By

Josiah Hilton

Status Quo

Status Quo By Ben Hilton August 28th, 2020 – 8th, Elul, 5780 The headlines were bold and startling last week: “Israel makes peace with the United Arab Emirates!” This was really interesting for a number of reasons, including the fact that this is only the third peace deal Israel had successfully made with an Arab nation in recent history. Unfortunately, it wasn’t without a heavy price. As part of the deal Israel agreed to put annexation of Judea and Samaria on hold. But this is not what I wanted to write about today, because something else has caught my attention in regard to the deal. Last week while flipping through news headlines and chats, I kept seeing references to a statement Jared Kushner made in connection to the peace deal and the Temple Mount. This piqued my interest enough to comb through hours of press conferences and news interviews in an attempt to find the original quote. I was finally rewarded in finding the following statement from Jared Kushner from a press conference on August 13th: “One of the biggest excuses extremists used to radicalize the next generation is the Mosque and the Al Aqsa Mosque and saying that it’s being threatened and the fact that Muslims aren’t able to pray there. This deal will allow flights from Dubai and Abu Dabi to Tel Aviv which will allow Muslims real entree to come and visit Israel peacefully and to come and pray at the Mosque with whatever frequency they deem appropriate…This is a great step forward for the country and a great step forward for the world.” I could hardly believe my ears – complete religious freedom for Muslims on the Temple Mount, making it available for them to be able to pray whenever and wherever they want! (Not that this has been much of a problem for Muslims for the last several hundred years) The irony was so tremendous that I could hardly believe Kushner was able to say it with a straight face. Meanwhile two other significant groups of very interested people, Jews and Christians, are denied even basic religious rights on the Mount. In effect, the “status quo” that politicians are so fond of referencing would be upheld and strengthened, and this, according to Kushner, would be a great step forward for the country and the entire world! I want to challenge this idea of the current status quo on the Temple Mount and why it is in fact damaging to the world in general for it to be continued. You see, status quos aren’t unchangeable; they change all the time. In fact, many see the changing of status quos as a positive and progressive idea, especially when it brings more freedom and liberty to the interested parties. Even the Temple Mount’s history itself goes to show this. Traditionally, the Temple Mount is considered the very place of the garden of Eden, the place where God physically walked with Adam and Eve. After Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, were driven from the garden, and separated from the presence of God, a status quo was effectively put in place. Thousands of years later, God brought His chosen people Israel into the land He had promised to them and their forefathers. He directed David to conquer the very location where the Garden of Eden possibly sat, then He chose a specific spot (Mount Moriah) to place His name forever. “For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 2 Chronicles 7:16 “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.”  Ezekiel 43:7 The status quo was broken for the Temple Mount, and God created a new and better status quo for it.  Not only was it to be the place of God’s throne and House here on earth, but God had a vision to see it become a place of prayer for all nations. “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 This is something Jesus our Messiah reiterated in Mark 11:16-17: And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”?’ I want to submit the proposition that this, the house of prayer for all nations, is the status quo God desires for the Temple Mount, similar to the status quo in effect through the garden of Eden. If this is the case then anything put in opposition to God’s status quo – exile, destruction, and laws that prevent non-Muslims from praying there, would in fact be the very opposite of a step forward for Israel, Muslim countries, and the world. Let’s call on our leadership and encourage them to stand up for God’s status quo on the Temple Mount. The time for freedom of worship on the Temple Mount has come; it is... Read MoreRead More

Podcast: Can Israel Ever Make the Palestinians Happy?

Has the UAE/Israel peace deal really changed the rules for negotiating peace in the Middle East? Or…is it walking in the same path as all of the previous “peace deals” that have come before. Tune in to today’s show to find out. The Joshua and Caleb Report is expanding to a full blown network! We will be adding shows, filming the podcast, and starting on YouTube. To invest in the very first media studio on the Mt of Blessing, send an email to Luke@HaYovel.com. You can help make the Joshua and Caleb Report Network reach tens of thousands of pro-Israel Christians all over the world. Israel’s politicians continue to talk about how they are shifting from plans of sovereignty to normalizing relations with Arab countries. At the same time, there is an unofficial building freeze happening in Judea and Samaria. Is the biblical heartland really being abandoned? Find out all of the details on today’s episode of the Joshua and Caleb Report Podcast. Make sure to like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/thejoshuaandcalebreport. Partial music in this episode is by Bryan Atkinson, original game and media composer. You can find out more about Bryan’s work at... Read MoreRead More

Is the UAE-Israel Peace Deal Good or Bad?

