God sometimes speaks through volcanos: “And it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain… Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.” Exodus 19:16-17
A few weeks ago I opened the newspaper and saw the craziest article I’ve seen in ages. There it was in front of my eyes, yet I could hardly believe it. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standard Agency decided that one of Israel’s tourism posters could not be used in England. What bothered the ASA so much? Israel used a picture of the Western Wall (known as the Kotel to Israelis), inviting tourists to come and visit the many religious sites such as this one. Above the Western Wall loomed the Dome of the Rock, built by the Muslims seventeen centuries after Solomon’s Temple. (It’s hard to hide when snapping a picture of the Kotel.)
Ever since Israel recaptured her ancient capital in 1967, the Western Wall has been the most recognized image of the reborn nation of Israel. It is all that is left of that magnificent structure built to hold the shekinah glory of the God of Israel. One detail so often forgotten: Only since Jerusalem has been returned to the Jews are all the Holy Places in the Holy City open to the public of all religions.
I visited the Western Wall when it was in the hands of the Jordanians (before the Six Day War) and I can assure you that no Jew was allowed to pray there. The Western Wall was approached through a scruffy, neglected narrow alley, with lean-to houses cramming the area a couple of meters from the Wall.
So when I read the article about the British denying Israel the right to use the picture, I could not help from being stunned, and then all I could do was laugh in disbelief. The British government was telling Israel she could not use the Western Wall as a symbol of Israel? This had to be a joke.
But it wasn’t. The ASA claimed that readers were likely to understand that the places featured in the itinerary were all within the State of Israel… “ because we considered that the ad implied that the part of East Jerusalem featured in the image was part of the State of Israel, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead,” the ruling continued.
Israel’s Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov replied, “These statements join the list of repeated attempts by anti-Israel organizations to discredit Israel’s standing using absurd claims… Jerusalem and its many religious and historic sites is Israel’s central tourism anchor that draws millions of tourists of all religions every year, regardless of political views.”
“It is obvious to any thinking person that the Western Wall is one of Israel’s inalienable assets and as such it will continue to appear in the ministry’s campaigns,” he added.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also had harsh words for the Britain’s Advertising Standard Agency: “The Kotel is the heart of the nation and State of Israel, and it will remain as such. (Jerusalem Post, 15Apr10; Haaretz.com, 15Apr10)
The UK’s Zionist Federation mounted a campaign to have the ruling of the ASA rescinded. They explained, “There is no other way for tourists to see these sights other than through Israel. Indeed Israel took responsibility to support the religious sites of all denominations…East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel over 40 years ago. Legally, from Israel’s point of view, it is one city with no difference between East and West.”
But the ASA replied that it will not reconsider its ruling in this case and the ad must not appear again in its current form.
A few days later I was talking on the phone to our international administrator, Christy Wilkerson, in Texas. I was telling her about this idiotic ruling by Britain’s government – one so bizarre, that it was really beyond belief. After that, we changed the subject and I mentioned that I thought Ari would be able to come home to Israel from New Jersey because his plane would not be going through Europe where in many countries flights had been grounded for several days because of the Iceland volcano.
Suddenly Christy asked, “What was the date when the UK made the ruling that the Israeli government could no longer use a picture of the Kotel? I looked at the paper dated April 15, and it said, on Wednesday, April 14, the British ruling was made. Then she asked, “What day did the Iceland volcano start spewing its ash in such quantities that it became a danger to air travel? I quickly checked the internet. The volcano erupted on April 14. By the next day, the ash had covered much of Europe and all of England. Every single plane in Great Britain was parked. London’s Heathrow airport hosted thousands of people sleeping on the floor.
A few days later, Heathrow became a ghost airport. Empty of people. Full of grounded planes. The black cloud, floating miles above the earth and capable of knocking out jet engines, ruled the United Kingdom. Some of the particles in the ash cloud are plain rock dust, but others are jagged-edged shards of glass, which can get sucked into jet engines. The ash clogs up the plane’s air intake, and the glass particles actually melt inside the engine and fuse solid.
For six days, not a plane took off from any airport in Great Britain. Not even on September 11, 2001, were all planes grounded there. On the seventh day, relief from the heavens came and England’s airports sprang to life again. Those six days cost her over $1,200,000,000!
