I have established watchmen on the walls
In Israel, every Jewish, young man and woman must serve in the IDF (Israel Defence Force) for a minimum of two to three years. As they join, each new soldier places their right hand on the Tanach, otherwise known as the Old Testament, and their left hand raised before God as they pledge their allegiance. Just a few weeks ago, my son, a Jew who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah, joined Israel’s elite forces and followed suite in being sworn in. But unlike the others, he placed his right hand on the Brit Chadasha, otherwise known as, the New Testament. It was his personal conviction and testament that his faith is not only in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but in Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua.
Sixty-nine years ago, the nation of Israel was born again. A nation that once existed and then was destroyed and it’s people scattered because of sin. But God, in His great mercy and faithfulness, has resurrected us from the grave, gave us back our land and is restoring the people. Today, not only is God bringing His people back from all lands where they were scattered, (my wife and I included), but God is pouring out His Spirit and bringing our hearts to life again. My son is a living testimony of this. As the Lord has promised, so He is doing:
“For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.”- Ezekiel 36:24-28
As more and more Israelis are recognizing Yeshua as their Messiah, the number of believing youth is also growing. They grow up in faith and when they come of age, they join the Israeli army and become, quite literally, “watchmen on the walls”.
“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” – Isaiah 62:6
You who intercede before the Lord are also His watchmen. You who have prayed for the salvation of Israel, rejoice! For God is answering prayer! Now I ask that you join CBN Israel in praying for these soldiers who defend this country. Pray for wisdom and protection. Pray that God would pour out His Spirit upon all the soldiers, that they might know Him! And pray that God would give them hearts like David, full of courage and faith.
God bless you, faithful ones, who have and are taking part, through prayer, in what He is doing.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, November 9, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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The Mayor of Nazareth just canceled Christmas in the city
UPDATE: The mayor of Nazareth has retracted his announcement canceling public Christmas festivities in the city.
In true grinch fashion, a few hours ago, the mayor of Nazareth officially canceled the annual public Christmas festivities and street celebrations in the city of Nazareth.
Considering the large number of tourists who typically visit the city of Nazareth during Christmas, the decision will have significant economic impact on many of the Arab Christians who live in the city.
The mayor explained to The Times of Israel that his decision is in response to President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that the United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will move the American embassy to Jerusalem. The mayor told the paper, “The decision [by Donald Trump regarding Jerusalem] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.”
The Hidden Side of the Story
So far, you have read what most news channels, newspapers and magazines around the world are broadcasting.
But here is what most (deliberately?) fail to mention…
- The Mayor of Nazareth, Ali Sallam, is a Sunnite Muslim.
- Demographically, 70% of Nazareth are Muslims.
You see, there is a clear Muslim political agenda hidden behind his unprecedented announcement. The Muslim mayor of Nazareth is playing on the emotions of Christians around the world at the expense of Christians in his city. And he is taking advantage of the significance of the city of Nazareth in the eyes of Christians worldwide in an attempt to entice them against the State of Israel. How ironic that in Jesus’ hometown, the celebration of His birth was canceled this year in order to advance Muslim propaganda. However, just as no one could suppress the Good News of Jesus’ birth over two thousand years ago, no political agenda today will prevent the Gospel from going forth in Nazareth and in Israel!
This article originally appeared on One for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Eitan is ONE FOR ISRAEL’s Media & Evangelism Director.
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Organization encourages Israeli Christians to enlist in IDF
A group of Christian Israeli youth planing to enlist in the IDF
A new nonprofit organization founded thanks to the initiative of a Christian believer is hoping to encourage more indigenous Israeli Christians to enlist in the Israeli army or the national service.
The organization, Brotherly Covenant: Christians Proudly Integrating, aims to encourage Christian youth, mostly Arab and Aramean, growing up in Israel to serve in the IDF, border police and national service and to fully integrate into all aspects of Israeli society.
The NGO was established by Carmelin Ashkar, a Christian believer and mother of an Israeli soldier and a son who graduated from the national service program. Among the other founders and leaders are Christians and Jews and, for the first time, a Christian volunteer who will operate in East Jerusalem where interest in military service is on the rise among the youth.
