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Not Peace Yet

Before I was saved, I was like most Jewish people:  I did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, or that He was God’s Son in any special way, or that He died on the cross for my sins; maybe He did for the Gentiles!  I also did not believe in Him as the Messiah which Jewish people speak of and hope for:  we say that if the Messiah comes, everyone will know, and there will be peace.  Clearly, not everyone knows that Jesus is the Messiah, and there is not peace in the world, not even in Israel!  Simple!

Thank God for His mercy and grace to me that He saved me, and opened up the Bible as His Word!  When I began to read the Bible, it was living and all true and relevant for me living now.  It is not just history; and the stories that I had heard about, but was now reading from the source, were more true than the stories about them I had heard!  They are not fables, but truth; they are not legends, but real:  God is letting His people know the truth of things that other people just know as fables and stories!  The Everlasting God reveals things to us that only He could know, but also wants that we know – especially His chosen and elect people whom He has created and redeemed for His glory.  That is how we can be His witnesses to tell others the truth of things, and not just rely on logic or human philosophy or religious tradition. (1Cor 2:14)  But we have to not only believe in God, but also we must believe God.  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. For this is the witness of God which He has testified about His Son.  He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself. He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he does not believe the record that God gave of His Son. (1Jn5:9-10)

There are two places in the Tanach (O.T.) that particularly spoke to me about the fact that there is not yet peace, even though the Messiah has already come:  Dan 9:26-27, and Ps 110:1

Dan 9:26-27  And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war.  And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

Psa 110:1  A Psalm of David. Yehovah said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand until I place Your enemies as Your footstool.

The Daniel passage says that after Messiah dies, there would be wars until the end:  not peace yet!  The passage in Psalm 110, written by David (Mt 22:41-46) says that until Yeshua comes again, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and will do so until His enemies are made His footstool:  not peace yet!  Right there in our own “Jewish” Bible, in front of our eyes, and under our noses!   God has spoken, and He has told us. . . at least twice.  The main reason, of course, for there not yet being peace is because neither Israel nor the world has yet accepted and believed that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah of YHVH and the Son of God. (Ps 2)  As we see developments around the world in ‘peace’ negotiations – in Israel, in Syria, among believers on different important issues – none of these has produced the true peace that we all long for:  peace of mind; cessation of wars, hatred, envy; good health; righteousness; joy in the Holy Spirit.  There is even war with mosquitoes!  Anything that is called “peace” that is less than all of this together is not really the peace that God has planned for His people, and for the world-at-large that He created and made for His glory.

What are some other examples from the Old and the New Testaments that conflict and war are spoken of in the world – or a false peace —  after the Messiah has come [His first time, and until He comes again]?  This warfare and lack of peace – or a false security — can be physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual.

In the first passage that we will read, YHVH God is speaking directly to Gog, the ‘legendary’ ultimate enemy of the Jewish people.  God tells him to prepare for war against a people who, at the least, think and feel that they are at peace:
Eze 38:7-12  Be prepared; yea, prepare for yourself, you and all your assembly that are assembled to you, and be a guard to them.  (8)  After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you shall come into the land turned back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, on the mountains of Israel, which have always been waste. (But he has been brought out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them.)  (9)  And you shall go up, coming like a storm. You shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you and all your bands, and many peoples with you.  (10)  So says the Lord Yehovah: And it shall be in that day that things shall come into your heart, and you shall devise an evil plan.  (11)  And you shall say, I will go up to the land of open spaces. I will go to those at ease, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and there are no bars nor gates to them,  (12)  in order to take a spoil, and to steal a prize; to turn your hand on the inhabited waste places, and on the people gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.

In this next passage from Daniel, it is written about one who we call now the Antichrist.  (If you trace out this person described in v. 21 through the rest of the chapter, it is the same one.)  He comes in and takes over deceitfully in order to destroy the people.  Sadly, there are covenant-breakers among the Israelis who join him against their own people, land, and God.  Although some of the details given in this chapter can be understood from the history of Alexander the Great and of Antiochus Epiphanes, the vision of Daniel is clearly said to be concerning the time of the end; that is, of the end-time of the last days leading up to and during the “70th week of Daniel.”
Dan 11:21-24  And a despised one shall stand up in his place, and they shall not give to him the honor of the king; but he will enter while at ease and seize the kingdom by intrigues.  (22)  And the forces of the overflow will be swept from before him, and they will be broken, and also the ruler of a covenant.  (23)  And after they join him, he will practice deceit. For he will come and be strong with a few people.  (24)  He shall enter safely, even into the rich places of the province. And he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers. He shall plunder, and spoil, and scatter goods among them. And he shall devise his plots against the strongholds, even for a time.

The passage in Jeremiah about Jacob’s Trouble corresponds to what Daniel and Yeshua refer to as “a time of trouble/great tribulation”.  This has not yet occurred, for Israel is not yet serving YHVH their God and David (Yeshua, the son of David) their King, whom YHVH raises up for them, both of which are the results of the time of unparalleled trouble.  But Jeremiah explicitly prophesies concerning the whole House of Israel:  Israel and Judah.
Jer 30:1-9  The Word that came to Jeremiah from Yehovah, saying,  (2)  So speaks Yehovah, the God of Israel, saying, Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.  (3)  For, lo, the days come, says Yehovah, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, says Yehovah. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it.  (4)  And these are the words that Yehovah spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah.  (5)  For so says Yehovah, We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.  (6)  Ask now, and see whether a man is giving birth?  Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, like a woman in labor, and all faces are turned into paleness?  (7)  Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.  (8)  For it shall be in that day, says Yehovah of Hosts, I will break his yoke from your neck and will burst your bonds. And strangers shall no longer enslave him,  (9)  but they shall serve Yehovah their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them.

Let’s look at the New Testament.  There are those who say that God is finished with the Jews, with Israel, with the land, this Earth now that Messiah has come.  Then why should people (especially Jews and believers) still pray for the peace of Jerusalem?  Of course, as we are seeing here, the peace that God is concerned with is not a ‘peace’ that the world would accomplish.  His peace requires full acceptance of His beloved Son.  The New Testament carries the same stream of prophecy as the Hebrew Scriptures, and gives us to know that their fulfillment comes with the coming again of Messiah the Lord.   There is not peace yet!
Mt 10:34-39 (Lk 2:34-35)  Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.  (35)  For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  (36)  And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.  (37)  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  (38)  And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  (39)  He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.

1Th 5:1-11  But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you.  (2)  For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the LORD comes like a thief in the night.  (3)  For when they shall say, Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape.  (4)  But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.  (5)  You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness.  (6)  Therefore let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be calm.  (7)  For those sleeping sleep in the night, and those being drunken are drunken in the night.  (8)  But let us, who are of the day, be calm, having put on the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation for a helmet.  (9)  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  (10)  who died for us, so that whether we watch or sleep we should live together with Him.  (11)  Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do.

Our security is found through our faith in Yeshua/Jesus.  But that faith which assures us a peace that surpasses all understanding is grounded in us believing what He says, keeping His word.

Jn 14:23-29  Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  (24)  He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.  (25)  I have spoken these things to you, being present with you.  (26)  But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.  (27)  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  (28)  You have heard how I said to you, I go away and I am coming to you again. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I go to the Father, for My Father is greater than I.  (29)  And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens you might believe.

Jn 16:33  I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

Jesus promises peace with God and in the heart now to those who believe in Him, but a sword – war – to the “world” and to unbelievers.  We may know a sword in our own families and among those who have been our friends.  This peace with God now is a pledge of the peace that is to come in the world to come, and of the perfect righteousness and peace beyond that in the New Heavens and New Earth.

What am I saying in all this, and also in last week’s message from Ps 2?  The Scriptures are relevant in our everyday life, and speak into all situations.  They shape our world-view and inform our hopes and expectations.  They give us answers for those asking good questions, and give us truth when science or culture and worldly wisdom contradict what God has said.  This is the temptation that the serpent deceived Eve with:  “Did God really say?!”  We are salt and light in the world, which also means that we give true testimony according to the Word of God of His covenant loyalty:  there is no lasting genuine peace possible as long as Satan is the prince of this world, and there is unbelief and rebellion among the people and nations, until the Lord  Yeshua returns to imprison the devil and to judge the nations in righteousness. 

We must read the Bible prayerfully as the living Word of the God of Truth, and meditate on it, thinking critically about how it applies to what “the world” says and thinks and acts, and how we are to understand and to live in the truth:  we belong to God, and Jesus has come to die for our sins because of our rebellion against Him and His Word, and the Holy Spirit is going to fulfill the truth of all that YHVH has spoken regarding all things.  Let us read the Scriptures for what they are, and give glory to the Lord for this treasure He has given us in His love!  We are His witnesses; let us be found faithful and true, walking in the truth with faith and hope and love!  Amen!

What’s Going On Behind The Scenes of Current and Future News?

Do you read or listen to the news?  Every day in Israel politicians and commentators are vying for power and influence, telling us who should be the Prime Minister, or what the PM should do.  In the United States, there is an election process taking place, with each candidate saying that the other one is unfit to be President, the leader of the Free World.  In Turkey and Iran, their leaders are threatening each other, and the rest of the world with terror, or support for terrorists.  In Russia, their President is reasserting his country’s place as a serious threat to Western Powers.  In the nearing future, the antichrist will arise, who will require all to submit to him as if he is above all gods and God. (Dan 11:36; 2 Thes 2:3-4; Rev 13:1-8)

What is also interesting in all this, is that each of these countries represents a different religious worldview, and how that affects their policies and geo-political decisions.  They are peoples and nations who seem to agree on one thing:  they want to determine and to rule their own destiny, and also the world’s.

