Prayer Targets: Christian Zionism; Assault on Israel; RFRA; If 7:14; Prayer & Fasting, Pastors, More
July 11, 2014
Dear Praying Friends,
After 26 years as a U.S. Treasury agent, John P. McTernan became co-founder and Chaplain of Cops for Christ and a pro-life leader. In 2001, he and White House Correspondent Bill Koenig co-authored Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. His 2008 book, As America has Done to Israel, analyzes our nation's relationship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel in light of Scripture. He points to evangelist William Blackstone (1841-1935) as the progenitor of modern Christian Zionism:
America had several powerful spiritual revivals that touched the entire nation. The Great Awakening of the 1740s... 1800, a great revival started in Kentucky and spread eastward until it affected the entire nation. The Second Awakening began in 1820... and shook the nation. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, huge segments of American Christianity began focusing on the second coming of the Lord Jesus and the rebirth of the nation of Israel... Powerful evangelists like D. L. Moody and William E. Blackstone were proclaiming this as were hundreds of lesser-known preachers. Blackstone's book Jesus Is Coming (1878) affected millions of people.
Amid this revival, Russian Jews began pouring into America. The horrors of the Russian pogroms touched the hearts of American Christians, who began to help by providing food, clothes, and medical attention. The crisis awakened the church to the need for a Jewish homeland. Blackstone became the leader of this movement and traveled extensively throughout America promoting a Jewish homeland in Palestine... In 1890, Blackstone chaired a conference called, "The Past, Present and Future of Israel." Some of the most influential leaders in the Jewish and Christian communities attended... Blackstone felt resolutions they produced were not strong enough, and met with President Benjamin Harrison and Secretary of State James Blaine to present to them a document, later called a Memorial, entitled "What Shall Be Done for the Russian Jews?" It helped spearhead the Zionist movement. Modern Zionism actually sprang from the church in the United States. The church... believed it was time for Jews to go back to their biblical homeland... six years before world Jewry initiated the first Zionist Congress.
More than four hundred leading Americans signed the Memorial. Religious leaders [including] D. L. Moody, leading members of Congress and mayors, powerful industrialists and bank presidents including John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, and Charles Scribner, editors and publishers from ninety-three leading national newspapers and religious periodicals... Most of America was behind protecting Jews and the creation of a Jewish nation... Cyrus H. McCormick, president of McCormick Harvester accompanied the Memorial with a letter declaring his deep belief in the Bible as the literal word of God. Quoting Isaiah 49:22 and Ezekiel 34, Blackstone requested that the President and Secretary of State take a personal interest in this matter expectant that God would bless (per His covenant in Genesis 12:3). While Harrison mentioned the plight of the Jews in his State of the Union Speech, he did not further follow through. But the spiritual force of the church was now engaged in a real way for God's restoration of Israel. This awakening never died in America and remains alive to this day. (John McTernan, As America Has Done to Israel, 2008; edited for space).
Israel under Assault; Mideast in Turmoil - For a week, Israel has been under assault. Hamas terrorists in Gaza have fired hundreds of deadly rockets at civilian cities in central Israel. Clearly, the Palestinians rejected the Obama/Kerry peace initiative: first, in April, announcing reconciliation with Hamas; then June 3, when they announced a unity government to include Hamas; then the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers - one an American citizen; now, an all-out rocket assault on Israel. President Obama responded with an op-ed calling for a Palestinian State and his White House Mideast chief, Philip Gordon, delivered a blistering rebuke, not to Hamas, but to Israel. Israel has responded with strikes on Hamas and readied 40,000 reserve troops for an imminent ground offensive. Meanwhile, ISIS, led by an al-Qaeda terrorist once in U.S. custody and bent on creating an Islamic Caliphate, has already erased the borders of Syria and Iraq, and now threatens Saudi Arabia, Jordan, even Turkey, having subdued Iraqi cities where Americans died to save Iraq (see Ground Offensive; US Support for Hamas; Senate says Stop Aid; Obama: A Two State Solution; White House Rebukes Israel; Hamas Targets Civilians; ISIS Leader; videos: PM Netanyahu; Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, USA-Ret.).
- May God help Israel to protect its people and may the nations stand by her God-given right to do so. May Hamas be stopped and its members given justice! And may He protect believers in this troubled, violent region as they face persecution for loving Him. (2 Chr 9:8; Ps 89:14; Pr 28:4-5; Is 9:7)
Hobby Lobby Decision Brings Liberal Assault on RFRA - The 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting religious liberty rights for closely-held corporations under the Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) has opponents scrambling. Pro-abortion women's groups are enraged that employers will "have control over women's bodies" and are making effort to dis-inform Americans about RFRA, just as homosexual activists did in Arizona. Even though HHS has promised insurers the government will reimburse them, funds are not in place to do so. Both insurers and HHS admit they are unprepared. The Hobby Lobby ruling should help the Little Sisters of the Poor and 50 other religious non-profit organizations that have brought lawsuits against the HHS Mandate. But all the cases, for- and non-profit, must yet work their way through the courts. Groups like Planned Parenthood are on the political warpath. The National Organization for Women (NOW) put the Little Sisters of the Poor on their "Dirty 100" list. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have unveiled The Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act which would override the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It would require most for-profit businesses to provide health insurance to cover all forms of contraception in Obamacare, despite religious objections. Churches and some religious organizations would be exempted. RFRA, enacted in 1993, was passed unanimously by the House, 97-3 by the Senate and signed President Bill Clinton. What liberals are calling a "war on women" is in fact an all-out war on religious liberty (see High Court Pains Liberals, Insurers, Megyn Kelly takes on NOW; Senate Fix; Mandate Info Central).
- May the religious liberties guaranteed to all Americans, including businesses and ministries be successfully defended and preserved in the courts. May the Senate effort fail! (Ps 31:15-24; 35:19-20; 38:19-22; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-20; Rev 12:11)
Persisting in Prayer for our Nation! - With the National Day of Prayer, Call2Fall and Anne Graham Lotz's Prayer initiatives behind us, it should be clear that extraordinary prayer for our nation must continue. On Sunday evening, July 13, our longtime friend Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of Iowa's The Family Leader, and author of If 7:14, is hosting nationwide webcast, The If 7:14 Call, on Sunday evening, July 13th (Sign up for the Livestream here).
Another longtime FRC friend, founder of Trumpet and Torch Ministries Traci Alexander, has produced several popular guides to help Christians pray and fast -- for closer fellowship with Christ and to maximize prayer's impact. Traci is launching a new group fast: "40 Days for Marriage," August 27th through October 5th! She writes: "Our nation is mired in confusion and post-modern thinking and nowhere more evident than in the debate raging about what constitutes marriage. The next Supreme Court session begins October 6th. We expect them to take on marriage. Our 40 Days will end October 5th as the Court session begins. Find out more HERE!
- May Christians across America get involved in these and other prayer projects, and keep prayer for revival growing until Christ returns! (2 Chr 7:14; Ps 110:3; Is 55L:6 ff)
Finally, please pray for Meriam Ibrahim and her family; for FRC's Church Ministries Team which, together with Vision America, is on a whirlwind tour of North Carolina, holding pastors-only briefings in nineteen locations. The tour, already underway runs through July 28th (click here for details); Pray for hundreds of educators from 50 nations who have gathered at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, for the 9th International Conference on Holocaust Education (learn more here; view sessions here). Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Muslim countries and in nations with a Christian heritage. A growing number deny the Holocaust. Thank you for praying!