We are now into this new year of 2017, 5777 on the Jewish calendar (a 240-year discrepancy, but that is another story). Three years ago I began to look at some significant dates connected with the return of the Jewish people back to this land of Israel, and also looking ahead to the coming again of Yeshua.
( http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/eclectic-course-menu/dates-to-remember/ )
When the disciples asked Yeshua about the sign of His return at the end of the age, His first response was that they should be careful not to let any man deceive them, and that they should watch and be ready for whenever that exact time should come. (Mt 24:3,4,42) These signs – or events — were connected with the Jewish people living again in this land after a long exile. There have been signs in the sun and moon and stars last year and this. I do believe that God wants to get our attention, since we are His people and family, and to get us to remember that the Scriptures are His word to us, that we can be in the light and not in darkness. We are in a season, but exactitude is not given us to know. Signs point and lead to something and to Someone. Yeshua has all sovereign authority now in the heavenlies and on Earth. All these things serve the purposes of YHVH, the one true living God, to be exalted as such, that He may display the wonders of His love.
What are some of the significant events which converge this year to remind us of God’s plan of salvation for His people Israel?:
–This year of 2017 marks 500 years since the Reformation, when God used Martin Luther to open the Bible as the Word of God to the common people, and that salvation is a gift from God on the basis of faith in Jesus and His sacrificial death for our sins. Many Christians also began to see that God had promised to restore His chosen people, the Jews, back to the land He swore to give them as an inheritance.
–This year marks 120 years since the First Zionist Congress on Aug 29, 1897. Theodor Herzl warned his fellow Jewish people that they needed to get out of Europe because of anti-semitism, and to return to establish a state for the Jewish people back in Palestine, as the Promised Land was then called.
–This year marks 100 years since the ANZAC victory in Beer Sheva, on Oct 31, 1917 during WW1 (the same date as the Reformation), which enabled Britain to make known its intention, through the Balfour Declaration, to help the Jewish people reestablish their homeland here. By this declaration, the Gentile nations expressed their support for the return of the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel, as written in the Scriptures. God was acting and intervening towards fulfilling His promise, whether they understood or not.
–2017 marks 70 years since Nov 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted for the Jews and the Arabs to have two states in this land. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected the plan, and went to war.
–This year remembers 50 years since the Six-Day War victory in June 1967, in which the Israeli Jews captured Jerusalem, opening up access to its holiest sites, including the Temple Mount, which were closed to them all the previous years since the establishment of the State of Israel.
–The opposition to God’s interventions is remembered in the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, 30 years ago.
–This year has opened up with a UN resolution (passed just before Hanukkah and Christmas) claiming that Israel has no legal right to any territory that was not theirs before 1967, including East Jerusalem – Biblical Jerusalem — where the Temple Mount is located.
–There has been an increase over the last few years of Christians being persecuted and killed for their faith. Most of this has been perpetrated by Islamic jihadi terrorists, who want to take peace from people’s lives and hearts and minds, and to also bring the world into submission by force to profess the god of Islam as the only true God, and Mohammed as his prophet and servant.
What are some verses that help us to put these events into perspective for us as believers?:
Ezek 36:19-28 the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel for God’s holy Name’s sake; all will know that He is YHVH, and He will be Israel’s God, and they His holy people
Ps 2:1-6 opposition to YHVH and to Yeshua, and to God’s righteous ways
Ps 83:1-5 conspiracy to wipe out Israel from being a nation in opposition to the God of Israel (As a Jew, I also must confess that this is what the Jewish religion teaches about Jesus: that His name and memory must be wiped out and remembered no more. The Holy Spirit is working to bring everyone to account before the Lord.)
Zec 12:1-3 All nations shall come against Jerusalem, and will not succeed
Jer 30:12-25 (Heb; 30:12 – 31:1 Eng) The time of Jacob’s trouble coming in the Land to bring the people to repentance and salvation; God’s wrath will fall on His enemies, and on His people’s oppressors; in the latter days this will be considered, and fulfilled.
