Thursday, November 30, 2023

YHVH's End Time Weapon

 If we are going to understand the present Israeli – Arab conflict, we have to examine its roots.  The drama of our day, which many consider to be the “last days”, is the Genesis conflict between Jacob and his brother Esau.  We, along with many others, are viewing the 10 nations of Psalm 83 as the protagonists that constitute the Islamic “uma” (the “nation Islam”), and the "Israel" mentioned there, as the present Jewish nation-state.  However, there is one more representative of Israel who although not recognized, has a very important role to play in this configuration. This entity is mentioned by most prophets but for some strange reason, it remains hidden in the shadow of prophetic history. 

The prophet Obadiah is not the only one who resurrects the above-mentioned ‘mystery man’.  The sole chapter of the ‘book’ of Obadiah is all about Edom/Esau, describing the very nature of his latter-day conduct and how he has dealt (or will deal) with his brother’s time of corrective judgment, called “Jacob’s trouble” - tsarah - distress, calamity.  “Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it” (Jeremiah 30:7).  There are many previous examples of Jacob being saved out of his troubles throughout history as his Elohim extended compassion and forgiveness to Jacob/Israel after severe judgments (tribulation or distress).  No doubt we are facing this reality today.  Amazingly, Esau seems to appear each time in the context of Jacob’s troubles.  But in the case of Obadiah, it says that YHVH would judge Esau and his land by fire. Where does this fire originate? None other than from "… the house of Jacob [that] will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau, for YHVH has spoken” (Obadiah 1:18).

It seems that the Almighty One, who has hidden this mighty mystery person, will resurrect him as a corporate entity (house) when the right time comes. But when will that be?  Obadiah states that when YHVH causes the House of Jacob to “possess their possessions” (ver.17), He will set that house on fire as mentioned above.  But lo and behold a flame, out of that fire, also appears… it originates from none other than the House of Joseph! Many today in Christendom, Judaism, and Messianism do not recognize this house, but maintain that he is included in the House of Judah. This mistake snuffs out the flame that is so needed, especially in this latter-day war with Esau and the other nations that have joined with him to wipe out Israel as a nation (see Psalm 83).  

Why is it that many believe that the present-day enemies of Israel are those ancient foes of Jacob, but fail to recognize Joseph (in his gentile garments) as still a viable Israelite entity? The spirit of anti-Semitism not only tries to snuff out the fire of Jacob (the Jews) but also the flame of Joseph. Removing the House of Joseph or the stick of Joseph's prophetic history, as though it does not exist in the Word of Elohim, results in severe consequences, especially in the body of Messiah, which is supposed to be the united House of Israel.  Not recognizing Joseph and the role that he plays causes the body to limp along on one leg, or worse… during the time to fight the end-time battle with Esau and the kingdoms of this Greek world, the bow of Judah would thus remain arrow-less, contrary to the prophetic prediction: For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim. And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece; and I will make you like a warrior's sword. Then YHVH will appear over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning, and Adoni YHVH will blow the trumpet, and will march in the storm winds of the south” (Zechariah 9:13-14 emphasis added).  

What is interesting about the above-mentioned “Jacob’s Troubles”, is the context in which it is set.  “For, behold, days are coming,' declares YHVH, 'when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.' YHVH says, 'I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it'" (Jeremiah 30:3 emphases added).   Is there a link between the Two Houses of Israel (Judah and Joseph/Israel) returning to their possession and the troubles that they will face when this union between the Land and these two families takes place?  “Now these are the words which YHVH spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah, for thus says YHVH, 'I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now, and see, If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?  Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it, and it is the time of Jacob's distress/trouble, but he will be saved from it” (Jeremiah 30:4-7 emphasis added). 

Contrary to the common belief that Jacob's trouble or distress applies to the Jewish nation only, the above scripture makes it quite clear that the union of Israel's Two Houses is followed by a tribulation period. Zechariah 9:6-11 elaborates even more on this time- period. "I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am YHVH their Elohim, and I will hear them.  Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in YHVH. I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased.  I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, and they shall return…”  But in spite of the joy that this restoration will generate, notice what comes next:  "He shall pass through the sea of trouble, and strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up" (emphasis added. This passage echoes the exodus from Egypt).