Is the UAE-Israel Peace Deal Good or Bad? By Luke Hilton August 21st, 2020 – 1st, Elul, 5780 Initially, it sounded absolutely historic. One could even call it miraculous. It hasn’t happened in 26 years, and this is only the third time that it has happened in the last 72 years. It’s hard not to consider it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, even at the price of compromise. It might lead to evictions and the destruction of homes, but if it leads to peaceful relations with the neighborhood, it’s all worth it; right? I’m speaking, of course, of the historic and bombshell news that the United Arab Emirates decided to normalize relations with Israel. Effectively, they will be entering into a peace treaty. It will only be the third Arab country in Israel’s modern history to do so, and the first in 26 years. When Israel and the US first made the announcement, it was promoted as an extraordinary move for the region and a mutual benefit for both Israel and the UAE. Both countries will begin cooperating in areas such as travel, security, investment, and tourism, and eventually establish diplomatic offices in each other’s countries. What has emerged since the announcement, however, is that the deal is also seen by the US and the UAE as a “land for peace” deal. After the initial announcement, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the US had asked Israel to temporarily suspend plans of applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. The US confirmed this in similar statements. The UAE had something different to say. Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash told reporters shortly after the deal was announced: “What you’re saying as suspension, we’re seeing as stopping.” Gargash also had harsh words for Israel, saying that annexation “would deal a death blow to the two-state solution.” He also said, “The UAE is using its gravitas, its promise of a relationship, to try to really unscrew a time bomb that is threatening a two-state solution.” A tweet from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE, declared, “In my phone call today with US President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to lay down a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations.” I just want to point out here that Bin Zayed first announced that Israel agreed to stop any plans toward annexing “Palestinian” territories and then mentioned that the UAE and Israel are working towards bilateral negotiations. It’s almost as if stopping Israel’s plans toward sovereignty was the UAE’s main objection in the deal and normalizing relations with Israel was secondary. The reaction from the Palestinian Authority was less than positive. Besides hundreds of Palestinians rioting and protesting in Judea and  Samaria, Hamas and Fatah, who are mortal enemies, got together to mutually protest the peace treaty. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in the Gaza Strip also condemned the plan, saying: “The declaration of normalization between Israel and the UAE is a free reward for the occupation for its crimes and violations against the Palestinian people.” Palestinian leaders called for an urgent Arab League meeting to reject what they called an “aggression against the Palestinian people.” They also said, “The leadership affirms that the UAE, or any other party, has no right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people.” The Palestinian Authority already withdrew its ambassador to the UAE in protest. A few days after the announcement of the peace treaty, Jared Kushner addressed Israel reporters, saying: “Israel has made a very generous proposal for the establishment of a Palestinian state, including an exchange of territories. The understanding that this is the situation has enabled the breakthrough that led to the current agreement. There is a generous offer of a state and an exchange of territories, and we offer the Palestinians a return to the table.” When asked how the US would make certain that Israel does not unilaterally annex any territory, Kushner said, “We built a very trusting relationship with Israel. President Trump is committed to holding them accountable to it, and Israel has agreed with us that they will not move forward without our consent. We do not plan to give our consent for some time, as right now the focus has to be on getting this new peace agreement implemented.” As pro-Israel as President Trump is, it is coming across as very strange for one of his top advisors to be announcing that Israel has generously agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, something which is not really true. There are some positive elements to this entire situation. Since the US and the UAE are counting on Israel not to make any steps toward applying sovereignty, this means that the “deal of the century” has been shelved for the time being. Since the plan called for Israel to apply sovereignty over 30% of the biblical heartland, but also required Israel to establish a Palestinian state if the PA met certain conditions, I believe that its halt is a good thing. In regards to Kushner’s statements that Israel has finally agreed to a Palestinian state, everyone in Israel knows that this is not true. Even Netanyahu, who has seemed to agree to a Palestinian state in the past, would not dare to try and implement such a thing now. Besides, when is it a good idea to negotiate with a government whose mission in life is to kill you and confiscate your entire land (and I don’t just mean the “West Bank”)? The negative side of the peace treaty is the fact that the UAE and the United States are now touting the fact that Israel will not move towards any type of sovereignty for “some time.” At the same time, they are gloating over the fact that for the first time in history Israel has generously agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, a statement which is not true and will never happen. Israel, 100% of it, belongs to the people of Israel, per a promise that God made to Abraham. No peace agreement can change that fact; not now, and not ever. P.S. We didn’t plan this, but our brand new, “I Stand For 100% Sovereignty in Israel” t-shirts are now available for sale on our online store! We only have a limited supply, so make sure to grab your size today, and publicly declare your support for God’s promise to... Read MoreRead More

