Pray for renewed aliyah in 2019
Israel’s interim Aliyah results for 2018 showed a 1% drop in numbers from January to August, due especially to fewer immigrants from large Jewish communities in USA and France.
Aliyah is immigration to Israel, literally meaning ‘to go up’ and the process has its foundation in Scripture.
In Deuteronomy chapter 28, before the people of Israel enter the land covenanted to Abraham and his descendants, God outlines the conditions for entry. In short, if the people follow God they will be blessed in every way and will remain in the land. If they disobey God they will be cursed in the opposite way and ultimately will not remain in the land, because it is a land dedicated to the worship of the Lord and idolatry is not tolerated:
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods. Deuteronomy 28:64
The Jewish people have been scattered amongst the nations since the year AD70, following the destruction of Jerusalem under Roman General Titus.
In Deuteronomy 29, Israel renews its covenant with the Lord before entering the land. Then in chapter 30:2-6, the Lord promises full restoration in response to disobedience, scattering and true repentance:
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it.
This is the process the world has been watching for over 100 years, beginning even before the founding of the state of Israel. It is a process so important to God’s heart, that it is the only thing the Bible states He cares about with ‘all His heart and soul’:
I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. Jeremiah 32:41
The discipline of God is in a way stronger than that of human fathers, but His tenderness and compassion far greater. He is more interested in restoring the hearts of His people than restoring territory or other blessings. Land has value, but hearts far more, and God is patient enough to wait.
Not only is Aliyah key to the restoration of Israel, but also a sign to the nations of God’s holiness. The phrase ‘then the nations will know that I am the Lord’ is repeated many times in Ezekiel – the writer himself part of the Old Testament singular Jewish diaspora in Babylon, but prophesying the End Time global Aliyah from many nations.
Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you [restored Israel] before their eyes.
“‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:23-28
Aliyah is about both hearts and numbers – ‘new hearts’ in Yeshua for all Israel, following the return of literally all Jewish people, whether through obedience, persecution or poverty – “I shall most certainly assemble all of you, O Jacob” Micah 2:12.
When Israel is restored both in numbers and in heart, our people will cry out “Baruch HaBa be shem Adonai” (Matthew 23:39) and Yeshua will return to cast the devil out and fully restore not only Israel, but the whole earth.
So, pray for restored Aliyah in 2019. Also, if you have slipped away from the Lord in 2018, test Him to see how great His restoring grace is for you personally through the cross, and make your own Aliyah back to Him.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, January 23, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Joni has worked in education and management and has been a writer for Kehila News Israel since 2016. He holds an MBA, as well as teaching qualifications. He lives in Israel with his family.
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Salvation will come from “another place”: Parallels in Esther
J.E.F. of Shemen Sasson writes about a curious turn of phrase in the book of Esther:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” (Esther 4: 14)
What “other place”?
Esther is one of the most mysterious books in the Bible. Though it does not mention the name of God, His providential oversight is clearly seen. It is not a coincidence that Esther’s name comes from the Hebrew verb “to hide”. Indeed, many identities and mysteries are concealed in the book, including that of Esther herself. The writer however gives us clues throughout the story by using “exact phrases” from other parts of scripture. Those phrases anchor the story to related events in Scripture. Some of those include.
The bitter cry of Mordechai (Esther 4:1) and the bitter cry of Esau, grandfather of Amalek. (Gen 27: 34).
The use of the phrase “On that night”, occurred in the week of Passover, (Esther 3:12) On that night the King Ahasuerus could not sleep, (Esther 6:1), and the plans against Mordechai to be hanged on a tree were reversed.
But in this short article, I want to focus on one unique phrase spoken about the deposed Queen Vashti, “give her royal status to another who is more worthy than she.” (Esther 1: 19). This is almost the exact Hebrew wording, in feminine form, of the words of Samuel to King Saul, “Adonai has torn the kingship over Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.” (1 Samuel 15: 28)
Does the writer want us to remember Saul?
Saul, the son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin lost the kingdom because he did not wipe out the Amalekites, saving the life of Agag the king! Now Esther (Hadassah) a royal descendant of the house of Kish has been elevated to the kingdom for such a time as this. What time? The time when Haman the Agagite descendent of Amalek, attempted to annihilate the Jewish people. Esther, a descendent of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin came to the kingdom for such a time. I won’t delve into the reasons that one from Benjamin had to do this work; that can be saved for another time.
