Israel’s Awakening

“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.” (Ezekiel 28:25-26). This was fulfilled beginning in 1948 and 1967 where the nations observed seven days of punishment on Israel’s neighbors who together set out to annihilate Israel. What does it have do to Believers today? It is proof of God’s true righteous faithfulness to keep His promises. What is coming in the future?

“Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (Joel 3:12-16). The prophet Joel saw the final battle where the returning Messiah will come from Jerusalem to vanquish a host of many nations that again seek to annihilate Israel.

“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” (Zechariah 14:2-5). The prophet Zechariah provides more detail of the city as the Lord goes out to meet the nations and how a perfectly timed earthquake will prepare an escape passage for Jerusalem’s residents.

“Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16). Upon the return of the Messiah many prophecies will be fulfilled including the final battle, but greatest will be the acceptance of Israel’s Messiah, such that all Israel will be saved. “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5). God brings everything about in its perfect timing and He tells those who listen what will happen. He does this to encourage His people and confirm His word. ” ‘Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.’ ” (Zechariah 2:10-12). God draws people to himself and works in the heart of people. He opens our eyes to see Him and His salvation. “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10). This is like Yeshua returning for Thomas who doubted the resurrection, but believed when he saw Yeshua’s pierced hands. (John 20:25-28).

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins’ .” (Romans 11:25-27). Every Believer is a recipient of God’s grace and favor; that He chooses to save Israel fulfilling His longstanding promises is just and loving. It is through the same faith of the patriarchs that all believers share salvation through Yeshua Messiah. Come Lord, Yeshua.

World History (Or a Part Distinctly Unique)

Deuteronomy Chapter Four can only be described as such, because it denotes the basis for civilization, God’s law; the centrality of Israel as God’s chosen nation, inseparably including, Yeshua Messiah, and the believers who through Him are part of Israel; prophecy regarding the future redemption of Israel, their dispersion and regathering into the land, forever theirs, and the nature of idolatry and it’s ramification of arousing God’s righteous anger, and finally, unique insights into the past, future and hidden nature of God revealed on earth. All of this is included in Moses summary, exhortation and epitaph to those standing there in the Middle Eastern wilderness around six thousand years ago, yet miraculously recorded and preserved for us today. I think you must read it for yourself. I would love to elaborate on each element of my summary above, though your attention and mine in this venue can not permit. Here are the gems uncut but sparkling with light.

• “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (v. 7-8).

• “Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.” (v. 12-13).

• “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.” (v. 19-20).

• “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (v. 23-24).

• “The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him.” (v. 27-30).

• “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath. Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.” (v. 31-35).

• “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” (v. 39-40). 

The fulfilled prophecy in this chapter is a powerful testimony of God. The revelation of God’s lovingkindness, character, and nature is astounding and glorious. The message of encouragement is moving and powerful. Open your heart, mind and innermost being to the only wise Almighty God, to Him be glory forever through Yeshua Messiah! Amen

Israel’s Return

“He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” (Psalm 130: 8).

How can the Bible be read in its entirety and not be credited with God’s affirmation of undying love and eventual redemption for Israel? The Jewish rejection of their own Messiah, Yeshua, has been a cause for offense by some. This offense is not warranted by scripture or Yeshua himself. He said, “…everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Luke 12: 10). Yeshua forgave those who were crucifying Him. Who has not disbelieved, until their eyes were opened and faith was set to work in their heart. So too, the remnant of Israel will come to their Messiah and it will be His work of redemption, fulfilling what started two thousand years ago, and what was prophesied thousands of years earlier. 

The first cord cast to Israel is explained by Paul, “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” (Rom. 11: 11). The salvation of people from all nations is meant to draw Israel to God and it has been effective, in part. In the end, God will save Israel through faith in their Messiah, Yeshua who will return not as a sacrificial lamb, but as the Lion of Judah. “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.’ ” (Romans 11: 25-26).