What’s going on behind the scenes?  What do the Scriptures say?  What do they teach us?  Let us look at a psalm of David (Acts 4:25), a psalm referenced several times in the New Testament:

Ps 2   Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate on a vain thing?  (2)  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against Yehovah and against His Anointed:  (3)  Let us break their bands in two and cast away their cords from us.  (4)  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; Yehovah shall mock at them.  (5)  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His fierce anger.  (6)  Yea, I have set My king on My holy mountain, on Zion.  (7)  I will declare the decree:  Yehovah has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You.  (8)  Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the ends of the earth for Your possession.  (9)  You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  (10)  And now be wise, O kings; be instructed, O judges of the earth.  (11)  Serve Yehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  (12)  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled in but a little while. Blessed are all who put their trust in Him.

The Holy Spirit through David tells us that the Gentiles and the Jews, with their leaders, are in a conspiracy against the one true God – against the Father and His Son, the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.  It is a vain thing that they do; it is destined to fail!  You have probably all heard the saying that there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world.  Well, it is actually God’s plan that a Jew will rule the world!  Jesus is the King of the Jews and of the nations, and God has declared that His Son is the heir to the Throne of David to rule over Israel and the whole world.  The conspiracy is actually by the devil and those of the world against the sovereign Creator and Redeemer.

What is it that the “world” wants?  They want to be “free” from any accountability to a holy God, who is the righteous Judge of all the Earth.  This conspiracy began in the heavenlies, when Lucifer rebelled against YHVH, and led other angels to follow him in the rebellion. Israel openly rebelled when she asked for a king like the Gentiles have, and then said that they did not want “this Man” Yeshua to rule over them. (1Sam 8:1-9; Lk 19:11-27) And the world Gentile powers have rebelled against the God of Israel, who gave them their authority, but they have all eventually caused distress for Jews and for Christians, the people of the true God.

What does it mean when they want to break the bands in two and cast away their cords from us?  You remember that Isaac told Esau, when he spoke to him after giving the blessing to Jacob, that the day would come when Esau would break the yoke of Jacob his brother from off him. (Gen 27:40)  We see this taking place today in the intifada, which is the Palestinian uprising against the rule of the children of Jacob over them here in Israel.  But it represents something much bigger:  it is the spiritual rebellion against the sovereignty of YHVH God, led by the spirit of a religious faith in another god.  It is the world today rising up against the morality of YHVH, whose name is holy, saying, in effect:  “Who is YHVH that we should serve Him?!”  “Who says that He is God Most High?!”  “Why should we submit to His authority and morality?!”  “All religions are okay, and lead to something good.  In fact, better in our own eyes than what the God of Israel wants!”  So, in the end, it is more than seeking equality among the different religions and cultures and life-styles.  It is a rebellion against YHVH even more than simply seeking “equality with Him”, which is itself rebellion.  Tolerance is for anything other than truth.  “What is truth?!”, Pilate asked Jesus.  To the “world”, all is subjective relativism.

Some current examples that we see of trying to break God’s and His Son’s yoke, and their restrictions that make for civil society:
–requiring governments and people to accept homosexuality as normal and as a choice for each person to make regarding their own gender identity; in other words, not only to choose what sex to do, but what sex to be!;
–sex outside of marriage is accepted as normal and not sinful;
–not allowing in Israel and in Christianized countries, like the U.S., to use the Bible for explaining or instruction in righteousness in public institutions; or, to pray in the name of Jesus;
–being sued and denied a license for a bakery because of being owned and operated by believers in Yeshua;
–not allowing any Jews to enter some Muslim countries; not allowing any evangelism either;
–Israel makes it difficult for evangelical Christians to receive visas, or for Messianic Jews to immigrate;
–Russia just passed a law forbidding any evangelism outside of a recognized church building;
–no spanking of children in some ‘enlightened’ countries, as an overreaction to child abuse;
–not being able to teach Creation in schools, only Evolution:  no sovereign, holy, uncreated God; no special uniqueness about this solar system or the Earth; no chosen land or people or city or unique and beloved Son of God;
–humanism, that man is basically good, is the dominant philosophy opposed to the Word of God saying that all are born in sin, and need to be given restrictions and boundaries to live socially, and that people need to be born-again by the  Holy Spirit in order to have life.

These are just a few examples out of many, many more.  The results and consequences of throwing off the yoke of the true God is to lack the fear of God, to be ignorant, to lack wisdom, to be not only immoral, but amoral, to lack purpose and goals, to be unable to think critically, and to lack discernment between good and evil.  By all this, the devil deceives the people much more easily to side with him and his rebellion.  If we are deceived, we do not know it, and it requires an intervention by God to bring us to our right senses!  Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him, because they did not know what they were doing.

This Psalm 2 also tells us that God is actively working so that the people will know what they are doing, and that they must repent while there is time, if they want to be saved from His wrath. (2Cor 6:2; Is 61:1-2)

Though it is written that God laughs at this vain thing being planned, He is not amused:  He holds them in derision. (Is 40:15-17)  Since the death and resurrection of God’s anointed King, His Son, He is making it known everywhere, and calling all persons to repentance, because He has declared that His Son is going to be King in Zion, and He is the Judge of His people Israel, and of the Gentiles, and will rule over all. (Dan 2:44; Jn 3:14-21; Acts 17:30-31)

Although Jesus is already chosen and anointed to be the King of Israel and of the Nations, He is not yet reigning on David’s throne:  He has not yet been accepted by His own people or by the Gentile nations.  This is like when God chose David to be King instead of Saul, but David did not actually become the king until after Saul died, and after the people accepted him to be king.  Yeshua is now reigning — at the right hand of the Father — over Heaven and Earth, but He is not yet accepted by the whole House of Israel to be their King as Heir to David, according to God’s covenantal promise. (Lk 1:26-33,67-75; 2Sam 7; Mt 23:37-39)   Born-again believers already possess eternal life, but it is evident that we have not yet inherited it:  it remains a living hope upon a sure promise. (Rom 8:23-25)

The Psalm also informs us that Yeshua/Jesus is the Son of God.  The New Testament quotes this verse 7 in the psalm in the context of Yeshua’s resurrection from the dead (Acts 13:33; Rom 1:4):  the proof that He is God’s Son, and by that He inherits not only Israel, but all the nations are His, and become accountable to Him. (Is 49:5-6)  For this, the gospel is to go out to all peoples and nations, not only for individual salvation, but also for nations to be saved, like Israel and Egypt and Assyria. (Is 19:23-25; Dan 7:13-14)  Part of our joy is knowing that we, too, will rule and reign with Messiah when He returns.  He promises those in the church that those who overcome will rule the nations with a rod of iron to break the stubbornness of rebellion in the people. (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6)  This is the inheritance of the saints, in fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham! (Dan 7:18,25-27; Gen 22:17; Rom 4:13)

David finishes his psalm by warning those who are in rebellion:  they need to fear YHVH and to acknowledge His majesty and righteousness.  And they must respect and honor God’s Son, for His favor is their salvation. (Rev 6:12-17; 19:15)  Even believers in Jesus are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phlp 2:12-13)  We should be concerned with offending God, and to recognize our weakness – our “trembling” — that we are wholly dependent upon Him for grace and mercies in our need for help in serving and living for His glory.  His faithfulness and strength are our confidence and joy!  “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

In this psalm we see already the suffering yet triumphant Messiah, Son of God, over His enemies.  And we who follow the Lord will also suffer yet be triumphant by our living faith in Him.  YHVH is sovereign over all and against all!  The schemes of man and devil can not and will not succeed!  Repent, and believe the gospel, and be saved from this perverse generation! (Acts 2:40; Rev 3:19-22)

What should we do?:
–In the face of this unholy and ungodly conspiracy, we can ask God for boldness to be witnesses of the King whom God has chosen and that we serve. (Acts 4:27-29; Rev 12:11)

Pray for those in authority to repent and believe actively, that they be saved. (1Tim 2:1-6)

What Kingdom Are We Of? – 1 Aug 2016

As I follow the election process in the U.S. (we are also citizens  there), I thank God for saving me and giving me hope through faith in Jesus!  I had been active in the political system with the naïve idealism of “tikkun” — trying “to make the world better”.  (I didn’t know then that satan is the prince of this world, nor that God had HIS plan of tikkun.)  Thirty-six years ago, the state of the union (the U.S.) was heavy on my spirit:  to me the U.S. was the greatest country in the world, but it was going down fast, and nothing better was coming up!  God was there in the person of a man named Dwight, and the Lord had prepared me to finally listen to the truth and the hope that is in Jesus.  When I confessed Him to be who He is, God gave me His Spirit and I knew!  And that hope was set firmly in the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ (by faith in this name I was saved), and HE WILL make the world right!

The low level of this year’s elections and candidates only confirms what I already saw and felt 36 years ago.  May God have mercy and shake up His people!  We are almost blind like Isaac, and willing to bless the wrong choice for carnal reasons; and Esau was willing to forsake all for exaggerated temporary relief, and then blame his brother for bartering to have what he had not valued.

Palestinian Leadership Seeks to Sue Britain for Balfour Declaration – 26 July 2016

As the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration approaches next November, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is gearing up for the effort to undo it.  According to this latest effort, the British government — which issued the Declaration on November 2, 1917, expressing their intent that the Jewish people should reestablish their historic homeland in Palestine, without harming the rights of those already living there — is guilty of setting in motion the catastrophe that the predominantly Islamic Arabs claim is an invasion into their territory by a non-Muslim sovereign entity.  This latest attempt to completely delegitimize Israel reveals the falseness of any statements to the effect that the Palestinian leaders would be willing to have a “two-state solution” for the “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”.

