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 seed and bad seed sown in the field. (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43)   I hope that I have ears to hear, because He exhorts those who would understand the parable that we must have ears to hear what it means, even though He explains it to His disciples who asked Him what the parable means.  One thing that is clear:  judgment is at the end of the age, and Jesus will send out His angels to make the required separation of what can only be properly judged when all can see.  In Rev 16, the bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the Earth against His enemies who have fully shown themselves to be so.  The amazing thing is that people still do not repent of their sinful deeds and give the Lord glory!  Sin is very sinful!!

We see in Gaza, despite all the destruction and havoc, those who are hell-bent on Israel’s destruction are completely unrepentant or apologetic to even their own people upon whom they brought such devastation, but continue to blaspheme and to boast of their victory in taking on the great “occupier”!  As I wrote in a previous letter, had Israel wanted to, with all their might and forces they could have demolished all of Gaza.  But it is not God’s way at this time; there are still those in Gaza who call upon the name of Jesus as Lord and Messiah; and there are still others whom our Father in Heaven desires to be saved before that great and dreadful Day of YHVH comes.  Same on the Israel side:  many more Gentiles must be brought into the Kingdom before the partial blindness on the Jewish people as a nation is totally healed.

God’s purpose and time-schedule are given in Dan 9:24, and we see the fulfillment ultimately at the coming again of the Lord Jesus to establish the Kingdom which shall never pass away.  The Holy Spirit is working to fully prepare Israel for that day of revelation when the remnant sees Him whom they have pierced (Zech 12:10 – 13:1), crying out for Jesus/Yeshua to save and deliver them from their enemies and their sin against Him. (Lev 26:40-45)  A holy people for a holy God, full of truth and light inwardly and outwardly.  The glory of God will be manifested, and fill the Earth!  Praise God!

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.

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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, and will see to it that whatever is right and necessary at this time will be so.  I have recently posted three brief reflections stemming from the present situation here:
http://streamsinthenegev.com/reflecting-pool/comment-page-4/#comment-140993

Last night our prayer focus was the horrific suffering by especially Christians in the jihadi Islamic world.  Someone sent a very telling  interview on Jordanian TV with a ‘normal looking spokesman’ from a couple of years ago about Islam’s values and plans, which you can watch here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE7aKk6hgV4&app=desktop

Christians are being targeted by “evangelical” radical Muslims in a similar fashion as the Jewish people were by the Nazis; that is, the evil-doers do not care what stream of Christianity (or of Judaism) one may be of, or whether one is a true believer or not.  The very fact that one is identifiable as a Christian, or as a Jew, is enough to ignite the wrath of the satanic contempt and hatred.  (This same satanic spirit and actions also revealed itself in the accusations and crucifixion of the Messiah, and against those who identified with Him, such as Stephen.  There is nothing new under the sun; and as we judge, let us first judge ourselves. It is all about YHVH and His Anointed Son and people.)

The apostle Peter wrote of the fiery trials that we would face as followers of Jesus.  (1Pt 4:7-19)  And the Holy Spirit through him  challenges all of us in how we are to live and conduct ourselves in the midst of such trials, and even atrocities.  It is certainly not natural!  Only a supernatural grace and power in the fullness of the Spirit is going to enable us to show ourselves true disciples of the Lord in the face of such a flood of evil sweeping the world.  There can be little doubt that the ‘falling away’, which the apostle Paul wrote about in several of his letters, is occuring right before our very eyes, first of all in that which is called the Church.  And as Peter wrote in his passage, God’s judgments begin with us.

We learn obedience through the things which we suffer. (Heb 5:8)  I was reminded of this by an article in a secular Israeli newspaper, Israel HaYom, to which we subscribe.  The article is entitled, “Spiritual Trials, Strategic Rewards”.  You can read the English version here:
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=9625

The opinion writer is calling Israel to obey the Law of Moses (Mal 4:4) if they want confidence to call upon God to help them win the wars against their enemies.  Without godliness and obedience to God, as a people we have no moral strength to defeat an implacable and larger foe.  Isn’t this what Yeshua and His apostles have instructed us?  There are going to wars until the end, both carnal and spiritual.  Yet, in and through such suffering, death, deprivation, fear, we are called to obey Him nonetheless:  we ARE called to a higher standard as the people of the one, true, living God than are others.  Good wins over evil only because Jesus comes back and there is a resurrection of the righteous!! (Mt 24:22; Dan 12:2; 1Thes 4:15-18)

With all this, there are still some efforts going on to stand in the breach connected with the renewed conflict and tension between the  Israeli Jewish believers and the Arab Palestinian believers.  (This is not a ‘neat’ line; there are mixtures and cross-overs in this  unsatisfying terminology.)  There are different groupings among us meeting together for prayers and discussions about what we can and should do in order to go on together in Holy Spirit unity, for the sake of the testimony regarding the truth of the gospel and of the righteousness of God.  Neither love nor mercy are sentimental, but are both based in the truth and holiness of our Father God. PLEASE PRAY WITH US FOR A HOLY SPIRIT BREAK-THROUGH IN THIS REAL AND FELT NEED OF WHAT THE LORD IS WANTING OF US IN THE FEAR OF YHVH.