Lev 26:40-45 God bringing the Jewish people to confess their sins against Him, , and accept His righteous ways towards them, that they be saved and live in peace and security in the land He promised them for an inheritance.
Mt 24:6-14 These troubles and sufferings and events must come; but do not be troubled in our hearts; and the gospel will go out with power to save until Yeshua returns.
What should we do now, and throughout this momentous year?
–Read the whole Bible – as the Word of the Lord!
–Pray with understanding. Many good things promised, but a hard way to make it worthwhile to get there. The stakes are high, and the nations and Israel can expect a shaking from the very real living God, who desires that all should repent and be saved. For this He sent His Son into the world, which is ignored at our own peril.
–Pray for revelation and wisdom to understand the times, and what we should do as things progress: helping each other; encouraging one another; promote holiness in the fear of God….
–Continue faithfully doing what the Lord gives you, according to His call, spiritual gifts, ministry
–Evangelize, share the gospel with whomsoever, that they might repent and be saved before the Day of the LORD.
–Strengthen your faith, hope, and love in Yeshua, trusting God for His power and grace to use you and us for His praise, honor, and glory when Yeshua returns. (1Pt 1:3-9)
On Sabbath evening, Dec 23, on the day before the first night of Hanukkah, on the day before Christmas Eve, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334, essentially declaring that the heartland of Israel — Judea and Samaria, and East Jerusalem — are illegally occupied and settled by Israel and the Jewish people. East Jerusalem is Biblical Jerusalem, and includes the Old City, the City of David, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. The United States broke its long-standing position to veto measures in the Security Council which were clearly against Israel’s legitimacy and legality. President Obama began his presidency eight years ago with his deference to the Islamic governments and narratives, and is ending his two terms authorizing an abstention on the vote, thereby allowing it to pass unopposed, allowing Islamic doctrine and terror to cause even “Christian” nations to throw Israel ‘under the bus’, and to wipe her out from being a nation anymore. (Ps 83:1-5) But neither has the Lord given Israel and the Jewish people to be the determiners of her own destiny. He has created, chosen, and called her and them to a destiny and an inheritance for His glory.
The U.S. and the UN, with all the nations, are obscessed with finding fault with Israel, because the battle is really against the God of Israel, who is YHVH, God over all. This, despite the fact that just a few short months ago, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, sought to have the UN basically nullify the Balfour Declaration, which set the Gentile nations in motion to help the Jewish people reestablish their homeland in Palestine (the Land of Israel). By this, he was making it very plain that he does not accept Israel as a nation-state. Yet, the U.S., and the UN Security Council, say that the Jewish settlements are the impediment to a two-state solution to “solve the conflict”. This is truly closing the eyes and putting one’s head in the sand! The settlements do pose a real challenge, but God is going on in HIS plan to restore HIS kingdom to Israel, and to all the nations. Only His solution is righteous and permanent.
The Bible clearly states that in the latter days all nations would come against Jerusalem (Zech 12:1-3; 14:1-8), and that the people and the nations are in a conspiracy against YHVH and against His Messiah (Anointed One) (Ps 2). On the other hand, the prophets foretold that all of Israel’s lovers would desert her (Jer 30:12-24), and this would be from God in order to apply pressure on His people to return to Him, who alone truly loves them and is powerful to save them when they confess their sins against Him (and against Jesus/Yeshua) and return to Him with all their heart. (Lev 26:40-45)
In God’s sovereign wisdom, He holds all sides to account for their actions — whether they be in rebellion, in unbelief, or in ignorance. All must give account to Him in the exercise of their free will.
