Weekly Newsletter – September 14, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Three-Way Struggle
In Palestine a three-way struggle continued between Jews, Arabs, and the British, with the Jews holding tenaciously to each hard-earned village and settlement. The attitude of the massive Arab and British forces about them must have created a situation reminiscent of an earlier return of Jews to their land, when their enemies said: “What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” (Nehemiah 4:2).
Now as then the Jews continued to develop their land in spite of dangers, and to protect themselves as had their forefathers under Nehemiah, who had written:
And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me (Nehemiah 4:16-18).
U. N. Intervention
The continual struggle in Palestine was finally too much for the British. They were tired of the terrorism, the sabotage, the continual conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, and the expense. On April 2, 1947, Great Britain turned the fate of Palestine over to the United Nations. It was an historic action that would ultimately bring about the establishment of the State of Israel.
On November 29, 1947, after careful investigation, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, giving independence to the Jews. The partition gave the Jews only about one-fourth of the amount of territory they originally intended for their homeland. It was only ten miles wide at its middle and vulnerable to attack on nearly every side. But to the Jews, the decision for partition meant independence, and they hailed the United Nations’ action with joy. At last they would have a home of their own.
Birth of a Nation
The date for statehood was finally set for May 15, 1948. As the occasion approached, Jewish excitement over independence was tempered by the threat of war with the Arabs. Being seriously undermanned and under gunned, they simply were not ready for war. Arms had been brought from Europe, but the British would not allow them to be used until after the mandate had ended. Arab leaders were promising a war of extermination. Having traveled the long trail from Hitler’s camps to their homeland, it now appeared that another Nazi-like experience awaited the Jews. But regardless of the danger, the Jews proceeded with preparations for the birth of their nation.
At eight in the morning on May 14, the British lowered the Union Jack in Jerusalem. By mid-afternoon there was a full-scale war on throughout the country between the Arabs and the Jews.
At 4:00 P.M. that day, David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of Independence of Israel and it was broadcast from the Tel Aviv Museum. He began:
The land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
Here their spiritual, religious, and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world.
Exiled from Palestine, the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and restoration of their national freedom.
Concluding the Declaration, Ben-Gurion said:
In the midst of wanton aggression, we call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State with full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its bodies and institutions — provisional or permanent.
We offer peace and unity to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all.
Our call goes out to the Jewish people all over the world to rally to our side in the task of immigration and development and to stand by us in the great struggle for the fulfillment of the dream of generations — the redemption of Israel.
The United States was the first country to recognize the State of Israel, with President Truman’s statement of recognition coming at 6:10 P.M. on May 14.
On that day, the following editorial appeared in the New York Times:
This is the last day of British rule in Palestine. At midnight (6:00 this afternoon our time), Great Britain surrenders the mandate which she received from the League of Nations twenty-five years ago. The zero hour, awaited with hope and anxiety by the bitterly divided population, marks a fateful change in the status and government of a small country that has presented the United Nations with its hardest test to date and weighs more heavily than any other on the heart and conscience of the world.
Palestine will now be an independent entity for the first time in centuries
The long-awaited statehood had arrived. Israel was born.
The War of Independence
On May 15, from Tel Aviv at 5:25 in the morning, Ben-Gurion was broadcasting Israel’s thanks to the United States for prompt recognition of their statehood. A loud explosion interrupted his speech. After a pause, he said, “A bomb has just fallen on this city from enemy aircraft flying overhead.” The War of Independence had begun.
To call it the “War of Independence” seems a contradiction. Most nations trace their histories to a war of independence after which statehood was won. In Israel’s case, the long struggle for statehood was capped by a war of independence. Although there had been sporadic fighting throughout the country in the months preceding the end of the British mandate, the actual war began on the birthday of the nation. Although travail usually accompanies birth, in this historic situation travail and trouble continued after birth had taken place.
The War of Independence was bloody and desperate. Had the Arabs known how poorly the Jews were armed they might have pressed their advantage and quickly won the war. The Arabs had been able to purchase weapons on the open market because they were recognized nations. Europe was then a giant weapons market, a sort of postwar rummage sale, but the Jews had been hindered in purchasing arms because of their political status. They had been able to secure some World War II arms, but at the beginning of the war they had only four large howitzers of the type used by the French army in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.
In one battle with forty-five Syrian tanks, only two of the ancient howitzers were available, having been hurriedly moved from Haifa to be used in the defense of the oldest kibbutz in Palestine. Colonel Moshe Dayan, the local commander, ordered his men to fire at the most advanced Syrian tank. The Israelis scored a direct hit, causing the column to turn around and retreat. They never returned. Had the Syrians known they had been fired upon with one of the only two weapons on hand at the time, they would have undoubtedly used their strength and firepower to win the battle.
The Arab League nations that opposed Israel were Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Trans Jordan. They formed a formidable alliance against less than a million poorly armed Jews. Many of the Arabs fought well and Jewish casualties were high. Six thousand Israelis were killed during the eight months of war. Had American losses been that high proportionately during World War II, they would have reached two million, which is more than the number killed in both world wars.