This season is followed, of course, by the two being engaged in military campaigns, such as we saw above, where they are described as fire, as a bow, an arrow, and a sword. Isaiah 11:11-16 delineates more aspects of their military feats and their results. Jeremiah 51:19-24 expounds further on Israel's might, as a powerful hammer in YHVH's hand. Thus, not only does YHVH take the two sticks (of Ezekiel 37) and makes them One in His hand, but He will also use that Oneness as His instrument of war.

Ancient Israel was beset by certain enemies who were determined (unsuccessfully) to annihilate her. It is the same Israel now who is facing the identical foes as she did then.  The spiritual parallels (of the kingdoms of the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece) are manifesting themselves through the same people groups that were already identified eons ago in the Word of YHVH.  

Friday, November 17, 2023

Honey and the Sting

 This is the title of a song that was penned many years ago and fits our present reality.

"Sobering up" is the current catchphrase – hit'pak'chut – here in Israel. Hitpakchut does not mean that up until now people were being inebriated with alcohol, but for too long there has been a deep rift among various sections of the population, to the point that each group was completely unable to see the other's point of view or show empathy to anyone but those in their own opinion-group. Our prayers have been directed toward a call for disillusion. That is to say that, politicians, religious leaders, entertainment, and economic success cannot and will never satisfy. Abba has indeed answered this prayer, though at a tremendous cost. The Jewish people in Israel are in a different place at the moment, amidst the sorrow, grief, fears, and uncertainty there is a great measure of brotherhood. A brotherhood that on October 7th, and beyond, manifested in many cases of self-sacrificial acts for the sake of saving others' lives. And this keeps going on, with compassion, help, and support of every type being shown toward one another, especially toward those in need as well as toward our troops in the armed forces. A "waking up" (another translation for "hitpakchut") is happening in most circles.

But something even more significant is taking place. Many are turning to Abba, even among those who are not declaredly religious or traditional. People are truly taking a 'second look' and are asking themselves deep questions. They are daring to tread and step into areas that were thought to be 'dangerous', that which has been labeled here as "religionization" (similar to "Judaizing" in the Brit Chadasha). Up until recently, this was the 'demon' that the secular dreaded, so much so that any show of interest or introduction of biblical topics (not even in the realm of religion) would cause many to rise up with this 'fear of religionization', or in other words what they thought to be Jewish missionizing.  This fear seems to have evaporated to the point that soldiers of every background get together to pray before going on a mission or to sing together verses or prayers and no one seems to be worried or concerned (as they would have done in the past) that they are being brainwashed or manipulated. 

The stories of those whose lives were spared on October 7th when they prayed or cried out the Sh'ma, or had their communities' gates closed because of the Shabbat are circulating around the country. People are not ashamed or embarrassed to bring Elohim's name into the conversation. But what seems to be the peak of all these events was a speech delivered by a Knesset member, from the podium of Israel's legislature. This is unprecedented. No one has ever spoken words like these in that house, words that address and recognize a much Higher Authority than those who are occupying the Knesset's 120 seats. Some of you may read the transcript already but for those of you who haven't, we are posting it at the end of this article.

However, in order to be firmly planted on the ground of reality, there is much more to the story, as you can well imagine. As mentioned, there are of course many bereaved and traumatized families in Israel whose lives have been shuttered by the atrocities that they and their dear ones have experienced and are now having to somehow continue their everyday existence. All of these people are now displaced. Those who are from kibbutzim still have their communities to 'fall back' on and are trying to bolster each other up as they stay together in their new and temporary homes, but that is not the case for those who are residents of the southern towns. In their new 'homes', mostly in hotels, they are rather forlorn, with their routines totally disrupted. Most are unable to continue in their jobs, as they are very far removed from their workplaces. Their children are not in their secure and familiar framework of school. What are they to do? How are they to handle their daily living? What little help they get is often not sufficient, both financially, but mostly emotionally. The reports about these ones are very grim. There is also a serious concern as to their inter-family relationships (similar to the Covid 'season'). This is just a very brief glimpse into another aspect of the current reality, which hardly scratches the surface…

But now back to the Knesset Member's speech. 