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 property that we consider to be ‘safe’, even though we have no actual protected shelter from rocket/missile fire that might get through.  In this case, the Iron Dome intercepted two rockets in the air, which was visible from where we were.

A few members of the congregation have suffered from nervousness and anxiety during the month of rocket attacks and disrupted lives.  Some have been afraid to go anywhere with their children without some nearby shelter.  Many children have been confined to their homes, or just outside them.  Persons accustomed to go for walks have seen that curtailed, never knowing if and when a wailing siren may go off and a rocket/missile, or its shrapnel debris, may come down.  Some of the summer camps were canceled.  Many tour groups to Israel have canceled their plans to come.  Many thanks to those of you who have come over during this time despite the insecurity of the situation.

Also last night, V, young man and soldier who was in Gaza, and who came out last week, was able to come to the service, and let us know something of what he faced:  the death of three Israeli soldiers in a booby-trapped house 30 meters from him that Hamas blew up; many houses with tunnel openings, weapons, booby traps.  We are all so thankful for God’s protection over him.

It seems more and more clear that God is drawing some lines in the sand for people to choose on which side to stand.  Hamas, and other jihadi Islamic terrorists groups, are relentless in their drive and determination to “wear out the saints of the Most High” (Dan 8:25), and “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev 13:7).  I believe that the Lord is giving us a taste and a glimpse of things to come, and for which we need to become spiritually prepared.  The things going on here, and, for now, even worse in Iraq and Syria, Egypt and Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, are acts of God’s long-suffering towards the repentance unto salvation of many before YESHUA HIMSELF directly intervenes for judgment on behalf of His covenant people and His Holy name. (Rev 6:12-17)  He is calling on us to persevere through to the end, and not give up on faith and hope in His coming, while learning all the more to love and to be forgiving.  (Lk 18:1-8)  Who is competent for these things?!  Thank God for the Holy Spirit within us to help us be overcomers by faith in the blood of Jesus and in the confession of who He is!

The modern State of Israel is the Israel of God in the making.  It seems that God is using Israel, the natural brethren of Yeshua/Jesus and the nation through whom He came in the flesh, as a sword, and as a battle bow (Zech 10:4-5), to bring division within the household and among the nations, just as Jesus Himself came to bring division within households and family relationships.  (Mt 10: 30-39)  Who is on the Lord’s side?

The question of whether the present re-established homeland for the Jewish people is of God, or merely of man, is not dissimilar to the question put to Yeshua/Jesus:  Tell us plainly whether you be the Messiah, the Son of God!?  One’s response and answer to that question will pierce even to the division of soul and spirit, and will have its consequences affecting our relationship with the God of Israel, our personal and church relationships, and of sifting between sheep and goat nations.

There is an important point here:  Yeshua is GOD’s Anointed One/Messiah/Christ. (Ps 2)  He is not Israel’s; He is not ours.  For the believer now in Yeshua, God’s Anointed One has become ours; yet He is still GOD’s chosen and appointed one.  Israel will accept another coming in his own name. (Jn 5:39-47)  The antichrist will be Israel’s choice of ‘Messiah’, before the remnant that is “all Israel” finally accepts Jesus to be the true Savior and King.

The Holy Spirit is working to bring to pass all that is written in the Law and the Prophets, and in the New Testament, too.

There is an abundance of information, both written and visual, ‘out there’ about what is supposedly going on over here.  At the end of the day, each person is going to have to decide for himself who he/she is going to listen to, and where and with whom they/we are going to stand.

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 he be accused of using lethal force on a smaller, weaker opponent.

With this in mind, Hamas is claiming a tako (tie), if not a victory, because it is neutralizing Israel from putting away the ‘messenger from Satan’ for good, as Hamas continues to fire rockets, even at times to Beer Sheva, despite all of Israel’s fire-power.  As I have written before, war is unfortunately necessary in this present evil world, but it can never solve the problem of sin, the father and mother of war. And, God has built in frustration and futility into the affairs of men — including those who are chosen by Him and who also believe in Him — so that all will need to acknowledge Him as God, and Yeshua/Jesus as the only Savior.  The horrors and despair of war should move us not only to have mercy and compassion on account of the human devastation, but also to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to  be glorified.  The whole creation has been subjected to this futility, with hope.

