Tonight is not only the beginning of Shavuot (Pentacost) but the finals of Eurovision. And Israel is in the finals! If you are American, as most of my readers are, then you are saying, “What is Eurovision?”

Every year there is an event all across Europe called Eurovision and it is HUGE! Every country in Europe and parts of Asia submits a song and people from those countries vote for a winner. It all happens live. I watched it one year and to be honest, I found it very cheesy—not my cup of tea. But still, it is huge.

Amazingly, despite being one the smallest and most despised countries in the world, Israel has won this event three times. The first time was in 1978 with ‪A-ba-ni-bi by Izhar Cohen & Alpha Beta. A cute song about love, but in Hebrew.

 

 

Israel took first place the following year with “Hallelujah” sung by Gali Atari and Milk & Honey. Not only was it in Hebrew but the word Hallelujah is maybe the most famous word from the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact it is two words. Hallelu is the second person, plural, command from of to praise. Yah is short for Yahweh—the name of God. In other words it is a command to praise Yahweh.

 

The next time Israel won, things had changed. Instead of an Israeli folk singer or band, we introduced the word to Dana (pronounced Donna) International—a transgender from age 13. Later he had a sex change. In 1998 his song “Diva” took the top price. It is a useless song whose only redeeming value is that is was sung in Hebrew on the world’s stage. It seems to me he won less because of the song and mostly because of his sex change.

This year’s final is tonight and Israel’s “Golden Boy” made the cut for the first time since 2010. “Golden Boy” is sung entirely in English by 16-year-old French immigrant ‪Nadav Guedj. The only thing that connects the song to the Jewish State are the words Tel Aviv in the course. Other than that it is just a party song. And the reference to Tel Aviv seems to celebrate all that is bad about the city we serve. “Before you leave, let me show you Tel Aviv.”

Tel Aviv is a sinful city, considered the homosexual capital of the Middle East. One website describes Tel Aviv as:

…one of the world’s finest and friendliest GLBT travel destinations. Come experience Israel, where you can express yourself, indulge yourself, or just be yourself in cosmopolitan gay-friendly cities and resort towns… With a gay scene that competes with all gay capitals around the globe, an amazing beach, good weather, great food and other attractions in the country like Jerusalem and the Dead sea, Tel Aviv is definitely a place you should check out for your next trip.

 

What has me so sad today is that we, Israel, are called to a be light to the nations, not become like the nations. Our songs should be sung in Hebrew and celebrate our return to own land. We shouldn’t care at all if we win Eurovision, because we are not seeking the world’s approval. Instead we are releasing garbage like “Golden Boy” when in the past we had songs entitled, “Halelujah.”

One of the greatest struggles that the Jewish people have wrestled with since the time of the Judges is the temptation to be like the other nations. Jews are often accused of seeing themselves as superior, but the truth is most Israelis just want to be accepted by other peoples. But God has not called us to this.

Many Israelis struggle with a deep inferiority complex that comes from other nations hating you, persecuting you and telling you that you are an evil, apartheid nation. We seek to heal that wound by becoming like the nations—hoping for their approval. Don’t see me as Israeli singer, just see me a singer.

However true healing to our nation will only come when we embrace our call to be a lead nation, a light for the other nations. Leaders can’t care what others think about them, they simply have to govern by their principles. But sadly most of my people live in darkness. Whether it is the blindness of the atheistic, godlessness in Tel Aviv or the hyper Religiosity in Jerusalem, we need God to open our eyes. The day will come however when we will embrace our role and be who God has called us to be.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ez. 36:27-28)

 

issueYesterday I heard a man speak about a personal experience. I won’t use his name but let me say that he is a world-respected man of God. The love of God oozes from this gentleman, after decades of faithful service.

He shared about an experience where he was standing in between an Arab and a Jew. With tears he said something like, “I just wanted to wrap one arm around each of them and pull them together with the love of God.”

Again, if I can accomplish one percent of what this man has accomplished, I’ll be doing good. However this is what we call a false equivalency. A false narrative. Or maybe “Rodney King” Theology—can’t we all just get along.Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 4.29.35 PM

Let’s just stick to the facts. Muslims are committing atrocities against Jews and Christians. Israelis meanwhile are merely seeking to build a country. While women are being raped by Muslim extremists, Israel’s sins are building a fence to protect our people and defending them when attacked by terrorists.

