Blog note: Parable of the Fig Tree. I think the ‘Fig Tree’ has matured and grown up. End of note.
Israeli spacecraft ‘Beresheet’ sends first selfie from more than 23,000 miles away
(March 5, 2019 / JNS) The Israeli lunar spacecraft “Beresheet,” the Jewish state’s first, sent a photo of itself at a distance of 23,364 miles from Earth as it is heading to the moon.
The photo’s background shows the continent of Australia.
A plaque displays Israel’s flag with the inscriptions, “Am Israel Chai” (“the Jewish people lives”) and, in English, “Small Country Big Dreams.”
The unmanned spacecraft is scheduled to land on the moon next month
Israel ranked eighth most powerful country in world
The country’s leader, military, international alliances, economic influence and political influence were analyzed. Israel was found to have a “large role in global affairs,” despite its “relatively small size.”
(March 5, 2019 / JNS) The US News & World Report annual international survey found Israel to be the eighth most powerful nation in the world for the third year in a row, based on responses from 21,000 people in four regions across the globe.
A ranking of 80 countries found Israel to be the 29th best country, up one from the last two years, but the eighth most powerful. Switzerland and Japan took first and second place in the ranking for best countries.
Interesting Facts about Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) Visit to Israel a Century and a half ago.
MARK TWAIN’S UNWITTINGLY PROPHETIC VISION FOR THE STATE OF ISRAEL
A natural skeptic, Twain was not taken by the splendor of the Holy Land. He wrote irreverently about the country’s legendary sites.
At his peak, Mark Twain was probably the most popular American celebrity of his time. What few realize is that it was an unlikely trip to the Holy Land that established his fame as an author.
A century and a half ago, Twain traveled on an excursion with his American church group to Europe and the Middle East. The material he gathered, first published in a San Francisco newspaper, formed the basis of the humorous book that made him hugely popular: The Innocents Abroad.
But while in the Middle East, Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was not focused on the book he would eventually write, but another, holier work: the Bible.
Twain took a piece of stationery with “Mediterranean Hotel” printed on the top just above the date, September 24, 1867, and wrote to a Mr. Elias, a local book-binder in the Old City, the following instructions: “Elias, fix up the little Bible I selected (I don’t want any other) – the one that has backs made of balsa-wood from the Jordan, oak from Abraham’s tree at Hebron, olivewood from the Mount of Olives, and whatever the other stuff was – ebony, I think. Put on it this inscription: ‘Mrs. Jane Clemens – from her son – Mount Calvary, Sept 24, 1867.’ Put ‘Jerusalem’ around on it loose, somewhere, in Hebrew, just for a flyer. Send it to our camp, near head of the valley of Hinnom – the third tents you come to if you leave the city by the Jaffa Gate – the first if you go out by the Damascus Gate. Yours, Sam L. Clemens.”
The King James Bible published by the British and Foreign Bible Society was an ironic choice of gift for the man who famously quipped, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
A natural skeptic, Twain was not taken by the splendor of the Holy Land. He wrote irreverently about the country’s legendary sites. The Sea of Galilee was, “a solemn, sailless, tintless lake, as unpoetical as any bath-tub on earth.” The Church of the Nativity was “tricked out in the usual tasteless style observable in all the holy places.” Throughout Innocents Abroad, Twain explicitly states that the area was desolate and devoid of inhabitants. Riding on horseback through the Jezreel Valley, Twain observed, “There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for 30 miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride 10 miles, hereabouts, and not see 10 human beings.”
Half a century after Twain’s visit, the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917. Fifty years later the Six Day War was won. And today, in 2017 – 50 years after that – Israel continues to flourish, moving in leaps and bounds away from Twain’s “sackcloth and ashes.”
At various points throughout his journey, Twain criticized his fellow “American vandals abroad” for the petty buying and selling of holy land trinkets and religious artifacts. So what compelled this skeptical father of American literature to buy an olive wood-covered Bible for his mother? Twain might not have known it at the time, but by reporting on the “curses” of the land during his visit, he was lending credence to the biblical passages he famously mocked in his book, prophecies which were fulfilled less than a few decades later. Likewise, Twain’s decision to purchase a Bible over any other trinket is evidence that he was moved by the religious holiness and spirit of the land.
Categories: Israel and Jewish Prophecy