Thoughts on this election in Israel from Daniel 2
Throughout the election campaigns here in Israel, I’ve been drawn to read Daniel 2 almost daily. We seem to have a winner (although one thing I’ve learned from living in Israel is that anything can happen anytime!
As I was drawn to read Daniel 2 again this morning, I felt the L-rd emphasize verses 20-22:
Let the name of G-d be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.
Also Daniel 2:44
In the days of those kings the G-d of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
While reading through the chapter again I had the impression that the iron and clay represent the religious and secular systems of this nation. They most definitely don’t adhere to one another and they are so completely divided that it seems hopeless at times that Am Yisrael will ever become one people who will declare, “Baruch HaBa b’Shem Adonai!”
We seem to be nearing that time when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands is rising up. We have no other hope. Hosea 3:4-5 comes to mind as well
For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the L-rd their G-d and David their king; and they will come trembling to the L-rd and to His goodness in the last days.
Carolyn Margolin-Hyde was raised in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue near Chicago. She graduated from University of Illinois and as an RN she practiced nursing for many years. After making Aliyah Carolyn served as worship leader at K’tsir Asher, The Harvest of Asher Congregation, in Akko, and then led worship at Kehilat Poriya, a congregation near Tiberius. She has written and recorded many worship songs in English and Hebrew and her worship CD’s include “Just Like Joseph” and “The Latter Rain”- contemporary worship CDs; “Deep Calls to Deep” – a soaking CD; and “Fine Linen” – worship with a touch of the blues.
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It’s not the end of the world
The 24th chapter of Matthew opens with Yeshua shocking His disciples with the news that the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem that they admired so much would be utterly destroyed. If this centerpiece of Jewish faith were to disappear, surely it would be the end of the world. Therefore, their logical response was, “When will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and of the consummation?” (Matthew 24:3).
There were six components to Yeshua’s answer to the disciples’ questions. Knowing them helps us realize that whatever crises we may face, it is not yet the end. And if that is so, the grace to overcome is yet available.
First, Matthew 24:4,5,11,23-28 speaks of rampant deception in the world and even among believers. False prophets and false messiahs, whether secular or religious, will lead people away from the one true God of Israel, and from the knowledge of Yeshua HaMashiach who has purchased redemption for mankind by His sacrificial death and resurrection. Yet, we are not to despair or desire to escape, but Isaiah 60:1-3, tells us that in the midst of the deep darkness that clouds the minds of the whole world we are to stand and shine with the glory of the Lord.
Second, Yeshua said there would be wars, rumors of wars, and a proliferation of natural disasters like famines and earthquakes. (Matthew 24:6,7) But He told us in verse 8, that these were not the end, but just the beginning of birth pangs. We have certainly seen enough bloodshed just in the “enlightened” 20th century. This combined with the staggering death tolls of events like the major earthquakes in Iran and the Tsunami in Southeast Asia make us ask how it can possibly continue. It may be the end for the dead, but the living must move forward in faith knowing that “The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear” (Psalm 27:1,3), and “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1,2).
The third thing to which Messiah alerted us was the coming apostasy among His followers and persecution upon those who would stand for Him (Matthew 24:9-12). Already in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 “the mystery of lawlessness” had begun to permeate the believing community. Rav Shaul warned of the spirit of anti-Christ rising among them.
Historically we’ve seen the church take extreme detours, far from its roots and foundation. The consequence was the persecution of true followers of Yeshua down through the ages, not just by pagans, but by those who claimed to represent Him. There also came persecution upon Yeshua’s earthly brethren the Jews. They were hated for the name of Yeshua until His name became hated and feared among them. Yet suffering for the Lord is not the end, but a means to demonstrate faith until all things are accomplished. Hebrews 11:36-40, says that those who “experienced mockings and scourgings… chains and imprisonment… death with the sword … being destitute, afflicted and ill-treated… gained approval by their faith.“
Fourth, Yeshua said the message of the Kingdom of God must reach into the entire world before His return. This is a message not just of personal salvation – “Believe in Yeshua and you can go to heaven.” While that is true, it is only the first step in impacting a lost and dying world. In the midst of false prophets, bloody conflicts, out of control nature and persecution, there needs to be a people with a different Spirit. A people whose lives demonstrate that their “citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach”(Philippians 3:20).