Military service in Israel is mandatory for men and women after graduating high school. Some may, in place of the military, do “national service” comprised of volunteer work in a nationally recognized charity. However, many non-Jews opt out of army and national service altogether.
In recent years another organization, Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, led by priest Gabriel Naddaf, encouraged military service among Arab youth. But this NGO ceased its activities in June.
“In the last few years I’ve worked among Christian youth to encourage them to enlist in the IDF and national service,” Ashkar said. “I did this, as well with other volunteers, in the past months as volunteer work and we noticed that it is profitable to formally establish a nonprofit, registered organization.”
They received guidance from other Israeli organizations on how to open a non-profit.
“There are those who opened the door and started this historic journey of recruitment and integration of Christian youth five years ago and I am happy that Christians are walking in this path,” she said.
“We are in the midst of a historical change in the approach of the Christian community, but there is still a long course to run.” Ashkar said. “The non-profit organization will contribute a lot for building bridges between Jews and Arabs in Israel and around the world to demonstrate the true and beautiful face of the State of Israel.”
In very apropos timing, the organization received its official certification as an Israeli nonprofit on Nov. 30 — just a few weeks before Christmas and the New Year.
“We will be working diligently for the sake of Israel and the Christian community,” Ashkar said.
Ashkar and her husband Faraj Ashkar are long-time members of River of God, a Lebanese congregation in Nahariya.
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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How believers in Israel celebrate Hanukkah
Photo: KNI Staff
Also known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday through which believers can, and do, express their love and worship of Yeshua the Messiah even though the holiday itself is not a biblical feast.
Starting on the 25th of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, this year the holiday begins the evening of Dec. 12.
The eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean victory over the Seleucid Empire. The traditional lighting each night of one new candle on a nine-branched menorah (hanukkiah) recalls the story that at the rededication, while there was only enough pure oil to light the Temple’s menorah for one day, the oil miraculously lasted eight days – the time needed to acquire a further supply.
Believers in Israel will have seen hundreds of different styles of hanukkiot with accompanying brightly colored candles appearing in shops in the weeks leading up to the feast. They may also have been dazzled by the glittering array of festive sufganiot (doughnuts) that are among the traditional “oily” foods eaten during the holiday. Many believers join in with the festivities, but with an emphasis on Yeshua.
“Our family will light all of the candles every night,” Howard Bass, leader of the Nachalat Yeshua congregation, told KNI. “The full light has come — Yeshua — and he has lit us to be light in the world. The light will be eternal, symbolically represented by the eight days.”
“As a congregation we will also light all of the candles during our Hanukkah service,” Bass added. “We will have sufganiot and a teaching connected with the holiday in the light of its significance in God’s plan of redemption and the spiritual and carnal battles connected with that.”
American-Israeli attorney, Jamie Cowen, said that his family also lights candles during the holiday. Again, the emphasis is on Yeshua.
“As our children were growing up we prayed the traditional blessings and lit the candles in the hanukkiah in the prescribed order,” Cowen told KNI. “The one major difference from the traditional Jewish community is that we associated the shamash (the servant candle) that sits atop or to the side of the hanukkiah with Yeshua.”
Moreover, Cowen adds: “I would always point out that Yeshua is the light of the world, and he lights our lights (the rest of the hanukkiah) so we too can be lights to the world.”
Hanukkah is also a time of gift giving, a tradition that the Cowen family keeps.
“For each night of Hanukkah, we would give our children one small gift each. On the final night, we would give everyone their major gifts,” he said. “In Israel we’ve continued most of the traditions with our grandchildren.”
For believers like Ava, whose family immigrated to Israel from the U.S. over a decade ago, Hanukkah is a time to recall the faithfulness of God.
“Our family lights the candles in the traditional way to remember the real miracle of Hanukkah is that God Almighty, by His Sovereign arm and dedication to keep His covenants with His chosen people, saved them against all the odds,” Ava shared with KNI.
“The reciprocal side of this miracle is that a small group of dedicated faithful servants to the Rock of Ages joined together to fight their enemy. In so doing they won the battle, purified the desecrated Temple and dedicated it back to the Lord,” Ava says.
Indeed, for believers the holiday may be a time for rededication to the Lord of their own lives as temples of His Holy Spirit.