The incessant efforts to erase all historic Jewish connections to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Land of Israel find support from a number of world bodies and nations.  Just last month UNESCO emphasized the Muslim connection to the Temple Mount — on which Jesus was possibly crucified — while afterwards acknowledging that the site is important to Jews and Christians, as well.  Last year the PA wanted the UN to declare that the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) is a Muslim holy site, which did not pass.  Before that, UNESCO did vote that the Cave of Machpelah — which Abraham bought as a burial site for his wife, Sarah, and where also Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are all buried, these being the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people — is a Muslim World Heritage Site!

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=35243
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=16785

http://www.timesofisrael.com/after-angering-israel-unesco-urges-respect-and-dialogue/

There is a movement in the UK, called the Balfour Project, seeking Britain to apologize for its great historic mistake over the issuance of the Balfour Declaration:
http://www.balfourproject.org/

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3715/prepare_for_war_over_the_balfour_declaration

What will be next?  As the battle against YHVH’s sovereignty and plan intensifies, He is going on, whatever the nations and peoples may do.  Let us, too, go on with Him in faith that He is justified in all that He does, and we are saved by grace and justified when we believe in Jesus, and what He says.   The gospel is to the Jew first, and also to the Arabs and to all other Gentiles!  The day of reckoning is coming when all will know that the triune YHVH is the true God, and that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father!

 

The Farthest North – Ezekiel 38:6,15

Ezek 38:1-6  Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.

Ezek 38:14-17  Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? 15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” 17 Thus says the Lord God: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?

With the latest developments in Turkey of an unsuccessful coup last night, and a renewed alliance with Israel after six years of open animosity, can we see anything in the Scriptures that shine some light on this?  Turkey was the seat of the Islamic Ottoman Empire/Caliphate for more than 600 years in the Middle East, supposedly dissolved completely in 1922, in the aftermath of WW1.  The Ottomans ruled in Israel (Palestine) for 400 years.  Islam is a religion of the sword, and was established in direct opposition to the truth of the triune God, Yehovah, and against His Word that is the Bible — both Old and New Testaments –, and against His Son, the Lord and Messiah Jesus, and against His people, the Jews and Christians, and against His city, Jerusalem, and against His land — the Land of Canaan which YHVH covenanted to give to the Children of Jacob/Israel as an everlasting possession, the Land of Israel.

Islam is being revived with a vengeance, and terrorizing the whole world.  They are at war among themselves over the ‘rightful heir’ to the Caliphate, and the spiritual war is ultimately between Satan in the person of the coming Antichrist, and between YHVH, God Most High (El Elyon) in the person of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. God the Father has given all things to His beloved Son, Yeshua, and to all who believe in Him for salvation.  For this, the devil is in a rage, and out to destroy everyone he can.  The Muslim jihadist cry of “Allahu Akbar” actually means Allah is greater, not God is great, as usually reported.  Greater than whom?!  Which God?! (Dan 11:36-37; 2Thes 2:1-4)

Israel is looking for peace in any human way possible.  Therefore, she will never really have peace, until she returns to YHVH her God, through repentance and faith in her only Savior, Jesus.  (This is similar to the story of Joseph with his brothers in Egypt.)  Israel is making agreements with several Islamic countries in a joint effort to combat terror (which can not succeed, since Islam promotes jihad, which for most of us expresses itself in terror to bully and intimidate others into submission.  Turkey, which became secularized following WW1, under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, has, under the current leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, returned to being again a more religious and political Islamic country again.  The coup attempt last night was an effort by some of the military to restore the secularized Islamic character of the State.  It failed, and retribution will be swift and brutal, and Erdogan will consolidate his grip on power more firmly.

Why is this of interest?  The prophet Ezekiel was given a Word of YHVH for us living in the latter days.  Twice in ch 38, which speaks of Gog and the preparation for the war and invasion against Israel in the Land of Israel, the Holy Spirit gave Ezekiel the words translated as the “farthest north”, in vv 6 and 15.  Many commentators have said that this refers to Russia, since it is north of Israel.  Yet all the commentators agree that the reference in v. 15 to Togarmah is located in Asia Minor, i.e., part of Turkey.  (Asia Minor is also the area where the seven churches in Revelation were located.)  So, if the “farthest north” is Asia Minor in v. 15, that same Hebrew expression in v. 6 must refer to the same “far north” country, that is Turkey!

Let us awaken to the events swirling around us, as prophecy and current events increasingly come together to help us understand the times in which we live, and what the Body of Messiah should do in light of that.   “You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe.  I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming, and he has no claim on Me. (Jn 14:28-30)

Gay Pride Parade Canceled in Beer Sheva; Protest Demonstration Last Night – 15 July 2016

The proud LGBT community in Beer Sheva had planned a parade on the main thoroughfare of the city on Thursday, which was canceled after the community organizers refused a compromise route, suggested by police over security concerns, in a court ruling.  Last night, between 1500-2000 persons demonstrated at the Municipality Plaza in Beer Sheva.  It is very interesting that the Hebrew word for “proud” is the same word used by the LGBT for “gay” — גאה — and is pronounced ge’eh.  (Ezek 16:48-50)

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4828584,00.html

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Yeshua, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Messiah.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized. . . .” (Acts 2:34b – 41a)

Christian Cemetery Cleaned Up – 11 July 2016

This translated article from Hebrew appeared in the Caspari Media Review today:

Yediot HaNegev, July 1, 2016

A group of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to clean and repair the Christian cemetery in Beer-Sheva, “in light of the formal authorities’ lack of action on the subject.” “The neglect devastated me,” said one of the volunteers. “This doesn’t honor anyone and offends the families who come to visit their loved ones.” After three hours of dedicated work, however, the place now presents a completely different aspect.

The Christian cemetery referred to here lies behind the British WW1 War Memorial Cemetery.  The local cemetery is under the divided authority of the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.  We do know that some evangelical Christians have also been buried there in the small, crowded cemetery.

Daniel’s Prayer

Dan 9:1-27

Daniel was burdened for the glory of his God, and the God of his people.  In our lives there are times when we are greatly burdened but do not really understand what to do about the matter that weighs on us so heavily. The apostle Paul writes that as believers serving the Lord, there are times and situations when we are “hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair”. (2Cor 4:8) This is what Daniel was going through in his life serving YHVH his God in a foreign land, rising to power and influence with Gentile kings and their kingdoms. Daniel’s response to this was to humble himself with faith believing in the Most High God. (2Chr 7:14; Ja 1:5-8) Daniel is one of the great men of faith and wisdom in the Bible (Ezek 14:14,20; 28:3), and he set himself from his youth to be faithful to the God of Israel and to His covenants.

Daniel tells us the events of this chapter occur during the “first year of Darius.” This means that the Babylonian king Belshazzar has died in his punishment from God, the Babylonian empire has ended — both these events a time-marker by the Word of God to Jeremiah — and the Medo-Persian empire has now taken its place. (Dan 5:30; Jer 25:12-13; 29:10-14) Daniel was praying perhaps during the time of his prayers when his peers and rivals in the kingdom of Darius were scheming to catch him praying to any God other than to the King Darius, and so throw him into the lions’ den. His burden was both personal and national. This prayer follows chronologically the vision that Daniel had in chapter 8.

In this prayer of confession and petition by Daniel the prophet recorded for us in ch 9, we learn that at least part of the Bible (Tanach/O.T.) was already available to the Jewish people, and that Daniel read what he had. From the Law of Moses, YHVH had given His covenant with its commandments, its promises, its blessings and its curses, its judgments; and based upon the covenant, the people were in captivity in Babylon as a chastising punishment, and that the desolation of Jerusalem and of the Temple were all in accord with the Law of Moses and the words of the Prophets whom the LORD sent to His people. (Lev 25:3-5; 26:27-35; Num 14:20-24; Pr 3:11-12; Jer 44:4; also Mt 22:18; Lk 13:34-35) From the Word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel read and understood that God had sent His people into exile for a period of 70 years, and that now those years were completed. Daniel believed the Word of God, and sought God’s face and His righteousness. Daniel discerned the signs of his generation in which God was planning a great redemption.

God has always declares His historical actions and intentions before carrying them out. He knows the end from the beginning, and He includes His elect in His thinking and plans. What an amazing Father in Heaven we have! (Gen 18:17-19; Is 46:9-10; 62:6-7; Amos 3:7; Mt 16:1-3; Mt 24; Mk 13:23; Lk 19:44)

The beginning of Daniel’s prayer was to ascribe glory to God, and to praise God’s righteousness and covenant faithfulness. Daniel confessed both his and his people’s sins. This shows the genuine humility of Daniel’s heart and mind towards God and towards his own Jewish people: we read nothing of any sins in Daniel’s life, yet he identified with his sinful people before the Holy God. This is the same that the High Priest was to do on the Day of Atonements, and that Yeshua did for us in His baptism by John, and especially on the cross to bear the penalty for our sins in our place of guilt and shame.

While God acknowledged Daniel’s own righteousness before Him, yet God is still waiting upon Israel as a nation to confess her unfaithfulness and sins against Him and the covenant which He cut with them alone among all the nations of the Earth, in order that He can restore her and do for her all that He has purposed to do for the glory of His own name, and for the blessing to the ­­­in punishing the people for their sins, and that He alone is holy and righteous, but he and the people and the leaders of the people were shame-faced for all their sins and refusal to heed the Law and the words of the prophets whom God had sent them continually to call them to repentance. (Jer 44:4)

Notice here (vv 7,9) that Daniel is not only saying that the Lord is righteous, merciful, and forgiving, but these character attributes belong to Him. For us who believe in Yeshua and have received the Holy Spirit, these qualities become ours in Christ as we are conformed to the image of the Son of God, which is God’s will for us, often using persecution and tribulation to transform our character into more of His character for a testimony that we belong to Him.