We are about to enter the year 2017, a year of convergence connected with the Bible and the Word of God, the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and to signs leading up to such a great tribulation that there is no human experience for it, with the return of the Lord following. (Dan 12:1-3; Mt 24:21-31) The year 2017 marks the following signposts:
500 yrs since the Reformation; 120 yrs since 1st Zionist Cong; 100 yrs (double Jubilee) since Beer Sheva Charge, the Balfour Declaration, and the capture of Jerusalem by Gentile Christians; 70 yrs since UN Partition Plan; 50 yrs Jubilee since capture of Jerusalem by Israeli Jews; 30 yrs since beginning of 1st Palestinian Intifada (“breaking the yoke; horse shaking off the rider”)
The stakes are high, and the nations and Israel can expect a shaking from the very real living God, who desires that all should repent and be saved. For this He sent His Son into the world, which is ignored at our own peril.
1Ti 1:15 Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Num 29:39 You shall prepare these to Yehovah in your appointed seasons, besides your vows and your free-will offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your food offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.
God did not command Israel to celebrate the birth of His Son, but He gave them – and us – the opportunity to celebrate as a free-will offering. We do it because we want to, and we do it gladly unto the Lord. What the Prophets foretold came to pass: the Messiah was born! Trumpets were to be blown in Israel on the day of our gladness. (Num 10:10) Was/Is not the birth of the Lord a day of rejoicing for the heavenly host of angels who proclaimed the glad tidings to the Israeli Jewish shepherds, and to the shepherds themselves who heard and saw all that they were told; was it not a day of rejoicing for Simeon, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, who saw YHVH’s salvation in the new-born Child and Son; was it not a day of rejoicing for Anna, the widowed prophetess waiting for redemption in Jerusalem? Is it not a day of rejoicing for all who have come to believe in the Son of God, who was born in the flesh, and who is the Father’s gift to His people?: Unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given! God has forever changed the culture of His people: rather than just remembering someone’s life when he dies, we now rejoice and celebrate the time of those we love for when they came into the world. It all waited for the celebration of the first-born of creation, and His Father’s joy in that day! It began as neither a Jewish nor a pagan holiday. It is God’s holiday celebration, which is actually what the name of Haggai the prophet means (“my celebration”)! It was Haggai to whom the LORD gave the date of this appointed time. (Hag 2:10-22) Yeshua came to His holy but unclean people to save and to cleanse them from all their sinfulness, and to restore His Throne to His people and to the Gentiles.
What Israel and the Jewish people as a whole did not appreciate when He came to His own, and to the world that He made should not restrict us who have seen the glory of the birth of the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins on the cross, and whose sacrificial death was God’s plan before the foundation of the world! His name is Yeshua because He will save His people from their sins. YHVH is our salvation and Savior!
The new and significant year of 2017 is being ushered in by the perfect coinciding of Hanukkah and Christmas. The 8th day and candle (the day of Yeshua’s circumcision) is the last night of this year, and the first day of the next. The God of Israel has given all the world a witness as to the time of His Son’s birth to the virgin, Mary. Going back another 4 years to 5 BC does not alter things much. But the world system has followed for centuries a calendar that points to the period surrounding the birth of the Lord, the King of the Jews. When I was recently in Thailand, I noticed that the date on a package ended with the numbers 2559. That seemed odd, so I asked what that was: the Thai culture traditionally counts its years from the era of Buddha, who lived more than 500 years before Yeshua/Jesus. Muslims count their years from 622 AD, the year that Mohammed went from Mecca to Medina. Tonight is the lighting of the first candle for Hannukah; today is the 24th of the ninth month. In the Jewish calendar, this is the month of Chislev; in the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world follows, this the 24th of the 12th month, December, but which is the ninth month when we count beginning with Israel’s first month in Aviv/Nisan/April! This date of the 24th of the 9th month was a day from which the [true] foundation of the Temple was laid, and YHVH would bless Israel and shake Heaven and Earth. (Hag 2:18-22) These things did not find genuine fulfillment with the Maccabees, but do in Yeshua, the true Savior and Deliverer from Gentile and pagan thrones – both literally, and also in the hearts of those who truly believe. (The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua.)
