Blessings in the Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace)!
An “Unplanned Life”
We want to begin this month by sharing a story with you: She was engaged to the love of her life, known by everyone in the small hometown in which both she and her beloved had grown up. Nothing could rob them of their joy, until the unthinkable happened: she became pregnant.
This was not the way their life together was supposed to begin! Her fiancé had great plans for the two of them, plans which definitely did not include a baby.
She was an “unwed mother!” How could she break the news to her fiancé? To her parents? To her sisters who looked up to her as a virtuous, godly woman.
They were the model couple in town—the perfect match, made by God Himself. Both families had stellar reputations. It was a loving community, but still, like most small towns, the gossip mill turned at a brisk pace.
Shame. Fear. Shock. Deep Distress. The reality of the inevitable shunning, or much worse! Would this child even live to see the light of day?
Thank God, the baby lived—was not aborted—nor murdered by stoning. His life had been planned by the Almighty. His mother’s name was Miriam (Mary). His father, Yosef (Joseph). The child who lived: Yeshua of Nazareth.
God Values Life
According to the Holy Scriptures, all human life is sacred. It is a gift from a Loving Creator. We read the reason for the sanctity of life in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) The breath of God gave man life. Job understood this truth, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4) On the day of His resurrection from the dead, Yeshua the Messiah, God Incarnate, appeared to His disciples. After blessing them with shalom (peace), “…He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’.” (John 20:21-22) The breath of God gave man new life.
Our God, who even values the life of a little bird, places supreme value on each human life. Yeshua commented on this while sharing with His friends: “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
The life of a human being, so precious to God, begins in a secret place—a mother’s womb. We are told that God Himself is involved in the formation of a baby, reinforcing the truth that all life is sacred and holy. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
Life begins in the heart and mind of God. Consider an amazing verse from the prophet Jeremiah, who received an encouraging word from the Lord God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Concerning the issue of “life”, there are two polar opposites in our nation. One is “Pro-Life” and the other is “Pro-Choice”. The “Pro-Life” group believes that life begins when a child is conceived. The “Pro-Choice” group believes that life begins when a child is either “viable” – able to live outside the womb on its own – or at birth.
Life in the Womb
The National Geographic Channel produced a 90 minute video titled “In the Womb” which looked into the world of the developing child within the womb from conception to full term. Following is a brief summary of the findings, which chronicled the development of a baby by weeks.
3 weeks: The baby’s heart begins beating. Brain waves can be measured at 40 days.
6 weeks: The baby can move and respond to stimulation.
8 weeks: The baby can suck his or her thumb.
10 weeks: The baby is sensitive to touch.
12 weeks: The baby has eyelids, ears, toes, a fully-formed mouth, fingernails, and fingerprints. He or she has all essential organs, a working circulatory system, and red blood cells produced in the liver. The baby can make a fist with his or her finger. The tiny person is about 3 inches long.
In the Womb had the following to say about the beginning of life: “The moment of conception is when an individual’s unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated.” At conception, the cell with the genetic instructions from mother and father, divides into two, then four, and on and on. Life has begun—long before the baby leaves the womb!
Most abortions occur prior to the 13th week of gestation, 89-92% of them during the first trimester. Consider how developed the baby is by this time! Does he or she feel pain during an abortion? We would have to say “yes” to that, with heavy hearts, since life-saving operations performed on babies in-utero, use anesthesia to stop pain.
The facts of science line up with the truth of God’s Word to proclaim: “Choose Life!” This was the charge given by Moses to God’s people before they entered the Promised Land: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore CHOOSE LIFE (emphasis ours), that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
We realize that the choice to choose life is not always an easy one. In fact, it is sometimes very, very difficult. But it is always the right choice—the God choice. According to our Creator, children, the “fruit of the womb,” are a reward from the Lord: “Behold children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) (On a lighter note, when our sons Jonathan and Jesse were little, Jamie used to correct their misbehavior by saying: “You are supposed to be a reward to me. You are not acting like a reward, so stop it right now!” Is this Jewish guilt?)
Abortion is defined by Merriam-Webster as follows: “The termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” If there is a “death,” there must have been a “life”. What is “alive”? Pro-abortion advocates would say that the fetus is part of a woman’s body, therefore the woman has the right to an elective abortion. If the fetus is only part of a woman’s body, however, the pregnant woman has two hearts, four ears and twenty toes! (Since the baby in the first twelve weeks has all of the human organs).
Abortion ends the life of a human being, albeit a very small one. In 1973, the year we both (Neil and Jamie) entered into eternal life, abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. This decision is in opposition to the Word of God.
While the God of the Bible is Pro-Life and anti-abortion, there is one who is decidedly anti-life, who fuels the abortion industry: haSatan, Satan, the real enemy. He is a liar, and the father of lies. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44) Satan is the one who whispers to women that the life they are carrying is not really a person, but merely a blob of tissue.
