Compassion

Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, October 4, 2019

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

As Unity Talks Stall, Netanyahu to Meet with Liberman

by Moran Azulay

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Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman

Thursday, 3 October 2019 | Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will meet Thursday morning in Jerusalem as part of the prime minister’s efforts to form a coalition government.

“There’s no point wasting the country’s time,” Netanyahu told Liberman in a conversation Wednesday. “We’ll meet, see if this is serious or not and based on that make a decision.”

The meeting was planned after Likud and Blue and White talks on a potential unity government ended without results.

Neither Netanyahu nor Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who leads a bloc of center-left parties, have enough Knesset (Parliament) members in their respective blocs to form a majority coalition.

Gantz on Tuesday backed out of planned talks to form a national unity government, saying conditions were not ripe to hold effective negotiations.

Both President Reuven Rivlin and Liberman have been calling for a unity government between Likud and Blue and White and have expressed opposition to a third round of elections within a year.

Liberman said earlier Wednesday that if there is no progress on unity talks before Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), his party would present Blue and White and Likud with its own proposal.

“Even if new elections are held, the political map will not change significantly, and therefore an informed solution must be reached, leaving all personal and ego considerations aside,” he said.

Netanyahu, who was last week given 28 days by Rivlin to form a government, met Wednesday with the heads of the right-wing factions that form his political bloc in any coalition negotiations.

As the rightist bloc met, Netanyahu’s Likud party repeated its previous claim that Gantz’s political partner Yair Lapid was scuppering unity talks for his own purposes.

“The ministers had been made aware that the Blue and White negotiating team canceled the meeting because Lapid overpowered Gantz during the holiday, intending to drag the country into another election,” said a Likud source.

“Lapid does not want a rotation (of prime ministers) between Netanyahu and Gantz, but only between Gantz and himself.”

Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked said following the meeting that the right-wing bloc remains “hardy like concrete,” while the head of the Jewish Home party, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, said the right is “marching together.”

Blue and White meanwhile placed the blame for the cancellation of the unity talks firmly on Likud.

“This is not a negotiation, it is a deaf discourse and there is no point in continuing as long as the conditions stay the same,” the (Blue and White) party said.

“Why should we help him take the hearing off the headlines?” said one Blue and White official, referring to Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearings, which kicked-off on Wednesday morning—the time when the planned unity talks were supposed to take place.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on October 2, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Edward Kaprov photojournalist/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that these leaders will hear the voice of the Lord and be obedient to His direction. Beseech Him that the man of His choice will be successful in forming a coalition. Pray that all involved will set personal ambition aside and do what is best for the nation.

Scripture

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”


- Daniel 2:20–21

Israeli UN Speech Calls for Global Recognition of Jerusalem and Pressure on Iran

by Joshua Spurlock

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Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz addressing the UN General Assembly last week

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 | Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had a message for the world, and what better venue to deliver it than at the United Nations General Assembly last week. From recognizing Jerusalem to pressuring Hamas to countering Iran, Katz repeatedly called for all nations to unite in common causes in a speech delivered last Thursday.

“I call on the international community to unite in order to stop Iran,” said Katz, according to a transcript of his speech posted to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. “The world cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The world cannot allow Iran to develop ballistic missiles, and the world must stop Iran from supporting terror organizations in the region.”

Israel’s top diplomat went on to specifically call for the UN to label Hezbollah and Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terror organizations. “They promote terror in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and all over the world,” said Katz. “And the world must stop them.”

Katz also urged the world to join United States President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, and that wasn’t the only area he hoped the international community would follow Trump’s lead.

“I want to thank the President of the United States, Donald Trump, for his historic and brave decision to recognize Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish People for three thousand years, as the capital of Israel, and to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem,” said Katz.

“I call on all countries to follow the United States, and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Katz highlighted the recognition the UN has already given to Israel, noting that in 1947 the international organization recognized the Jewish people’s right to have their own state. “Israel is a real democracy for all of its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. But, first of all, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People, based on thousands of years of Jewish history, and the right of the Jewish People to its own homeland. Just as the UN decided seventy-two years ago.”

Turning to the Gaza Strip, Katz pointed out that Hamas continues to hold two Israeli citizens, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. “I call on the UN to implement the decisions that you took on this issue, and not allow any country to provide aid to Gaza until Hamas returns them to their families,” said Katz.

Conflict and controversy aren’t the only areas in need of unity, however. Katz also reiterated a plan to build a rail line from the Arab nations in the Gulf to Israel’s coast on the Mediterranean. Katz said the plan would be to “connect the Palestinian Authority to this project” as a “boost” to the Palestinian economy and a boon to Middle East peace.

“Israel has a clear policy to advance ties, and normalization with the Arab Gulf States,” said Katz. “We have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat as well as in developing many joint civilian initiatives.”