But here’s a compelling question:
What did Mordechai mean when he said,
“Deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish?”
Mordechai was not referencing Esther’s father directly; he was speaking of the house of her father, and the book makes clear that this is the House of Kish – the House of Saul Her father’s house was the other royal line in Israel. Esther and Mordechai are given the responsibility to redeem a mistake made generations before. Amalek must be destroyed, and the tribe of Benjamin must do it! But if she refused, Mordechai prophesied help from “another place”.
That brings us to our original question. What other place? To what other royal family in Israel could he be referring? To the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! If Esther could not or would not, I believe that the King Messiah himself would have come to deliver His people Israel. Be encouraged, there is a place and person of refuge, Yeshua, the Savior. He has defeated the enemy, and He will deliver you!
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.
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Why the US and Israel were right to leave UNESCO
In October 2016, UNESCO’s executive board ratified a resolution that attempted to erase 3,000 years of Jewish religious history in Jerusalem.
The resolution was drafted by Jordan and submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan — with the enthusiastic support of the Palestinian Authority, a full member of UNESCO since 2011.
The central aim of the resolution was to formalize criticism of Israel’s conduct in Jerusalem. It referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and blamed the Jewish state for the spike in violence in the region.
Condemnation of alleged Israeli aggression has long been a standard talking point in the United Nations; that alone did not set off any alarms. What disturbed Israelis about the UNESCO resolution was that it made Jerusalem’s Holy Basin an exclusively Islamic prerogative. By only referring to the Temple Mount by its Arabic name “Al-Haram al-Sharif,” the resolution’s language severed ties between Judaism and the Temple Mount. The Western Wall was reduced to Al-Buraq Plaza — the place where Muhammad tethered his horse.
In the resolution, the Arabic name was only twice followed by the Western Wall’s Hebrew name; but when that happened, it was placed in quotation marks — a grammatical detail that Israelis took as direct belittling of Judaism’s linkage to the site.
The resolution made no mention of the Jewish temples that stood at the site for a thousand years, or the next 2,000 years of continuous Jewish attachment to Jerusalem. Only once did the drafters soften their bias by making a generalized reference to the importance of the Old City and its walls to “the three monotheistic religions.”
The resolution also accused Israel of restricting Muslim worship on the Temple Mount and inciting violence. Yet no mention was made of the ban on Jewish worship or the regular assaults on Jewish visitors to the site. The same week as the vote, two Israelis were killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian man on a rampage with a knife.
Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the resolution, 26 abstained, and six countries voted against it, including the US, UK, and Germany.
It was considered a diplomatic victory in Israel that the 33 countries that originally supported the draft resolution dropped to 24. France and Spain’s abstentions were especially appreciated. Even the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, made statements after the vote that reflected her disapproval. In her official statement, she said, “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified the Temple Mount’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”
Bokova received death threats from Islamic terrorists shortly after her statement.
The UNESCO resolution was more than a public insult. It raised the stakes in the battle over the Temple Mount. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied UNESCO’s authority to rewrite human history. He stated, “These distortions of history are only reserved for the Jews. Does anyone claim that the pyramids in Giza have no connection to the Egyptians? That the Acropolis in Athens has no connection to the Greeks? That the Coliseum in Rome has no connection to the Italians? It is ridiculous to try and sever the connection between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people.”
And Israelis refused to cower and lick their wounds. Two days after the ratification of the resolution, 50,000 Jews gathered at the Western Wall to receive the blessing recited annually during Sukkot. A record number of Israelis — 3,000 in three weeks — also ascended the Temple Mount, including IDF soldiers in uniform. The message was clear: Jerusalem is the center-point of the Jewish faith; its holy places are not the exclusive domain of Islam.
Since UNESCO’s public insult, Jewish visits to the Temple Mount remain historically high. Though the drafters of the UNESCO resolution tried to abuse an international body to sever the ties between Judaism and the Temple Mount, the results have had the opposite effect, at least for Israelis.