Has any nation been as oppressed and tormented as the nation of Israel? They spent four hundred years in Egyptian slavery; experienced a German holocaust with six million perishing in Nazi death camps; embattled by surounding nations, and attacked, terrorized, and threatened by the Islamic nations to this very day with cries of death to Israel. Yet, they have been preserved, maintaining a national identity and reunited in 1947. This has been in accordance with the prophetic scriptures, “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ ” (Ezekiel 11: 17). “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43: 5-7). It is for this purpose that God brings back the Israelites into the land, to show His power and lovingkindness in their ultimate redeemption by their victorious Messiah, Yeshua. 

I believe Yeshua gave us another illustration of His love for Israel just before His ascension. The Apostles were all gathered except Thomas and the Lord appeared to them had said, ” ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ ” (John 20: 21-22). Thomas who was also called Didymus, which means twin, was not there and refused to believe the Lord had risen from the dead unless he saw with his own eyes. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and My God.’ ” (John 20: 26-28). Thomas represents Jacob, renamed Israel by God, who was a twin. Thomas’ absence was set up by God, as they were all together a week later, i.e there is a purpose for Yeshua’s return for Thomas. Yeshua reveals himself, calling Thomas to faith with the imparting of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3, Matt. 16: 17). It was s simple thing for Yeshua to return and redeem Thomas and it will be that simple in the last days when Yeshua returns, appears to Israel and imparts believing faith to them as well. At that time, the congregation of believers on earth will be unified and it will be glorious.

God’s People

This is not an exclusive club, it is open to everyone who believes. If you do not believe, then you should not feel rejected or disgruntled by those who do believe. Moreover, we all are capable of having a change of heart. From time to time we hear of the benefits and blessings of being a member of God’s family and it may cause one to be jealous, that’s ok. It is God’s people who bring blessing and favor or curses and distress by our response to God’s direction and will.

God said to Israel, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” (2 Chronicles 7: 14-16). Some will point out that this refers to the Temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD. God knew it would happen, but said this anyway, using the words forever and always and the exact place is still known in Jerusalem even though the temple was destroyed.

Some may say these words were given to the Israelites, who rejected their Messiah, therefore God has rejected and replaced Israel with the Church. This same reasoning is used to ignore or reinterpret much of the Bible, old and new covenants. It is true that the new covenant of life in Yeshua Messiah is far better than the first covenant based on the law which God gave through Moses, because the people could not keep the law. The new covenant established by Yeshua Messiah is different as God said, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Heb. 8: 8-10).

God is unchangeable and it is impossible for him to lie. He knows all things before they happen. (1 Sam. 15: 29; Heb. 6: 17-18). Therefore, when He says forever and always, He means it. The Apostle Paul, explains completely in Romans that God has not rejected Israel, nor replaced them with the Church. He says, “I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” (Rom. 11: 1). He cautions the Church, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Rom. 11: 25-29).

Do not get conceited or try to nullify the word and promises of God. All Israel will be saved and we Believers have been grafted into Israel. We Gentile believers in Yeshua have become citizens of Israel, to whom the promise of salvation was given. “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2: 12-13). “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3: 29). Before you get out your Yamaka, understand that all Believers from every nationality and ethnicity are one in Yeshua.  “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3: 28).

As God’s people we must surrender to His leading and be separate from the ways of this fallen world. As we humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, we will experience favor, blessing, protection, and grace. Yeshua said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16: 18). Hades is gated in, but the gates of Heaven are different. “On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21: 25-27). “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21: 3).

Messiah’s Return

Israel was destroyed in 70 AD, by the Romans, shorty after the Messiah Yeshua was killed, raised to life and ascended to heaven.  In 1947 the Israeli nation was reestablished.  In 1967, Jerusalem the capital of Israel was liberated from foreign captivity and rule.  In 2018, Jerusalem was designated the capital of Israel by the USA, followed by other free nations. How much longer will there be until the Messiah Returns and the Jewish people accept their Messiah?  Israel’s return as a nation in the land is a beacon of Yeshua’s soon return.  Yes, the revived Roman empire from the land of Europe, will renew its hostility against the Israeli nation.  World systems influenced by the enemy are forever opposed to the children of God.