I want us to look at one example of the truth that Jesus came to save sinners: the woman caught in adultery. (Jn 8:1-11)
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him. And He sat down and taught them. (3) And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman taken in adultery. And standing her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, Teacher, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such should be stoned. You, then, what do you say? (6) They said this, tempting Him so that they might have reason to accuse Him. But bending down, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger, not appearing to hear. (7) But as they continued to ask Him, He lifted Himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her. (8) And again bending down, He wrote on the ground. (9) And hearing, and being convicted by conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, until the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) And bending back up, and seeing no one but the woman, Jesus said to her, Woman, where are the ones who accused you? Did not one give judgment against you? (11) And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I give judgment. Go, and sin no more.
In this scene, the self-righteous religious leaders and teachers came to Yeshua with a woman who was caught, somehow, in the act of adultery. Where was the guilty man? Under the Law, both were to be stoned. (Lev 20:10-12) So their motive was not pure, but rather to trap Messiah and to show their disdain for women. People did not matter to them with all their religiosity, but the “Law”, which they themselves did not keep. Yeshua bent down and wrote on the ground with His finger, probably the sentence of death, which the Law of Moses demanded. He had not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. But then, the Lord showed His compassion in His identification with the sinner against her unjust accusers. He also appealed to the conscience of them: let he has no sin cast the first stone. From the oldest rabbi first, the others followed in leaving the scene. Jesus paid a price to mediate in this situation, with courage and compassion. Jesus did not acquit the guilty woman; neither did He condemn her: He told her to go and sin no more. Did she? We don’t know.
Jesus came to save sinners. He alone is without sin; He alone has moral authority to condemn; He alone could have thrown that first stone. But He desires to see sinners repent and have their hearts changed, sinning no more in the face of such grace and truth. He takes the blame; He takes the uncleanness. On the cross He bore our sin and our punishment. Can any who know such love and forgiveness continue to sin against the holy God and Savior?! Let each answer for himself, just as the Scripture leaves us without the answer to the rest of this woman’s life, and that of her accusers.
YHVH’s new covenant with Israel is that their sins will be forgiven forever. Our message which we have received from Him remains the gospel to sinners: repent and believe, and so receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit and of eternal life.
As I considered this passage about the woman caught in adultery, it reminded me of how Christians have historically accused the Jewish people before God for their spiritually adulterous unfaithfulness to Him, and of their sin and guilt in connection with the crucifixion of Jesus. The Savior continues to reach out to both with His own understanding and righteousness to affect the hearts and minds of both. All Israel will be saved when they look upon Him whom they pierced; and the Body of Christ will be purified when they humble themselves and show mercy to the Jews, even as they have received mercy from the God of Israel for all their sins in Jesus’ name.
We thank and praise God for giving us His Son (Is 9:6), and for what Messiah has done for us: forgiveness and new life, which only He could bring by coming here to Earth (even to Israel!) and suffering for us — both during His life and climatically in His death on the cross. Now He lives within us who are born-again from Above, and is with us in life and in death. Even this last enemy can not overcome the believer, but only serves to bring us into the everlasting presence of the Lord!
The birth of the Messiah some 2000 years ago was a singular event which divided history between that which came before from that which has been reckoned since. The God of Israel promised through the prophet Haggai that from a significant event on the 24th of the ninth Israeli month (corresponding to the 24th of December on non-Israeli calendars) that He would shake the heaven and the Earth. (Hag 2:20-22) God began by announcing His joy in the birth of His Son through the singing heavenly host.
When the Roman-appointed ruler over the Jews, Herod, heard the news, he plotted to kill the new-born Son. The Jewish religious leaders acknowledged that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, but not that His goings forth were from everlasting. When Yeshua began His public ministry by being baptised by John, the devil sought to tempt Him to submit to his wiles. At the crucifixion the Roman leader, Pontius Pilate, and the devil, and the Jewish leadership all conspired together to both crucify Jesus, and try to get Him to come down from the cross! The chief priests in apostacy cried out that “we have no king but Caesar!” (Jn 19:15)
After Pentecost, when the disciples had all been baptized with the Holy Spirit and began to take the gospel to all regions, it is written that they were “turning the world upside down, saying that there is another King — Jesus”. (Acts 17:6-7)
No shots were fired; no armies formed; just the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Truly YHVH had begun His revolution to overthrow Gentile thrones and to shake the heavens and the Earth. This work has continued till today, and we are nearing another promise from the Lord to again shake the heavens and the Earth at the return of this same Jesus/Yeshua:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
We are celebrating this time with great anticipation that what God has begun at the first advent, He will fulfill at the second. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!