One year ago, Donald Trump announced that the United States was pulling its membership from UNESCO and canceling the $80 million that we paid in dues each year. In fact, even under Obama, the US had withheld its dues since 2011 because of a US law passed in the 1990s that allowed our country to withhold American funding to any international institution that unilaterally recognized an independent Palestinian state. That meant that we owed $500 million to UNESCO in back dues. President Trump declined the bill.
This, however, hasn’t stopped UNESCO’s anti-Israel aggression.
UNESCO has most recently gone after Hebron and Bethlehem. On October 10 of last year, UNESCO’s executive board adopted two resolutions labeling the two holy cities as Palestinian. Praising their consensus-building efforts, current UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay proudly endorsed the outcome as a result of UNESCO’s ability to “foster international dialogue and cooperation” and “show goodwill.”
Is it any wonder why Israel joined the US and formally severed ties with UNESCO? The Psalmist said it best: “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.”
Shelley Neese is the author of the newly released book The Copper Scroll Project and Vice President of the Jerusalem Connection.
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HOW? … “All Israel will be saved”
“In this way”… in what way? This is an important question because this is the way in which “all Israel will be saved,” and that is really important to me!
This comes from Romans 11:26, a well-known verse to anyone in Jewish ministry. It is the climax of Paul’s discourse on the connection between natural Israel and the Gentile believers in Romans 11. This is where he is informing and teaching the Roman church about God’s plan for Israel. The church in Rome seemed to have embraced an unbiblical, anti-Israel theology—that God was finished with her (Israel) and had, indeed, rejected her.
No! May it never be!
He explains that God has not rejected Israel (v. 1, 11) saying literally in the Greek, no, may it never be. He expounds on the beauty of God’s plan, that the enlightened Gentiles will make Israel jealous. Israel’s future acceptance of Yeshua will lead to a “greater riches” revival (v. 12) that could be characterized by the phrase, “life from the dead.” (v. 15)
But then Paul makes a dark statement, warning that, while born again Gentiles are grafted into the household of God/olive tree, they can be cut off if they judge Israel, God’s firstborn (v. 17—23). Why? Because it will take the embracing of their backslidden older brothers, not rejection, to bring about God’s plan—the “in this way.”
Paul then illuminates his readers to the mystery of God’s plan for Israel and the nations. And caps it off with one of the most exciting statements in the New Covenant, as we say in Hebrew, col yisrael yivasha—all Israel will be saved.
Don’t be Ignorant!
Well, he gives us a clue in those few words before: In this way. So, our question must be: What way?In order to understand that, let’s go back one verse.
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. (Romans 11:25)
Let’s break it down:
- Paul is concerned that the Romans had become arrogant.
- They became arrogant because of ignorance.
- They were ignorant of something that was not obvious—he calls it a mystery.
- If they remain in arrogance, they could be cut off.
- Thus, Paul seeks to reveal this great mystery.
Whenever Paul uses the word mystery, he is mostly referring to Jew/Gentile relationship in light of the New Covenant. In Ephesians, he uses this word seven times and, in chapter three, he uses it four times, in verses 3, 4, 6 and 9, to explain the mystery of the ecclesia, the one new man, made up of Jew and Gentile.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Jesus. (v. 6)
So let’s go back to Romans 11:25. Paul is concerned that the Romans had missed this mystery, that God has an awesome plan for natural Israel, in the end times, which will release revival in the nations. And missing this mystery led the Romans to become conceited or proud against Israel. He is worried, because he loves the Roman congregation and wants to see them prosper. But he is also prophesying to the future global Church, begging them to not turn against the “natural branches,” Israel.
He knows that this anti-Israel attitude could bring judgement upon generations. As he said earlier:
Do not be arrogant (against Israel), but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches (unbelieving Israel), he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness (to Israel). Otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Romans 11:20-22)
God’s Plan is Important to Him
This is a terrifying passage. This is the value God places on his plan. And the church missed it violently. They ignored God’s plan and, sadly, there is a massive 1,900-year break here. It is as if through disobedience, the pause button was hit on Gods plan. The Church, now nearly completely non-Jewish, did not listen to Paul’s prophetic warning and instead became the greatest persecutor of the Jewish people. Yes, even Hitler quoted Martin Luther to justify his actions!