Matthew 24:15-22 along with parallel passages in Luke 21:20-24 give us the fifth point. It begins with what Yeshua spoke of at the beginning of this discourse – the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the subsequent scattering of the Jewish people throughout the world. Forty years after He spoke these words, the armies of Imperial Rome began their work of destruction, dispersion and death. Sixty years after that, the failed last attempt to defeat the Romans by Bar Kochba resulted in the utter devastation of Jerusalem and more exile and death followed by nearly 1900 years of tribulation for the house of Israel. It had been warned of in Deuteronomy 28 and in Leviticus 26. Yeshua pointed out that this was not the end but a sign pointing to the future as Leviticus 26:40-45 promised that even in the land of their enemies the Jewish people would not be utterly rejected by their God.
This brings us to the sixth and last point. Matthew 24:32 and Luke 21:24 speak of the fig tree once again bringing forth life and the exile coming to an end. The restoration of the people of Israel to the land of Israel connected to the God of Israel by the Messiah of Israel is the sign that He is very near. Acts 3:21 says that “heaven would receive Yeshua until the period of restoration of all things… spoken by the prophets from ancient times” We don’t know how much time is left, but we do know that in spite of great challenges and difficulties ahead we are in the “period of restoration” and it’s time to “straighten up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
When we feel overwhelmed it’s good to remember that it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world, but then it is the end of the world! And, halleluyah, He’s here!
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, March 27, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Moshe founded and lead Rosh Pina Messianic Congregation in Maryland until making aliyah with his family in the early 90's. He's been an elder at Tents of Mercy Messianic Congregation for the past 20 years.
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Preparing for persecution
According to global statistics, over 200 million followers of Yeshua are undergoing high levels of persecution today–primarily in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. But, I believe the Scriptures teach that the time is coming when such persecution will be the norm in every country of the earth.
As a new believer in my early twenties, a leader in my life once spoke prophetically over me: “Cody, go deep in God’s word NOW because there will be a time in the future where it will be taken away from you, probably because you will be put in prison for your faith.” What an encouraging word for a new believer right?!!! Actually, I took that word seriously and have continued to devote much time to meditating in God’s word almost daily for the past decade.
As I study the end times one of the themes that continues to catch my attention is that of persecution. More and more in my quiet times I have been picturing myself being arrested, beaten, put in prison and even martyred for my faith. I am training my heart now to walk in love for Yeshua and stand up for my faith when those times of extreme pressure come.
My sense is that this heart posture is almost nonexistent in most of the Western Church today. Even If you and I don’t end up facing high levels of persecution, I believe it is wise to prepare our hearts, and the next generation, for what is coming.
What is Coming?
So, what should we be preparing for? Here are some scriptures I have been meditating on:
- “But before all these things (read verses before – false Messiah’s, wars, great earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights…), they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons…” Luke 21:12 If you think you will get raptured out before persecution and trouble come, you will be in for a BIG shock.
- Luke 21:16 warns us that biological and spiritual family and friends will betray us and put some to death.
- “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake.” Luke 21:17 Consider this word – All. Atheists, people of other religions and humanistic, secular society may tolerate us at some level today, but this tolerance won’t last forever. Are you ready to be hated by all?
- “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think he offers God service.” John 16:2 The deception will be so deep that people will think they are doing God’s will by killing us.
- Before Yeshua returns, new laws will be passed against believers, making us to be the criminals in the eyes of the world. Calling the nations to turn from their sins and not budging on Yeshua being the only way to God, will be seen as major obstacles to global peace. Because lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold, we should not expect human help or mercy when attacked, but instead the plundering of our possessions, major lies and attacks through media, lawsuits, fines, imprisonments… (Is 24:5-6; Matt 24:12; Heb 10:34)
- The antichrist will be granted to make war with the saints and overcome.(Dan 8:23-25; Rev 13:7) I believe prophetic patterns in scripturelike in Esther 3 and Daniel 3 where laws were passed forcing people into false worship and the destruction of the Jewish people, will emerge again before Yeshua returns.
- As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so it will be also be in the days of the Son of Man. (Luke 17:26-30) The wickedness, violence and sexual perversion seen in the days of Noah and Lots are rampant again today, and will continue to be directed against believersin an ever-increasing way (Gen 6; 19).
In conclusion, Jews and Christians will be the most hated people on the earth. But do not despair about the future, there is good news! The greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit and harvest of souls will be happening simultaneously with this global persecution (Acts 2:17). There will be a remnant of faithful believers in every nation who will obey God over man (Acts 5:29), and not love their lives unto death (Rev 12:11).