We will continue our study on the birth of Israel in our next newsletter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
When the Light Goes Out!
I really enjoy flowers and plants. My husband, Jack, and I have numerous trees, shrubs, and flowering plants around our house.
Last summer I was especially proud of some beautiful ferns we had hanging outside around our patio. Given just the right amount of light and water, they really flourished, with dark green, luxuriant leaves and tendrils that cascaded over the sides of the pot like a vibrant, intricately woven tapestry.
I enjoyed those ferns all spring and summer long, and when fall approached, I couldn’t stand to see them die. So Dr. and I carried them to the office and gave them to various staff members to take home.
All except one — the largest and most beautiful plant of all. We put that one in the office chapel up by the pulpit. It was so beautiful, so fresh — it was a reminder of God’s blessings to us through nature. And many commented on how much that fern added to the room.
Then one day a week or so later, I went into the chapel and immediately noticed that something was wrong with the plant. It was still alive, but its rich green color seemed duller and its leaves were drooping. “Oh my, I thought, “What’s wrong? Are we going to lose this beautiful fern?”
Then I saw the problem — inside the walls of the chapel, the plant wasn’t getting enough light. So I moved it so it would get full exposure to the overhead light, and I opened the window blind so natural light came in. And do you know, by the very next day that fern had perked up and looked healthy and full of life again.
The Lord really used that incident to speak to my heart about the importance — and the power — of light in our spiritual lives. When we begin to flounder, to feel wilted, weak, and listless, it’s a sure indication that we need to draw nearer to the light. The vitality and strength we enjoy in our lives come from the Light of the world — from Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
I love the beautiful description of the Apostle John, who wrote, In him was life; and the life was the light of men…. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:4,9).
Step out of the shadows
Next, James says there is no shadow of turning with God. Do you know what causes a shadow? Something comes between you and the source of light!
Is there a shadow in your life today? Then find what has come between you and the Lord. Could it be materialism, caring more about this world’s goods and “things” than eternal values? Could it be a person — perhaps you’re in love with a person who is not God’s choice for you. Maybe the object between you and the Lord’s Light is your own desire to be successful.
Could it be that you’ve allowed indifference, resentment, or a critical, judgmental spirit to come between you and God and cast a shadow over your life?
Take a look at your life today. Don’t wait too long! Without a daily infusion of the power of God’s Light, the vibrant colors of your life will begin to fade. Your zeal and energy to witness for Him will wither. Your desire to be all that He wants you to be will shrivel away.
Remember, just going to church is not enough if you keep an “umbrella” over you to block out the light. My beautiful fern would have died just as dead inside the chapel as it would have inside a cellar — without the power of the light! When I let in the light, my plant was fully restored. And the Light of God will do the same for our lives.
But that’s not all. We are so much more important to God than a fern plant. His plan for us is so exciting and fulfilling.
You can be God’s light
As we continue to draw near to His light, something wonderful happens. We begin to glow and radiate His light until it shines on others still living in darkness. Our lives can be beacons, drawing precious souls to Christ. This gives purpose and meaning to our living.
Jesus himself said to us, Ye are the light of the world…. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14,16).
You may feel that, even at your best, your light is. too small to be of much use. But it isn’t. In the gathering darkness of the world around us, even a candle can be seen. And as we work together for the Lord, combining our efforts and our resource, to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission in these last days of time, the power of God’s light will shine through us and reach into the darkest corners of the earth.
Oh, I want to help light up the world for Jesus, don’t you? My heart goes out to people who still walk in darkness, even in the United States and Canada, as well as in other nations. There is such sadness and despair, such confusion and deception. Men and women live under heavy burdens. Young people face peer pressure and temptation. It seems that Satan has launched an all-out assault on mankind.
I understand full well what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).
If ever there was a time for us to draw near God’s light, it’s today. If ever the people of the world needed someone to lead them out of darkness into the marvelous light of our Lord and Saviour, it is now. If ever any Christians had the opportunity — and obligation — to win the world for Christ, you and I do.
In the words of a beloved old gospel song —
“There’s a call comes ringing o’er
the restless wave,
Send the Light, send the Light,
There are souls to rescue, there
are souls to save,
Send the Light, send the Light!”
God help us to hear that call today and to do all we can, give all we can, be all we can to send the light of the gospel.
God help us to SHINE!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe
I just wanted to say how much I am encouraged through your loving witness and testimonies in the Lord as I watch your program. I also know of others in my circle of family and friends who are also encouraged in the Lord through your ministry. I pray for the Lord’s strength, encouragement, and blessings to be filled to overflowing all the more in your lives and ministry.
With much Love in Christ,
A sister in Christ Jesus,
praying for your health, Also Rexella and you have been such a blessing to me I just did 5 years in prison and I watched your show every week it is the highlight of my week I couldn’t wait to get out and tell you, Life is so great with Jesus in it no more being a slave to sin, My wife has stage 4 cancer, and your prayers would be appreciated, and we will continue to pray for you and your ministry God bless.
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Verse by Verse
Dr. Jack Van Impe
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