Blessings as we enter 2015!
God still speaks in New York City!
The Lord gave us a profound word, through an unlikely source, while visiting our son Jesse in New York City this fall. We feel led to share it with you, our Jewish Jewels partners, as we enter a new year, since this word is wise, instructive, and timely. Here is the context: We got lost in Brooklyn, and ended up walking past the apartment where we were staying—WAY past! I (Jamie) told Neil that my feet could not stand another step (block!) And it was time to find a cab. Just then, a taxi appeared. We got in, told the cabbie where we were going, and he explained how far away we had wandered. We mentioned that his swift arrival was an answer to prayer, and then it began—verse after verse from the Bible poured from his mouth. He answered every word we spoke with a scripture. We were amazed. When the cabbie (Leon) stopped at our destination, we asked him what we owed him. He said, “nothing!” His closing words to us were, “Remember: Information without revelation leads to frustration.”
WOW. Think about it. We all need revelation in 2015! Who was Leon? An angel? (Jesse never heard of a cabbie in NYC not charging a fare.) Angel or not, we believe that Leon’s word came from God. The revelation that is sorely needed around the world at this time in history is revelation concerning ISRAEL.
Israel: A Land and a People
There is much confusion today concerning Israel and the Jewish people. Is the Nation of Israel today the same land spoken of in the Bible? Are the Jews still the Chosen People? Are believers supposed to relate in a special way to Israel, even though most Israelis are secular? Are Israelis occupiers? Is Israel an apartheid state? Has Israel stolen land from the Palestinians?
These questions and many more occupy the thoughts of millions of people who are deeply influenced by a world media with pronounced anti-God, anti-Israel bias. Neil was very upset about a terror attack that happened on October 22, 2014 in Jerusalem. An Orthodox Israeli couple, who had been trying to have a child for 10 years, finally conceived and went to the Kotel (Western Wall) to present their three month old daughter, Haya, to the Lord. They were coming back from praying when a Muslim terrorist rammed his car into a crowd of people and murdered their baby. The couple were American Israelis. There was no uproar from the press, no condolences from the White House. But in the same week, a 14-year-old Arab boy was killed participating in a terrorist attack and it not only was big news, but merited a letter of condolence from the president. This, unfortunately, is the current state of affairs. The AP reported the incident as follows: “Israeli police shoot man in East Jerusalem.”
Arabs are generally portrayed as victims and Israelis as aggressors. There is a double standard when dealing with Israel that defies logic. It can only be supernatural. Since Israel is God’s timepiece, and satan can obviously tell time, he knows that his time is short. His goal is to wipe out Israel and her people—the Land and the People to whom the Messiah is returning. We feel led to present the truth about Israel the Land and Israel the People this month, well aware that this is only a brief, imperfect summary of a vast biblical topic.
Israel: The Land
There is a principle found in Acts 17:26 that deals with God’s sovereignty over peoples and nations: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (emphasis ours)
Did God establish the boundaries of Israel? Absolutely! It all began when God called Abram out of his father’s country to a land that he would show him (Genesis 12:1). God said, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
The land that God spoke of, which Abram’s descendants were to inherit, became part of a sacred unilateral, unconditional, everlasting covenant that God cut with His friend. This covenant, sealed in blood, included the boundaries of the “Promised Land”—the land “promised” to Abram: “…To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates—” (Gen. 15:18). Israel today (about the size of New Jersey) is much smaller than the Land promised to Abram. The original boundaries, as promised by the Lord, included parts of modern Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. (See Num. 34:1-12, John 15:1-12, Ps. 60:6-8, Eze. 47:13-48 for the original boundaries.)
The Bible is also very specific concerning where the Twelve Tribes of Israel were settled in the Land. Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were settled on the east side of the Jordan River (Num. 32:33). The other nine and one half-tribes were settled west of the Jordan, as recorded in Joshua 15-19.