Lord help us to apply Yeshua’s exhortation to watch and pray always that we would be strengthened to resist compromise, sin and fear (Luke 21:36).
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, April 3, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Cody served on staff with YWAM for four years before moving to Israel. He joined Revive Israel's staff in 2013. He and his wife, Liat, help lead the youth group at Ahavat Yeshua Congregation and work together in Revive Israel’s international department. They have a passion to see the word of the Lord go out from Jerusalem through media and by going out to the nations themselves.
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Israel’s missing milestone or, whatever happened to the real “Rosh Hashana”?
The Biblical New Year, Rosh Ha-Hodashim, fell this year on April 6 (beginning sundown April 5).
And as it rolled past again, the Jewish community made no attempt to honor or keep it.
Learn why the followers of Yeshua can and should restore this neglected commandment.
Nearly everyone who knows anything about Jewish tradition has learned that the Talmudic sages fixed the first of the Seventh Month, or Tishrei 1, as the primary New Year observance for the Jewish people, based on a non-Biblical teaching that “on this day the world was created.” Those 1st and 2nd -century rabbis are also credited with agreeing to ignore the Biblically commanded New Year (the first of the First Month, or Nisan 1) – not quite cancelling it, but downgrading it to an insignificant status where it was soon forgotten.
Oddly, the Talmud itself says otherwise.
The tractate Rosh Hashana 10b-11a documents such strong rabbinic challenges to the Tishrei narrative that the controversy was left unresolved: Does the Jewish calendar properly begin on Tishrei 1, or on Nisan 1? The dispute was settled among later sages by trying to accommodate both sides: The world was created in an “embryonic state” on Tishrei 1, but it could not be “birthed” until Nisan 1. Or alternately, the world was fully created by God on Nisan 1, but it didn’t physically appear until Tishrei 1. Either way, they implied that the creation in Nisan was stronger.
Their favoritism was justified by the wall-to-wall rabbinic agreement concerning which New Year has more importance for the Jewish people. It’s Nisan – past and future: “On New Year the bondage of our ancestors in Egypt ceased; in Nisan they were redeemed and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the time to come.” (Rosh Hashana 11a)
In addition, God’s Torah is explicit about where the year begins for the sons of Israel: “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” – Exod. 12:2 (JPS, the English version used by the Jewish community) The Divine command gave rise to the Talmudic admonition about counting the years (RH 2b):
“But how do we know that the years from the Exodus from Egypt itself are reckoned as commencing with Nisan? Perhaps we reckon them from Tishri? — Do not imagine such a thing!” On this issue no controversy existed. While the Seventh Month might serve to log the years for the world and its kings, the First Month (starting from that first national obligation in Year One) would always be used to mark Israel’s history and the reign of YHVH as Israel’s King.
And so it was… until an era came when both Torah and Jewish history were gradually repackaged, and the unimaginable became the norm. The Talmudic sages themselves set the pattern; by rejecting the Divine Voice in favor of clever human interpretations of Torah, they provided later sages with the justification to reject their voice as well in favor of other clever interpretations. Jewish authorities today not only reckon the Jewish years from Tishrei without question, they long ago stopped counting “the years from the Exodus from Egypt” at all. Instead, they record the Exodus as occurring in “the Jewish [sic] year 2448.”
Meanwhile, what became of that God-given milestone in Nisan called the “beginning of months”? All rabbis acknowledge that it’s still in the Bible, but its only importance is to help us date Passover. Many have asked: But if it’s “the first month of the year,” why doesn’t it date the beginning of the year, and the beginning of all years? “We don’t need it,” they explain; “the year-marker for the world, the new year of Tishrei, has become ours.” When and why did we replace our Jewish marker with the Gentile one? “Well… it’s complicated… the answer is lost in history.”
Indeed. The theory that the Jews adopted it from Babylon while in exile (597–539 BC) cannot be documented. On the contrary, post-exile Jewish texts (like Jubilees and Maccabees) don’t mention a “Rosh Hashana” at any time of year. The mention of one in Tishrei doesn’t appear anywhere until 70 AD, after the second Temple was destroyed. Yet even in 94 AD, when the Jewish historian Josephus wrote his epic work Antiquities of the Jews, his detailed descriptions did not include any new-year customs added to the Feast of Trumpets on Tishrei 1. And as we saw above, the Talmud (compiled 200-500 AD) made a strong case for the Nisan New Year, which is disregarded by today’s Talmudic community.