They said it couldn’t be done, but he did it! Political election surveys have become little more than a form of divination. It really is hard to think of Donald Trump as President Trump. But it’s great that we are not going to be saying President Clinton any more. I still look to the coming of the rightful Heir of the ‘freed’ world, the Son of God, the Lord Messiah Yeshua! This world is still lying under the sway of the evil one, and Israel still remains an enemy of the gospel for the Gentile’s salvation sake. So the Millennial Kingdom has not yet dawned, nor has the night even yet settled.
Yet there is hope that Trump’s victory will be used by God to wake up the Church (the Body of Messiah) and the Jewish people to God’s own plan for righteousness and justice and equity, and to shake things up to work towards that objective. Some days ago I listened to a video by a well-known Christian, who said that Trump was God’s Cyrus candidate, and that Trump would be used by God to enable Christians to gain power and influence. I was thinking that was a poor analogy and a misplaced hope. He was looking for the Church to be empowered “to take over” rather than for Jesus to come back and reign.
I thought more of Jehu, whom YHVH sent Elijah to anoint that Jehu would destroy the House of Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, and all their governmental and religious allies. (1Kg 19:15-18; 2Kg 10:6-11) Trump, I pray and hope, is not going to go round actually killing those who have been bringing the U.S. down, but many of those who have are going to lose much of their influence. I pray that there will be some among them who will truly repent and believe the gospel. The same for Trump and those close to him. Jehu did not go on in faithfulness to God and His covenant, but amazingly followed the ways of those whom had been called and anointed by the LORD to bring down and destroy.
This is where the new Vice-President, Mike Pence, comes in. He was selected by Trump to be his running-mate, in part, I believe, because Pence is an evangelical Christian. He could pull in conservative Christians (although not all born-again evangelicals are necessarily conservative), and he was experienced as a politician as a Governor and as a Congressman. Mike needs to hold Trump accountable to his word, and to his behavior. Mike needs to be a Daniel, who feared and continued to faithfully serve his God — the God of Israel — while also faithfully and with integrity serving the Gentile kings, such as Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon and Darius of the Medes. Daniel did not fear them, but did respect them and their God-given authority. Mike, who describes himself as a Christian firstly, must continue to be that so that he will not be partisan but truthful, evangelical (Daniel called Nebudchanezzer to repent from his evil ways and know the true God of Heaven and Earth), humble, completely trustworthy, and proved that his faith was a living faith in a living God. Daniel also received revelation and wisdom concerning God’s future plans in the latter days, days in which we are now living. I pray that the vice-president will be the man of God that is needed in leadership and counsel.
1Pe 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you (5) by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; (6) in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; (7) so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing in Him you exult with unspeakable joy, and having been glorified, (9) obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Eph 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
Last week we heard an excellent teaching on the expectation we have of a new, eternal, heavenly body to replace our present, temporary, earthly bodies which are incapable of living the fullness of the life which is our inheritance in Christ. Our congregation is called Yeshua’s Inheritance, and it is the inheritance which gives meaning to every human life: whether that person will, or will not, inherit eternal life. The God who has created the heavens and the Earth has given two options: eternal existence separated from Him, in a place called hell; or eternal life with Him, in a perfect New Heavens and New Earth where love is perfect in all its aspects. The way to either place is determined by one’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, by whom alone anyone can come to the Father.