That common threat with Iran is a message not only sounded by Katz last week. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had similar words in a speech at the United Against Nuclear Iran’s 2019 Iran Summit last Wednesday.

“I ask responsible nations: Will you publicly condemn Iran’s malign activity? We need you to; the world does… Most importantly, will you help us get Iran back to the negotiating table? We need your help; the world needs it,” said Pompeo in his speech, published by the US State Department. “And will you stand with us alongside of Israel? We need you to; the world needs you to join us.”

While the lofty objective of global unity on Iran and Israel expressed by Katz and Pompeo may seem difficult to achieve, the American diplomat believes things are changing for the better.

“Our goal is very straightforward, although not simple. But we know diplomacy is working, our resolve is strong, and our eyes our open,” said Pompeo. “The awakening, I think, in the world, has begun.”

For his part, Katz leaned on Biblical prophecy from Isaiah for his vision of hope.

Said Katz, “Allow me to conclude with the words of the prophet Isaiah who thousands of years ago invited all the nations of the world to come to pray in Jerusalem…

“I will bring them to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called, a house of prayer for all people.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on October 1, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: United Nations/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the words of these two political leaders and their commitment to the telling the truth. Pray that US Secretary of State Pompeo’s belief that the world is awakening to the importance of stopping Iran and of supporting Israel is in fact true.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Israeli Hurt in Palestinian Terror Attack in Jerusalem Old City

by Yishai Porat

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The Chain Gate in Jerusalem

Friday, 27 September 2019 | A police officer was very lightly wounded Thursday afternoon in an attempted stabbing attack nearby the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Many forces arrived at the scene at the Chain Gate and detained the suspect.

The event took place just days before the Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShanah) at one of Israel’s most sensitive and volatile locations.

Magen David Adom paramedics, who arrived at the scene, treated the policewoman on the spot.

“The injured officer was walking next to the Chain gate in full consciousness with a light hand wound,” said Magen David Adom paramedic Yaniv Yaffe. “I gave her medical treatment and at this stage she did not need to be evacuated to the hospital”.

A 22-year-old woman was lightly to moderately wounded Wednesday afternoon in a suspected terror attack near the central city of Modi’in.

The woman sustained stab wounds to her upper body in the attack on Route 443, close to Maccabim Junction.

The suspected attacker, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was arrested by Border Police officers who were driving by at the time of the incident.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on September 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: imadM/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Again, pray for swift healing for people injured in terror attacks. And again, beseech the Lord that this senseless violence be stopped. Also pray for extra protection for the nation and increased vigilance for security forces during this holiday season in Israel, a time when violence often increases.

Scripture

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.


- Psalm 61:1–3

On the Eve of the Jewish New Year, Israel’s Population Tops 9 million

by Yaron Drukman and Amir Alon

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On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, statistics show that life is Israel is flourishing. (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 | Israel’s population stood at 9,092,000 people on the eve of the Jewish New Year of 5780, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics annual report.

The population count has grown by 2.1% since last year, and is expected to reach 10 million by 2024 and 20 million by 2065.

Today’s Israeli society is made up of 74.2% Jews, 21% Arabs and 4% who are classed as others.

[A total of] 43% of Jews living in Israel describe themselves as non-religious or secular while 22.1% claim to be traditional or slightly religious.

Of those describing themselves as religious, 12.8% say they are traditional, 11.3% call themselves religious and only 10.1% say they are ultra-Orthodox.

Israelis are generally satisfied with life, with 88.9% reporting they are pleased with their situation.

However, 36.1% claim they are unhappy with their economic circumstances: 29.9% said they were unable to pay their bills last year, while almost 25% said they had given up medicine or medical treatment and even hot meals due to a lack of funds.

Life expectancy for men in Israel is 80.9 years, while Israeli woman on average live to the age of 84.9—among the highest life expectancies in the world.

Cancer is the leading cause of death for around one quarter of Israelis (25.2%), followed by cardiac disease (14.8%).

Statistics also show that one in seven Israelis (14.1%) suffer from severe disability.

When it comes to assets and property, 66.5% of Israelis own their own homes—and of that number, more than half are paying a mortgage.

Israeli households spend 24.2% of their total income on housing expenses, 20.2% on public and private transportation, including car insurance and gas, and 16.9% on food.

Almost every Israeli—97.3%—owns at least one mobile phone, 78% of households own a computer and 83.7% of Israelis use the internet.

There are 14.8 million Jews in the world. Eight million do not live in Israel, including 5.7 million who live in the United States.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on September 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kristoffer Trolle/flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for His faithfulness as He continues to fulfill promises made to Israel’s forefathers millennia ago. Pray for continued strength and prosperity for the nation and seek the Lord for His blessing on Bridges for Peace as we work to show the love of Christians to Israel, particularly that 25% who are struggling in extreme poverty.

Scripture

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.


