There was a story about a man who had inherited a substantial amount of money. The problem was that he did not know it, and when he was finally found and told, he would not believe it.
Rosh Hashana begins tonight. We prepare to share the traditional blessing with one another: May your name be inscribed for a good year. We share these words between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur because of the belief that our destinies will be set on Rosh Hashana, based on the prior year’s actions. We are taught that during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we can change that destiny, through good works, repentance, giving and prayer.
Of course this idea is found nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures. Nowhere in Torah is such a thought suggested. It is mere tradition. However, we can be sure that our names are written in God’s Book of Life forever, without the fear of it ever being removed. The only question is will you be like the inheritor who refused to believe a great inheritance was his for the taking or will you open your heart to the possibility that God has something great for you? That all your sins can be forgiven? Continue Reading…
One of my mentors often says he does not like armchair prophets. An armchair prophet is somebody who prophesies after the fact. What do I mean? It’s too easy to say after a tragedy that it was judgment from God. You’re far more credible if you prophesied before the tragedy that a judgement is coming if a certain country doesn’t do X, Y or Z.
So it would be too easy right now to say God is judging America because of the Hurricanes. On the other hand, when two of the most horrific hurricanes in history come one after another, a country must fall on its face and ask God, “Why?” Harvey is set to be the costliest natural disaster in American history. Irma is heading for Miami as the strongest Hurricane ever coming from the Atlantic Ocean. We must ask the Lord, “Why?”
Is that not what they did in the Bible when judgment suddenly came—they asked the Lord, “Why?” Joshua did this when they lost the battle to Ai and 36 Israelite fighters died?
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? (Joshua 7:6-7)
The people of God are to be God’s voice to the world. We should be asking God “Why is this happening? Is it just weather? Or something more?”
Confusion in the White House
So let me share with you an experience I had a few weeks ago. It was just after Charlottesville, when the president made several comments regarding the protests there over a period of several days. One of the final comments, and maybe the most confusing and controversial, was when he said, there were “very fine people on both sides” protesting.
There were no fine people marching with the Nazis. Even if you showed up there to protest the removal of Confederate statues, you left the minute you saw people on your team with Nazi flags, making Nazi gestures and chanting Nazi slogans. The minute you realized that you were hanging out with white supremacist racists, you got out of there.
In fact, it seemed that all hell was breaking loose against the Trump administration. Massive leaks, firings, resignations, exposing of secret meetings, infighting, the Scaramocci tape, angry tweets, attacks coming from every side and miss steps on every side. I’ve never seen anything like it and I was not buying that it was only because of the media. (I understand the media is no friend of the president.)
I sensed from the Lord
One Wednesday August 16th, a day after the contentious news conference, I felt the news cycle sucking me back in to waste another two hours or so. I pulled away to seek the Lord. Burdened for America, I simply asked, “God, what is going on with the Trump administration?”
Instantly I sensed God impress something on my heart. I say I sensed and impressed because I want to submit it to you. The spoken voice of God is subjective (unlike the written Word of God). It is often like seeing through a glass darkly, to quote Paul. When the Lord speaks to me, it is rarely in sentences, but sudden bursts of knowledge. I simply know something I didn’t before.
And I sensed that he said something close to this, “I gave Donald Trump the opportunity for a slam dunk in Israel. I set him up for blessing. All he had to do was recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announce the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem during his visit in May, marking 50 years of her reunification.” He was set up for blessing, but instead he chose two other things:
To make a massive arms deal with ultra-Islamic Saudi Arabia
To send his son-in-law to restart the forever failed and flawed and frankly unbiblical peace process. (Not that God does not want peace, but He doesn’t want us compromising with terrorists).
Neither of those things would have happened if he had recognized Jerusalem and moved the Embassy. Many prophetic voices have said that Trump was called to be a Cyrus, but, as I stated in a recent blog, Cyrus’ foremost achievement in regard to his calling, was to bless Israel.
What God did not Tell Me
Here is what God did not tell me. He didn’t tell me that hurricanes were coming. At the most, I sensed there was a spirit of confusion released on Trump’s team because he backtracked on Jerusalem. But you have to understand that if God set you up for blessing and you refuse, the opposite is a curse.
Does God Judge?
The fact is, judgement upon nations happened quite frequently in the Bible for the actions of their leaders (see Isaiah 10:5-34 about Assyria). Is the U.S. any different? If there is an earthquake in Damascus, 100 prophecy wonks don’t hesitate to call it judgment, but can God judge America?
