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Revive Israel Ministries
O Columbia, O Palestine
© February 2003 by Asher Intrater

Sometimes we charismatics can get a little "spooky" by looking at every event as a sign from heaven. It borders on being superstitious. On the other hand, it's difficult not to see the biblical symbolism in the events connected with the Columbia space shuttle disaster. It seems that it is too much to overlook or chalk off as mere coincidence.

Here are some of the elements:

1. Columbia - The name Columbia represents the American dream of bringing a peaceful world.

2. Palestine - The shuttle disintegrated "over" Palestine, Texas.

3. Heavenlies - The space program was in the "heavenlies" which biblically represents spiritual authority and dominion.

4. Texas - Is obviously the home of George W. Bush, and the home of American oil interests as well.

5. Falling Star - The shuttle appeared to be a star falling out of heaven when it disintegrated. A star falling is also the sign of the fall of a world power.

6. Seven Flags - There were six Americans and one Israeli on the flight symbolizing the partnership between America and Israel.

7. Iraq - Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut, was one of the pilots who flew in the mission that successfully bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

The successful bombing by Ilan Ramon of the Iraqi reactor took place ten years before the Gulf War with President Bush senior. The current space shuttle disaster took place right before the impending war on Iraq with President Bush junior.

Sometimes a small symbolic defeat can be a warning of a potentially larger defeat close at hand.

Esther 6:13
"If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him."

In this passage Hamen's wife Zeresh warns him that his humbling experience before Mordecai is a spiritual sign that he is about to have a bigger fall. In the current situation, the symbolism is somewhat reversed.

I am not prophesying, but merely making a comment on the obvious symbolism here. The message is two-fold:

1. That the U.S. (and Israel with it) stands to suffer a humiliating defeat in the Iraqi war.

2. That the U.S. and Israeli partnership stands to disintegrate over the Palestinian issue.

I do not see this as a judgment, but as a warning. In other words, this has not been decreed to happen, but is a warning of what could happen if there is not appropriate prayer and repentance.

Simply put, God is calling the believers in Israel, America and around the world to give themselves to immediate intercessory prayer and moral repentance in this time right before the impending war in Iraq. I believe God wants to give victory to America and Israel, to remove the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and to bless the partnership between America and Israel. However that is not going to happen without deep intercessory prayer and true moral repentance.

II Chronicles 7:14
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Some of the prophetic interpretations coming from Christian Zionists and Messianic Jews place an emphasis on criticizing Bush's and Sharon's stated willingness to allow for a Palestinian state if conditions were right. They point out that a Palestinian state would be tantamount to the sin of "dividing up God's holy land."

Joel 3:1-2
"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land."

It is true that the failure of the nations to recognize God's covenant with Israel - that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, is a great sin. It is such a great sin that it is part of what leads up to the very battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming of Yeshua. We believe strongly in defending Israel's right to live in this land, even militarily. I myself have two sons serving at this time in battle units in the Israeli army.

However, the issue here has a lot more to it than simply right-wing politics or Zionist ideology. We need to ask ourselves, "What is God saying to us as believers in Jesus (Yeshua)?" It is true that the ownership of the land of Israel is one of the important issues here. However, seeing the occupation of the land as the only issue gives an unbalanced perspective. Another problem of the "land only" view is that it does not involve humility and repentance on our part.

We read above in II Chronicles 7:14 that the solution lies within us, as the "people who are called by My name." We cannot just point the finger at the politicians and the Muslims. We have to deal with our own sin. If we will deal with our own sin as a people of God, then God will hear from heaven and heal the rest of the land. In other words we deal with spiritual sins within the community of faith, and God takes care of the issues concerning the land and the politics.

Matthew 7:3
"Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?"

Our job is four-fold: to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God's face and to repent. Humbling ourselves means to remove pride. We need to remove spiritual pride, intellectual pride, religious pride, theological pride, nationalist pride and ethnic pride. We as Americans and Israelis don't realize how big this plank is in our eyes, and how easily it is seen by others. (I say that as one who has dual citizenship, both American and Israeli - and quite proud of it!)

We are to pray. In this case, prayer means prayer together with fasting. The times are urgent and we need to give ourselves to prayer and fasting. The prayer and fasting of the city of Nineveh saved the city of Jonah from impending disaster and judgment (Jonah 3:5-10).