But, thank God that in our lifetime we are seeing a reversal of this attitude towards Israel. It has been brewing ever since the Guttenberg press shattered the shackles that the Catholic church had placed on every believer, forbidding them to read the scriptures for themselves. However, even once the Bible began to be massed produced, replacement theology was so ingrained that only a small pocket of believers rejected it.
China, Africa, India!
Now, we are seeing revival in traditionally non-evangelical regions such as China, India and Africa. These people are reading the Bible without 1,900 years of European anti-Israel (and in many cases anti-Semitic) theology and are able to grasp God’s heart for Israel—His firstborn. Now, we are back on track to the “in this way” path to Israel’s full spiritual restoration—even world redemption (Tikkun Haolam).
It has already begun! There are more Jewish believers than ever before. And, unlike in centuries past, most continue to identify as Jews. This Jewish acceptance is releasing revival in many nations of the world (Romans 11:12, 15).
God used Israel to bring the Gospel to the nations and now God will use believers from the nations to provoke Israel to jealousy (v.11) and bring her to Yeshua. This plan was stymied by Christian anti-Semitism for 1900 years! But now God is opening up the eyes of the believing Gentiles to this truth and Jewish people are embracing Yeshua like never before! The act of Gentile believers loving Jews is completely connected to Jewish people finding Yeshua.
So, let’s go back to our original question. What does Paul mean, “In this way”?
- Israel receives the gospel.
- The majority of Jews and the leadership reject the gospel.
- The gospel then goes to the nations.
- Breaking from God’s plan, the church of the nations turns against Israel for roughly 1,900 years.
- But getting back on track, the nations then seek to “provoke Israel to jealousy.” (v. 11)
- Israel’s acceptance of Yeshua in the end-times, leads to a greater richesrevival in the nations.
- This leads to the final move of God amongst the Jews, so great that people could say: All Israel has been saved.
- And Yeshua returns on a white horse (Rev. 19:11) to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:3-4) and becomes King of all the earth!
So yeah, in this way, all Israel will be saved.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, January 11, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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PARASHAT BESHALACH (WHEN HE SENT)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 13:17–17:16
One of my favorite accounts in God’s Word is found in this week’s Parasha. It is a story that has not just greatly influenced me personally, but in many ways, has been a driving force behind the work of Hope for Israel. This blog entry will be slightly different from the ones I’ve written before, as I would like to make it a little more personal with the hopes it will encourage each of us to reflect upon our own lives and what we do with them.
Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” And Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
In 2007, I was introduced to a wonderful community, which is situated about a mile away from the Gaza Strip. The people who live there suffered a reality back then of daily rocket attacks. On my first visit, I noticed that the streets of the community were empty; no one was walking around, children couldn’t play outside, and in many ways it was “dead”.
I was told that there were many elderly people who lived there and they really needed to have a secure meeting place since, back then, when a rocket was fired at them, the alarm wouldn’t always work and even if it did, they only had 15 seconds to find shelter, which is not enough.
Hope for Israel joined forces with that community and we built a secure cultural center for the elderly in the community. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of a long-term relationship with this community. Since then, we have stood with this community through the various military “operations” (wars), through the discovery of underground terrorist tunnels, and the latest tragedy of their fields being destroyed from the fire kites and balloons sent from Gaza.
Throughout the years of walking alongside this community, I saw our role as believers as that of Aaron and Hur. We are the ones who came alongside these wonderful people, whose home happened to be right next to the Gaza Strip, who try to raise their families in a very complex reality, and who are also weary of the constant war and terrorism. Like Aaron & Hur supported Moses when his arms grew weary, our role is to help them lift up their hands, and not give up.
Today, this wonderful community is growing and even thriving. Today, you see people walk in the streets, and kids running around playing with each other. Today, you see the border of this community expanding because people want to live there! If before there was maybe one baby born in a year, today we see quite a few. Today we see life and a glimpse of victory.
My dear brothers and sisters, sometimes you may be like Moses, you will get tired and need your own Aaron and Hur to come alongside you and help you raise your hands up, to even find creative ways in order for you to win the war. Sometimes, you will be like Aaron and Hur, and you will need to strengthen someone else. Regardless, when we decide to stand together in Him, there is no power that can stand against us.
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.