God calls Israel the apple of his eye (Zech. 2:8) and has blessed America greatly for favoring her, but inthe same passage He prophesies judgement on those who touch Israel. What if God called President Trump to do two specific things—things he passionately promised before he was elected—and he disobeys?
A Broken Heart
I recognize that when judgment does come on a nation or any other tragedy that people are hurt and lives are ruined. That should break our hearts. We should do everything to help them. But we must also recognize that the God of the Bible does at times bring judgment on nations.
At the very least, the people of God should be crying out for mercy, repenting of anything we can think of and asking God to hold back his hand. We should appeal to God like the prophets of the Old Testament did. Jeremiah wept and wept, begging God to refrain from judging Israel:
Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. (Jer. 9:1)
But in the end, Israel’s sin was too great and God had to judge. There is no place for a theology where God never judges nations. But at the same time, the greatest form of intercession is like Moses, when he said, “But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” (Ex. 32:32)
There is no joy in judgment. Any prophet who is more excited that he prophesied correctly, than he is devastated over the judgement, does not have the heart of God. If God is judging America—and let’s be honest, weather doesn’t escape his eyes—then we must fall on our face and repent. If it is connected to President Trump’s backtracking on his Jerusalem promises, then we must pray he changes course.
Katrina and Gaza
Hurricane Katrina formed the very day that Israel, under pressure from President Bush (from his Roadmap to Peace), finished forcibly evacuating thousands of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Even as these Jews were evacuated from their homes in their own country, thousands of Americans in the south also were evacuated from their cities and towns. President Bush’s mishandling of the event hunts him to this day.
Interestingly, meteorologists claimed that Katrina was small and insignificant. All the models predicted she would stay in the ocean. The aftermath was devastating.
Arafat and Tornados
In March of 1997 Elana and I were at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC. It was a gift from a couple I married. We noticed many, many Arabs. I asked what was going on and they said that President Clinton was rolling out the red carpet for Yasser Arafat that weekend. Our president welcomed a man to the White House with not only Israeli, but American, blood on his hands. That same weekend tornadoes ripped through the President’s home state of Arkansas killing 25 people. It should be noted that Clinton criticized Israel for building in East Jerusalem during his time with Arafat.
I could go on…
And even now, as I am writing in my Tel Aviv rental, I just stopped and heard this in the background on the news. The emir of Kuwait is standing next to President Trump saying:
With respect to the Palestinian question, we have praised the recent U.S. efforts to move the peaceful process, and we affirm the need to join efforts in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution to this problem on the basis of a two-state solution and in accordance with the international (inaudible) resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
To be clear, the Arab Peace Initiative, means Israel returning to a 8-mile width and suicidal borders, giving East Jerusalem to Palestinians and Hamas terrorists. It is unbiblical. The President responded saying that he would give the “peace process” his best effort.
I humbly submit this to you and am praying for God to send Irma back into the ocean and spare America. Please pray with me.
PS Whether or not these storms are judgment, we as believers need to express the love of God to those affected by them, through giving, praying and serving. We are Jesus on earth.
Last week, a lot of folks asked me if it was true that Israel refused to allow two fully Jewish, Messianic Jewish Israelis to get married because of their faith. There was a news report out of the Jerusalem Post that mentioned the two went to our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua.
Is it true?
It is absolutely true that it happened and they were given the opportunity to deny their faith.
“They noted, however, that if the couple were to accept upon themselves the principles of Jewish faith, including the belief in one God and Maimonides’s 13 Principles of Faith, declare in front of the rabbinical court that they have totally left Christianity, end their association with Tiferet Yeshua and their missionary activities and immerse in a mikve ritual bath, their request would be reexamined.” (JPost.com)
Fortunately, they refused. And it is an outrage that two fully Jewish, Israel-born people are denied the right to get married in their own country—one that was birthed to prevent the persecution of Jews, not enhance it.
So, why did I say, “Yes…and no.”? Because we are not the only group persecuted this way. You have to understand the archaic marriage system here in Israel. The chief rabbinical council, known as the rabanut in Hebrew, control all marriages in Israel. So…
If you don’t have a Jewish mother…no wedding for you.
If you marry a foreigner…no wedding for you.
