After Jesus expressed His anger
on the people who were desecrating
the Temple of God, in the city of Jerusalem,
Jesus went to Bethany.
Bethany is a small village located less than 2 miles
away from Jerusalem.
It’s on the southeastern slope
of the Mount of Olives.
And according to scripture,
it’s where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived.
They were all Jesus’s good friends,
and Lazarus is the man
who Jesus raised from the dead.
In 1517, Bethany was captured
by the Ottoman Empire
with the rest of the area that lies between
the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea,
and Bethany was renamed al-Eizariya.
In 1922, the village was comprised
of 506 Muslims and 9 Christians,
and today it is mostly made up of Arabs
who are Sunni Islam.
Bethany is part of the region
known as the “West Bank.”
The "West Bank" was a name
given to the territory west of Jordan -
after it was captured by Jordan
in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Jordan held the territory until 1967
when Israel took it over during the Six-Day War.
After that time,
Israel and the Palestinian Liberal Organization,
created administrative districts,
knowns as areas with varying levels of autonomy.
Bethany (or al-Eizariya) is in Area C,
and accounts for over 60% of the West Bank.
Israel maintains control of security and citizenship.
So basically, many Arabs live there
but is under the foot of Israeli troops.
The Israeli army enforces security
while the Israeli community continues to grow.
These Israelis who live in the West Bank
are known as settlers, because they are colonizing
what the Arabs believe to be their land.
I might as well mention the Gaza Strip
because its another area of confusion,
at least it was for me.
While the West Bank is located
west of the Jordan River and east of Jerusalem,
the Gaza Strip is a small territory,
along the Mediterranean coast,
that lies between Israel and Egypt.
Gaza is controlled by Hamas,
an Islamist party,
and is under Israeli blockade
but is not under the foot of Israeli ground troops.
Now listen to this -
Iran and Turkey support groups such as Hamas,
and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
for both geostrategic and ideological reasons.
Iran aids, arms and funds Hamas
to expand its regional influence.
Iran sees Israel as a usurper of Muslim lands
and as a threat to Islam.
Iran also views Israel
as an extension of the United States.
The Islamic Republic calls the United States
“Great Satan” and Israel “Little Satan.”
Iran views Palestine as an organ of their own body,
and does everything it can
to support the Palestinian nation.
In 2000, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said,
“The Palestinian people must continue the blessed Jihad
and stand against the enemies of Islam.
The Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah
must continue the struggle in a united way.
Indeed, the only solution is the elimination
of the root of this crisis,
which is the Zionist regime imposed on the region.”
In August 2018, it was reported
that Iran was transferring some $70 million a year,
or $5.83 million a month, to Hamas,
the ruling party of the Gaza Strip.
For 15 days in May of 2021,
we saw an outbreak of violence in the region
of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
The crisis was triggered on the 6th of May,
when Palestinians began to protest in East Jerusalem
over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel.
The decision led to the eviction of
6 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah,
a once elite neighborhood of the Palestinian people,
that is now home to many Palestinian refugees.
On May 7th, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli police,
who then stormed the compound
of the al-Aqua Mosque, using tear gas, rubber bullets
and stun grenades.
The violence coincided
with the Muslim Night of Destiny,
also known as the Night of Qadr,
and the Israeli national holiday,
The Night of Qadr is an Islamic belief
that commemorates the night
when the Quran was first sent down
from Heaven to the world
and also the night when the first verses of the Quran
were revealed to Muhammad.
Its exact date is uncertain but it is known to be
one of the odd-numbered nights
of the last ten days of Ramadan.
Muslims believe the Night of Destiny
comes with many blessings and mercies of God.
Its the night sins are forgiven,
supplications are accepted,
and the annual decree is revealed to the angels,
who carry it out according to Allah's Grace.
Anyway, the crisis prompted protests
around the whole globe, and sparked reactions
among leaders of the world.
It's no wonder, the Lord sent His warning,
in 2020, when the world went crazy
and humans could not breath.
How did “Great Satan” respond?
Let us see.
On May 10th. Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum-
withdraw security forces
from the Temple Mount complex and Sheikh Jarrah.
When the ultimatum expired without a response,
both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Some rockets hit residences and one hit a school.
Israel then began a campaign of airstrikes
against the Gaza Strip;
some 950 targeted attacks demolished 18 buildings
including 4 high-rise towers, 4 hospitals and 40 schools.