While I felt his heart, I was bothered by his perspective. Even now as I write, I am struggling to articulate my feelings into an intelligible stream of thought. This is not coming from an attitude of, “We (Jews) are better than you (Arabs).” It is coming from a sense of biblical order that is missing when you reduce the Israeli Arab conflict to if you two sides could just get along.

It simply is not so simple. I have many Arab friends – many whom are leaders. I was with one last night as I entered the Empower21 event—the reason why we are in Jerusalem. He is a godly man, but we have major theological differences that at times threaten the fragile unity between us—I don’t mean us me and him, but us Messianic leaders in Israel and Arab pastors in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

You see, most Arab pastors believe that the Church has replaced Israel. Some of them believe that Palestinian Christians are the true descendants of Jacob—and people like me are imposters. The majority agrees that the nation of Israel is not a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, but a tragedy to the Arab World. Just this week they celebrated Nakba Day—the Day of Catastrophe. Ironically we call that same day, albeit we use the Hebrew calendar, Independence Day.

It is no small challenge to embrace those who see what we believe as one of the greatest fulfillments of prophecy in history—God bringing back the Children of Israel from the nations of the world to be resettled in their own land—as a catastrophe. Just think how unlikely our survival was:

  • Scattered on at least four occasions (721BC, 586BC, 70AD and 135AD).
  • No nation separated from its geographical homeland for more than two generations has ever survived—yet Israel survived in the diaspora for nearly 2,000 years.
  • Just mere years before Israel’s rebirth, the demon-possessed Adolf Hitler wiped out a third of the world’s Jews.
  • Five Arabs nations attacked Israel on May 15, 1948—her day of Independence, when there was a weapons embargo against Israel and our army was in its infancy, and somehow she miraculously defeated them.

The fact I am writing to you today from Mt. Zion—literally—as a Jew, is remarkable. And if I had the chance to explain the crux of the issue to the dear brother sharing his desire for Arabs and Jews to get along, I would explain that until the Arab world recognizes God’s hand on the nation of Israel and her rebirth, there is no hope for unity. While Israel is not a perfect nation, the enemies of Zion are the enemies of God. What unity can I have with the enemies of God? Can I love them and pray for them? Absolutely. But can I walk hand in hand with them? That’s difficult—particularly when they would like to kill me. This is not about Israel’s purity (I live in Tel Aviv!)—this is about God’s order and purposes for the end times.

So many of the prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the other prophets are about God’s restoration of Israel (Jer. 30-33, Ez. 36-37). Ezekiel makes it clear—it is not because we are better, but for God’s purposes.

Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.’ (Ez. 36:22)

The Jews returning to Israel to rebirth their nation is imperative to the coming of the Messiah. There is no Ezekiel 38-39 Gog and Magog war if there is no restored Israel. How can Yeshua return to the Mount of Olives to fight for Israel (Zech. 14:1-4) if there is no Israel to fight for?

This issue of the Church of the nations honoring Israel is so essential to the life of the Church that Paul uses the harshest language in Romans 11 when addressing believers who judge Israel:

Do not be arrogant (against Israel), but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israel), he will not spare you (Gentile believers) either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness (towards Israel). Otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Romans 11:20-22)

Rejecting Israel can cut one off from the lifeblood of the Messiah. (It is interesting that the church Paul wrote this to, the Romans, drifted off into Replacement Theology and a system of rote tradition and works righteousness.)

Again, this is NOT ABOUT WHO IS BETTER, but simply God’s order.

At the conclusion of the meeting the gentleman who closed in prayer referred to Yeshua coming back to Jerusalem. The fellow sitting next to me, a respected Messianic teacher whispered to me in jest, “Jesus can’t return to Jerusalem—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Clearly he was feeling what I was feeling. At the end of the day God is not running a democracy. He is fulfilling His purposes. Our job is to line up with His order. And when that happens, we will all be blessed, Arab and Jew, with His favor.

As Messianic Jews, we must strive for humility and never see ourselves as better than our Gentile brethren—we are One in Messiah. However, our Gentile brethren are called to honor Israel and stand against the anti-Israel sentiment in the world. And Arab pastors are called to love and stand with Israel.

