Brexit and messing with covenant
The events shaking the UK, with its legacy of Christian faith and birthing of modern democracy, are truly remarkable. The core issue is one of covenant.
God is treating unfaithful UK as a son by disciplining it, but there is mercy in judgement. It is time for the UK Church and the nation to renew its legacy of covenant – with the God of righteousness, as a United Kingdom, and with Israel.
British people barely voted on relationship with Europe. The nation slid gradually into the evolving European Economic Commission (EEC) and its hardly democratic and increasingly anti-Christian successor – the European Union (EU). Ex-prime minister David Cameron, therefore decided to offer the people a referendum on leaving. He himself thought it far better to remain, but being a democratically principled man let the people decide.
Cameron, who identifies as a Christian, in 2014 had previously offered the Scots a referendum on leaving the UK and was delighted that they chose to remain in covenant by 55% to 45%. At about the same time he introduced a gay marriage law, undermining the Biblical requirement of covenant exclusively between man and woman. Theresa May, a church-goer, was his Home Secretary overseeing this new same sex marriage legislation.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
To Cameron’s shock, the ‘Leave’ vote won by 52% to 48%. Fed up Britons chose Brexit and Cameron resigned. Theresa May, also a ‘remainer’, won the subsequent 2017 General Election, establishing herself as Prime Minister. Like Cameron, May chose to uphold the will of the people, informing the EU that the UK would leave after the required 3-year notice period – March 2019.
Issues of covenant are not new for Great Britain. In the 1917 Balfour Declaration, when evangelical Christians dominated parliament, the government promised a home land for the Jewish people in the Middle East. From 1923 to 1948 Britain, a world leader, governed the Holy Land, having every opportunity to keep their promise.
Genesis 12:3 clearly states concerning any nation’s relationship to Israel:
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.
However, Britain’s chose cursing by compromising its covenantal promises – even abstaining in the 1947 League of Nations (today the United Nations) vote on establishing Israel. In 1948, Israel gained independence while Britain lost the ‘jewel in the crown’ of its huge empire, India. Britain then continued to appease the Middle East’s massive Arab Muslim majority, sometimes at the expense of fragile Israel.
In the latter part of the 20th Century, Britain did little to prevent Israel being attacked by its Arab neighbours in recurring wars, or even the UN. Meanwhile, the UK suffered from extreme and sustained terrorism relating to the political status of Northern Ireland, until Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic voted to approve the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, ending domestic terrorism – but only until the rise of jihadic terrorism. Meanwhile, UK anti-Semitism has been growing and Scotland pushes to leave the UK.
Back to today, from 2016 May’s government negotiated with the EU concerning trade and other post-Brexit arrangements. However, the highly compromised agreement she won was recently voted against by parliament in the biggest parliamentary loss for a ruling party in British history. The next day she faced a vote of no confidence, and only survived as Prime Minister thanks to the 10 votes of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – the nearest thing to a UK Christian party. Now, if the UK cannot achieve a better agreement with the EU, the alternative default is the cliff edge of trading under unfavourable World Trade Organisation rules – a potential global economic earthquake. Otherwise Britain could remain in the EU at the cost of undermining democracy.
Let us intercede for the UK to understand and renew its covenants at this critical time – that our merciful God will make a way where there seems to be none, because of His covenant of love through the cross with those who fear Him!
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, February 3, 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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Blood of the covenant and spiritual warfare (Part 2)
Read Part 1 HERE!
The second advantage of the blood is that it marks us as eligible to live according to the rules of the covenant and receive the blessings of the covenant. We are brought out of the afflictions, poverty and curses of “Egypt”; and brought into the “promised land” of milk and honey. (The name Egypt מצריים means the “straits of tribulation”).
The blood marks you as a vessel to receive blessings. It is a sign that you belong to a privileged group, a royal family (1 Peter 2:9). We are all invited by grace by the blood of Yeshua to become members of His blessing club.
