanying Response Form and return in the enclosed

envelope, or let us know by email to:

1 st Quarter 2019 • IN TOUCH 9

10 IN TOUCH • 1 st Quarter 2019

Resources call: 01323 410 810

UPROOTED – Lyn Julius

Who are the Jews from Arab countries? What were the relations with Muslims like? What made the Jews leave countries

where they had been settled for thousands of years? What lessons can we learn from the mass exodus of minorities from the

Middle East? Lyn Julius answers these questions and more in Uprooted.

She also assesses how well Jews integrated into Israel and how their struggles have been politicised. It charts the clamour

for recognition, redress and memorialisation and how their cause can contribute to peace and reconciliation.

The British born daughter of Iraqi–Jewish refugees, Lyn graduated in International Relations from the University of Sussex.

Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Jewish News, Ha’aretz, Standpoint and Huffington Post, among other media.

B498 // 340 page book // £18 (incl. UK p&p)


This is a set of three lectures in the Haverim series that were given by Dr Ron Herms at a seminar held on 22nd April 2017

at the Centre for Judaic-Christian Studies, Dayton, Ohio, USA. He explores the way the Book of Revelation “re-imagines

worship for all of life.” The three resulting messages give very useful insights for understanding the last book of the Bible.

Disc 1: The Cosmic View of Worship Disc 2: The Civic View of Worship Disc 3: The Communal View of Worship

Ron is Dean of the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences at the Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California.

Prior to this he worked at Northwest University as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Co-founder and Director of the

Master’s in Theology and Culture, and Chair of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies. A native of Ottawa,

Ontario, Canada, Dr Herms’ qualifications include a PhD in New Testament Theology from Durham University.

CDS135 // 3 CD SET // £13.50 (incl. UK p&p)


Bible stories will come alive for your children / grandchildren (ages 7-12) as they read about tribal life during the times of

the patriarchs.

They will gain an understanding of the nomadic lifestyle, so different from their own, that will provide a richness and depth

to the already well-known stories of Joseph and Moses.

This book also includes activities that will enrich their understanding, such as colouring a tribal map, making a tribal

banner, creating their own tribe and writing a journal using their imaginations as to what tribal life was like.

B495 // Large 32 page children’s book // £6.50 (incl. UK p&p)

MADE IN ISRAEL – DVD Narrated by Gordon Robertson, CBN

The State of Israel is roughly the size of Wales, and yet it has the largest number of start-up companies per capita in the

world. Israel also has more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange than all of Europe.

Gordon Robertson takes an inside look at Israel’s remarkable innovation and ingenuity, producing breakthroughs in products

and processes that affect the way we live our everyday lives. This five-part documentary explores Israel’s scientific advances

in agriculture, water, medicine, environment and technology.

It received three Daytime Emmy ® nominations in 2014.

D146 // DVD // £12.00 (incl. UK p&p)

Postal savings on multiple items

MAGNETIC – MAP OF ISRAEL – 3D Relief Map of the land of Israel today

Feel the contours of the Holy Land with this 3-dimensional, topographical, magnetic map of Israel. Featuring modern day cities,

nature reserves and biblical tourist attractions such as Tel Dan, Tel Megiddo, Caesarea, Shiloh, Qumran and Masada.

“You shall mark out your eastern border from Hazar Enan to Shepham; the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the

east side of Ain; the border shall go down and reach to the eastern side of the Sea of Chinnereth; the border shall go down along the

Jordan, and it shall end at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land with its surrounding boundaries.” (Numbers 34:10-12)

Scale: 1 inch = 37 miles

MA2 // Size 21cm x 10cm // £4.50 (incl. UK p&p)

MAGNETIC – BIBLE LAND – 3D Relief Map of Israel in Biblical times

Feel the contours of the Holy Land with this 3-dimensional, topographical, magnetic map of Israel in Biblical times. This educational

souvenir features the Land of Israel as divided up between the twelve tribes of Israel and includes tribe territories, regions, towns,

ancient roads and holy places.

“.. And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according

to their divisions.” (Joshua 18:10)

MA3 // Size 16cm x 9cm // £4.00 (incl. UK p&p)

1 st Quarter 2019 • IN TOUCH 11


CFI UK are planning to exhibit at the following national events



13-14 MARCH, 2019

13-17 APRIL 2019




Fochabers, Scottish Highlands

21st – 27th July 2019


The East of England Showground, Peterborough


July 27–August 2



August 4–10



23 - 27 AUG 2019



15-17 OCTOBER, 2019

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