Also notice (v 14) that Daniel knows that God’s Word stands, and even though hundreds or thousands of years may have passed, God would keep His Word to bring the disaster upon His people that the covenant demands. This is of great importance to us today, as God has spoken of the end-times and great tribulation that will come upon Israel and the nations, and upon the saints. (Dan 7:23-27; 8:18-26; Mt 5:17-18; Rev 12:13-17; 13:1-10) Time does not nullify God’s Word or His standard or His ways to accomplish His goal.

Having confessed his and his peoples sins, Daniel then goes on in his prayer to plead (supplicate) the Lord to turn away from His anger and fury from His city Jerusalem and His people and to act for the sake of His holy name to restore His people to their land which He promised to give them when He brought them out of Egypt. Daniel is asking God to extend mercy now, since the 70 years have ended, not because they deserve it for any righteous deeds they have done, but because of His great mercies. (Rom 11:28-36) Daniel is energized by the need for the Jews to get out of a foreign land and back to the land of their fathers, all for the sake of the holy name of YHVH, God of Israel, because His people and city are called by His name. Daniel knew that God’s Kingdom was connected with Israel back in the Land, with the Temple rebuilt, and that the honor of the Name of the one true God was at stake among the nations round-about.

What is striking about this Holy Spirit-led prayer (Jude 20-21) is that Daniel says not one word in his prayer against the people or the government where he is living and serving. He prays as a man of God concerning the righteousness of YHVH for the present suffering which he and the [chosen] people of God have been experiencing, and for God to act for His own holy name’s sake in mercy for His people and city and land.

As Daniel was still speaking, praying, petitioning the Lord, the ‘man’ Gabriel was sent to him to give him understanding about something beyond what Daniel had realized. It is written here that Daniel was greatly beloved. Gabriel revealed that God’s plan of redemption would span the rest of “this world’s” history, and that the present return to Judah and Jerusalem would not be the restoration of the Kingdom of God to Israel, but that it would be at a set future time, and would be connected with the death of the Messiah, with wars to come until the end, the antichrist, the suffering of God’s people, and a final set of years. For those reading and studying Daniel, the vision of ch 8 that Daniel did not fully understand regarding the antichrist kingdom (Dan 8:22-27), Gabriel is now giving Daniel the ability to comprehend it better by telling Daniel that those events of the time of the end are connected with this prophecy in Dan 9:24-27. Daniel was blessed by God to hear the decree by Cyrus the King of Persia, which set in motion the first week of seven years.

While Daniel was primarily concerned with God keeping His promise to return the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel, despite all her sins, but in accord with God’s righteousness and mercies, the answer he received went way beyond that “small matter” and heavy burden he was carrying. The prosperity connected with the return to the land would not mean that further chastising and judgments would not come. The whole issue of putting away sin, transgression, and iniquity is God’s purpose, not merely that we should confess that we do sin.

If we have a real interest in God’s interests, in our Father’s business, and how that is connected with Israel, and also for every individual person, and for the churches and the nations, we will actively read the Scriptures as being what they are – the Word of the Living God – and pray in accordance with what is written, and with the sanctification of the Name of our Father in Heaven a top priority as to why He should fulfill His promises and intentions.

As Daniel also understood the character of God that He had not forgotten the necessary judgments for breaking the covenant, so that is still true today. We can learn from Daniel the relevance and importance of praying and supplicating with understanding what God’s plan and will are, and that there is an appointed time, and that all is to be in accord with God’s righteousness, His mercies, and His holy Name. God is looking for individual persons to accept responsibility, as Daniel did, to show His favor upon, even while a nation remains under judgment and wrath of the holy God. There is a holy remnant within every nation and people group of those who serve the only true God and Savior.

Are we as awake to God’s Word as Daniel was? Do we recognize the signs of the times that we are living in, and knowing what the Body of Messiah should do? Are our prayers and affairs consistent with God’s revealed plan and purpose? Are we humbling ourselves and seeking God’s face, identifying with our brethren and our fathers in the sins against our great and awesome God, so that our Father in Heaven will hear our prayers in Yeshua’s name?

Keeping Faith in Yeshua in a Hostile Environment

(Adapted for AMZI conference and ministry tour in Germany and Switzerland, June 9-14, 2016)

1Co 1:23-25  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.  (24)  But to them, the called-out ones, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (25)  Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men.

1Jn 2:22-25  Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist.  (23)  Everyone who denies the Son neither has the Father. The one confessing the Son also has the Father.  (24)  Therefore what you heard from the beginning, let it abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you will abide in both the Son and in the Father.  (25)  And this is the promise that He has promised us: everlasting life.

1Jn 5:19  We know that we are of God, and all the world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

Ps 2:1-3  Why do the nations rage, and the peoples conspire a vain thing?  (2)  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against Jehovah and against His anointed, saying,  (3)  Let us break their bands in two and cast away their cords from us.

Rom 11:28-32  Indeed as regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes. But as regards the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  (29)  For the free gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  (30)  For as you also then disbelieved God, but now have been shown mercy through their disbelief,  (31)  even so these also have not believed now, so that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy.  (32)  For God has shut up all in unbelief, so that He might show mercy to all.

The subject we have is going to be tested to the limits as the last days of the end-times draw nearer to a close.  The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age, and therefore the things written in them are for us living now, as much as, if not more in some things, than for those who lived at the time they were written. (Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11)

The name of our congregation, Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance) is itself a testimony to our Israeli Jewish society of our faith in Jesus.  We intentionally decided to include Yeshua’s name in our name, rather than use a more general term, such as “The LORD’s Inheritance”.   It better helps define who we are, and to be more open about it in discussions or conversations with unbelievers who inquire.

That we are here today with our friends from Beit Jala is also the fruit of building a relationship with our Arab Palestinian brothers and sisters – again, as a testimony to our peoples that the truth of God, and of His righteousness and peace, is found only through repentance and faith in the gospel.  When we share with Israeli unbelievers – and even with other believers – why we go to Bethlehem every Christmas time, and to a church that does not support the return of the Jewish people back to the land promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their descendants – in these last days – it is to testify to the truth of the gospel of Jesus’ sacrificial death for us on the cross, and of His resurrection and ascension, as being greater than the disagreements we have on some important subjects.  Israel is unique in that it is the only Middle Eastern country native to Jews and to Arabs, where believers in Jesus of each people can live and meet together.  This cannot happen in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, or Iraq.

As a congregation, all of our local members send their children to public schools, rather than to Christian schools (which are not in Beer Sheva anyway) or homeschool.  It is certainly a challenge, and a struggle, and a matter of great concern, given the level of education these days.  The primary responsibility for children’s “education” lies with the parents, so we constantly monitored what was being taught to our children in subjects which could be problematic. (Gen 18:17-19; Dt 6:4-9)  We would instruct our children in truths, if the school was instructing them in lies, such as evolution, or that all religions and faiths are equal, and nowadays in matters of “sexual identity”.  We also taught our children not to be afraid or ashamed or embarrassed that our family believes in Jesus, even – and especially – in our Jewish society which rejects and hates Him.  It is like sending out our lambs among wolves, but it helped them all to be able to be open about their faith in their classrooms, with their unbelieving friends, in the army, in college, and in their workplaces.

Evangelistically, we encourage everyone to be willing and ready to share their faith, and the gospel, with others, as the Lord gives opportunity.  We have had some major public evangelism campaigns in Beer Sheva, and they have all generated a strong, negative reaction.  Yet we continue to preach the Word of God, confess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and baptize new believers, whether Jewish or other.  But as light and salt in the world, each of us must be prepared to tell others the truth about the Son of God the Father, even though most of our people are religiously opposed to the only God and Savior.   And our good works must be towards believers and unbelievers, for our Father is good and merciful to all.  We want them to be saved just as we were:  by the grace of God through repentance and faith in the gospel.

For me, Israel is a great place to follow the Lord.  For one thing, there is nothing better anyway.  And, it is a place where you must learn to trust Him and obey in faith.  There is no Christian culture to support those who are disciples of the Lord Messiah, either culturally or in truth.  There is no softening of the blows; believers themselves must learn to stand against all that attacks the true faith, and the true Jesus – who is neither “Yeshu” nor “Isa”.   We need to help and support other brothers and sisters in this spiritual warzone.  Reading the whole Bible as God’s Word is of great importance to grow in the faith, and in the knowledge and ways of God.  In the Scriptures God has told us His plan, and the reasons for it, just as YHVH told Abraham why He was going to judge and destroy Sodom.   Jesus tells us as His friends what the Father has revealed, and the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.   

Military service is a necessary part of being an Israeli citizen, especially for the Jewish people.  As believers, this can cause a conflict:  on the one hand, we must obey the civil authorities, and military service is part of the life in Israel; and Israel is surrounded by sworn enemies who seek her destruction.  On the other hand, the Lord tells us that our warfare is not carnal, but spiritual, and that we are to love our enemies.  How, as believers, can we live in this tension, and be overcomers?  Each one has to hear from God, and act in faith with a clear conscience.  In either case, we will be needing to explain ourselves to others, whether to our Arab brothers and sisters, or to our Jewish people among whom we live.  What is important for believers in the military is to demonstrate a different spirit – a different motivation and attitude  —  in them than in those who do not know the Lord Jesus as their own Savior from their own sins, and from the sins of their people.  Soldiers in Messiah will need to show their faith by their works, whether by sacrificially helping others, not complaining about their commanders and officers, not stealing, not falling to the temptations of sex or of other sins, but taking a stand for the righteousness of God.

The Bible makes a difference between killing, as in war or police actions, and in murder.  This is very important to all of us, for conscience sake, and in matters of justice.  As citizens who benefit from the security and well-being of the society, the fact that most of the believers are willing to sacrifice themselves — sometimes with their lives, and in other ways, such as delaying studies and careers – with others who are obligated to serve the country, helps to break down a barrier against Jewish believers in Jesus, which is that we are no longer Jews or have that we have joined the persecutors.  Now, the military echelon has come to respect the believers, and to make them officers and put them in charge of important positions.  This makes the testimony of faith more credible to them, and gives more respect for “Christians”, for those who do believe.