Podcast: Israel & the UAE Announce Historic Peace Deal

  A bombshell dropped last week when the US, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that the UAE would be normalizing relations with Israel. This is only the third peace treaty that Israel has made with an Arab country in their modern history and the first one to be made in 26 years. At first glance, the treaty seemed like a positive move for Israel, and there have since been discussions of other Arab countries following suit in the near future. However,when the US and UAE announced that now Israel has agreed to suspend all plans of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and that they have agreed to establish a Palestinian state, the true nature of the deal was revealed. However, there is a positive aspect to this peace treaty! We get into all of the details on today’s show. Be warned – Joshua and Luke get a little fired up on today’s episode of the Joshua and Caleb Report! Stay tuned until the end of the show to hear about the two miracles that have happened in the last couple of weeks regarding Harvest 2020. You don’t want to miss... Read MoreRead More

One Grape at a Time

One Grape at a Time By Luke Hilton August 14th, 2020 – 24th, Av, 5780 Let’s not talk about politics, protests, riots, or COVID-19. It’s just a hunch, but I’m guessing you’re ready to hear about something else. Let’s talk about a phenomenon. A miracle, actually. Are you ready? The land of Israel is a tiny piece of real estate. It’s smaller than the state of New Jersey. I want to talk about a piece of land that is even smaller than that. Close your eyes and imagine Israel. Are you there yet? Once you’re hovering over Israel in your imagination, zoom in on the center of the country. Let’s go to the Heartland. Many people know it as the West Bank. Some call it occupied Palestine. Neither of those are its real name. Its real name is Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, historically known as Israel’s biblical heartland. About 700,000 Jewish residents live here. If you take out East Jerusalem, there are just over 400,000 in the territory north of Jerusalem known as Shomron (Samaria) and the area just south of Jerusalem, known as Judea. Tell me, when a Jew settles in Judea, how can that area become known as “occupied Palestine”? I still haven’t figured that one out. There is a legend about this area. During the era of the second temple, Judea and Samaria produced a lot of wine and olive oil. Today they have discovered more than 300 wine and olive oil presses in this small area. During the times of the Temple, fruit from these regions would have been used in the sacrifices and offerings. The legend goes that when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and conquered Israel, they took vines back to Rome. Ever since that time, the land of Judea and Samaria has lain desolate. Instead of vineyards and olive groves dotting the barren landscape, rocks and thorns covered her barren hillside. In the meantime, Italy’s wine production expanded to surrounding countries, and since then, that region of the globe has become world famous. In the wine industry, “old world” regions are renowned for producing the world’s best wines. The very nation responsible for destroying Jerusalem became famous from their conquered foes’ very vines! For 2,000 years, Israel’s glory was gone. Her land lay desolate. Something happened this week, however, that completely obliterated this history of destruction and desolation. On a cool, foggy morning just after sunrise, the first grapes of 2020 were harvested in the Mt. of Blessing vineyard. Not only that, but this year’s harvest looks absolutely amazing! The crazy thing is, this particular vineyard is one of many scattered throughout the biblical heartland. None of them are more than 30 years old, yet they’re all producing stunning wines that are winning medals when up against wines from old world regions in international competitions. How did this happen? Well, to put it simply, when God speaks through His prophets, you can guarantee that His words will not return void, even if we have to wait for thousands of years for them to come to fruition. Not only did the prophets declare that the Jewish people would return to their land, the nation of Israel would be restored in one day, and the Hebrew language would come back to life (all of which have happened). The prophets also said that Israel would blossom and bloom once again! It gets better though. Ezekiel said that Israel’s mountains would shoot forth her branches. Amos said that there would be oil and wine dripping from the mountains. Jeremiah said that one day vineyards would be restored on the mountains of Ephraim. (See Ezekiel 36, Amos 9, and Jeremiah 31) They were talking about Judea and Samaria! This is where Israel’s mountains are located. The prophets spoke God’s word, and we are living it more than 3,000 years later! This week I stood beside Israelis picking grapes in the vineyards on the mountains of Ephraim. Young, old, religious, secular, IDF soldiers – they all came to show their support and excitement for the restoration of the land of Israel. Together, we harvested beautiful, juicy clusters of grapes that are a direct fulfillment of God’s word. As crazy as it may sound, grapes being harvested in Israel are all part of God’s plan to bring redemption to the whole earth. Whether you live in America or Australia, South Africa, England, Germany, or France, you can be a part of the blessing that God promised to Abraham so many years ago. If your country is experiencing COVID-19, protests, riots, violence, or persecution, remember that God is in control, and He is guiding the world down a path towards redemption. Remember that God’s light will emanate from Zion to the entire world. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and remember that God’s blessing in your life and country is directly tied to this tiny piece of real estate in the Middle East. Even if you can’t come to the mountains of Israel this year to pick grapes, you can still long for, pray for, and support the work that is happening here. Together, with God’s help, we will see His Kingdom restored in Jerusalem – one grape at a... Read MoreRead More
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