“Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day, will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”   Zechariah 12:2-3

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings from Jerusalem, and Happy Hanukah wishes.  President Trump’s dynamic announcement last week officially recognizing Jerusalem as the State capital of Israel has made this city once again “a burdensome stone for all people.”  Nations that once preferred to be neutral on this question have found themselves confronted with the problem of what to do about Jerusalem.  The Arab and Islamic nations united together to rage against Israel.  A few nations that align themselves with Israel were themselves careful to define their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  Russia surprisingly proclaimed that West Jerusalem was the official capital of Israel, leaving the status of East Jerusalem unsolved.  The Czech Republic also followed suit by declaring that it recognized Jerusalem was the official capital of Israel, but only within its “pre-1967 lines.” Then carefully parsing its words:  “The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affaires Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine” (www.jpost.com).  The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Trump’s decision was harmful to the peace process, a statement which was endorsed by the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany. France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, have asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council on the issue.

Arab World Aflame
Trump’s unilateral declaration has kindled a massive wave of opposition within the Arab world.  Turkey’s President Endogen has declared President Trump’s recognition “null and void.”  He urged the world to recognize occupied East Jerusalem as the ‘capital of Palestine’.  Leaders from 57 Islamic nations have announced that they now officially recognize occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.  Other enemies of Israel also took time to denounce Israel and the United States.  The main objection in the Islamic world was that Trump gave official recognition to a Jewish State, authorizing Israel’s very existence.

Palestinian Protests
Trump’s declaration has also accelerated protests within the Palestinian Authority.  Yet surprisingly, most of these protests have been low key.  Roy and I were in Bethlehem the other day when one riot occurred. It was a carefully staged affair.  We saw five or six students light two garbage bins on fire and roll three burning rubber tires.  They then threw rocks against the Security Wall (Border Wall) separating the P.A. from Israel.  There were more reporters at this event than protestors.  It was all over and cleaned up in an hour.  We saw this farce as it was being organized, then later live on P.A. Television.  The P.A. pays its citizens to riot, giving larger sums to those willing to stand in the front lines. The leaders of Bethlehem particularly do not want to “damage” their tourist trade during the Christmas season, the busiest time of their year.  Tour group cancelations would cause a financial disaster to the P.A.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas announced that because of Trump’s declaration, he will now press for full recognition of Palestine as a nation, with full voting rights from the United Nations.  Abbas tried this same scheme in 2011 and failed.

Christmas is Canceled
The mayor of Nazareth, an Arab Christian city within Israel, announced that because of Trump’s announcement, he was canceling all Christmas celebrations.  Mayor Ali Sallam said that Trump’s speech took away “all joy from the upcoming holidays” (www.i24news).

Hamas Rockets
Terrorists in Gaza, an Iranian supported enclave, have once again stepped up their nightly attacks on Israel.  Since President Trump’s announcement 15 rockets have exploded in Israel.  One landed in a children’s kindergarten on Shabbat, a Hanukah miracle as no students were in attendance.

President Trump Delays Move of U.S. Embassy
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently announced that President Trump will not be relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  “It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” Tillerson said in comments he made at the State Department. “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious” (www.nytimes.com).  Perhaps President Trump in announcing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but not transferring the Embassy was just a move to “test the waters.”  Jerusalem in many ways is a cup of trembling and a stone of stumbling.  The nations fear and know that the cup of Jerusalem, which they hold, will lead to their ruin, and they who occupy themselves with it will stumble.

How to Pray for Jerusalem
Our friend Rick Ridings is the founder of Succat Hallel, a 24-hour Praise and Worship Center not far from the House of Peace.  He has published these prayer points regarding how to pray to Jerusalem in light of President’s Trump’s announcement:

  1. REJOICE! Join in the celebration of the government and citizens of Jerusalem and Israel that at long last, the USA has recognized “the obvious” – that Jerusalem was already the capital of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago; and since the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, has served as their chosen capital.
  2. RESIST THE POWERS OF DARKNESS. Friday, we were praying in Succat Hallel, facing the Temple Mount, as thousands of Muslims were there for Friday prayers, and were expected to erupt into major violence afterward. The Lord reminded me of a vision I received in October and November of 2014  (to read the full vision, click here: https://www.succathallel.com/2014/11/a-vision-of-the-temple-mount-a-menacing-dragon-and-a-season-of-increasing-shakings/) I felt the Lord wanted us to ask Him as the Supreme Judge of the courtroom of heaven to once again issue a “gag and restraining order” against this dragon spirit of incitement to violence in Jerusalem. Amazingly enough, the news reported that, although there were major demonstrations that turned violent in places like Ramallah, Gaza, Hebron, etc., that in the city of Jerusalem, which the controversy was all about, the demonstrations were relatively small, with “no major incidents”, and soon over!  Please agree with us that the relative calm will continue here in Jerusalem as we look to the Lord to continue this “gag and restraining order’ against the dragon spirit of incitement to violence.
  3. REVEAL. There has been some concern expressed in the media here, that in the future, this recognition of Jerusalem as capital may be used as part of plan to pressure Israel to give in to demands in “peace” negotiations.  We have been praying in the past weeks for President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President El Sisi of Egypt for protection, and that they will not fall into, or be part of laying any snares or traps that would go against the Lord’s plans for blessing Jerusalem, Israel, and the Middle East.  Pray that if there are any such hidden agendas, that those will be revealed and foiled.  Pray that, as in the past, Islamic leaders will be like Pharaoh whose heart was hardened to fulfill God’s plans.
  4. REALIGN THE NATIONS.  In a prayer gathering in the United Nations, on November 29th (the 70th anniversary of the vote to recognize the modern State of Israel), we were privileged to proclaim that modern Israel’s right to exist was not given by the United Nations, but by the “United God”, Who in His sovereignty made covenant with Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob concerning redemption and concerning the Land, yet also gave Abraham great promises over the line of Ishmael (Genesis 17:4-8, 18-21).

We proclaimed in that prayer gathering in the U.N. concerning Jerusalem and the Temple Mount the word of the Lord in Psalm 2:6,10,11: “I have appointed my king on Zion, my holy mountain…Therefore you kings, be wise; be warned you rulers of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.”

We also proclaimed in the U.N. that this is a season for nations to shift and change from ungodly alignments into godly alignments that would bless their nation.  We called for many “goat” nations rebelling against God’s Word and choices, to become “sheep” nations, aligning with His Word and choices.   Pray for your nation to rightly align with the Word and choices of the Lord Almighty.

FINALLY, in our prayer time back in Succat Hallel yesterday (8 December), a strong anointing was there to proclaim the verses from Isaiah 54:10-15,17: Though the mountains be shaken
 and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
 nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
 says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli.  I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.  All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.  In righteousness you will be established:
 Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.
 Terror will be far removed;
 it will not come near youIf anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. 
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,”
 declares the Lord.

Rick Ridings 9 December, 2017 in Jerusalem http://www.succathallel.com

Christmas/Hanukah Season
In this season of light, when so many gather to celebrate the miracle of Hanukah and of the Savior born at Christmas, we want to wish you the same greeting as the angels declared to the shepherds in Bethlehem:  “Glory to God in the highest, peace, and good will to men”  Marylois and I will be returning to the United States for a brief visit to family and friends.  Thank you for your prayers for us.  We would ask prayers for the continuing peace of Jerusalem, and for this region.

Please also consider the House of Peace in your giving. We have had many expenses this season, and yet rejoice that the work of the ministry continues.

Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas,
Gene and Marylois / House of Peace

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