“I want to talk for a moment about one little spiritual element that caught my eyes and ears. I'm talking about Margalit Megiddish mother of [former hostage] Ori Megiddish who BARUCH HASHEM was returned home.

A few days before Ori came home there is a video/picture of mother Margalit standing and doing hafrashat challah [ritual before shabbat]. While she is doing the hafrashat challa she is praying to HASHEM, asking Him for mercy and His help, asking Him to bring her child home - which is a normal thing that the ears and eyes are used to. It looks natural and logical; many people pray at such a time [of distress]. But during this prayer, there was a completely spontaneous moment where, suddenly, in tears, in truthful endless sorrow, in the mental tension/anguish of having her child in the hands of Hamas in Gaza - while she prays, suddenly, like an aside, bursting out of her mouth she says: "HASHEM! I love you!"

I saw this and I thought, wow. To keep loving HASHEM at this moment?! You say to HASHEM, from the depths of the soul, from the kishkas [inner core] it came out, with tears, "I love you?" Your daughter is in Gaza held by Hamas. I just couldn't digest it. I couldn't do it. And since then I can't stop thinking about it.

Now, I know, to a lot of people this kind of thing looks primitive, unsophisticated, simple, voodoo, mumbo jumbo, like a woman not absorbing the reality in which she finds herself. But I want to say, that as soon as she said it, I envied her. I envied her unimaginable degree of faith. It's NOT simple. It's NOT primitive. It is spirituality at the highest level, so high and powerful and sophisticated and strong.

I think of all the Zen Buddhists and monks and others who devote their entire lives to spiritual ascension - these people don't scratch the ground on which Margait stood at that moment. Because she understood, deeply, that the divine providence of HASHEM, everything, starts and ends with goodness. And even when you are in the valley of the shadow of death, you shall not fear evil. Because He is with you. And there is some giant metaphysical truth where everything that happens, even if you are in a huge dark pit, a mother worrying for her baby girl who is in the hands of the worst human predators, in the hands of the wildest men - even then she understands deep down in her heart that HASHEM is doing something that is for the benefit of some general good that right now, with her mortal eyes, she cannot see.

I am a believer. I am very much a believer...although I am a dry believer as Speaker of the Knesset...I believe in divine providence and I believe everything is for the best. I believe there is some supernal mathematics in the higher worlds that I can't understand with my mortal eyes. But I believe when I'm safe at home and praying by the Shabbat candle. Not when G-D forbid one of my children is in mortal danger.

I want to say to Margalit, this righteous mother - you are my hero. You are an example for me. You are my role model. I wish I could reach the spiritual heights and the sanctification of HASHEM that you did. Continue to daven, Margalit, for all the other abductees. You have a direct connection to HASHEM. Continue. You, and all of our brave soldiers. The nation of Israel is in amazing synergy with the soldiers, our heroes on the ground. And our women who pray - nothing is better than this.

Thank you very much.”

Friday, November 10, 2023

The Present War

 Is the war presently being fought in Israel the beginning of the Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38? I don't think so. I may be wrong, but here is a statement from this chapter that leads me to believe that we are not in the throes of the Ezekiel 38 scenario:  "After many days you [Gog] will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them” (Ezekiel 38:8 emphases added).  Obviously, the two sticks of the previous chapter have not yet been joined together on the mountains of Israel, nor are they restored from the sword, or living securely.  At this point in time only the House of Judah has returned to a small portion of the Promised Land. So, what is the present war all about?  

The prophet/watchman Habakkuk was complaining to the Almighty that all he saw was violence:  "The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. 'O YHVH, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, 'Violence!' [chamas] And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law [Torah] is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds" (Habakkuk 1:1-4).

I mentioned Joel chapter three a couple of weeks ago, which describes a war that takes place during the days of Judah and Jerusalem and is fought with the surrounding nations.  I might add that, this war started in the late 1800's when the Jews began to fulfill their national aspirations. "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land” (Joel 3:1-2). These words echo Ezekiel 36:  "Thus says YHVH Adonai, 'Because the enemy has spoken against you, 'Aha!' and, 'The everlasting heights have become our possession'…  "Surely in the fire of My jealousy, I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey" (Ezekiel 36:2,5).