Hamas is the elected government of Gazans, who, by and large, support Hamas’ agenda against the existence of Israel.  Gaza is defacto a state, with an elected government and an army.  As long as Israel tries to separate Hamas as a terror organization from the general population, it can never ‘win’.  And the ‘world’ will never let it win anyway:  Israel is expected to still supply food, electricity, and medicine to its perpetual enemy, even as that enemy seeks Israel’s demise.  Yet the Israelis have no desire to utterly destroy its neighbors.  And neither is it God’s time for Israel to ‘win’; and that will not be until the Isaeli Jewish people and nation return to YHVH their God through Yeshua His Son, blessing Him who alone comes in the name of the Father.  Then Gaza will be part of the Tribe of Judah’s inheritance.   War has a way to bring out heroics in otherwise ordinary people, and we are emotionally moved by those ‘heroes’ risking their lives to defend their homes and nation.  We thank God for them, and pray that they would come to know the Father in Heaven.

Sadly, this war has once again shown the raw divisions within the Body as a whole, meaning between the Jewish and Arab believers.  Our prayer meeting on July 13 to try to arise above that — given that Yeshua is in full authority, and He has told us that there will be wars till the end — in order that we may have a public voice to our people, is still just that:  a prayer meeting.  It is my opinion that we must do it again after this war comes to an end, despite pronouncements coming from some Jewish Messianic leaders, and from some Arab brothers and institutions.

Christians who liken Israel to Satan should at the least be careful in what they say and do, just as Gamliel admonished the Jews who were persecuting the Jewish believers to be careful in their attitudes, words, and actions, lest they find themselves fighting against God.  The Jewish leaders said that Jesus acted by the power of the devil.  There are many people who believe with good reason that Israel today is a work of God in keeping His covenant promises towards restoring His kingdom to Israel and on Earth.  Some of our Arab brothers are very loud and vocal when it comes to their outcry against the destruction and deaths in Gaza, and in their support of the ‘resistance against the occupation’, but are very quiet when it comes to all the atrocities being committed by Arabs against Arabs in Gaza and in the Arabic Muslim countries just across our borders and in North Africa and elsewhere.  Maybe God will allow an Islamic Palestinian state just to let them know what it is like, if that is really what they want.  We need to be very careful indeed.

Now some good news:  Anthony and Irene Chapman have composed a new song, “I Will Sing to You”, dedicated to the Israeli soldiers.  You can hear it here (in Hebrew):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIu4IWntT6w&feature=youtu.be

And earlier song written and sung by the Chapmans, “Prayer Under Fire”, during the first war in Gaza in December, 2008 – January, 2009, can be heard here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K5lpcLFO6g

Peace upon Israel, and upon all nations,

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 children of Israel has come to Me. . . .

Ezek 20:33-36  As I live, says the Lord GOD (YHVH), surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.  Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you, says the Lord GOD (YHVH).

Is 53:3  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And He hid, as it were, His face from us; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Shabbat shalom,

Another broken cease-fire, which this time included the temporary capture of a mortally wounded Israeli soldier, whose status at this time is uncertain.  Fewer rockets fired at Beer Sheva, but we were wakened this morning at 6:00.  A brother in the Lord has been among the soldiers killed in this war. Shai Kushnir, who was part of the Tents of Mercy congregation, was among a group of soldiers killed by a mortar on Thursday.  His funeral was yesterday.

I don’t know how long, once the Israelis in Egypt began to feel that they were really slaves being worked to death by their taskmasters once the Pharoah who did not ‘know Joseph’ began to rule, that they began to moan and groan.  Until then, their lives weren’t really so bad, and they did not think to return to their homeland.  But the time came that they began to feel the pressure, and the suspicions, and the dislike of the Egyptian rulers towards them as Hebrews. Only then did they begin to cry out for deliverance, and at some point the crescendo reached God’s ears.  And He called to Moses in the desert that the time had come to act to bring His people out of Egypt and their enslavement, and to bring them into His land which He promised to their fathers to give to them. Things got worse, much worse, before they became better; but the deliverer and the deliverance were ‘activated’ and on the way.

Israel today is again being encountered by YHVH their God face-to-face in His controversy with Zion.  He will not allow them to fully become idolaters like the Gentiles that they so much emulate.  He WILL rule over them, and He will purge out the rebels as He does so.  The despite of the world towards Israel and her leaders is increasingly evident as leeway is given towards terrorists dedicated to Israel’s and the Christianized world’s destruction, and pressure is constantly put upon Israel and upon God-fearing Christians to yield ground/territory/principles and integrity in the name of ‘peace and social order’.