Tikva from the Negev told KNI that when she was growing up she didn’t really appreciate Hanukkah.
“I just thought it was something we Jewish kids had instead of Santa. I got a gift from my parents, which I appreciated, but I still felt left out,” she shared. “But now, as a Messianic Jew, I appreciate that Hanukkah is a time of rededication to my relationship with Yeshua.”
For Emma in Jerusalem, this year’s holiday holds particular meaning.
“I had not celebrated Hanukkah personally for a number of years,” Emma told KNI. “I had become confused by whether the Hanukkah story is true, and whether we should be lighting candles or not. So I just let it pass me by.”
“This year is different, though,” Emma continued. “I am facing a major transition that had the potential to shake my faith and cause me to wonder what my life has been about this last decade in Israel.
“Amazingly, I am noticing that God is using this move to draw me closer to him – to renew the wonder I had in him when I first came to faith. He is causing me to realize deeply that my identity and acceptance is in him, and not in what I do or how much money I earn or who I associate with.
“It is a beautiful thing to sense his love during this Feast of Dedication. I realize I am effectively, very quietly, dedicating my life – his temple – back to him.”
“Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.
It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area
walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.”
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
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Israeli believers react to US recognition of Jerusalem as capital
The walls of Jerusalem's Old City are projected with video art on May 21, 2017, during the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification and the 1967 War. (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)
This week the United States became the first nation to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, a bold and unprecedented move.
Following the historic announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump, KNI asked believers from around the country their perspectives on this decision and its implications for their future as citizens of Israel.
Baruch Maoz, The Maoz Web
“The right step at the wrong time.”
Jamie Cowen, attorney
“President Trump’s insistence that formally recognizing Jerusalem could jump start peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is completely ridiculous. …What is likely to happen, however, is a weakening of relations between Israel and some of the ‘moderate’ Arab nations. …The Arab Street likely will sympathize with their Palestinian brothers and make it almost impossible for Arab governments to maintain relations with Israel.
“In my view strengthening Israel’s defenses and assisting her in making peace with her neighbors, including the Palestinians, is a far better way to support Israel than a proclamation about Jerusalem. Having said that, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and all nations should simply accept it.”
Asher Intrater, Ahavat Yeshua
What do you think of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? “Very good.”
What does this portend for the immediate future? “Clearer partnership with Israel and the USA; a sign of Jerusalem becoming center of spiritual attention for everyone in the world.”
Are you concerned about violence? “No. I think it will pass in a couple of weeks. By the U.S. president taking a clearer stance, there is actually a better chance long term for peace, although final peace will not happen until Yeshua returns.”
Cookie Schwaeber-Issan, Makor HaTikvah
“Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a brave move which no previous U.S. president either had the courage of conviction or the fortitude to do. For us who live here, it is a blessing, and that means that a blessing awaits the president. On the flip side, this is the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3 (“On that day, I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples.”) Jerusalem is a burdensome stone for those who do not believe that she should be recognized as Israel’s capital. It is also an unwanted and bad move for those who believe that this recognition creates an unfair bias, and, finally, for those who are committed to the destruction of Israel, it is unthinkable and detestable. The funny parallel is that it’s almost exactly how Trump is viewed. Half of all Americans are grateful for his presidency and half are committed to ousting him, so maybe it’s fitting that he should be the one to finally make the public declaration!”
Joe Finkelstein, Hasdey Yeshua
“I guess I started out as a ‘doubting Thomas’ considering all the pressure that the President was under from the State Department, international leaders, the press, etc. Needless to say I am thrilled that President Trump had the courage and fortitude to do what former presidents refused to do during their time in office. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to protect and bless him and give him extraordinary wisdom in the days ahead and that he will be a mighty blessing to our nation of Israel.”
Howard Bass, Nachalat Yeshua
“I, for one, would at least like the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as being in Israel, and even her capital. If, for pragmatic reasons they choose not to locate their embassies and personnel there, I can accept that. No question that moving BACK to Jerusalem — since all the nations moved out around 1980 — will fire up a storm. The scriptures do say that all nations will come against Jerusalem, so something must occur to rile them up to that extent.”