For well over a hundred years now, the Jewish people have reclaimed parts of the Promised Land and established the State of Israel. At the same time, the gathering of all nations (in the form of the League of Nations and later the United Nations) has also taken place.  All this was and is for the sake of YHVH's people and His inheritance “Israel”, a large portion of whom are still scattered in the nations and as of yet have not been restored to their identity. Additionally, the sections of the land that they are to reclaim are still occupied by the ten-nation confederacy of Psalm 83.  

Zechariah chapter 10 portrays Judah as a mighty army, during the time of the latter rain or end times: “For YHVH of armies has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like His majestic horse in battle” (Zechariah 10:3).  He then assigns them tasks: "From them will come the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, from them the bow of battle, from them every ruler, all of them together. And they will be as mighty men, treading down the enemy in the mire of the streets in battle; and they will fight, for YHVH will be with them” (Zechariah 10:4-5). Judah is seen here as a mighty warrior, which is reminiscent of what is said in Joel 3, regarding the war with the surrounding nations: “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, 'I am a mighty man.'  Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down, O YHVH, Your mighty ones” (Joel 3:9-11 emphases added).  

According to Zechariah 10, while Judah is back in the land with Jerusalem as its capital, YHVH is out in the nations saving the lost sheep of the house of Israel/Joseph.  “And I shall save the house of Joseph, and I shall bring them back because I have had compassion on them; and they will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am YHVH their Elohim, and I will answer them. And Ephraim will be like a mighty man” (Zechariah 10:6-7 emphasis added).  Here we see that Ephraim is also raised up to be a mighty man.  Could these be the same "mighty men" that Joel is speaking about, who come down and fight this battle with the surrounding nations? Isaiah 11 also speaks of the two joining together in this latter-day battle with the surrounding nations:  "And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, and those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, and Judah will not harass Ephraim.  And they will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west [the Gaza Strip?]; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab; And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.  And YHVH will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt” (Isaiah 11:12-15). 

When this regional and well over one century-old war comes to an end, and with the tent pegs stretched, Ephraim will take over Gilead and Lebanon and some of the territory of the other surrounding nations that will have become subjected to Israelite rule.  "I will whistle for them [Ephraim] to gather them together, for I have redeemed them; And they will be as numerous as they were before.  When I scatter them among the peoples, they will remember Me in far countries, and they with their children will live and come back.  I will bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria, and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon Until no room can be found for them". (Zechariah 10:8-10). 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Great is the Day of Ishmael

 It is well-known that you can never lose your ethnicity, no matter how many generations pass, or where you are on planet earth. The life of a scripturally designated forefather has its progeny in every generation.  Thus, when we read about the forefathers of the enemies of Israel in Psalm 83, we can be very certain that we are sharing this world and the nations with them.  This is why Yeshua was absolutely right about the last days’ wars and rumors of wars, nations fighting nations, kingdoms against kingdoms. If we were to view world history from His time all the way to ours, we would have to conclude that we have been in the last days for two thousand years.  The wisest man who ever lived declared that “there is nothing new under the sun” (ref. Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Since the war broke out in Israel, the Christian and Messianic communities have been associating this war with the ancient enemies of Israel.  How ironic, that many agree that the forefathers who are mentioned in Psalm 83 are alive and well in the present Arab world of Islam.  The latter themselves claim their ancestry from Ishmael, Esau, Amalek, Hagarites, etc.  And we too have no problem believing that they truly are the seed of Abraham and Ishmael.  However, when it comes to the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel, we limit our understanding to a relatively small number of less than 20 million Jews worldwide.  We assume that all the tribes are included in that Jewish population.  This leaves a very anemic fulfillment of the promises of a multiplicity of the ethnicity of Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob the father of the tribes: "By Myself I have sworn… indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.  And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the fulfillment of Joel 3 could be in the making in the present situation. There are many other scriptures that can be plugged into the current circumstances. But truly it is only YHVH who is responsible for the timing of their scriptural fulfillment, or even for the preliminary stages in the process of His overall plan to bring back the whole house of Israel. “And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, and they will go up from the land/earth, for great will be the day of Jezreel” (Hosea 1:11), or is it Ishmael's great day?