Of greatest importance is God’s claim of Israel as “His land”: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me” (Lev. 25:23). The Land of Israel belongs to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore, He can give it to whomever He chooses. (Note: The Land does not belong to allah—who is not the same God.)
Land Covenant with Abraham’s Descendants
In Genesis chapter 17, God promised Abraham a son, Isaac, through whom His covenant would be established: “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8). God said that He would also bless Ishmael, and make him a great nation. However, His covenant was with Isaac. (In fact, the descendants of Ishmael, the Arab nations, have a land mass of more than 5,000,000 square miles. Israel’s land mass is tiny by comparision, only 8,000 square miles!)
In Genesis 35, at Bethel, God appeared to Jacob, Isaac’s son, and reaffirmed the promise: “The land which I give Abram and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land” (Gen. 35:12). Jacob’s twelve sons became the Twelve Tribes of Israel and inherited the Land promised.
God’s land covenant with Israel is recorded in 46 places in the Bible. Psalms 105:7-11 has been called Israel’s title deed to the Promised Land. God has made it abundantly clear that the Land belongs to the sons of Jacob. They are not “occupying” anyone else’s territory, contrary to what the world press asserts! (Israel’s rights in Judea-Samaria, the “West Bank,” are based on international law, as affirmed by UN resolutions 242 and 338.)
The Land Conflict Today
The Land conflict today is spiritual. It is about covenant and the God of covenant. The goal of Hamas is to destroy the entire State of Israel, which has a legal right to exist having been established by a UN resolution on November 29, 1947.
Hamas seeks to “reclaim” the Land as Islamic territory. Psalms 83:4 is a prophetic statement f its goal in 2015: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” God will not let this happen! As long as there are sun, moon, stars and a roaring sea, Israel will continue to be a nation (Jeremiah 31:35-36).
God will judge those nations who seek to divide His Land (Joel 3:1-2). The same God who set the boundaries for Israel, set the “pre-appointed times” for His nation. He determined that Israel would be reborn in a day (Isaiah 66:8 happened on May 14, 1948). He also had a pre-appointed time for His people to return to their ancient homeland: “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them… I will plant them in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them; says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:14-15).
Israel: The People
While the Land of Israel is God’s Land, past, present and future (See Zechariah chapters 1 and 2.), the People of Israel are God’s people. Yes! God has not permanently set aside His Chosen People. Because of covenant, the People referred to by the prophet Ezekiel are the People living in the Land of Israel today. “But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.” (Ezekiel 36:8) “I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it…” (Ezekiel 36:10)
In 1980 Jamie had a vision of the “Sleeping Bride.” She saw a bride in a casket. The bride was both Israel and the Church. Israel was dead in trespasses and sins, but the bride was asleep (although she looked dead). The vision has taken on new levels of meaning with each passing year. Israel is coming alive, as more and more Jewish people receive the Messiah Yeshua. The Church is awakening, as more and more Christians (re-)discover their Jewish roots, stand by Israel, and embrace the truth that love is an action verb. Jamie expounds upon this in her new devotional on the Song of Songs (two thirds done. Please keep praying!). Please ask the Father to give you revelation about the sleeping bride.
Israel, the People, are far from perfect, but God loves them—just as Christians are far from perfect, but God loves them. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 is still in effect. Israel is still “HaAmim Segullah,” (Ha-ah- MEEM Seh-gu-LAH), a special people (treasure) above all the peoples of the earth. God is a Faithful God who keeps covenant. He loves Israel. He loves the Nations. But He says to His People Israel, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Is. 43:1). “The nations also will know that I, the LORD sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore…” (Eze. 37:28).
God married Israel (Ezekiel 16:8), and despite her unfaithfulness, His marriage covenant with her has not been abrogated because God is God, and He has a plan for Israel’s future. He said concerning Israel, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19-20).