The third advantage of the blood is that It influences us on the inside. The blood of Yeshua cleanses our souls (I John 1:7) and speaks to our conscience (Hebrews 12:24 – “to Yeshua, mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better than the blood of Abel”).
There is an ongoing, internal, spiritual influence by the testimony of the blood of Yeshua. We are led by its inner guidance and moral inspiration.
Hebrews 9:14 – How much more will the blood of Messiah, who sacrificed himself without spot to God through the eternal Spirit, purify your conscience from works of death in order to serve the living God?
If we sin, the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit to change (Romans 2:15, 8:16, 9:1). If we repent and believe, the Holy Spirit guarantees us that we are no longer under condemnation. Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation to those in Messiah Yeshua, who walk not according to the flesh but by the spirit.”
If we believe in the blood we are saved. We cross over into the covenant of grace. This blood covenant provides us with these three advantages during this lifetime:
- Marked territory – the demons cannot attack us
- Blessings restored – we receive all health, wisdom and provision
- Inner leading – we are shown how to walk in grace and purity
Through these three advantages, the blood of Yeshua gives us victory over the enemy in spiritual warfare.
Revelation 12:10-11 – “For the accuser of our brethren, who brings charges against them before our God, day and night, was cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, that they loved not their own souls even unto death.”
Notice that the emphasis of the attacks of Satan has to do with accusation. The blood is the guarantee to us that we are forgiven, and thus operates as a shield against demonic attack. The spiritual voice of the blood saying we are not condemned is stronger than the demonic voice of condemnation.
By making use of the spiritual power of the blood of Yeshua we can have victory over Satan. However, the blood must be put into effect (and backed up by our own life-and-death commitment). It must be placed on the “doorposts” of our bodies, minds, and souls.
When we understand these advantages of the covenant blood, we can believe and activate its power in our lives. There is power in the blood of Yeshua, and through it we can overcome every attack of evil.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, February 6, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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Dare to be
We are so good at putting ourselves and others in boxes. We don’t allow for people to be. Just be. We have an incessant need to figure out which box we fit best in and can’t deal with it when we meet people we can’t put in a box.
I’ve spent a lot of my life being told I was ‘too…..’ or ‘not enough…..’. I am yet to find the standards and criteria against which these judgements were being made, but what I know is that this resulted in my doubting the way I was made, and searching for a box that I fitted in ‘better’ than my own unique brand. I searched for a place where I could fit and belong so that less attention would be placed on my so-called failures. I looked to try and be another shade of grey, so that I wouldn’t be so acutely aware of all the ways I was ‘too…..’ or ‘not enough…..’.
I have met countless people that this has happened to. They’ve been told from a young age that something about how they are isn’t quite right, and this becomes the part of themselves that they fear the most, rather than celebrating their most unique feature.
It is so sad to see people who are incredibly gifted, ashamed or hiding their true selves in a box which they’ve decided the world will better accept them in. We’re so narrow minded in our definitions of who people are allowed to be. We allow our narrow version of what God is allowed to create to dictate what people are allowed to be. Rather than celebrating the creativity of God in making all humans unique, we punish people for their differences, and force them to be ashamed of the ways they’re different, so that they seek refuge in communities and boxes which they may have otherwise never run to.
This was my journey for a part of my life. I didn’t seem to ‘fit’ with the culture into which I’d been born, and my gifts also seemed to never quite fit into the mould I was being graded against, so I ran away. Actually I gave up on some of those gifts ever being used.
I wasn’t a good writer, because my opinions weren’t backed up by enough scholars.
I wasn’t a good singer because I couldn’t sing like an opera singer, or a diva.
I wasn’t a good communicator because I was too direct and might offend someone.
I wasn’t a good artist because I didn’t have enough finesse.
I wasn’t good at loving others because I might get hurt.
to name a few…..
There came a point where I realised what had been going on, and I stopped dead in my tracks and resolved to be who I am. No more box fitting. No more denying who I am, what I think, or what my gifts are. No more being another shade of grey. It’s time to be true to me, true to who God made me to be, because if I don’t, this version of God’s creation will never be seen again on the planet.