In the society, when we are known and respected, then opportunities are given us:  taking in Christian refugees from Sudan; cooperating with a city soup kitchen; assisting Holocaust survivors; working with the government Tourism ministry; being entrusted with police and court procedures, such as translating for those whose Hebrew is insufficient.

We are in the world, but not of the world.  We are the salt of the Earth.  Let your light so shine, that by your good works they glorify your Father in Heaven. (Jn 17:16-17; Mt 5:11-16)

 

Israel Celebrates HaPoel Beer Sheva Football League Championship

Although I am not a big football (soccer) fan, and don’t even know all the rules, the championship of the 2015/16 season has been a cause of celebration in the whole city of Beer Sheva for the last three days since its decisive victory in the final game of the season.  Many people throughout the country rejoiced as HaPoel Beer Sheva won its first premier league championship in 40 years, and in its first year in her new stadium.  Last night, between 80-100,000 people crowded the Municipality Square for a nationally televised celebration.  (Beer Sheva’s population is about 200,000).   The Beer Sheva team is owned by Alona Barkat, the sole female owner of a major sports club in Israel.  May many of these players, managers, and fans come to know Yeshua and receive an enduring crown and reward!
http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-40-year-first-hapoel-beersheba-soccer-club-are-national-champions/

Prayer of God’s Family and Yeshua’s Disciples

Prayer might be the only thing many believers can do; and prayer might be the only thing on which many believers across the denominational streams agree. Therefore, even here, the enemy comes in to bring inaction or disunity!

Let’s pray now together the prayer, commonly known as the “Lord’s Prayer”, but which is better described as the prayer pattern which Jesus taught His disciples and brothers to pray. Yeshua’s prayer in John 17 is definitely the Lord’s prayer!  (Even now … Continue reading

Beer Sheva Being Developed as Cyber City – 15 May 2016

Here is a Washington Post article highlighting the cooperative efforts of Israel’s collective ingenuity to develop cyber technologies for defending the small nation: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-israel-is-turning-part-of-the-negev-desert-into-a-cyber-city/2016/05/14/f44ea8e4-0d58-11e6-bfa1-4efa856caf2a_story.html

Israel’s Population Has Increased 10-Fold Since 1948 – 10 May 2016

Here is an interesting article with some statistics comparing Israel in 2016 with those at her establishment in 1948, 68 years ago: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=33619

God’s Pattern – 8 May 2016

The period between Passover and Shavuot/Pentecost is full of significant commemorative days here.  Last week was Holocaust Remembrance Day; this week we have Memorial Day and the Day of Independence (68th).  Of course, Ascension Day was remembered last week by those who remembered! By Messiah’s ascension to glory at the right hand of the Father, we who believe in the Lord can receive the Holy Spirit, who was given only after that event.  And Yeshua ever lives now to intercede for … Continue reading

The Lamb Lives! – 21 Apr 2016

How good is our God! At the Passover, and for all those subsequent Passovers that the Israelis celebrated (in the past), many lambs were slain and blood shed in order for God to pass over the houses where He saw the blood, and in remembrance of that mighty initial act of salvation for His people, making His name great among the Jews and among the nations.

But poor lambs! They were offered in sacrifice that others could live, but they … Continue reading

Sexual Purity

Est 2:1-4,14  After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus had calmed down, he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.  (2)  And the king’s young men who served him said, Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.  (3)  And let the king choose officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, so that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to Shushan the palace, to the house of … Continue reading

Unity of the Spirit of the One Body of Messiah

(Modified June 26, 2016)

Eph 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, (2) with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, (3) endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism, … Continue reading

Beer Sheva — From Biblical City to Modern Town

Here is a new PR video for Beer Sheva, named by Abraham and Isaac nearly 4000 years ago:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpeYqnD2RCQ&feature=youtu.be

Brief History of Rise of Messianic Judaism – 1 Mar 2016

Redemption of Jewish Identity and Hope Jer 29:11 For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Yehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Lk 2:34-35  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, … Continue reading

Former PM of Israel, Ehud Olmert, Goes to Prison – 15 Feb 2016

Today is both a sad day and a day for rejoicing, as former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert goes to prison for 19 months, convicted of bribes and obstruction of justice.

Olmert was tried and convicted of crimes going back to his days as Mayor of Jerusalem, from which he joined with Ariel Sharon in the new political party, Kadima, which Sharon formed after being elected PM as a Likud party member.  This was all done in connection with the pull-out … Continue reading

Light Dispels Darkness

(A teaching article originally spoken on Dec 21, 2007)

This Sunday some of us are going to Bethlehem to worship with Arab brothers and sisters in the joy of our God.  Next weekend our congregation (actually the Lord Yeshua’s congregation) will be host to over 40 teenagers from that same area.  Today happens to be the shortest day of the year, when the light of day in the darkest of seasons is at its briefest in this part of the … Continue reading

Being Light in The Coming Darkness – 16 Jan 2016

(An introduction to a study of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation, with the focus on believers being overcomers and light in the darkening world)

What is important to the Lord Jesus Christ regarding our spiritual condition as His disciples? He has given us the Law of Messiah in His sermon on the mount (Mt 5 – 7); He has given us to understand what the Kingdom of God is like in this world (Mt 13); He … Continue reading

Inauspicious Beginning of New Year – 3 Jan 2016

The New Year just begun, connected as it is with the birth of the King of the Jews, has had an unpromising beginning here in Israel.  The last night of 2015 and the first day  of 2016 were cold and stormy throughout the country.  And then the relaxed Shabbat in Tel Aviv was rudely shattered by a presumed terrorist who did a little vegetable shopping before walking out of the market with his father’s weapon, killing two and wounding seven, … Continue reading

Three New Years

I remember that before I was a believer, I wondered and asked the question:  Why do we have and remember New Year’s.  I was particularly thinking about the Jewish “New Year” which had become one of the High Holy Days in the synagogue.  The answer that I gave myself, and to my parents, was that there must be Someone who is keeping us (the Jewish people) alive for another year.  It gives an opportunity to thank Him, and to also … Continue reading

The Birth and The Coming Again of Jesus

Today, as a congregation, we are celebrating the birth of the Messiah (who is called Christ). But we are also celebrating, remembering, and looking forward to the Lord’s return in great power and glory.  The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the death of our Savior God, who took on human flesh and blood, of the seed of Abraham, and of all humankind.

God always does His great acts in a manner that sets Him apart from all other gods and … Continue reading

November 29

Today is November 29.  For those who believe that the reestablishment of the Jewish homeland in the land promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to their descendants is of God, this date is of utmost importance.  For those who oppose this reestablishment of the Jewish homeland in the land  promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to their descendants is of God, this date is of utmost importance.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to … Continue reading

Israeli Cabinet Approves Plan to Build Five New Negev Towns – 23 Nov 2015

The Prophets of YHVH to Israel foresaw the day when the Negev Desert that is southern Israel will bloom and blossom as a rose, and become regenerated as the Garden of Eden.  (Is 35:1-2; Is 51:1-3)

From the beginning of the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel, her first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, saw that Israel’s future depended on the vibrant settlement of … Continue reading

Microburst Storms Israel – 27 Oct 2015

The country was inundated with heavy rains, wind, hail, and havoc on Sonday. The first storm of the winter (the clocks were also turned back that same day to standard time) caught everybody by storm! Not that the rains weren’t forecast, but the intensity of the weather was not. Even as I write on Tuesday late afternoon, our daughter in Raanana, whose car windshield was cracked by large hailstones, says that they are still without full electricity and phone/internet service … Continue reading

Terror Comes to Beer Sheva – 19 Oct 2015

Yesterday evening around 7:30, the Beer Sheva Central Bus Station was the scene of panic as a gunman opened fire inside the station, killing a soldier, taking his rifle, and then shooting at others, wounding several, including policemen.  Many people were also treated for shock.  The terrorist was a Bedouin resident of the Israeli town of Hura, about 15 km outside Beer Sheva.  An Eritrean foreign national, who was reportedly mistaken as also being involved in the terror, was shot and injured  before … Continue reading

Renewed Escalation of Turmoil – 11 Oct 2015

Once again tensions and violence are escalating and spreading in Israel. The Islamic version is that the Temple Mount is strictly theirs, and that the presence of non-Muslims up there is an affront to their holy site.(Consider Is 14:12-17)  They deny any Jewish Israeli history there, which, of course, stirs up the emotions of the Jewish people whose soul has been forever connected to that site which YHVH God chose to place … Continue reading

Beer Sheva Being Touted – 8 Oct 2015

A “package deal”, the biggest of its kind in the State of Israel’s history, has been agreed to and signed between the government and the local Municipality of Beer Sheva.   This “roof agreement” includes plans to build 20,000 new housing units in the city by 2019, with an expected 50% increase in the population from the present 200,000 to around 300,000, making Beer Sheva the 3rd largest city in Israel, according to current figures.

You can read more about this … Continue reading

Succot Full Moon Lunar Eclipse – 28 Sept 2015

The special and uncommon series of lunar eclipses the last two years which fell twice each at Passover and at the Feast of Booths are finished.  Apart from some interesting astronomy, nothing unusual occurred which could be attributed ominously to these “blood moons”.  The end is not yet, and those who thought it might be do not then know the actual signs of the end, which are still to come.

Although “the heavens declare the glory of God”, for the … Continue reading

Haboob Stifles Israel – 20 Sept 2015

This huge and very unpleasant heavy dust yellowed the skies of Beer Sheva and all of Israel for three days last week.  This was accompanied by higher than normal humidity levels, which simply made everything much more uncomfortable.  The reason I am thinking and writing about this now is because, although the haboob has moved out, there is still a higher level of dust floating and settling around us here.