In 1983-84, a year or so after the Spirit showed me from Scripture the biblical history of the House of Jacob and the division into what has been labeled the two houses of Israel - “Judah and Ephraim/Joseph”, we left the kibbutz where we were living and moved to a new settlement in the Judean desert. For seven months I typed out all the scriptures that I could find of “Thus says the LORD” pertaining to this aspect of the history of Israel. After the Internet came in, we set up a website and I posted it.  If you are interested in reading from it, go to open the file “Thus says Elohey Israel” and go to the 6th chapter, “Concerning Israel and Her Enemies”.  After 40 years I’m sure I would be rearranging many of the scriptures differently, but this is what the Spirit gave me at the time. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Ephraim and Rimona

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Most Endangered Species


In Genesis 12:2 Abraham is called to be a "great nation" – goy - and much further on in Scripture, in Romans 4:13,  it is predicted that he "will inherit the world". The journey from point one to the goal of inheriting the world is one of the main themes of the Word of Elohim. What station have we arrived at now, on this journey?

The establishment of the State of Israel spelled the regathering of Judah's nation in (parts of) the Promised Land. A little later, an awakening toward their Messiah and Redeemer among a growing remnant within the Jewish people started to occur.  At the same time, another awakening has been taking place of the redeemed from many nations recovering their Israelite identity.

With the acceleration of world events, various agendas, and major shifts in natural conditions, one cannot help but surmise that the convergence of these two "awakenings" is closer than ever, and that perhaps sooner than later "saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be YHVH's" (Obadiah 1:21).

However, before this comes to its conclusion, there are several phases and stages yet to be crossed, some of which are quite challenging. Revelation chapter 12 gives a very vivid glimpse into this.

The revealing of the sons of Elohim poses the greatest threat to the kingdom of the enemy. He therefore gathers all his forces in order to oppose this eventuality on all fronts. He raises the powers of Islam, first and foremost against the Jewish state, and with them also the forces of humanism and antisemitism.

But not only the Jewish 'entity' is constantly subjected to assaults. Although in a totally different way, and without it being life-threatening, the body of Israelites which is growing in their spiritual and natural revelation of identity while waiting for their Shepherd's whistle (Zec. 10:8), are also the object of attacks and nonacceptance from all quarters.

Christianity with its spiritual and universal ideology certainly cannot accept what would be termed an 'exclusive' doctrine. Messianic Jews are vehemently opposed to a group claiming to be Ephriam/Israel (second stick). At the same time, in their opinion only the Jews, Messianic and otherwise, constitute all of Israel, being also the point of view of evangelical and Zionist Christians. These hold strongly to the One New Man vision, of Jews and (forever) Gentiles being united. The Two-House understanding with its Ephraimite claimants is therefore relegated to the camp of the heretics, replacement theologists, with some even going as far as calling these believers the "synagogue of Satan".

While many among the Orthodox Jews do recognize the need for the return of Israel's tribes, Yeshua, of course, is anathema to them. One may return as a member of one of the tribes, but conversion to Judaism is mandatory, and leaving Yeshua at the door goes without saying.

Secular Jews, together with the rest of humanity's seculars and adherents of humanism, are against anything to do with Elohim, especially with their most recent agendas which defy the Creator in every way possible.

So why are the Islamists attacking Israel so viciously? Why are the world's humanists so anti-Elohim? Why is the 'Church' so anti-Torah? Why are Messianic Jews, Zionist Christians, and even some so-called Hebrew Roots adherents so much against Ephraimite claimants? Why are religious Jews so against Yeshua? And there are many more 'whys' that can be cited….

The ingathering of all of Israel, the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as the sons of Elohim, acting as the priesthood of all humanity with the Great High Priest at their head, so that all creation can be set free is the greatest threat to the extant kingdom of the enemy/kingdom of man.

"And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living Elohim'. Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel! (Hosea 1:10-11. See Romans 8:19-22; Ez. 37:24 ff).   "… a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image [Man's composite kingdom] on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:34-35, emphasis added).