What happened in that moment was that I realised that all those ways I’d been boxed in and squashed were the very ways that God wanted me to best function. That list above has moved from being a list of things I was doing all wrong and differently to why those who were judging me deemed best, to being a description of who I am and what I do best.
No, I don’t reference a ton on scholars in my writing, because I’ve come to realise that those scholars were also writing their own opinions, and we have for some reason deemed their opinions to be more important than anyone else. (Not that I disagree with learning – I am a big reader and I love to learn, but I don’t think that we should elevate people above people.)
No, I’m not an opera singer and I clearly wasn’t destined for a life of singing Mozart operas on the stage. But I can sing, my voice has it’s own purpose, audience and design.
No, I am not a communicator who loves to massage people where they’re at, and make sure they’re super comfortable and happy. I am someone who is passionately committed to helping people be fully engaged and released into their destinies in freedom, release and authority. I care more about that, than making sure I haven’t offended you.
No, I am not an art school graduate, I paint my songs and writings as I see and feel them, and what comes out is a spontaneous expression of a moment with God. I don’t believe these moments can be crafted. Yes, I practice and work at some of my skills, but I’m also ok with my lack of training.
Yes. I love deeply, and trust easily. I learned at a very young age that this will get me hurt, but it’s who I am, and to turn it off means I turn my heart to stone. I did that once, and the process of having heart surgery to replace the rock with flesh was a painful and long one. I don’t wish to repeat it. So I will continue to love others deeply, and trust others easily. And I’ll continue to get hurt every now and again. But those hurts become scars, which are just a map of my life, directing others, hopefully, to the one who gave me the heart in the first place.
Maybe you’ve not been allowing yourself to be you. Maybe you’ve been another shade of grey in order for others to not notice all the ways you think you don’t ‘fit in’. Maybe you’ve shut your gifts down so that you do’t have to deal with the ‘too…….’ and ‘not enough……’ comments. Maybe you have forced yourself into a box that isn’t really you, but you’ve found acceptance and community there. Maybe you’re just a shadow of the person you know you are really.
Maybe it’s time to dare to be. Be who you are. Be who you’ve been made to be. Allow those gifts to be cultivated and crafted by the Master Craftsman who put them there in the first place. Maybe it’s time to replace that heart of stone with one of flesh and allow yourself to be the unique, one of a kind creation, that will only walk the planet in your shoes.
This article originally appeared on Simcha Natan’s blog, January 24, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Simcha emigrated to Israel from the UK, with her husband and three children. Having studied theology and music and worship in London, and trained as a worship leader and song writer, she went on to teach music and be involved in worship teams in several congregations in the UK, and now in Israel as part of Sarah Liberman's team. Simcha is the author of the “Dare to Ask” project, comprising of the book 'Dare to Ask', and 3 CD's, Dreaming', 'Awakened' and 'Soar (To come) which each have a counterpart 30 day devotional study guide to accompany them. She is passionate about enabling people to engage with God in the way which they were made to, and is committed to multi sensory expressions. Simcha is also an artist, and paints her songs and messages to accompany the music and books. She is also the coordinator Ascend Carmel Programs.
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Something to look forward to
PARASHAT TERUMAH (DONATION)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 25:1–27:19
In this week’s portion we read:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”
God is the Creator of the world; everything belongs to Him and He can do with it as He desires. Yet, from the beginning we find that God created us for the specific purpose of relationship with Him. While He instructed Moses to tell Israel to take a donation for Him, it was not the riches that He desired, but the heart of each person who gave. He said that each person should give as His heart leads him.
God also instructed Israel to gather a “contribution” not just as a means to test the hearts of the people, but also to build a sanctuary:
And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
The crucial part of this verse is that God desired to “dwell among” His people! As I wrote, God created us so that we could have relationship with Him; from the beginning, He desired to dwell among us. Yeshua Himself is the very embodiment of this principle. He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to earth so that we could return to relationship with our Creator:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
But this is not just something of the past! The promise of uninhibited fellowship with God is a promise for the future, as the Prophet Zechariah prophesied!