The return of the Israeli nation, with its own language after about two thousand years is a sign bright in the dark sky that Yeshua’s return will be soon.  All nations at that time will align themselves against Israel, but just as Israel was restored through God’s supernatural hand, so will be their deliverance and victory over her enemies.  Israel’s Messiah will come back to establish His Kingdom on earth.  “On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.  All who try to move it will injure themselves.  On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.  “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.  On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.  The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.” (Zechariah 12: 3, 9-14).

The turning of believers hearts to Israel is the work of Holy Spirit.  The charismatic renewal of the Chuch has been accompanied by an outpouring of Yeshua’s love for Abrahams descendants.  Messianic Jews have multiplied and are becoming accepted in Israel as Jews who believe in Yeshua.  The state of Israel has no greater friend than the evangelical church.  The last days are drawing near, wickedness is rising, just as God’s children are unifying under Yeshua’s banner of love.  Unity among God’s children is on the horizon, but will not be complete until all Israel is saved and accepts her Messiah and Savior.  Her mourning will be turned to joy, by the deeds of Yeshua Messiah.

The Highway of Holiness

“A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.  The unclean shall not pass over it but it shall be for others.  Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray.  No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there.  But the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads.  They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isiah 35:8-10.

The Highway of Holiness is the way leading to the throne of the Messiah in Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of Christ, both literally and spiritually. This Highway is not available to everyone.  Only the redeemed, made holy by the cleansing effect of the blood of Christ by faith in Him, will gain admittance to the road and then on to the throne.  The redeemed on this path will not be led astray.  The word for “astray” implies being enticed to do evil.  No wild animals or other dangers will threaten the safety of those traveling the Highway.  Under the reign of Messiah, the Lord will provide the ransomed of Israel and the other redeemed people holiness, safety, and the ongoing joy of living in the presence of the Lord.  In addition, the land of Israel will be reclaimed and blossom again as discussed more fully in a previous article.  It will be a glorious time for the redeemed! 

What an exciting picture it is of the redeemed traveling to the Messiah’s throne, especially the redeemed of Israel, God’s chosen people.  “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 14:2.

Promises to Israel – Their Land Will Blossom

“So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ ” Ezekiel 36:35.

God promised Israel that with the re-establishment of the nation, the desert land would bloom again.  No longer would the desert be without vegetation, but would become a fertile place.  “Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing.  For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.  The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.” Isaiah 35:6-7.

Water is a precious commodity in Israel, much of which is desert.  However, according to the book “The Basics of Bible Prophecy” by Darryl Nunnelley and David Reagan, we are seeing this prophesy of a blooming desert beginning to be fulfilled today.  Israel is once again becoming a land of milk and honey.  Over 200 million trees were planted during the 20th Century.  Rainfall during the century increased by 450 percent.  The former malaria infested swamps have been converted into cultivated land.  Water from the Sea of Galilee has been channeled to the deserts, causing them to bloom.  This prophecy may only be fulfilled in full during the Millennium when these changes will culminate in the creation of the “Highway of Holiness” that will lead the redeemed to the throne of Messiah in Jerusalem (Isaiah 35:8-10).  However, we can see the fulfillment beginning today.

It is exciting to see God’s promises being fulfilled to Israel.  God’s promises are certain sure and we can see evidence of that in Israel today.  