Claude Ezagouri, Morning Star Fellowship
“Jerusalem is biblically proclaimed as the city of the Great King. Now of course many would say that he is the king of the whole world and so he cannot be the king of a single nation. However God allowed the inscriptions on the cross: ‘King of the Jews.’ He is the king of his people, the people of Israel, for the blessing of the nations. So the whole matter depends on whether we agree that the State of Israel is ordained by God according to Is. 66:7-9 or not. These three elements cannot be dissociated: Jerusalem being the city of the Great King, Yeshua being the King of the Jews, and Israel as the Jewish state. If so, it is obvious that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It’s all a question of holding the Bible as God’s word or not.”
Dan Sered, Jews for Jesus
“Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since the founding of the state. I am glad that the U.S. has now officially recognized this, though our validation does not come from men. The Bible is our authority and there Jerusalem is clearly given as God’s chosen city. …The only hope for peace for the Middle East is found in the Prince of Peace, Yeshua the Messiah who cried over the city of Jerusalem. He longs to gather her to himself. Today, the people of this city, and of Israel, desperately need the Messiah to reign in their lives.”
Chad Holland, King of Kings Ministries
“The challenge will be to wait and see if (Trump) gets re-elected or not. If he gets re-elected, then we would be excited to see this through and bring the embassy to Jerusalem. If he does not get re-elected and a potential opposition candidate becomes president, then my expectations would be much lower that the embassy would actually move. The U.S. has already had on their books for some time that the embassy could move to Jerusalem but U.S. leaders have been hesitant to cause any additional turmoil between Israel and Palestinian leaders.
“Since this understanding has already been in place for years, one must wonder what President Trump’s motive would be to do this. Since Jerusalem is already the capital of Israel and since the U.S. embassy has already proven it can function effectively from another location, his motive must be something different.”
Ron Cantor, Messiah’s Mandate
“I have heard from leftwing congressmen and congresswomen and world leaders throughout the day that this will significantly hurt the ‘peace process.’ WHAT PEACE PROCESS?!? The Palestinians are forming a unity government with Hamas terrorists. They will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state… You can’t damage something that doesn’t exist. … In conclusion, for those of you who are alarmed by the news reports and reactions from around the world, take heart. We are closer than we were before.”
Jürgen Bühler, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
“This is a long overdue step which goes to the core of the historic national identity of the Jewish people. Jerusalem holds great historical and religious significance for billions of people of faith all around the world, and as Christians we have to acknowledge that it all began with the Jewish people and their deep spiritual attachment to this city. … Surely, the time has come to end the wholly undeserved diplomatic snubbing of Jerusalem.”
Ray and Sharon Sanders, Christian Friends of Israel
“The world has just experienced yet another key sign relevant to God’s prophetic Word. He is actively fulfilling his Promises to Israel preparing Jerusalem for her future role in world redemption.”
Harvey Blatt, Jerusalem resident
“We think it is about time. There is no such thing as ‘the Palestinian people.’ They invented themselves after losing the 1967 war. And for reasons that are unclear to me the world accepted their invention. They are simply the Arabs who lived on the west side of the Jordan River in 1967. They are not a distinct ethnic group with a literature, culture and background, unlike the Kurds or Armenians for example. They are no more entitled to a separate country than you or I are.”
Midge Blatt, Jerusalem resident
“I am so happy to hear that President Trump is FINALLY acknowledging what almost every breathing Jew and Christian has long known. Jerusalem is the Capital of the Jewish State of Israel given to them by God Almighty himself.”
“Katie,” Jerusalem resident
“After living in Jerusalem for 20 years, anticipation of this announcement of United States officially recognizing Israel’s capital brought some trepidation: Will there be more violence? Once the announcement was made I felt joy that it is the right thing to do. Interesting that it was 70 years and seven days since the UN resolution to recognize Israel was made. That was also the right thing to do.”
“I feel very downcast when I think of the time to come. Announcing the embassy move to Jerusalem and thus “cementing” a statement on the status-quo that has still not been finalized in a peace deal must sound to many Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) like the President is abandoning them and any crush any hopes they might have for their holy city. The violence has already begun with clashes between protesters and soldiers, rockets fired from Gaza and retaliation strikes – and I fear that this will cause more bloodshed and deaths over an empty act of bravado by a man that won’t have to deal with the consequences of his actions on the ground.”
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.