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD. “And many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. ”
Zechariah 2:10-11 (2:14-15 in the Hebrew Scriptures)
Zechariah prophesied that a day is coming when the Lord Himself will dwell in our midst! I personally love how clear it is in this scripture that God (the LORD of hosts) is sending Messiah, and that we (humankind, God’s creation) will know this.
My dear brothers and sisters, we have something great to look forward to! A day is coming where He will make everything new; a day is coming when the fulfillment of that written in Exodus will be accomplished, when the Tabernacle of God will dwell among us for eternity:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
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.
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[Israel Politics 101] Who is Benny Gantz and his new Israel Resilience Party
Dubbed as “an officer and a gentleman,” (JPost, 2/1/19) former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has given centrist favorite Yair Lapid a run for his money. The tall, imposing figure who commanded the Israel Defense Forces from 2011 to 2015 is, to many, a symbol of patriotic duty, unwavering authority and moral integrity. He is a trusted brand who engenders safety and assurance, perhaps the most needed commodities for Israeli citizens who constantly face the threat of annihilation by neighboring Arab countries.
In fact, it was Prime Minister Netanyahu who, in Gantz’s February 14, 2011, swearing in ceremony as new IDF chief of staff said to the general, “Benny, today you are taking on the command of the IDF. You have all the qualities to succeed in this important mission – a combination of quiet determination, calm and pleasant ways that will ensure continuity and stability.” (Ibid)
Those words still describe how many Israelis view Benny Gantz, post-military, as he now redefines himself as aspiring political leader and future prime minister. With a fervent love for his country, Gantz’s humble beginnings serve to reflect that trust placed upon him by Israel’s citizens. Born in an immigrant collective agricultural community (moshav), to holocaust survivor parents who were among the moshav’s founders, he grew up like many other children who worked the fields while also dedicating time to faith and public service. Today, he is married and the father of four.
In December 2018, he established a new political party named “Hosen L’Yisrael” (Israel Resilience Party) and announced his desire to be Israel’s next prime minister.
Since that time, Gantz has deliberately and, perhaps, wisely been silent concerning his personal political positions so as not to define himself in ways which would ultimately squeeze him into a box and, thereby, limit his popularity. Consequently Israeli audiences could see him through the lens of his many prior accomplishments and judge him according to the values which he has held and lived up to.
This, too, seems to be a winning strategy for the general who is being viewed as a refreshing departure from the usual nasty, mud-slinging politicians who do their utmost to bloody their rivals with defaming character assassinations. So his personal promise not to attack anyone is working. To him, the harm which would come to Israeli society would not be worth the price of being divisive.
This attractive portrait of Gantz has helped him move up in the polls with a projected 15 – 24 knesset seats being won. Yet, those numbers are not enough to unseat Netanyahu and another Likud coalition.
But for now, very little is known about the man’s platform other than his shared desire for lasting peace, his hope to carve out an agreement with Palestinians that would have Israel retain major settlement blocks and give full security control to sites such as the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem.
He has also stated his desire to improve healthcare, bring in a lower cost of living and put an end to corruption in government. While these are the usual in political fare, Israelis seem to gravitate to the more trusted personality who seeks to deliver such promises, and, in that regard, Benny Gantz may definitely have the edge since so many Israeli parents have, for years, believed he could be entrusted with their most precious possessions – their sons and daughters who served under his command.
Yet, at some point, Gantz may have no choice but to expand upon his political views, causing him to be more closely scrutinized and critiqued, but if he manages to squeak through with minimal controversy, shrouded in the mystique which has, up until now, protected him, no one should sell him short, because this dark horse just might pull off an upset which would startle everyone – especially those who insist that there is no viable alternative to Bibi Netanyahu.
Chava Stein, the granddaughter of Jewish European immigrants to the U.S., made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. Married to an Israeli, they live in the center of the country.