- Psalm 82:3–4

Germany Condemns Iran for Saying Wiping Israel Off the Map Is “Achievable”

by Joshua Spurlock

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Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami interviewing with Iran’s Press TV

Thursday, 3 October 2019 | It’s not new that an Iranian leader has openly discussed wiping Israel off the map, but the leader of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday said it’s no longer just an idea, but “an achievable goal.” The Tasnim News Agency quoted Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami as saying Israel “must be wiped off from the world geography in the second step (of the Islamic Revolution), and this is not an aspiration or dream anymore, but an achievable goal.”

Salami’s comments to a conference of IRGC commanders were condemned the next day by Germany, a nation who knows all too well the dangers of Holocaust rhetoric. “We condemn the recent threats by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps against Israel in the strongest possible terms,” a Federal Foreign Office spokesman said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Such anti-Israel rhetoric is completely unacceptable. Israel’s right to exist is not negotiable. We urge Iran to commit to maintaining peaceful relations with all states in the region and to take practical steps to deescalate tensions.”

Yet rather than back down from the violent comments, Iran doubled down on Wednesday, responding to Germany’s comments with yet another threat.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was paraphrased by the regime’s IRNA (The Islamic Republic News Agency) website as saying the path to calm in the Middle East was to “seriously confront” what Mousavi called Israel’s “destructive” actions.

Furthermore, Salami was at it again on Wednesday, with a separate IRNA report paraphrasing him as saying that “any mistake” by Israel would lead to its being wiped off the political map.

The comments come as Iran and the United States are in a tense standoff over the Iranian nuclear program and US sanctions. Iran has retaliated by attacking the Middle East oil industry and shipping, downing a US drone, and escalating their nuclear program. The US and Israel have repeatedly accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, which could enable Salami’s apocalyptic visions of Israel.

Salami isn’t just wiping away Israel’s future in his comments. He’s also denying its Biblical history. In an interview with Iran’s PressTV on Monday, Salami said Israel has “neither a land of its own, nor population, nor even an established [political] system [recognized] in the world’s history.”

He claimed Israel’s actions had incited Islamic armed groups and militaries against it and there are a number of enemies who want Israel’s “elimination from the political geography” and as a result, “this will happen naturally.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on October 2, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Iran press/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for Germany’s strong reaction to Iran’s outrageous rhetoric. Pray that other nations of the world will recognize the reality of these threats and join together in a firm stand against Iran.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and One who lifts up my head.


- Psalm 3:1, 3

Abbas Promises to Continue Paying Terrorists

by Elior Levy

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Abbas addressing the UN General Assembly yesterday

Friday, 27 September 2019 | Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly that despite Israel’s demands, the Palestinian Authority will continue to pay salaries to terrorists.

“Even if I had only one penny, I would’ve given it to the families of the martyrs, prisoners and heroes,” said Abbas and received a round of applause from the crowd.

Abbas also attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following Netanyahu’s statement earlier this month to annex the Jordan Valley.

“We completely reject this plan. If the Israeli government goes through with it, all our commitments to previous agreements will be canceled,” Abbas said.

Abbas also bashed the United States for its recognition last year of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a disputed territory up until that point, calling it an “aggressive measure”.

“The United States has taken illegal and aggressive measures, such as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferring its embassy to it. Jerusalem is part of the religious heritage of the Muslims and will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian people. The US administration continues its aggression, shutting down the PLO’s [Palestinian Liberation Organization] agency in Washington for no reason,” said the Palestinian president.

Abbas also said that the Palestinians would no longer agree to only one country mediating at a time in their negotiations with Israel and called for an international conference to promote the peace process.

“Our hands are always extended for peace. More than one country has invited Netanyahu and me to meet. Netanyahu refused three calls from Russia, but we always turned to peace. I am calling for an international peace conference, which will involve Arab and international parties. The international community must put an end to Israeli aggression and arrogance,” said Abbas.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on September 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: United Nations/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will open the eyes of the international community that they might recognize the deceitful and hypocritical nature of Abbas’s comments. Pray that any peace initiatives be in line with the will of the Holy One of Israel.

Scripture

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.


- Psalm 5:9–10

Denying Jerusalem’s Jewish History Despite Archaeological Evidence

by Lawrence A. Franklin~Gatestone Institute

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Some of the ancient ruins uncovered at the City of David in Jerusalem

Friday, 27 September 2019 | The City of David Foundation recently delivered a major blow to the Arab effort to erase Judaism’s 3,000-year ties to Jerusalem. On September 9, the foundation’s leading archaeologist, Eli Shukron, announced the discovery of a 2,600-year-old royal seal, found near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, which bears the name (in Hebrew) of Adenyahu, a son of King David mentioned in the biblical book of Kings.