The speaker did tell a story about an Arab Evangelist very close to him who grew up hating Jews. But God dealt with him about Israel. This Arab said that after God changed him regarding Israel, the next time he landed in Israel he had to constrain himself from hugging the first Israeli soldier he saw and telling him how much He loved him. I have heard many testimonies like that from Arab believers. In Bethlehem Pastors Naim and Stephen Khoury reject replacement theology and as Palestinian Arabs, they love Israel. But sadly these testimonies are the exception. I have heard many more from those who think Israel is evil, not of God, imperialistic and racist.

It is NOT just a matter of Jews and Arabs getting along, but a matter of God’s end-time kingdom order to make way for Messiah’s return. My pray is for my Arab brethren to recognize the “irrevocable call” (Rom. 11:29) on Israel which will release God’s blessing on them.

Photo credit: Jews & Arabs Refuse To Be Enemies Facebook page

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Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson is deeply concerned over the persecution of… not Christians being beheaded, not believing business owners being bullied to participate in Homosexual weddings, not police officers being gunned down in the streets… No, Mr. Johnson is torn up over the how Muslims are treated in America. In the video below he claims:

We in the administration, in the government, should give voice to the plight of Muslims living in his country, and the discrimination that they face. And so, I have personally committed to speak out about the situation that very often people in the Muslim community face. The fact that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and that the Islamic faith is one about peace and brotherhood.

Let me share with you regarding the horrible plight of American Muslims, as opposed to Muslims in Syria, Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  1. American Muslims have freedom of speech.Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 4.29.35 PM
  2. American Muslims don’t have to fear that practicing a different form of Islam will get their throats slit—Freedom of Religion.
  3. American Muslims can run for office with no fear of suddenly disappearing, being put under house arrest or even being thrown in prison.
  4. If an American Muslim girl is raped, we will go after the rapist, not shame the victim.
  5. American Muslim women have laws to protect them from abuse and spousal rape.

And while I know it is not popular for politicians to speak against Islam, please STOP lying and saying it is a faith about “peace and brotherhood.” Mohamed was not into peace and brotherhood, but murdering people and fulfilling his sexual appetites.

Mohamed married a six year old girl and consummated that marriage when she was nine. He captured women and raped them. He had over 60 sexual partners. He had intercourse in the coffin with a dead woman. He approved of sex with slave girls. He murdered 600 to 900 Jews in one outing. (source)

Mohamed was a depraved man—demon possessed. He was what ISIS is. Do we find Moses or Yeshua acting as Mohamed? President Obama claims that these radicals don’t practice Islam—that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, when in fact, it is the moderate Muslims who are false believers.

Britain came very close yesterday to caving into Islamic bullying. Ed Miliband, seeking to replace Prime Minister David Cameron was willing to outlaw Islamophobia. First of all, by definition, a phobia is an unreasonable fear. Watching British muslims kill British citizens in cold blood in the name of Allah or watching the ISIS chap with the British accent behead people seems to make these fears reasonable. But Miliband’s heart was breaking over the poor Muslims of Great Britain, not their victims.

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband told the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi in a wide ranging exclusive interview.

“We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” he said.

To show how completely cut off from reality the media is, after interviewing Pamala Gellar the other day, the AP released this tweet.

That ended in two deaths? They make is sound like she caused their deaths. It ended with the police killing two men who were intent on mass murder. The tweet fails to mention that they were radical Islamists seeking American blood. Weather events can be described as ending “in two deaths.” But the police stopping would be killers would never, ever, ever be described like that… except if the perpetrators were Muslims who feelings were hurt by cartoons.

The fact is, whether or not we want it, we are at war with Islam or at least they are at war with us. What will it take to wake up these misguided, placating politicians? The police are evil but Islam is peace? Enough already!

 

 

Yesterday we celebrated in Israel, Lag B’Omer, or as I call it, close–the-windows-or-your-house-will-smell-like-an-ashtray Day. All over the country, there are bonfires. Most Israelis have no idea what they are celebrating. It is simply a fun time to light fires and cook things in them.Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 4.29.35 PM

In short, from Passover to Shavuot, we count the days, 50 in all and we call this, Counting the Omer. The “lag,” stands for L and G, or in numbers, 30 and 3 – in other words, the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer. However, the day was chosen because it marks the death of a famous second century rabbi who revealed the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah. We will get back to Kabbalah in a minute. Continue Reading…