The name, Yeshua’s Inheritance, for our congregation gives us an identity: we belong to Yeshua – both now and forever! This is the hope that we have along with all other believers – past, present, and future! The Hebrew word for inheritance (nachala נחלה) has the same root as for a stream or river (nachal נחל): the inheritance flows from its source like a river stream from generation to generation until it reaches its destination into the big, wide, deep ocean with all the other streams. YHVH God is our source, and His promises flow until they are fulfilled, to be inherited by all His holy ones. We are the inheritance of our God and Savior! What a treasure He has given us and promised us to inherit.
As was said last week, this inheritance comes into fullness only in the resurrection, when we receive our new bodies suited to the eternal life that we have also received as a free gift from God through our living faith in Yeshua as our Savior and Lord. This inheritance is not for one people or ethnic group alone, but for all who are born-again by the Holy Spirit from Above. It is for the corporate one new man in Messiah, a new creation: new bodies, new heavens, new Earth, new names. Jesus makes all things new, perfect, eternal in the Kingdom of of God. (Rev 21:5) We have the promise and the down-payment now; we receive the fullness of it when God finishes His plan of redemption in this world. (Rom 8:23-25; Jn 17:3)
For now, what does it mean for us in this congregation? First of all, we have a common hope and calling. Our vision and hope is the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection and rapture of the righteous – of the saints – that are connected with that. Our bodies will be transformed into heavenly bodies and we will forever be with the Lord, and will begin that ‘new life’ ruling and reigning with Him over redeemed Israel and the nations. This is Yeshua’s inheritance in the world to come, and ours with Him! (Is 19:25; Ps 2:8; Dan 7:13-14,18,27; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 11:15; 20:6) We will be ministers in His government, and priests as we rule and reign with Him as a kingdom of priests.
But brothers and sisters, if we do not love one another now, we risk inheriting nothing! As we heard last week, if our acts are not motivated by love for the Lord and towards others, our deeds or ministry or participation profit us nothing. They lack eternal value. Without unity bound by love, we have a weak testimony of the truth of who Yeshua is. We become a dysfunctional family that lacks order and peace. Love is not just a feeling; it is a commitment by choice because we love. God has chosen to love us, especially those who love His beloved Son, Yeshua, and all that He does for us springs from His love, even though we clearly do not ‘deserve’ such attention and kindness (among other good things that is love). God suffers long in demonstrating His love for us, and we are called to do the same. Long-suffering is an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. These things should weigh heavily upon us as we examine ourselves in relation to the reality of our faith and hope, and how it affects our part in this local congregation, and any other.
Under the Law of Moses, all of the tribes of Israel, except one, received an inheritance of a portion of land in Canaan, which YHVH promised to the Children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, according to His covenant promise. This promise of an everlasting possession and inheritance still awaits fulfillment for the salvation of Israel as a nation. But the one tribe which did not receive any inheritance of land was the tribe of Levi, the priestly family. God determined that they would be scattered throughout the land to serve Him and the Temple and the people, and that their inheritance would be HIM. (Dt 10:8-9) All of the promised land to be inherited by the Children of Israel belongs to YHVH. Therefore, by having YHVH as their inheritance the priests inherited the whole land, although possessing none of it in their own right.