Coming Influence of God

The desert and wilderness will break forth into blossom revealing the splendor and glory of God. Those with feeble knees and fearful heart hear, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened; the ears of the deaf unstopped; the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Pools of water will gush forth in the wilderness and bubbling streams in the desert. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast, but only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

In this summary of Isaiah 35, there is something for everyone who looks to the Lord God Almighty. Some of this happened when He walked on earth as Yeshua Messiah; some is happening now as Israel is being restored in the land that blooms today, and more is yet to come when the highway, the way of Holiness, is filled by the redeemed of the Lord and the unclean, wicked fools are vanquished from that place. The rescued of the Lord will return to Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads, gladness and joy will overtake them.

This is simply the way of God’s presence, person, and Spirit, creation is renewed, reborn, and made fruitful; the weak and fearful are made strong and bold, the infirmed made whole. The return of Israel as a nation before all people will usher in a time of everlasting joy and gladness that will overtake the redeemed of the Lord. If you are a believer, you should know and have tasted some of this in your walk on the way of Holiness. Moreover, you long for more in your innermost being. The scripture is full of promises, prophecy, insight into all that Yeshua pointed to when He said to Nicodemus, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 6-8). Take hold of that for which Yeshua Messiah took hold of you. (Philippians 3: 12).

Lord Yeshua, you have given us your word, redemption, daily all we need, but still we thirst for more of you. Holy Spirit sweep us up into your breezes, draw your people near to Father God’s presence. Thank you for your promises and the hope of salvation we have in Yeshua. Restore to your children the joy of our salvation.

Promises to Israel – Their Irrevocable Call

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:25-29.

God, in His sovereignty, has blinded Israel due to their rejection of Him as their Messiah but God’s election of Israel as His chosen people is irrevocable and all of Israel will be saved one day. There is a remanent of Jews that have believed in Christ and are saved today (Romans 1:5), but during the end times all of Israel will come to Christ. In that day a fountain will be opened for sin and uncleanness which is a symbolic reference to the means of cleansing and purification through the atoning death of the one pierced.

Israel will look upon Christ and their eyes will be open and they will mourn as for an only son.  This will lead to repentance and salvation. Mourning for an only son was the deepest form of sorrow for an Israelite. The words for “look on” in Zechariah 12:10 are the same as used in Numbers 21:9, when Israel looked upon the bronze serpent in faith to receive healing.

Yes, Israel will come back to their Messiah someday as foretold in the Word of God. The Church has not replaced Israel in its promises as some teach today but will one day look upon the one they pierced and repent. That will be a glad day. Remember to pray for Israel, God’s chosen people.

The Promised Land

“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.  Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.   Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.”  Joshua 1:1-6.

In this verse we see God outlining the promised land given to Israel which was also mirrored in Deuteronomy 11:24 and prefigured in God’s invitation to Abram in Genesis 13:14-17.  This land stretches roughly from the Red Sea, around Eilat, as a southern boundary, to the Mediterranean at a point south of Gaza and extending from there up the coastline at least as far north as Sidon in Lebanon, to form the western boundary, then north to the Euphrates River, to form the northern boundary, and down the line of the Jordan River to form the eastern boundary.  These boundaries have never been fully realized historically by Israel, due to their disobedience, although it will find its fulfillment in the Millennial Reign of Christ (Ezekiel 36:8-38).  Solomon’s kingdom extended from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt, but it included states that paid tribute to Solomon but maintained their own internal government.

Today this area would encompass the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, also called Judea and Samaria, and Gaza along with significant parts of Syria and Lebanon not fully controlled by Israel.  However, this land has already been promised by God to Israel and they will possess it someday.  No one will be able to thwart God’s Sovereign plan or stand against Israel when the time comes.

 

 

Bethlehem

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2.

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David): To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.   And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7.

Jesus was born in the little Judean town of Bethlehem which is only 5 miles from Jerusalem.  Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was in answer to a prophecy made some seven hundred years before by Micah.  This prophecy assures us that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem and that his origins were ancient and unsearchable.  Ruth and Boaz, the great grandparents of King David, lived in Bethlehem and thus it subsequently became David’s home as well.  Jesus, David’s descendent, was later born there.  Long tradition, all the way back to the second century, has it that the manger where the baby lay was actually situated in a cave rather than a stable, although the Biblical account does not say for sure.