Is it any wonder, my friend, that you (and I and those from both houses, especially Judah's, who are still destined to have their eyes opened) are the most endangered species on the face of the earth?

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Sovereignty In the Midst of Adversity

By now every one of you is no doubt quite aware of the most grievous and tragic events that have transpired here in Israel, and of the long way that is still ahead of us in order to "right the wrong" in some measure.  The following is not an attempt to cover these events – but only to point to the sovereignty of the Almighty and to the precise nature of His Word through a 'scriptural journey' that He has taken me since Yom Teruah until now.

At times we may barely notice a chain of occurrences that come our way until life circumstances provide us with a retrospective understanding, which makes 'all the difference in the world'. Looking back, such was my daily reading during the recent High Holy Days, which includes consecutive chapter readings taught by a certain rabbi, who sends daily audio recordings. These readings are not attached to the year's seasons, yet on Yom Teruah the chapter read dealt with that particular feast, on the Eve of Yom Kippurim I was surprised to find out that where we had gotten in our reading, was exactly the chapter that speaks about this topic. On one of the days of Succot, lo and behold, the daily reading had to do with this feast.  Another scripture that became very meaningful to me last week was Psalm 16, especially verse 6: "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me".  The "lines" are "chavalim", literally ropes that in ancient times were used to mark out territories or boundaries. However, that word also means "troubles, tribulations, birth pangs" etc. Thus, I was shown that my YHVH-allotted 'territory' of circumstances may have some pangs or difficulties but they are not without their 'pleasantness', eventually leading to a "beautiful heritage" or "inheritance".

Last week at our weekly praise and prayer meeting, one of the participants drew our attention to David's lament over Saul and Yonatan, in 2nd Samuel chapter 1. One of those verses kept showing up on the cell phone, and from the Bluetooth onto the receiver in the car, day in and day out: "How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!" (v. 27).

On Friday, we made our way to the Upper Galilee, by the Lebanese border, for our grandson's fourth birthday. Beforehand, we went to pay condolences to a young widow, the mother of three young children, who is one of the few believers on this kibbutz, where our daughter and family reside. The atmosphere switched in an instant, in the succah where the delightful birthday party took place. During a conversation with my in-law, who is a typical leftist atheist, about the deep social discord in our society, she remarked that in the absence of a 'responsible adult' at the helm of the country the only rescue from this situation, will be a crisis, and furthermore, something no less than a catastrophe. Her words went right into my heart, and I knew, and even told her so, that what she was saying was like a prophecy of biblical scope. I agreed with her, and added, "We are drawing fire to ourselves, this is inevitable".

As you can imagine, the next morning (Shabbat, Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah), shortly after 6 A.M. I received a message from my in-law, "Last night we spoke about the catastrophe that will rescue us from our situation, perhaps it is now…" From then on, the world turned upside down. On the 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur-October War we were thrust into a situation that we never foresaw or expected, and in some way was also a repeat of the 1973 war. One of the central places where a great carnage took place was at a "trance party" where 3 thousand young people (quite a few scantily dressed) were not only dancing, drinking, etc. but were doing so with a huge image of a Budha right in the midst of their prancing. As much as the hearts are broken for the loss of so many young lives or the abduction and abuse of others, it is hard not to make some kind of connection…  On the other hand, others have been subject to the same atrocities, but gave up their lives for others, "indeed how the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!". So many have been paraded by their cruel and brutal captors down the streets of Gaza, making verse 20 of 2nd Samuel chapter 1 (referred to above) eerily relevant: "Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon -- Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph".

Looking back at my week, every Word of Yah was declared in His perfect timing, and that brought so much trust and confidence in His total sovereignty, knowing that this is the overall "given" and unchangeable fact. I couldn't help but think, "The lines/boundaries of suffering have fallen to us" in spite of everything "in pleasant places," which will lead to the "beautiful inheritance" that YHVH has for us.  Additionally, you will not be surprised to know that although I haven't listened  to the rabbi's recordings for several days, due to the circumstances, when I caught up with it, the first was the Leviticus chapter dealing with the blessings and the curses.  