When (and more importantly, why) did later rabbis decide to rewrite their teachers’ legacy and reduce Nisan 1 to merely the rosh hodesh (new moon) before Passover? Why have they instituted a range of traditions honoring the “new year for trees” (Tu B’Shvat), but none at all to honor the “new year” that God Himself instituted?
If you have been redeemed by Yeshua the Messiah, the answers have a lot to do with the Torah foundations of your faith, and with our early history as a community of Jewish believers in Israel who were “all zealous for the Law.” (Acts 21:20)
This begins a series of articles showing how that history, those Torah foundations, and Jewish teaching about Nisan as “the Month of Redemption” all intersect. Like so many other Jewish traditions that harmonize with the Scriptures, these carry rich Messianic messages that unintentionally but unmistakably point to Yeshua. As you might imagine, the resulting dilemma for the rabbinic community helps to explain the mystery of Israel’s Missing Milestone and other riddles surrounding Nisan.
Reflections of Redemption in Nisan, Part 1
Rosh Ha-Hodashim: New Month, New Things
The Biblical command that identifies the first month of the year (Exod.12:2) reads this way in English translations:
“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (NASB)
“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” (NIV)
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (KJV)
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (JPS, the English version used by the Jewish community)
But there are some interesting problems with these renderings which Hebrew readers will understand best. Here is the original (unpointed) Hebrew of the verse, as it appears in a Torah scroll (emphasis added):
החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים ראשון הוא לכם לחדשי השנה
First, there is no vav in any of the three repeating words (the bold type) that would make this word חדש – “hadash/new” – into חודש – “hodesh/month”. The vav was inserted centuries later by using nikud (the Masoretic pointing that inserted vowels around 800 AD). And even then, only the first occurrence was made into “hodesh”; see the vowel-enhanced Hebrew below (found in all printed Jewish Bibles).
הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים: רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם, לְחָדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה
The two words “hadash” and “hodesh” are of course related, coming from the same root. This gave rise to the concept of the “new” moon marking the first of the “month”. In fact, the word spelled without a vav is assumed to mean “new moon / new month” elsewhere in Tanach. But we know from Yeshua’s teaching that every letter in the Torah and Prophets is important enough to stand unchanged until the end of this creation (Matt. 5:18). So, there is a reason why the Holy Spirit guided Moses to leave out the vav three times in this verse in Exodus. We will explore that reason in a minute.
More interesting problems: There is no future-tense of “to be” anywhere in the Hebrew verse; yet all the translations make it future. And there are some definite articles inserted into all the translations, in places where the Hebrew lacks them. Both kinds of changes are identified by the italicized words in the English (see above). What might we see if we peel away those ‘helpful’ interpretations?
A straightforward translation from the unpointed Hebrew, and without changing its given word order, could be:
“This new thing [or, month] is for you a Head [or, uppermost / a leader] of new things; it is first [or, a beginning] for you for new things of the year.”
The verse can be read several ways, especially since “rosh” can have additional meanings (beginning, chief, most important). Like Yeshua and His apostles, we accept the Jewish approach that the words of God can say several different things simultaneously, all of which enrich our understanding rather than force us to choose “one best answer.” (For more details, see our article at the Restorers of Zion site, “How to Read Hebrew Scriptures through Jewish Eyes”.)
Therefore, each “new month” – but especially “this” one – can be assumed to symbolize, demonstrate and/or bring Israel to experience a new thing, a supremely important thing, and/or a groundbreaking thing that God is establishing, in a continual, timeless and personal sense, “for you.”
And since every letter of every word is important, why are “you” (plural) mentioned twice? The New International Version blurs the second occurrence, but the New American Standard preserves them both:
“This month shall be the beginning of months [new things] for you; it is to be the first month [first of new things] of the year to you.” (NASB)
On one level, we see that the Covenant-obedient people of Israel should be celebrating the “head” or beginning of “the year” (Hebrew: Rosh Ha-Shana) in the first month, and not in the seventh month which begins with a very different observance commanded by God. But there’s more to learn, for you are being addressed twice. This is not only the beginning of “the year to you”, but also of His “new things for you”.