Although the phenomenon is called a “violent dust storm”, our haboob … Continue reading

Israel’s Largest Artificial Lake Planned for Beer Sheva – 29 Aug 2015

Construction is underway for a major project in the Beer Sheva River Park to build the largest man-made lake in Israel.  The project is recreational and commercial.  Read more about it here: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/society/83793-150829-beer-sheva-to-build-biggest-artificial-lake-in-israel

http://www.kkl.org.il/eng/tourism-and-recreation/forests-and-parks/beersheva-river-park.aspx

The Scriptures Keep Us Up-to-Date — 28 July 2015

Middle East news continues to receive wide media coverage around the world.  This is no longer surprising to those who do believe that the Bible is relevant today as we witness current events and prophecies coming together more-and-more as the age draws nearer to its end.  Yehovah God, who knows the end from the beginning, has told us in advance through the Scriptures, which He Himself has given in both the Old and the New Testaments, that there would be wars … Continue reading

Jewish and Arab Pastors Celebrate Together at ICB – 17 June 2015

This past week concluded the one-year study program specially set up by Israel College of The Bible (ICB) for a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministries.   I was privileged to have been among the students in this unique program, not least because of the mix of Jewish, Arab, and other congregational pastors and leaders being equipped to help us better equip the believers in our own congregations.  The love and unity among the leaders gave expression to the truth of the one … Continue reading

Employment Desert – 17 May 2015

Three small Negev cities face severe unemployment.  The towns of Arad, Dimona, and Yeruham are essentially factory towns, dependent on the major industrial chemical companies for most of the employment.

Due to weakening profit margins, these companies (and other companies in the textile and ceramic industries) have been laying off workers and closing factories and plants, a situation that has been going on for years in Israel’s southern region.  Whole cities are becoming economically impoverished by these actions.

We have seen many times … Continue reading

Racism is a Sin Issue, and Is Nothing New – 4 May 2015

Israel has been beset by protests and riots from the Ethiopian Jewish community the last few days, the likes of which have not been seen here.  The spark was a seemingly senseless attack of an Ethiopian Israeli soldier in uniform by a policeman and volunteer.  Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Ethiopian soldier, Damas Pakada, who called for calm while also addressing the legitimate grievances of discrimination and prejudice against his community.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-pledges-to-eliminate-deep-problem-of-racism/

… Continue reading

God’s Grace: Hidden Water Under the Negev – 8 Apr 2015

The Negev Desert of Israel is a unique desert, not least because part of it is within the borders of the Promised Land.  There are promises given to the Negev which anticipate a regeneration of its plant and animal life.  (Is 35:1-2; 51:1-3; 41:17-20)

Here is a fairly recent article (4 years ago) which extols its unique qualities and Israel’s … Continue reading

Jesus is Sovereign Lord! – 5 Apr 2015

As the “World Powers” prepare to give “this world” over to Iran and the Islamic powers with a very bad supposed agreement, it reminds me of how the devil got Adam and Eve to give their God-given stewardship over to him by lying and deceit.  Israel followed suit, and gave her God-given beauty over to Gentile ‘lovers’; and the Church has left its domain to mix with worldly aspirations.  Where would we all be if Jesus was not the Sovereign … Continue reading

Israeli Elections 2015

Some of you have written asking what I think about the outcome of the elections last Tuesday, so I will answer that here.  Personally, I was surprised by the extent of the victory of the Likud party, and of PM Bibi Netanyahu.  All of the polls leading up to the election, and the exit polls immediately at the close of the elections, were all completely wrong regarding the Likud, while being nearly accurate for the other parties, including the Labor/Tnua list led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.  Beer Sheva … Continue reading

Purim 2015: Iran Still Intent on Destroying Jewish People

On the day before Purim, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to once again warn the United States and the rest of the “Free World” of the clear and present danger posed by modern Persia to the nation of Israel and to them.

In an invitation swirled in controversy both in Israel and in the U.S., Netanyahu seems to have intentionally set the timing to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Purim, in order … Continue reading

Negev Segment of Israel Bike Trail Inauguarated – 1 Mar 2015

Israel is a small country with a disproportionate incredible variety of nature and vistas.  It’s tourism and nature preserves authorities have developed many sites and ways to visit and to see the country, the Land of The Bible.  The latest development is the Israel Bike Trail’s southern portion being officially opened, traversing 300 km (~190 mi) from Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat.  http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/01/cycling-the-desert-new-israel-bike-trail-connects-mitzpe-ramon-to-eilat/

 

Dry Nahal Zin Suddenly Becomes Stream in the Negev – 18 Jan 2015

Here is a dramatic video of the exciting effect of heavy rains miles/kilometers away flash-flooding the dry stream bed of Biblical Nahal Zin in the Negev:

http://inhabitat.com/dramatic-video-captures-rebirth-of-river-zin-in-israels-negev-desert-after-centuries-of-drought/

Beer Sheva in Int’l News – 17 Jan 2015

Here is an article in Business Week about development plans underway to make Beer Sheva the cyber hub in Israel and for other nations: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2015-01-15/israel-sows-cyber-hub-in-desert-to-make-beersheba-bloom-cities

 

 

An All-Clear View of the Land of Israel from the Skies – 28 Dec 2014

On Christmas, NASA’s ISS astronauts woke up to a cloudless day as they flew over the Holy Land.  See the beautiful photos taken by astronaut Barry Wilmore:   http://www.haaretz.com/life/science-medicine/1.633979

The proclamation of the heavenly hosts still rings out:  Glory to God in the highest!  Peace on Earth; good will towards man!

Religious War? – 21 Nov 2014

The recent terrorist attack in a synagogue in West Jerusalem by Arab Muslims from East Jerusalem, in which rifles, knives, and meat cleavers were among the weapons used against Jewish men praying their morning prayers, has brought closer to home the reality that we are entering a religious war, and not only a nationalistic, political war here in Israel.   Among the dead and wounded Jews, a Druze policeman was also mortally wounded and killed as he responded to the terror within the Har … Continue reading

Islamic Caliphate: Ultimate Out-working of Replacement Theology

In every place God has left Himself a witness to the truth.  “Replacement Theology” (by whatever name) presumes that God has either abandoned or else fulfilled His covenant promises with Israel as a specific and particular nation, and has moved on to the Church as the replacement of Israel.  Islam, of course, says that God has finished with both Israel and the Church — the one for not accepting Yeshua as the Messiah; the other for disobeying Jesus who … Continue reading

War: Seed of the Serpent Against the Seed of the Woman

Yeshua said that in the world we would have tribulations.  He also said that He has overcome the world!  And we, too, by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony that Jesus is Lord and Messiah/Christ, will overcome as we hold fast with faith to the hope of the glory beyond the present suffering.

When I see the Islamic State (the precursor of the re-emerging Caliphate) terrorists, without conscience or mercy, slaughtering people in general created in God’s image, and especially aiming for … Continue reading

War Cry: Come, Lord Jesus!

Shabbat shalom (Peaceful Sabbath),

It is a quiet day; no sirens, no rockets.  Back to ‘normal’.  I think the standard of measuring ‘normalcy’ has been lowered during this last generation, at least in this part of the world.  With this, God is bringing the hiddent things of darkness to light, so that His judgments will be seen to be righteous and true when the necessary time comes in His long-suffering towards sinners (and who isn’t?).  We had a wonderfully refreshing service last night.

Yeshua spoke the parable about the good … Continue reading

War: Righteousness Exalts a Nation – 19 Aug 2014

Update, Tues., Aug 19:  Sirens and rocket fire have begun again, already before the agreed upon time for the “cease-fire” ended.  Thanks to all for your prayers.

_ _ _ _ _

Shalom,

Israel is ‘anxiously’ waiting to see whether or not the current cease-fire with Hamas will continue after it’s agreed upon termination  at midnight tonight (Mon., Aug 18 in Israel).  As believers, we can wait with a calmer anticipation, not knowing what exactly may be, but knowing the sovereign Lord, Yeshua, who does know, … Continue reading

Israel as God’s Sword and Bow – 9 Aug 2014

Once again, Hamas broke an agreed upon cease-fire, this one intended for at least 72 hours brokered by Egypt and the UN, breaking it yesterday (Friday) morning in the continuing war of Hamas against Israel, which has necessitated Israel’s heavy, yet restricted response.

Last night at our service, a siren went off during the time of the teaching on the whole-hearted commitment that Yeshua insists upon for those who would follow Him.  The congregation had to calmly go off to three locations on the … Continue reading

The Valor and The Folly of War – 4 Aug 2014

Today were two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, and there is a danger of other break-outs of violence in the wake of the terrorist war against Israel, and Israel’s response in defense.  If Israel is so powerful and its destructive force known, then shouldn’t Hamas consider the cost before drawing Israel into a war?  It’s like a featherweight boxer picking on a heavyweight, knowing that the heavyweight can not use all his strength to keep the annoying attacker to stop, lest … Continue reading

War Against Terror Evil Helps Sharpen Reality – 2 Aug 2014

Ex 3:7-10  And the LORD (YHVH) said:  “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.  So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. . . Now, therefore, behold, the cry of the … Continue reading

War in Heavenlies and on Earth – 28 July 2014

It has been three full weeks now since Operation Protective Edge — the current war which the terror organization in Gaza, Hamas, started against Israel — began, with still no clear sense of when it might end.  I would ask that whatever I say in this letter will be read in the context of all that I have written in the previous updates .