The next couple of days were no different. It started with the reading about the mustering of Israel's army in the wilderness (Numbers chapter 2), and then Amos' comparison of Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah, both in conduct and in the results of their action, ending it with "Prepare to meet your Elohim, O Israel!" (Amos 4:12). Psalm 11 describes the situation from a different and yet very appropriate angle: "In YHVH I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, 'Flee as a bird to your mountain'?  For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.  If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" This is quite an apt description of conditions here in the land, especially the highlighted words.

"YHVH is in His holy temple, YHVH's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.   YHVH tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.  Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.  For YHVH is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright".  

The description in Daniel Chapter 7 of the fourth and most dreadful beast with its devouring power, and of one of its horns that was seen making war against the saints, prevailing against them, came next, to be concluded by both Mark 3:24-25 and Luke 11:17, the two of which (random reading, again) warn against a house divided against itself (again, so appropriate for the state of the nation).  And finally, is the very sad statement of Amos, regarding Israel's idols (5:26), a visual expression of which was, as mentioned above, the large image that was displayed at the psychedelic trance party that `was a flagrant display of the lust of the flesh and which ended in the most tragic manner.  


Thursday, October 5, 2023

Out of the Shadows

 The Colossians 2:16-17 scripture informs us that, “a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths… are a shadow of things to come…” In other words, the Shabbats, feast days, new moons etc. are prophetic or have prophetic properties. 

Both Passover and Shavuot/Bikkurim (literally Feast of Weeks and Firstfruits), that is, the first month’s (spring) feasts, have had their fulfillment, respectively, by the Lamb’s atoning sacrifice that has liberated us from the tyranny of sin, and then by the power of the outpouring of the Spirit of Holiness which has inscribed the Torah on the hearts.  

Such fulfilments have not been seen yet in regards to the seventh month’s (fall) feasts. But, it seems that we are ‘inching’ our way also into their completion.

The first of these is the “Day of Remembering the Sound” of YHVH’s voice when He spoke to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Some of the redeemed of today, who have heeded the call of the Shepherd of Israel - Yeshua – are also beginning to hear the voice that resounded on Mount Sinai. While "deep is speaking to deep", they are recalling who they are as the seed of the forefathers who exited Egypt. So perhaps one of the signs of the fulfillment of Yom Zichron Teruah is that the house of Joseph is coming out of its prophesied condition of “not my people” and is starting to remember its/their true identity.  (Hosea 1:10).

Yom Kippur, which follows Yom Teruah, is most likely still waiting to ‘come out of the shadows’ and to be realized in its fullness.   Yom Kippur is also known as the “Great Day of YHVH’s Judgement”. What is it that is being judged?  It is “SIN” as a power, or a kingdom, or as Paul puts it - the body of Sin (ref Romans 6:6), or the ‘evil inclination’. This takes place when Yeshua the High Priest lays His hands on the head of the Azazel goat, “the Satan”, which is sent out to the wilderness to be cast into the dry places. The other goat represents the body of Messiah, being offered up and thrown into the fires of an atoning sacrifice.  Having the power of sin removed will give us the understanding and experience of what the scriptures mean by, “it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me” (Galatians. 2:20). Yeshua’s experience, of giving up His life at Passover, will be experienced by us on Yom Kippur.

Being thus transformed in our inner being will have its effect also on our mortal bodies.  It will allow us to have a different perspective on the next feast, “Succot”.  The seven days of the proverbial Succot means that we, as Messiah’s Body, will still be in our ‘earth-suits’-succahs during the millennial rule, which will be fulfilled when YHVH takes the two sticks of Ezekiel 37:19-28 and will join them together as one Kingdom and one nation in the land of promise. Being free from the power of sin, we will minister as the Messiah did in His first advent and preform even greater works, as He himself announced in John 14:12.  This will last until the “eighth day”, that is Shmini Atzeret* – literally the “eighth of ceasing” – that is, the ceasing of time, when Time is no more.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away… And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘behold, the Mishkan of Elohim is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and Elohim himself shall be with them, and be their Elohim’” (Revelation 21:1-3)….and on and on… these splendid descriptions continue in the concluding chapters of the book of Revelation….

 *Presently celebrated as “Simchat Torah” – the rejoicing of the Torah - which begins the annual Torah reading cycle.