Because Messiah taught that “heaven and earth will pass away” before one word of Torah fails (Matt. 5:18), we must understand this not only as something that “was” new at the time God first spoke it, or “will be” new at the end when all is fulfilled, but is new continually. As the words of Torah present it, this declaration by the living God is like Himself: unlimited by time, and an active reality wherever and in whatever condition “all the congregation of Israel” (Exod. 12:3) may be found.
Moreover, we see our verse twice emphasizing something that is initiating this year of God’s new things:
“This new thing is for you a Head [or, uppermost / a leader] of new things; it is first [or, a beginning] for you for new things of the year.”
God doesn’t keep us guessing about “this new thing” which is the first priority for Israel and brings other “new things” in its train. Starting from the very next verse, it is revealed and described:
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb….”
The Heavenly Lamb symbolized by that earthly Passover lamb is truly the “Head of new things”. Without the reality of His Headship being established “uppermost for you” as the “beginning for you,” God implies here that none of His other “new things of the year” will make sense – or maybe that none of them will even be possible.
To be continued….
Hannah Weiss lives in Israel with her husband Hillel, their three children and two grandchildren. Besides writing on issues relevant for followers of Yeshua, she also works as an English writer, editor and translator for Israeli exporters and academics. Hannah is part of a small home fellowship, Restorers of Zion, which serves the Body of Messiah by focusing on neglected or dysfunctional areas of Scriptural teaching and practice.
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The exodus experience
Recently I was meditating on how central the “baptism” experience is to New Covenant faith (Acts 2:38 -“Repent and be immersed everyone of you…”). It seemed as central as … as … and then it hit me: as central as crossing the Red Sea was for the people of ancient Israel. Immersion in water is not a foreign Gentile ritual, but a symbolic experience rooted in the Exodus from Egypt.
This viewpoint is essential to understanding the teachings of Yeshua and the disciples. They saw the Torah (Law of Moses) as a model of what is to happen in the life of each believer. What happened to Israel nationally is supposed to happen to us individually. What happened to Israel historically is to happen to us spiritually.
This is parallel to the rabbinic concept that each time a Jewish family eats the Passover, they are to see themselves as re-enacting the exodus, being delivered from Egypt themselves. It is also parallel to the Kabbalah (Jewish mystical) concept that all Jewish souls were present at the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.
Over 40 years ago, I started doing “Messiah in the Passover” demonstrations as a young believer in full time “Messianic” ministry. We would show all the parallels in the traditional Passover seder to the Last Supper of Yeshua. However the New Covenant writings take the idea much deeper.
Israel had not only to apply the blood, they also had to cross the waters of the Red Sea (Yam Suf). There is a play on words here as the Hebrew also means the “Sea of the End”. As essential to the exodus is the parting of the Red Sea, so is it essential for everyone to pass through his own “waters of exodus” through the baptism.
Through these waters, we “exit” our old life. We are separated from the influence of sinful “Egyptian” society; we are separated from our past, separated from our identity as slaves. Our demonic oppressors are crushed in a moment by the waters of immersion. We experience our own exodus into freedom.
At Mt. Sinai, Israel received the Law on tablets of stone. At Mt. Golgoleth we are to receive the Law on the tablets of our hearts. That IS the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33 – “For THIS IS the covenant I will cut with the house of Israel… I will give My Torah within them and on their hearts I will write it.“) As the old generation died out in the wilderness, so is our “old nature” to die as we walk with the Lord.
We are to drink spiritual water from the rock (I Corinthians 10); we are to eat the revelatory manna from heaven (John 6); we are to follow the cloud of the Holy Spirit (Numbers 9). As Israel was 40 years in the wilderness, so Yeshua fasted 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4). As Israel went down to Egypt, so did Yeshua go to Egypt as a baby (Matthew 2:15).
As Israel also passed through the waters of the Jordan, so are we to receive our second baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5 – “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit in not many days.“) As Israel possessed the Promised Land, so are we to possess the earth, possess the promises. (Interestingly, the name “Canaan” comes from the Hebrew root word for “submission”.) We are to drive out evil powers and principalities, as Israel drove out the evil giants of the land.
The universal pattern of the Torah is re-enacted in our lives, as we believe in the blood of the Lamb, cross through the waters of separation, and receive the instruction of God’s word. To God, the Law and the Gospels are part of the same plan and the same purpose. When you see the unity of the two parts, the whole body of scripture is more understandable.
Through Yeshua, we enter into the revelatory meaning of the Torah; by faith, we live out the spiritual experience of the Exodus.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, March 12, 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.