If you are a man and want to marry a man…no wedding for you. (Despite the fact that Israel is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, gay marriage will probably never become legal here because of the rabanut. [I do not support gay marriage, just reporting the fact of how the rabbis, not the government control these issues.])
If you made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Russia but can’t prove you are Jewish…no wedding for you.
The rabbis will only marry fully Jewish people—and for them, that means your mother is Jewish. And now, if you believe like tens of thousands of first-century Jews believed (Acts 21:20), that Yeshua is the Messiah, you have, according to the rababut, left Judaism and … no wedding for you.
However, having lived here for 14 years, I have been to many weddings, all done by Orthodox rabbis where the folks getting married were clearly Messianic. It wasn’t an issue. But I guess, this time, it became an issue and the Chief Rabbinical council ruled, with great difficulty according to the Jerusalem Post article, against the Messianic Jewish couple.
“The complexity of the case required the involvement of the deputy president of the court together with two senior rabbinical judges, who themselves brought in a researcher and expert in Christianity and missionary groups, as well as questioning the couple themselves.” (JPost.com)
So Just Go to the Justice of the Peace
There is no justice and no peace in this situation. There is no such thing as a civil wedding here in the Promised Land, only religious ones. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get married. I know dozens of people where one of them was Jewish and other wasn’t or their mother was not Jewish, who have taken the 60-minute flight to Cyprus to get married and when they return, that marriage is recognized by the government.
Are Israelis for this?
Seventy percent of Israelis support same-sex marriage, and even more than that think the idea that you can’t have a civil marriage in Israel is just stupid. Politicians have sought to get this reversed.
“A bill proposed by Yesh Atid party MK, Aliza Lavie, that would have instituted civil marriage, including for gays, was voted down in the Knesset plenum … by an 11-vote margin, with 39 for and 50 against.” (timesofisrael.com)
So, why do we have such an archaic system? And why don’t we change it?
Where did it come from?
Under Ottoman rule, every religious community oversaw weddings for their own people. You have a Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Eastern Orthodox (Catholic) authority. This system not only survived British rule from 1917 to 1948, but also was adopted by the state of Israel. In fact, because it was the British themselves that performed weddings for Protestants and they left in 1948, there is no legal way for two Protestants to get married in Israel today!
“One signal that this may be more lacuna than conscious marginalization lies in the stark fact that no Protestants can marry in Israel either, not even each other; under British rule, Protestants married through British mandatory institutions, and a separate Israeli Protestant Christian hierarchy was never established.” (timesofIsrael.com)
Protestant marriages are decided on case by case basis. According to the US Embassy in Israel:
“The minister who plans to perform the ceremony writes to the Ministry for Religious Affairs, setting forth the names of the persons to be married, their nationality, and their religious affiliation. He requests the Ministry’s permission to perform the marriage and to issue a marriage certificate.”
Why no change?
It is very simple…and complex. The Orthodox parties in our Knesset (Parliament) represent a small minority in the nation, but because it is so difficult to form a coalition, the would-be prime minister is forced to make great concessions to them, to get him over the 60-seat threshold. In our government, there are normally about a dozen political parties (I know this is hard for Americans to understand). No single party has ever won more than 50% and the largest party (normally with about 25%-30% of the vote) has to compromise to get other parties to join their coalition.
The Orthodox parties demand a steep price. They don’t have to serve in the army. Most don’t work, but live off my taxes (so they can study and pray all day) and charity. They demand funding for their schools and other projects.
As common as the Lunar Eclipse!
A few years ago, we had only the second government in our short history with no Orthodox parties. We quickly passed laws making army service mandatory, stopped the welfare state-system off of which they were living, and forced religious schools to teach math and science, not just religion. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu found it hard to govern without the rubber stamp of the Orthodox parties that he (and most other prime ministers before him) had basically paid off. So, he dissolved his government, called for new elections and formed a new government with the Orthodox. The new laws were reversed.
On the one hand, it does make it hard to govern if your hands are tied as the prime minister—if your every decision is challenged by your cabinet. You can’t be a Prime Minister if there are constant threats from other parties to bring the government down. On the other hand, it is absolutely criminal that a small group of people gets to make sweeping decisions that cost hundreds of millions of shekels…and denies the right of marriage in Israel to a large segment of our population.
So, yes, a dear sweet Messianic Jewish Israeli couple has been denied their God-given right to marry here in Israel. But they are not alone. In the meantime, the couple would ask you to keep them in prayer, that they would have wisdom and know God’s will as they move forward.