After Constantine’s conversion to Christianity In the early fourth century his mother, Helena, came to the Holy Land and began to construct great churches marking spots of the major biblical events.  By 330 the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.  In its early stages the Bethlehem church was fairly small and was later damaged seriously in an uprising.  In 529 the Emperor Justinian expanded the building to its present form.  The church miraculously survived the devastating Persian invasion of 614 and was likewise spared destruction by the Moslems as the Crusaders took over the Holy Land in 1099.  The old church, perhaps the oldest continuing Christian church in the world, has survived war, earthquake and fire and still stands today.

Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority.  Due to the resulting rise in Moslem persecution there is a sudden and drastic decline in the Christian Arab population which has now shrunk to less than 15 percent from over 80 percent in 1950.

Bethlehem is only a small city in Judah but it has had a momentous history, most importantly as the birthplace of our Savior.  We need to pray this Christmas season for Israel and Bethlehem that they be protected/released from the Islamic oppression that they are now experiencing.  Further, we should reflect that it was in this small, otherwise insignificant city, that the King of kings was born.

Israel’s Interest

solomon-dedicates-the-temple-2-GoodSalt-stdas0193 The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, of Israel and the Hope of the nations has called all men to  Himself.  It is not necessary to try to be something  you are not, you only need to call on His name, Yeshua, and fear Him as the one and only Son of the true God Almighty. Humble yourself and pray that He will give you life through His Holy Spirit.  King Solomon saw this three thousand years ago as he dedicated the temple.

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your namefor they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your 

Continue reading

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

imagesI have been to this city.  I stayed in the old city, in a hostel that is four hundred years old. For Americans it is hard to grasp such longevity, but this is considered new construction in the old city.  It is a marvelous place, the home of two great religions; a place of significance to a third; and the place where many others want to lay a claim.  Jerusalem is the birthplace of Judaism when Abraham was called by God to go there, and once there received His promise that to his Continue reading

No One Likes A Bully

UnknownI  have seen several public service announcements on bullying.  How bad it is and that it should not be tolerated in our schools and neighborhoods. Many of us have been tormented by Bullies.  Historically, Gay men have been a favorite target of bullies. However, there is one place where bullies are encouraged, rewarded, and acclaimed with praise.  It is the world stage of nations, most notably represented by the United Nations.  Their perennial target is small quiet Israel.

Israel was created in 1947 by the UN, shortly after Continue reading

Replacement Theology

Olive-Tree-Israel-300x243“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.  Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” (Rom. 2:28-29).  This is one of many scriptures that is used to support Replacement Theology.  It is the belief that Israel rejected her Messiah and the Gentiles accepted Him, so the Church has become Spiritual Israel, replacing the natural Israelites.  As the Continue reading

Draw of the Law

Martin+Luther.+Law+vs+GraceIf you get interested in Israel, what God is doing there today, and have a love for Israel, be careful that you don’t go overboard.  We all have practiced the saying, “If a little is good, a lot must be better.”  I’ve seen this in regard to Israel where people can’t get enough Judaica and even begin to believe there is great virtue, even righteousness in practicing a form of Judaism. They choose what they like, such as, eating a form of kosher food, i.e. not eating pork, observing the Jewish feasts, wearing various types of clothing, observing a variety of Jewish traditions, speaking a little Hebrew, etc.  These are harmless and may have some minor benefits, but they may also be a great snare and trap.  If you think God loves you more Continue reading

Times in This Age

imagesWhat is God about during our time? He is bringing salvation to many, perhaps multitudes. Today is the day of salvation, and it began, perhaps with the coming of spiritual Elijah, John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah Yeshua. His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember Continue reading

Spiritual Israel and God’s Promise

gods-chosen-people.png“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus Continue reading