The enemy has a long history of murdering infants. He convinced Pharaoh to command the Hebrew midwives to kill all the Hebrew male babies. When they, fearing God, did not obey him, Pharaoh commanded all his people to cast every Hebrew newborn son into the river (Exodus 1:15-17, 22). One who was saved grew up to be the great deliverer of his people: Moses. One thousand years later, the devil convinced Herod to have all the male infants of Bethlehem, two years old and younger, slaughtered. One who was saved grew up to be the Great Deliverer of all mankind: Yeshua.
In the intervening years, between Moses and Yeshua, Satan lied to God’s People Israel, insisting that it was to their benefit to kill their own children. Child sacrifice in Israel? Yes. In this case, the children were out of the womb, infants and older. They were murdered, even though the God of Israel had specifically told their parents: “And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus: 18:21).
Molech was the god of the children of Ammon. His name comes from a Semitic root meaning “king” (like the Hebrew “melech”). Children, during the reign of King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3), King Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:6), and even King Solomon (1 Kings 11:7), were offered as human sacrifices to the fire-god Molech. Parents made their little ones “pass through the fire” as burnt offerings in the Valley of Hinnom in Jerusalem (also known as Gehenna). God called this deed evil. The de-valuing of human life angered Him. He re-named the Valley of Hinnom the “Valley of Slaughter.” (Jeremiah 7:31-32) The blood of the innocents (Jeremiah 19:4) cried out to Him. (One of the seven things God hates are “… hands that shed innocent blood.” Proverbs 6:17.)
While the devil’s goal is to steal life, God’s goal is to give it! He has a purpose and destiny for each life. He deeply loves every child, beginning in the womb. His desire is that none of them be sacrificed to the god of “self” in its various forms: convenience, future goals, school, work, family size, money, etc. Yes, there are women who can’t afford another child. Yes, there are cases of rape (less than 1%), or risk to a mother’s health, both mental and physical. (But these account for about 12% of all abortions.) Poverty is indeed a huge problem. Compassion, education, birth control, self-control, and salvation through Yeshua, are greatly needed to curb the tide of abortions in low-income areas.
Facts of Life
Following are statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an institute “seeking to advance sexual and reproductive health through research, policy analysis and public education.”
- 1.1 million U.S. abortions each year
- Nearly 1 in 4 (22%) of pregnancies end in abortion
- 50% of women now seeking abortion have had at least one previously
- The U.S. abortion rate is among the highest of developed countries
- 51% of abortions are performed on women less than 25 years of age
- Approximately 1/3 of American women have had an abortion by age 45
- Abortion disproportionately affects black and Hispanic women
Other facts of life involve the effect of abortions on women. Abortion hurts women! (It also hurts men, the fathers involved!) The procedure itself is very traumatic. We refrain from mentioning any of the methods used, since we were sickened as we read about them. Heart-wrenching. We feel for women enduring the deep pain, emotional, perhaps even more than physical, of having a child forcefully removed from her body.
Most women are not told about the many risks involved in abortion. A few of them include heavy bleeding, infection, damage to the cervix or internal organs, uterine perforation, and endometriosis. The emotional complications can be as severe as the medical ones. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome is a reality for thousands of women. It is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with symptoms sometimes occurring years after the abortion procedure. This is because grief, pain and regret have been repressed, denied or ignored. Once they surface, symptoms begin to appear. These can include…
- Guilt; Abortion short-circuits a mother’s basic instinct to protect her child (93%).
- Depression: hopelessness, weeping, restlessness, sleeplessness, eating disorders (88%)
- Anxiety; inability to relax, headaches, worry, fear of infertility.
- Feeling “numb”: shutting down emotionally, sense of emptiness
- Avoiding children: avoiding pregnant women, baby showers, etc.
Life after Abortion
God, through our Merciful, Compassionate High Priest Yeshua, forgives every sin-including abortion. He feels the pain, the loss, the shame, the anguish of a woman’s heart who has walked through this deep valley. He longs to heal the broken heart of every woman who has had an abortion. If that is you, Yeshua is right next to you, extending His arms wide saying, “Come to me. I love you! I forgive you! I died for every sin (including abortion) that you ever committed. Bring them all to me. I will give you a new life. I call you today out of darkness into My light. Your past is forgiven. Now forgive yourself. You have a future and a hope in Me. Your shame will be covered by My blood. Cleansed. Whole. In Me, you are clothed with righteousness. A new creation. ‘Behold I make all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5) Including, and especially you!”
As we stand silently each October along University Drive in Ft. Lauderdale, we pray for every woman who has had, or is contemplating an abortion. We participate in a nationwide “Life Chain,” holding up our signs, asking God to touch the people in the cars that pass by from 2:00-3:00 P.M. We are doing our small part in standing for life—for both babies and their mothers. We also personally support our local Pro-Life centers. Jewish Jewels (you) support the Pro-Life ministry in Israel. They are one of the groups that we bless on each Mercy Mission. We encourage you to support your local Pro-Life center and to take a stand against abortion with us. PRAY for children in the womb, and for women and men hurt by abortion. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
We close with an admonition from God’s Word. May we all hear His voice clearly, remembering that the God of the universe chose to come to earth as an infant—small, helpless, vulnerable, defenseless, dependent, humble, tender and endearing. “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)
For Life! Love in Messiah,