Our inheritance in Yeshua is greater than a particular land or country. This is our inheritance in Jesus: the whole Kingdom of God – the whole universe, which includes everything – because the Father has given it all to Him. (Heb 1:1-4; Rom 8:16-17) We have become God’s children in Christ, and co-heirs with Him. And Jesus says that all that is His is the Father’s, and all that is the Father’s is His. (Jn 17:9-10) And that especially means US, all who believe in God through Jesus, for whom He died to forgive us of our sin. All who believe in Jesus inherit eternal life! (Jn 3:16-17) But those who refuse to honor Jesus condemn themselves to eternal spiritual darkness apart from the Light of Life. (Jn 3:18-21)
The inheritance: Yeshua/Jesus! And the whole Kingdom of God and eternal life with the Lord
The heirs: the righteous saints – all who put their trust and hope in Jesus for their salvation from sin and sins
Our present knowledge of our future hope: By the Word of God in the Scriptures and the indwelling Holy Spirit in believers. Take hope, young and old! We have a glorious future after the suffering and tribulations of this life: we will inherit the everlasting life that is really life that God has planned for those who love Him. (Eph 1:18; 1Tim 6:19; 1Jn 2:25; 1Cor 2:9-10; Is 64:4; Rev 21:1-8)
Lk 12:22-34 And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Be not anxious as to your life, what you shall eat; nor for the body, what you shall put on. (23) Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. (24) Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap, having neither storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you better than the birds? (25) And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (26) If then you are not able to do even the least, why are you anxious about the rest? (27) Consider the lilies, how they grow; they do not toil, they do not spin. And yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (28) If then God so clothes the grass (which today is in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven) how much more will He clothe you, O little-faiths? (29) And do not seek what you shall eat, nor what you shall drink, and stop being in anxiety. (30) For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you have need of these things. (31) But rather seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (32) Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (33) Sell what you have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which do not become old, an unfailing treasure in Heaven, where no thief comes nor moth corrupts. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Today concludes the 22-day period of the feasts of ingathering — of the autumn harvest. Succot is the time of the fruit harvest, and of great rejoicing in the goodness and faithfulness of the God of the Bible, who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt to give them an inheritance in the Land of Canaan. YHVH would be their God, and they would be His people.
Today is Simchat Torah (the Joy of the Torah), which the Jewish people celebrate, and in the synagogues they not only conclude the reading of the five books of Moses which is read throughout the year, but they also begin to read Genesis as an indication of their joy in the Law of Moses, which for them is more ‘holy’ than the other portions of the Old Testament (Tenach). Yeshua stood and cried out on this last great day that all who are thirsty should come unto Him and drink, and out of his heart would flow rivers of living water. (Jn 7:37-39; 4:10; Is 41:17-20)
We pray that the Lord would open the eyes of His people as they read Moses every week of their need of YHVH’s salvation which is to found only in the name of Yeshua, Messiah and Lord.
Today Shimon Peres was buried, having died at the age of 93. Leaders and other dignitaries from Israel and around the world paid tribute to a great man of the world. He was forever an optimist, which continually gave him hope that things — including peace — would eventually improve, and he worked tirelessly until his end to live according to his faith. Yet the God of Israel has His own plan and solution for peace, which neither optimist nor pessimist can prevent. As the watchman cried out, “The morning is coming, but so is the night”. The Messiah Yeshua spoke that the night is coming when no one can work.
We continue to pursue the peace of God, that whosoever might know Him and have His peace. We continue to have the optimistic blessed hope: Jesus is coming again, and the righteous dead will rise from the dead, and the Kingdom of God on Earth will be established: righteousness and peace for the Jewish people, for the Arabs, for the other nations to whom the mercies and compassion of the LORD will be bestowed.
The last of the founding fathers of the modern reestablishment of the Jewish people in the homeland promised to them by the living God thousands of years ago has now gone. What will the fatherless do? The beautiful and poignant prayer, Avinu , Malcheinu (Our Father, Our King), was sung at the funeral by Peres’ own request. The plea is that God our Father and King would hear our voice. May many in Israel call upon the name of Yeshua and be saved from their sins, and have the peace in their hearts that He alone can give.
From tests done on archeological finds near Arad in the Negev, scientists are reconsidering the literacy skills of the Jewish people with respect to dating the writing of historical writings in the Bible: http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-look-at-ancient-shards-suggests-bible-even-older-than-thought/
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!
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Ezek 38:1-6 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, … Continue reading
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. … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
(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 … Continue reading
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, … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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
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
(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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/
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:
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Randall Buth | Jun. 2, 2014 | 10:28 AM (HAARETZ)
Around the turn of the millennium, I received an email from a party looking to … Continue reading
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:
For readers unacquainted with the lawsuit referenced by Donna, you can read our update reports on them beginning with this post from 2007:
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”.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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:
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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