As a result of the violence, many people were killed.
Over 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel,
but over 90 percent of the rockets
were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome.
God is amazing, is He not?
Calls for a ceasefire were first proposed
on May 13th by Hamas,
but rejected by Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Five days later, France, along with Egypt and Jordan,
announced the filing of a United Nations resolution.
I wonder - why was America not involved?
What was Biden’s stance?
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas
came into effect on May 21, 2021.
But on June 16th, balloon bombs were launched
from Gaza into Israel causing fighting to resume.
I wonder - What is happening now?
America's comment to the United Nations was this,
“we will not support actions
that we believe undermine efforts
to de-escalate this war.”
You see, Palestine had previously broke off ties
with America during Donald Trump's presidency,
and they rejected his Middle East peace plan
as biased towards Israel.
But when Joe Biden took office,
he promised to restore aid to the Palestinians
that was cut off by his predecessor,
President Donald J Trump.
The PLO consulate
had previously covered Palestinian affairs
until 2019, when it was merged with
the new embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.
As of today, in Washington DC,
discussions are now open with the PLO.
Who would have thought Bethany,
a small village East of Jerusalem,
at the foot of Mount Olive
where beautiful fig trees grow,
would grow leaves, but not bear fruit.
Perhaps this is what is happening
in Israel, and in America today.
The nations whose foundation were based on
the One True God and His Son
are now known as the nations led by Satan himself.
In the morning, Jesus was hungry,
so He started walking back to Jerusalem.
He saw a lone fig tree standing
on the side of the road and got excited.
One would guess
that He must have been relieved
to see the fig tree in bloom,
it’s foliage would have signaled
that there certainly would be early fruit
for Him to eat.
Unfortunately, Jesus’s anticipation
must have quickly led to frustration,
when He saw the leaves had no figs.
Rather than the tree feeding Him,
the tree would leave him in starving mode.
Scripture says He cursed the tree
and said, “Never again will fruit come from you.”
And the fig tree suddenly died.
The disciples asked, “How is it
that the fig tree has withered away all at once?”
Jesus said, “I assure you, if you have faith
and do not doubt or allow yourself
to be drawn in two directions,
you will not only do what was done to the fig tree,
but even if you say to this mountain,
‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’
it will happen (according to Gods will).
And whatever you ask for in prayer,
believing, you will receive.”
You may wonder -
How can cursing a barren tree,
have anything to do with faith to move mountains
or to continue on with prayerful intent?
Well, the answer is
not found in the leaves,
but in the fruit that is produced.
“The fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control."
You see, many things can masquerade
as the real thing, but upon closer inspection
they prove to be false.
Jesus had just entered Jerusalem
with tons of people shouting "hallelujah and amen."
People came from every where
to lay their garments down.
But when Jesus entered Jerusalem
he saw the most obscene thing.
He saw God's chosen people
desecrating the temple of God!
After growing anger and wielding a whip,
Jesus took a break and walked out to Bethany,
Upon returning to Jerusalem,
Jesus was let down again.
The fig tree on the side of the road showed leaves -
meaning it was ready to produce fruit,
but when Jesus approached,
it was completely barren.
the town that sits at the foot of Mount Olive,
had a fig tree that was as good as dead!
I mean, without fruit, who can live?
You see, when we operate in the flesh,
we do not produce the fruit of the Spirit.
"For the flesh lusts against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary to one another,
so that you do not do the things that you wish.
But if you are led by the Spirit,
you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies,
outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions,
heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries,
and the like; of which I tell you beforehand,
just as I also told you in time past,
that those who practice such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
God’s Will has always operated
through men and women who follow Him.
God oversees the nations and puts people in charge
to carry out His plans.
For some reason (and who am I to question)
Satan has been given authority
to rule over the world UNTIL Jesus returns.
Many heads of state will rise
to destroy the coming kingdom of God.
But the time will come,
when the Lion of Judah returns.
At the appointed time,
Jesus will raise His friends from the dead.
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;
but is restrained only until he who now restrains it
is taken out of the way.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree:
When its branch has already
become tender and puts forth leaves,
you know that summer is near.
So you also, when you see all these things,
know that it is near - at the doors!
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation
will by no means pass away
UNTIL all these things take place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but MY WORDS will by no means pass away.”