Though not as severely affected, nearly all of Europe was visited by the dark cloud. Today, as I write this article nearly a month after the fierce explosion of ash and lava, there are still random disruptions across Europe because of the wandering cloud. As one airline official said, “We can’t predict our flight schedules because the cloud keeps moving around.”
In fact, on May 10, Israeli air officials were put on alert with news that the cloud was coming our way here in Israel. Fortunately, it stayed up high enough that it didn’t affect our air travel.
What does this strange “sign in the sky” mean from a spiritual aspect? First of all, it reminds us that this universe is in God’s hands. With a flick of his little finger, He can bring nations to a grinding halt and affect the affairs of men on all continents, as we have just seen.
The UK’s official government Met Office spokeswoman said: “We’re all at the mercy of the volcano and there is just no way of knowing how long it will continue to erupt. We would normally be getting southwesterly winds at this time of year and it’s pretty unusual to have northerly winds dominating the weather. It’s very much a day-to-day situation at the moment. The volcano died down a bit for a spell and has now got more active.”
Notice: it is unusual for northerly winds to sweep the clouds from Iceland down to Europe at this time of the year. It’s “usually” the other way around. How coincidental!
Vulcanologists believe there is more to come. I’m sure that most of the world has heard their vague predictions – “This eruption could last days, weeks, months or years!!!” For now, God decided not to break the back of Europe’s failing economies by grounding her airlines for weeks, months or years.
However, it does remind one of the ten plagues of Egypt at the time God was determined to free the children of Israel from her Egyptian slavemasters. There were three days of darkness which the Bible said was so thick that no one moved from their place.
Why would such a “thick darkness” hit England for six days? I believe that the “coincidence” of such a brazen and impudent demand as to tell Israel she cannot claim as hers the Solomonic wall that once surrounded God’s Temple was just too much – even for God. I believe it hit Him in the apple of His Eye.
Besides, there are numerous Scriptures warning the nations not to tangle with Jerusalem. What lover of Israel doesn’t know the Scripture, “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” – just to mention one. Zechariah 12:3
Of course, this farcical demand of not using the Western Wall was only one of continuous attacks against Israel by Europeans – but especially Great Britain, as the UK academics work tirelessly to boycott Israel’s scientists and universities and her merchants boycott Israel’s agriculture produce and manufactured goods.
Of course, Europe is not by herself. The main actor now at work to divide God’s promised land, is none other than President Barack Obama. By coddling Israel’s would-be destroyers, and demanding that construction of new apartments in Jewish sections of East Jerusalem be stopped, Obama is risking evil tidings to His own land. Pharaoh’s actions brought destruction to his people and his economy. Today, God has promised that this land is not for sale.
“I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel… They have also divided up My land.” Joel 3:2. Whatever the exact time this verse will be fully implemented, the fact is God does not like nations dividing up the land He promised to Israel. Period.
And coincidentally, the American people are watching at this moment with great anxiety as 200,000 gallons or more of oil a day are spewed towards the beautiful southern coasts of the U.S. Furthermore, citizens watch perplexed as the Mexican drug mafia surge over the southern border of the U.S. In short, the whole length of America’s southern area is on fire. Lives and livelihood are under attack.
Besides all this, Islamic enemies determined to wreak havoc in the Free World are busy, busy, busy.
But that is not all. This week as I write, the proud city of Nashville drowned. Reports are saying that this may be the greatest non-hurricane disaster in the history of America. The costs of damage to the city is estimated at one and a half billion dollars and that will certainly rise.
Tornadoes are on the rampage. One can argue, “It’s always been that way. It’s just that we hear about it through today’s media.” Maybe so. But to me the parallels between “coincidences” are simply too similar to the way that God dealt with the nations in Bible times.
For instance, I think I understand Pharaoh’s actions better than ever before. I remember as a kid, I just couldn’t understand why Pharaoh could be so stupid, so stubborn as he watched his land and people being destroyed by one plague after another, instead of obeying the words of God through Moses.
Today, as “plagues” are striking the Western countries, no ruler seems to be thinking about God, any more than Pharaoh did, and what He might be saying to these lands.
Certainly, Pharaoh had Moses pointing out the coming plagues and warning him not to mess with Israel. But today, the rulers of the nations who were once Christian nations, all have Bibles somewhere in their libraries. The warnings are there. The instructions are clear: “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” Zechariah 12:9