Randi is returning now from Eilat after spending several nights there, taking an older sister in … Continue reading

War of Hearts – 24 July 2014

Israel’s 10th President, Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin has just been consecrated and sworn in at the Knesset (Parliament), succeeding Shimon Peres after seven years in that office.  During the much subdued ceremony compared to normal times (due to the current military operation/war in Gaza against the Hamas terrorist regime), sirens were heard in Beer Sheva and all around the Jewish towns and kibbutzes around Gaza. Both the out-going President, and the in-coming, expressed confidence of defeating the terrorist threat, both against Israel and her citizenry, and also against ordinary … Continue reading

The God of Armies – 21 July 2014

Yesterday we had five siren alerts of rockets and missiles still being fired from Gaza towards Beer Sheva.  Our weekly congregational services on Friday evenings are greatly reduced in the number of those coming since the place of meeting is old enough not to have any real protected area.

Soroka Medical Center, the university hospital located just down the street from us, is on emergency status now, as more Israeli soldiers are being wounded or killed in the hard fighting going on in the Gaza Strip.  While … Continue reading

Israel Again at War in Gaza Against Hamas – 18 July 2014

Israel sent in ground troops into Gaza last night at 10:30, following a long day which included a ‘game changer’, or which showed the situation for what it is regarding the perpetual murderous grudge of Hamas towards Israel and the Jewish people (in particular, but also against their own population, which they hatefully use as human ‘shields’ in order to deter Israel’s military efforts, and also to turn public opinion against Israel when civilians are killed in the war).

In … Continue reading

Clear Trumpet Call – 13 July 2014

Shalom from God in Messiah,

Thanks to God and to all of you who stood with us in prayer and words of encouragement for the Trumpet Call to Prayer that gathered close to 50 people!

Things being what they are here, today proved two things:  in the Body of Messiah here, not all are of one mind, even if many are of one  heart; and, God is ‘there’ when we come together in unity for the sake of the name of His Son, the Lord … Continue reading

Trumpet Call To Prayer – 9 July 2014

As I write this, the sounds of war are heard within our nation, and the blood of Abel cries out for vengeance and vindication.  Yet the blood of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah/Yasu al Massih cries out better things:  salvation, and forgiveness of sin. (Heb 12:24)

There is a growing sense within and among the Israeli Messianic/Christian and Palestinian Christian communities that our united, collective voice needs to be heard as a prophetic voice to our people.  We, who believe in the … Continue reading

Hamas Video Targets Beer Sheva – 7 July 2014

Hamas has put out a one-minute video trying to scare the ‘settlers’ of Beer Sheva to flee before it is too late:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/182592#.U7rkakB5bFw

Vengeance and Redemption – 6 July 2014

Rockets have again hit Beer Sheva (yesterday, as of this writing), violence and rage are again venting, cries for vengeance are shrieking.  Yet, for all this, God is working out redemption, as witnessed by people repenting and believing the good news of God about salvation through living faith in Jesus throughout the country and region.  Today is still the day of salvation!  This is still the acceptable year of the LORD (YHVH)!  We, as believers in Yeshua/Jesus, cannot forget that.

… Continue reading

The Shot Heard ‘Round The World – 28 June 2014

Today, 100 years ago, on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Gavrilo Princip fired the shot that started World War I when he killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  No one could have known then that that gunshot would trigger the first world war in history, with staggering loss of life, but that that war, rather than being the ‘war to end all war’ would actually become the war which has not yet ended.

Jesus Christ said nearly 2000 years ago, when asked … Continue reading

The Negev is Now

Construction work and roadworks are going on all around us here in Beer Sheva, and southward towards Yerucham.  The major investment and development is due to Beer Sheva being chosen as the ‘cyber hub’ of Israel, or as Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President, Rivka Carmi, quips, “silicon wadi“.  (A wadi is a dry river bed, waiting for the waters to stream into it.)   Beer Sheva and the Negev are also developing in preparation for major re-location of military bases and … Continue reading

Kidnapping as Act of Terror – 16 June 2014

Israel is still riveted to prayers and the news reports about the three teen boys, ages 16, 16, and 19, who were kidnapped on Thursday night, and whose whereabouts and circumstances since then are still unknown as of this post.  While it is not certain exactly who carried out the kidnappings, it is clear that it was carried out by jihadi elements within the Palestinian Authority/Hamas-governed population, probably around Hebron.

Both the PA and Hamas have similar short-term policies towards their long-term objectives:  the release of all terrorist prisoners … Continue reading

Pentecost – 8 June 2014

Today, Sonday, is Pentecost, the holiday marking 50 days from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 7 complete Sabbaths from that day after the Sabbath when He rose and showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs.  On that unique fulfillment of Shavuot/Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given from the Father in Yeshua’s name to His disciples.  Although the Lord Messiah is ascended in glory at the right hand of God, His presence is still with those who believe … Continue reading

HEBREW — The Primary Language of Jesus in Israel in His Day – 2 June 2014

Why Jesus was a Hebrew-speaker Hebrew, and not only Aramaic, was a spoken language at the time of Jesus, but PM Netanyahu’s exchange with the pope wasn’t only academic: It’s a debate with a clear religious and cultural subtext. By | Jun. 2, 2014 | 10:28 AM  (HAARETZ)

Around the turn of the millennium, I received an email from a party looking to … Continue reading

State of Religious Freedom in Israel – 31 May 2014

In the wake of the ‘writing on the wall’ at the congregational home of Yeshua’s Inheritance Congregation, Donna Diorio, of IsraelPrayer, has written an update article wrapping up some recent events from a perspective of watching developments over many years:

http://israelwatcherasecondopinion.blogspot.co.il/2014/05/the-state-of-religious-freedom-in.html

For readers unacquainted with the lawsuit referenced by Donna, you can read our update reports on them beginning with this post from 2007:

http://streamsinthenegev.com/lawsuit/lawsuit-update-initiation-of-suit-9-feb-2007/

“Policy of Misunderstanding” – 30 May 2014

According to “official” sources, the denial of visa entries for Arabic Christians planning on attending the ‘At The Crossroads’ conference in Jerusalem earlier this month was due to a “policy of misunderstanding”.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/policy-of-misunderstanding-bars-christian-tourists-source-says/

The Writing on the Wall – 23 May 2014

Yesterday morning, offensive writing offending religious sensitivities was found spray painted on the wall surrounding the property used by the Messianic congregation, Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance), in Beer Sheva.   This is known as a “price tag”, property attacks of incitement against those whom extremists oppose, usually against Palestinian Arabs and against Christians.

Six months ago, during a Jews For Jesus evangelism campaign in Beer Sheva, Jewish teenage yeshiva students, with their rabbi, were filmed defacing the same property, but the police … Continue reading

At The Crossroads Conference in Jerusalem – 20 May 2014

Last week, from May 13-16, the second bi-annual “At The Crossroads” conference was held in Jerusalem at Christ Church inside Jaffa Gate.  The conference did not focus on either politics or theology, but on carrying out the Great Commission in a triangular region in the middle of the Earth inspired by the Word of God in Isaiah 19: 23-25:  the highway from Egypt to Assyria (the whole area of its former empire), with Israel in between as the bridge of … Continue reading

Dates to Remember

Times and seasons have a way of stirring the memories, both personal and collective. Depending on what they may signify, the reactions and anticipations may vary among individuals or nations, or among those joined together through religion or faith. Below are some historical markers that are beginning to converge to draw attention to a watershed, perhaps. Both friend and foe are taking notice.

Oct 31, 1517 – Reformation Day, which gave the Bible back to the people that they may … Continue reading

Record May Rainfall in All of Israel – 9 May 2014

Israel experienced a rare nation-wide lightning and thunder storm, pouring record amounts of rainfall, accompanied by hail, going back to 1920.  On Wednesday night, May 7, the storm began, continuing through much of the day on Thursday.   The Negev region suffered flash floods and stranded hikers and tourists.

In the Negev, May is usually a dry month, following the rainy season of the Israeli winter.   This winter was exceptionally dry throughout much of the country, and the rainfall of the last … Continue reading

Israel’s Independence Day – 6 May 2014

Tuesday, May 6, is Israel’s 66th Independence Day.  Millions of Jews suffered, were murdered, died in the Holocaust; tens of thousands more have died in the wars from the inception of the re-establishment of the Jewish people back in their homeland; hundreds are memorialized for their deaths since 1860 as they ‘returned to Zion’.  All of this human tragedy and valor as a price in order to be redeemed from the lands of exile, scattered around the globe, after 1900 … Continue reading

Holocaust Past and Future – 27 Apr 2014

Remember, lest we forget.  This “creed” underlies much of Jewish and Christian culture.  All of the LORD’s holidays are to remember His mighty acts of redemption, based on bringing His people out of Egypt.  Believers in Jesus, in fellowshipping in the Lord’s Supper, do so to remember Yeshua and what He did in and through His death on the cross; and we are to do so until He comes again.  God has given us these times of remembrance together so that we might not forget, and to be strengthened in … Continue reading

Israeli Jewish Population Increasing More Than Arab – 20 Apr 2014

While the premise of increasing Arab/Palestinian Muslim population growth over and against the Jewish birth and demographics has been used for decades to advance some political policy, current information challenges that assumption.   During  the closing years of  slavery in Egypt, despite being placed under even harsher work conditions and economic stress, among the Children of Israel there was a population explosion. (Exodus 1:8-14).  It seems like history may be repeating itself:  today, the world is applying increasingly harsh measures against Israel in order … Continue reading

A Greater Passover – 14 Apr 2014

As Jewish people everywhere celebrate the Passover, we can rejoice as we remember that not only has YHVH made His name great as the God of Israel who brought His people up out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm to serve Him, but also He continues to raise a banner to all nations as He brings back His people from all corners of the world to the land which He swore to give them as an everlasting possession.  And the whole world … Continue reading

Beer Sheva and Negev Development Accelerating – 13 Apr 2014

The Israeli government is promoting and enhancing development opportunities in Beer Sheva and the Negev.  The primary impetus here is military re-location of some large bases from the population center to the vast periphery of the southern desert, of which Beer Sheva is the largest and capital city.