As has been true with previous archaeological discoveries in Israel, however, this one is unlikely to put a dent in the long-term international campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state by rewriting and distorting its history, even by renaming the Jewish sites Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem to “Bilal ibn Rabah mosque” (it was never a mosque) and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs the Ibrahimi Mosque.

This international campaign of delegitimization, moreover, far predates the establishment of the modern Jewish state.

The ancient Romans tried to strip the area of its Jewish identity to make it more Roman by renaming Judea “Syria Palaestina.”

Later, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the fifth caliph (chief Muslim civil and religious ruler) of the Umayyad dynasty of Syria—who ruled during the late 7th century—employed the tactic of delegitimizing both Judaism and Christianity by constructing the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, atop the biblical spot where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac—also the site of the twice-destroyed Jewish Temples. The famous Western Wall, a retaining structure of the Temple Mount, is all that remains of their existence.

In contemporary times, a version of this tactic of revisionist history was attempted by the late PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) Chairman Yasser Arafat, who—during the US-brokered Palestinian-Israeli peace talks at Camp David in 2000—tried to assert that the first and second Jewish temples were not erected in Jerusalem, but rather miles away in Nablus.

That episode followed a staggering report, three years earlier, by the Palestinian Ministry of Information, according to which no archaeological excavations in Jerusalem had supposedly ever unearthed Jewish artifacts.

According to extensive research by Palestinian Media Watch, however:

Rewriting the history of the Land of Israel in order to deny Israel’s right to exist is central to Palestinian Authority (PA) policy. Long before it started the PA terror campaign (the “Intifada,” 2000–2005), the PA was fighting a history war—erasing Jewish history and replacing it with a fabricated Palestinian history. This rewriting has two central goals:

    1. Erase the Jewish nation’s 3,000 year history in the Land of Israel;
    2. Invent ancient Palestinian, Muslim and Arab histories in the land.

The goal of this historical revision as a political strategy was first expressed publicly at a conference of Palestinian historians in 1998, when rewriting history was linked to the political goal of denying Israel’s right to exist:

“Dr. Yussuf Alzamili [Chairman History Department, Khan Yunis Educational College] called on all universities and colleges to write the history of Palestine and to guard it, and not to enable the [foreign] implants and enemies to distort it or to legitimize the existence of Jews on this land… [History lecturer Abu Amar] clarified that there is no connection between the ancient generation of Jews and the new generation.” [Al-Ayyam, Dec. 4, 1998]

Erasing Jewish history in the land of Israel is followed by the PA’s invention of ancient and modern histories that support its political ideology and claim to the land of Israel. The Holocaust and other aspects of Jewish history are alternately denied, downplayed or distorted. Another distortion is to hide from Palestinians that Jesus (Yeshua) was a Jew who lived in the Land of Judea/Israel. PA leaders repeatedly define Jesus as a Palestinian who preached Islam, thus denying not only Jewish history, but also the history and legitimacy of Christianity.

The cumulative effect of this concerted effort has been both counter-factual and unfortunate. Already in 2006, the World Heritage Site Committee of the United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution referring to the Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism—solely by its Arabic, Islamic name, al-Haram al-Sharif.

Nonetheless, extensive documentation from antiquity and countless archaeological finds continue to confirm both Judaism’s ties to Jerusalem and the Jewish people’s millennia-old presence in the land of Israel.

Foremost among the findings that provide proof of ancient writings about the Jews and Jerusalem—apart from the Bible, much of which is magnificently displayed by the new excavation of the City of David—are the written histories by Josephus Flavius (37–100 AD), The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. There are also extraordinary excavations by the Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazor, who in 2012 unearthed a Solomon-era wall and other related sites. This followed and preceded many other discoveries, such as a wide street filled with remnants of shops and tunnels, as noted in the New Testament, that runs near the Western Wall.

Where Palestinian propaganda is concerned, however, none of the above appears to matter. During the very week in early September that the City of David Foundation revealed the ancient Hebrew seal found near the Western Wall, Dr. Ghassan Weshah, the head of the History and Archaeology Department at the Islamic University of Gaza, told the Gaza news service Felesteen:

“One of the biggest lies of the Zionists with regard to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is that it was built on the ruins of the Temple, which was destroyed on August 21, 586 BC. This is a false statement. There is no other building under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

If statements such as Weshah’s were not taken seriously by members of the international community, they would be dismissed as the propaganda tools they are by the reams of irrefutable scientific evidence to the contrary. It is thus incumbent on all honest academics to be vigilant and determined about setting the record straight.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on September 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Leifern/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the archaeologists, academics and political leaders of Israel who are fighting a battle for the legitimacy of the state and for Judaism and Christianity as well. Pray that lies and propaganda will be exposed for what they are and that truth will prevail. Pray that the world—and particularly the Palestinian leadership—will recognize that above all else, this is an attack on the character, even the very existence, of God Himself.

Scripture

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.


- Psalm 2:2–5

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