The ‘world’ is more prone to listen to the lies of the evil one, and to fall as prey to his schemes, than to give, at least, the benefit of the doubt to the information and explanations of those who are God’s instruments in this world — whether it is Israel in the continuous war against terror and terrorists, or whether it is Bible-believing disciples of Jesus who seek to maintain the salt of the covenants and the light of the truth of the gospel and of Messiah being Jesus in an increasingly antichristian (read, anti-YHVH God-and-His-Son) and ungodly, unholy world, which lies under the power of the evil one.  The ‘world’ is one thing, but allies and believers should be giving greater weight towards Israel for what is the ‘story behind the story’, and not to terrorists and their allies.  Don’t we as believers want unbelievers, and even other believers, to believe our side of things as it relates to ‘suffering and life’ in the world, and not listen to those who simply oppose any explanation given by Christians?  Here is a parody that shows the pressure of ‘group think’ against what we know to be true:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTezdMLJoyE

For those of you who love and support Israel and the Jewish people, make no mistake:  both rabbinic Judaism and Islam are against the truth of who the true God and Yeshua/Jesus/Yasu is.  The time will come that that lying and antichrist spirit will agree to direct their despite and hostility towards those who identify with Jesus, whether we are Jewish, Arab, or any other national and ethnic group.

This current outbreak of war in Gaza of Hamas against Israel has again brought to the surface all of the natural and partisan feelings by believers within the Body of Messiah here (and elsewhere).  There are plenty of words and analyses (including by yours truly) from all ‘parties’, and some of you may receive much of them.   God’s moralism is not like ours; nor does He force it upon anyone, but He will eventually require every one to acknowledge that His way and His thoughts alone are right, good, and holy — and His judgments are all righteous and true. There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel; but neither is there any moral equivalence between Israel’s own justification to fight against her enemies, and between God’s righteousness in bringing the Jewish people to submit to His case with them regarding Jesus.  And as long as we, as those justified through our faith in the resurrection of Jesus, are unable to express with one voice the sovereign wisdom and righteousness of God in times of severe crisis, then it can also be said of us in a practical way that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags when compared with God’s purity.

In Romans, Paul writes that we are saved by God’s mercy because we, even as believers, have all been disobedient to Him, in whatever degree or measure.  I pray and wonder whether believers in the Ukraine are seeking to express their unity in Christ, or are they mostly defining themselves by being either pro-Ukraine or pro-Russia?  What about Christians in Ireland?  Whatever those cases are, there is the unique element in the battle for minds and hearts in Israel and the Middle East because of the COVENANT of God with Israel among the children in the flesh of Abraham, that is not so with any other nation or people (in the flesh) on the Earth.

If wanting to re-vote in the UN to eradicate Israel as a legal nation-state, which was intended and determined through post-WW1 decisions by the victorious powers, then all the Arab states established through those same victors’ decisions and agreements also need to be nullified.  This is what the Islamic caliphate aims to do as it seeks to restore the Muslim empire, at least over the entire Middle East, if not throughout the world. Hamas, with its underground evil empire war factory, reminds me of the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, as they, empowered by evil, planned their war to the death and destruction of all that represents what is good.  Satan works in the dark; Jesus is Light, and in the light.

There is plenty of impurity and uncleanness still in us, and we must find a way here for the Jewish and Arab believers to overcome our natural tendencies, and demonstrate and proclaim our unity in Christ/Messiah; to put all of our words and thoughts at the cross, and let the Lord do His will and have His way.  We have to trust Him, be willing scapegoats with Him, be called bad names with Jesus, be despised and rejected with Him.  Without the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit, we surely will not be capable of doing so in true and spiritual worship.

This Tuesday is the ninth of Av, a day of historic tragedy in the Jewish people’s annals.  We, as believers in Yeshua, are not mourning the destruction of the Temple, which was destroyed because of Israel’s sin.  We should focus, maybe, on the sins within the Body of Christ, the living corporate Temple of God, which are weakening our own witness and testimony to the world for the gospel, and of the holiness and righteousness of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are having a prayer and fast day in Beer Sheva at the Bible House.

Our challenge in living in tension:  love the brethren; love our enemies (we do pray for the salvation of even terrorists); bless those who curse us; pray for those  who  persecute us; but the natural nation of Israel, or any other country and government, is not born-again to be living by such supernaturallly, Holy Spirit enpowered standards of God’s sons and daughters in Messiah.   To expect that of them is both hypocritical and unrealistic.

Is God hearing the voice of the Bride for her Bridegroom?