The first Prime Minister of Israel, David  Ben-Gurion, always believed that the future of the country depended on the development of the Negev.  He lived what he believed by moving to Kibbutz Sde … Continue reading

Passover and Firstfruits – 6 Apr 2014

Greetings this season when the Body of Messiah/Christ reminds the world that Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah died and rose again!

Even unbelieving Jewish people in Israel and in the diaspora are witnesses to the one true God and His mighty act to deliver them from Egypt, making His name known to the nations as Yehovah, the God of Israel.

Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus are His witnesses that the Redeemer and Savior has come in the flesh, died at Passover, risen … Continue reading

More Christian Heritage Discovered in the Negev – 3 Apr 2014

In addition to sites at Avdat, Shivta, Nizzana, archeologists have now uncovered a Byzantine monastery, with beautiful colored mosaics, in the Negev region not far from Beer Sheva, near Hura, a Bedouin town:

  http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=16579

Not Only God, But The Civilized World Has Spoken – 30 Mar 2014

A case study of sovereign legal rights to Jerusalem — in particular East Jeruslaem, and more specifically the Old City with the Temple Mount:  a thesis by Dr. Jacques Gauthier, an international lawyer and human rights attorney:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf8cF1HYqN8

Today’s peace negotiations are a battle of narratives less grounded on facts and more on historical fallacies and revisionist history, personal and national emotions, and increasing lawlessness (recognizing no law as binding).

Would You Come To This Conference? – 17 Mar 2014

The “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference has ended.  There is tension within the ranks of the Body of Messiah here in Israel.  We pray for healing of strained or broken relationships through humility, repentance where necessary, forgiveness as commanded, transcendant love for our heavenly Father and our Lord Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ.  This is all part of our sanctification, and is also a part of God’s righteousness to nullify our own.

I was thinking about another conference, but with an opposite orientation.  If … Continue reading

Christ At The Checkpoint – 4 Mar 2013

Next week the 3rd biennial CATC conference will begin in Bethlehem.  This has once again stirred heated discussion and debate within the Messianic/Christian evangelical community in Israel.  This public expression is good in that it helps all to ‘hear’ the depths of feelings which this conference arouses.  It is also good for those from the Messianic community in Israel who do go, whether as invited speakers or whether as part of the gathered conference-goers, to go in the light of … Continue reading

At Odds – 23 Feb 2014

In three weeks, two events are overlapping each other:  the Christ At The Checkpoint (CATC) conference in Bethlehem, and a day of praying and fasting preceding the beginning of Purim.  I have been invited to be present at both; I will only be at the Esther’s Fast day on Mar. 13 at Yad HaShmonah, organized by Revive Israel.  I will be leading the final prayer session for the hour before we conclude the day with the Lord’s Supper.  The focus … Continue reading

Beer Sheva Planned as Cyber Hub of Israel – 30 Jan 2014

Here is a YouTube video of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking of the government’s plans to make Beer Sheva the hi-tech capital of the country and of the East:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMkhvtm7VD4

Ariel (Arik) Sharon Buried With His Fathers – 13 Jan 2014

The 11th Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, died on Shabbat, January 11, after being in a coma for eight years following a massive stroke in 2005.   Whether the Spirit of God accomplished something in the soul of this man while he lay these last eight years we do not know now.  What we can know is that whether so or not, Arik knows who Jesus Christ is now, and would want all Israel to know while they still can.

… Continue reading

Record December Storm – 15 Dec 2013

Today in Beer Sheva we woke up to a bright sunny day, with clear blue skies, clean from all the wind, rain, hail, snow, and cold which hit the entire country from last Tuesday night till yesterday (Sat.) afternoon.  There has not been a major storm of this magnitude to hit Israel (and the rest of the countries round-about:  it even snowed in Cairo and parts of Saudi Arabia!) in the early part of December since records have been kept.  … Continue reading

Sign Spoken Against #2: Anti-Yeshua

During the two weeks of November 10-22, the evangelism organization, Jews for Jesus, conducted a campaign in the southern cities of Israel, focused in the largest city of Beer Sheva.  Beer Sheva and Arad have seen their share of opposition to the gospel over the years, and this campaign awakened some of that antagonism.   One of the campaigners was arrested just two days before the end of the campaign, the first time in eight such campaigns around Israel that this has happened.  … Continue reading

Sign Spoken Against #1: Anti-Israel

At the beginning of the Summer/Winter of this year (2013), Israel and Australia jointly issued two stamps commemorating the part of the ANZAC and the Australian Lighthorse in the historical development leading up to the re-establishment of the Jewish people back in the promised and holy land.  The stamps remember the victory over the Turks in Beer Sheva in the famous Beer Sheva Charge on October 31, 1917, in WW1.

In the Bible, YHVH God speaks through His servant, the prophet … Continue reading

Death of Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – 7 Oct 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died at the age of 93, following many months of deteriorating health.  He was perhaps the most influential rabbi in this period of the return of the Jewish people back to the promised land.  His influence was both religious and political, and affected all of Israeli society, not just the Sephardi Jewish (those who were especially under Islamic influence during the long years of exile) community which he specifically represented.  This, in itself, was an enormous achievement:  helping restore … Continue reading

A SEASONAL WORD

In God’s prophetic and redemptive calendar given to Israel, the appointed times of the Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets, of the Day of Atonements, and of the Feast of Booths speak of the Ingathering of God’s people/harvest at the end of the age.  God knows His own, and those who call upon the name of the Lord will depart from iniquity.

One thing that God will not have in His people — whether Israel or the Church — is self-righteouness.  The cross slays all our … Continue reading

World Can Not Save Itself – 29 Aug 2013

Syria continues to kill its own, with and without chemical weapons.  The Arab world does not intervene; the western world has lost its moral and political capacity to effectively intervene; the international community expresses itself through the United Nations with words.  Arab/Palestinian Christians continue seek to undermine Israel’s legitimacy — with backing from the rest of the world — even while Israel remains till now the only stable country in the region, but remain silent regarding the slaughter of even … Continue reading

CHRISTIAN ARABS IDENTIFYING WITH ISRAEL AS ISRAELIS – 18 Aug 2013

In July a Christian Arab from Nazareth, Bishara Shlayan, announced his intentions of forming a new political party in Israel.  At that time, the name of the party was Allies of the New Covenant, but afterwards changed to just Allies, since Jewish people were uncomfortable with the term, New Covenant, which is the same as New Testament.

Among other things, Shlayan and the party want to be recognized as Israelis, as proud citizens of Israel, their country, and want to … Continue reading

TIME FOR SELF-RESPECTING JEWS TO STAND UP – 21 July 2013

According to the inspired Word of God given to us in the Bible, YHVH, the one and only true God, created Jacob, Israel, and all called by His name, for His glory.  He alone is the only Savior who forgives sin.  He only is the Deliverer  from enemies and foreign gods.  YHVH, the Holy One of Israel, is the  only One who knows all things from the beginning through beyond their end. (Is 43:1-15)

The revelation from God that the Jewish people are … Continue reading

Beer Sheva Taking Leading Role in Israeli Engineering and High-Tech – 1 July 2013

Here is an article from today’s The Times of Israel internet newspaper about Beer Sheva’s present future:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/tech-helps-develop-development-town-beersheba/

Tech helps develop ‘development town’ Beersheba A major science and technology event at Ben-Gurion University highlights just how far the Negev has come in recent years

HOPE DESPITE FUTILITY – 19 June 2013

The people of Israel lives!  Am Israel Chai!   Last night witnessed a gala celebration of a man and his life, and of a people and their hope.  Israeli President Shimon Peres enjoyed a birthday party unlike any other person on the world stage.  Although his actual birthday isn’t until August 8, leaders and celebrities from Israel and from all around the world came together in an exciting and emotive way to wish Shimon a happy 90th birthday, with the hope … Continue reading

AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH – 3 June 2013

It is hot and dry in the Southland of the Holy Land.  Last night at 9:00 (21:00), the temperatures around Israel were as hot as what is normal for this time of year at mid-day.

As much as God has promised the perpetuity of agricultural growth, of temperatures, seasons, and cycle of days (Gen 8:22), nonetheless the stability of the Earth’s life seems to be less predictable and consistent as the last days progress towards the end-times.  We go from … Continue reading

SHAVUOT/PENTECOST – 13 May 2013

Holiday greetings to you all!

In the following days the Biblical holiday of Shavuot ([7] Weeks) and Pentecost (50 Days) will be marked, properly counting from the first-fruits resurrection of our Lord Yeshua from the dead on the day after the Sabbath, i.e. Sonday, during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week.  Thus, Shavuot/Pentecost should also be properly celebrated on the 8th Sonday from the Passover, which is 7 weeks from that first Sonday, and the 50th day including that day after the Sabbath.  … Continue reading

PEACE IN THE MIDST OF TERROR – 17 Apr 2013

Shalom with God to all of you,

With the evil of the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon shocking the civilized world once again at the brutal character of those who worship a god of vengeance and death, in Israel the celebration of the 65th year of statehood has just concluded, a testimony to the faithfulness of the living God  of the living who gave His Son to be brutalized to death, in the greatest expression of love this world has ever known, offering forgiveness to all who … Continue reading

JEWISH TERRORIST JACK TEITEL CONDEMNED – 9 Apr 2013

Today in the Jerusalem District Court, the three judges in the case of “Jewish terrorist”, Jack Teitel, found him completely responsible for his “cold-blooded” acts of murder and of attempted murder.  In the courtroom, when asked by reporters whether he had any regrets for what he had done, he said the he “has no regret nor is he sorry for what he did”, and that he would do it again if he had to.  Teitel received two consecutive life sentences for … Continue reading