We are to seek His face. We have heard the expression, "to seek God's face instead of His hand." There is much truth to that. If we seek the victory, the victory will elude us. If we seek God's face instead of the victory, He will give us the victory anyway.

There is a subtle deception in the Western Christian world (including us Messianic Jews) in which we have taught the Bible as a system of spiritual principles through which we can be blessed. There is much truth to that. I believe in God's total blessing, prosperity and victory. However, we have put more emphasis on the principles than on the "principal". We have missed the central focus of our personal relationship with God through Yeshua and His work on the cross.

We are called to turn from our wicked ways. Most of the world does not look at Israel and America as holding higher standards of integrity. What they see is lust and greed. We pump out sexual immorality all over the world through media and entertainment, yet we expect the world to see us as holy. We are riddled with scandals and corruption in politics and business, yet we expect the world to see us as righteous.

Matthew 6:33
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."

Our job is to seek God and to seek His higher standards of moral purity. Then He will take care of the blessings. I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm "preaching", but isn't that what we are supposed to be doing?

We would do well to remember that our first job is to preach the gospel. The occupying of the land today is done not only by physical settlement, but also and firstly by preaching the kingdom of God. Some prophetic or Messianic or Christian Zionist ministries have lowered their emphasis on evangelism, and therefore have over-emphasized the issues of the land.

Yeshua said He would restore Israel as we concentrated on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and witnessing for the gospel (Acts 1). I am 100% percent for the prophecies of the restoration of Zion, but we have to keep evangelism as a higher priority. My boys carry with them guns to defend against terrorists, but more importantly, they carry with them the witness of Yeshua and eternal salvation for our people.

Two clear biblical examples of hindrance to military victory stand out in my mind. The first is the sin of Achan at Ai. God told Joshua that the reason they had suffered a defeat was because there was sin in the camp. If they would remove that sin, victory would come.

Joshua 7:11
"Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the devoted things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff."

We have not only the sins of pride and lust as mentioned above, but also of greed. I am not pointing a finger here at the outside world, but at ourselves. We have lacked integrity in dealing with the tithes and offerings of the Lord's people. We have used it for our own pleasure instead of evangelism, discipleship and helping the poor. Many have even raised money concerning Israel, and very little of it ends up in the hands of the local believers.

David established a rule that there would be equal portions of those who go to the battle with those who sit by the stuff (I Samuel 30:24-25). How much more should those who deal with fundraising share equally with those on the field! I believe that ministries who have donations come in connected with the issue of Israel need to share equal portions of those funds with local believers who maintain their faith in the difficult conditions here, yet have no avenues of fundraising.

The second story of hindrance to victory is the Gibeonites. God told David that He would not bless him unless he made amends with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were natural enemies of Israel, but they had made a treaty with Israel through Joshua. Saul, in his mistaken and carnal zeal attacked and killed the Gibeonites.

II Samuel 21:1-3
"And the Lord answered, 'It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.'
So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.
Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, 'What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?'"

David's job was to conquer the land. David represents the community of faith in the remnant of Israel. Saul represents the carnal version of David's kingdom. I see Saul as the unsaved Israeli community, particularly the over-zealous, right wing, ultra-orthodox. David had to make atonement for what Saul did, even though it was not David's fault. I see a parallel in this passage of the Gibeonites to the Palestinian Christians. While ethnically we are different, and politically often find ourselves in opposition, we have a covenant with them through Yeshua, just as the Gibeonites had a covenant with David through Joshua.

I remember recently watching my friend, Yaakov Damkani, a great sabra Israeli evangelist, weeping in prayer for God's mercy on the Palestinians, and particularly for the Palestinian Christians. Our main job is evangelism. We also have the responsibility to defend the physical security of the land of Israel from the attacks of terrorists.

Yet in the midst of that, our hearts must be broken in love and compassion for the Palestinian people. We need to pray for unsaved Palestinians to come to know the Lord. We need to give finances to help Palestinian Christians who are suffering in the midst of horrible conditions.

On a final note - investigation indicates that a small piece broke off at the take off. That little piece though almost unnoticed may have caused the damage that ultimately destroyed the shuttle. They couldn't fix it because they were already in space. What I'm writing about here may seem to some like a small insignificant piece. Let us deal with it now, so that it will not cause greater difficulty later. We have the power in prayer to go into the heavenlies and fix whatever is not working right.

If we do our part of intercession and repentance, I believe God will His part in bringing the victory.