Israel, the People, are called the “apple of God’s eye” in Scripture: “For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance…He kept him as the apple of His eye” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10). “…he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). God has preserved His People Israel. Any other people, without God’s hand of protection, would have lost their national identity long ago. May the leaders of nations (especially the U.S.) consider Zechariah 2:8 and experience the fear of the Lord concerning God’s purposes for Israel and the Jewish people.
Israel: Still “Chosen”
A sovereign God chose the people of Israel to be the vehicle for His plan for the world. “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend…You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” (Isaiah 41:8-9)
The New Covenant Scriptures affirm the enduring calling of Israel in the plan of God. Romans chapters 9-11 are crucial in understanding the purposes of God concerning Israel. We encourage you to read these chapters and ask the Lord for revelation! Romans 9:4-5 attest to the fact that Israel has indeed been a channel of blessing to the entire world, as promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Israel has given us 1) the adoption, 2) the glory, 3) the covenants, 4) the giving of the law, 5) the service of God, 6) the promises, 7) the fathers, and 8) the Messiah.
“…Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22) Without the Jews (God’s People Israel), we would have no patriarchs, no prophets, no apostles, no Bible, and no Savior. All other nations on the face of the earth owe a spiritual debt to the Jews. The Apostle Paul expounds upon the promises that still belong to the Jewish people, despite the fact that the majority of the Jewish nation has not yet accepted Yeshua as their Messiah. They will yet become “spiritual” sons of Abraham. Most are still just “natural” sons of Abraham, earthly agents of blessing.
Romans 11: The Olive Tree
Romans 11:1-2—God has not rejected the Jewish people
Romans 11:8—God Himself has blinded the eyes of His people-temporarily
Romans 11:11—Through Israel’s fall, salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy!
Romans 11:12—The unbelief of Israel has resulted in riches (salvation for the Gentiles).
Romans 11:15—Israel’s coming to faith will be life from the dead (even greater blessings for the world!)
Romans 11:16—A metaphor is introduced—an olive tree—showing the place of both Israel and the Church. A holy root.
Romans 11:17—The Gentiles are a wild olive tree. Israel is a cultivated olive tree. Gentiles are grafted into, not replacing Israel. Gentiles partake of the root and fatness (anointing) of the olive tree.
Romans 11:18-21—Gentiles are warned not to boast against the branches, since they are the ones being supported by the root.
Romans 11:23—God is able to graft the Jewish branches in again. He is doing that today. (Hosea 3:4-5.)
Romans 11:25—Israel’s partial blindness will end when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. This is gradual and progressive, culminating in Zechariah 12:10.
Romans 11:28—Israel: enemies for the sake of the Gentiles, but beloved for the sake of the fathers.
Romans 11:29—“…The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Paul is speaking of Israel. God’s call is still in effect! He promised a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and He has fulfilled it through the Messiah. There will be Jewish people in Jerusalem crying out: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt 23:39). “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai.”
Jesus: Still Jewish!
Yeshua, Jesus, deeply identifies with His People Israel. Some may think that His Jewishness was merely His earthly heritage, and ended when He died on the tree. Not so! Yeshua was raised from the dead as a Jewish Savior. Revelation 5:5, written more than fifty years after His death and resurrection, describes Yeshua in heaven as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” He is forever identified with God’s People Israel. Those who love the Messiah should make that identification as well!
Lambs for the Land
The Lord has put it on our hearts to “blanket Israel with lambs” on our 2015 (pre-Passover) Mercy Mission to His Land. The lambs measure 8″ x 5″, are soft to the touch, and wear a ribbon that says “love and peace” (ahava v’shalom) in Hebrew. We plan to give the lambs to children with cancer, Holocaust survivors and the elderly, children of Messianic believers, and whomever else the Lord selects. We will prayerfully connect the “lambs” with The Passover as the Lord leads. Your donation of $10 to Jewish Jewels will put one of these lambs into the hands of an Israeli. Please indicate how many lambs you wish to sponsor on this month’s mailback card.
God bless you richly in 2015 for blessing the Apple of God’s eye!
Love in Yeshua,