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While the UN once said that Zionism is racism, because it provides a homeland for JUST the Jewish people, nothing could be further from the truth (It is not like Israeli Jews can immigrate to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran or Egypt). Secular Zionism flourished under Theodore Herzl (pictured) because he concluded, 40 years before the Holocaust, that the Jews would never be safe until they had there own land. Christian or Biblical Zionism is the belief that God preserved the Jewish people for 1,900 years, scattered them across the globe and then, according to His word, brought them home.
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." Ezekiel 36:24
"Zionism is nothing more, but also nothing less, than the Jewish People's sense of origin and destination in the Land linked eternally with its name. It is also the instrument whereby the Jewish Nation seeks an authentic fulfillment of itself."
- Abba Eban
"Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command."
- Bob Dylan
"For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest, until her righteousness comes out like brilliance, and her salvation burns like a torch."
- Isaiah 62:1
"Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of Israel."
- Yigal Allon
Who was the President of Palestine when Israel was rebirthed in 1948
There has never been a nation called Palestine. It is a myth that the Arabs and the Media continue to propagate. When Israel became a nation, it was the British who ruled the region (not state) of Palestine. The word Palestine has no Arab connection whatsoever. Before the British, it was the Turks for 400 years. Jerusalem was never important to Islam until the Jews began to reclaim it. Under Islamic rule, it was a wasteland.
The first nation to recognize Israel in 1948 was
Harry S. Truman immediately recognized the state of Israel against immense pressure from his own state department. "I had carefully read the Balfour Declaration. I had familiarized myself with the history of the question of a Jewish homeland and the position of the British and the Arabs. I was skeptical, as I read over the whole record up to date, about some of the views and attitudes assumed by the 'striped-pants boys' in the State Department."
When the Jewish Agency, at the request that morning from Truman, formally asked for recognition they didn't even know the name of the new state. On the way to the White House, the established of the State of Israel was declared by our first Prime Minister at 4PM Israel time in Tel Aviv. They caught the currier just before he arrived at the White House, and with a pen, scratched out "Jewish State" and wrote in "Israel"! Truman signed it.
Who was Israel's first Prime Minister?
David Ben Gurion immigrated to Israel as a young man from Poland. He was raised as a staunch Zionist (the belief that the Jewish people will never be safe without returning to their own land as the Scriptures predicted). He worked in a collective farm clearing rocks in his early years and ended up becoming Israel's first Prime Minister after years of leading the effort for statehood. His passion was seeing the "desert blossom like a rose" and urged Israelis to move to the Negev Desert. Beersheva in the heart of the Negev is Israel's fourth largest city and host's Ben Gurion University of the Desert.
Israel returned the entire Sinai Desert to Egypt in exchange for what?
Camp David Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process. The Camp David Accords, signed by President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978, established a framework for a historic peace treaty concluded between Israel and Egypt in March 1979. (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1977-1980/camp-david)
What new country was birthed on 80% of Historic Palestine in 1921?
In 1921, Transjordan was given autonomy to govern 80% of the land that the League of Nations had already promised to Israel at the 1920 San Remo conference. This country became known as Jordan. "The San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Under the Balfour Declaration, the British government had undertaken to favour the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." Many people refer to Jordan as the Palestinian Arab homeland. There were no ethnic differences between Arabs who lived on the East bank of the Jordan and those who lived on the west. Neither of them had independent countries. Jordan was invented and Palestine has never been a country. Even their flags are nearly identical.
In 1917 Great Britain released the "Balfour Declaration" that promised...
The Balfour Declaration was released by Great Britain at the end of WWII, to announce their support for the Jewish national homeland in the Biblical land of Judea, then called Palestine (which was a region, not a country). The allied forces took it from the Ottoman empire after 400 years of rule. It reads:
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The document became international law when the San Remo conference, under the authority of the League of Nations (United Nations) adopted in 1920. There has been no legal repudiation of it.
PS There is a street named for the United Kingdom's former Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour in Tel Aviv.
What, in your opinion, is the best reason to join Ron and Elana in Israel this Spring for Israel's 70th Anniversary since her rebirth?
Of course there is no wrong answer here, and we would love for you to come be with us this April! It is going to be amazing!
ISRAEL TOUR ITINERARY: www.livingstonesisrael.com (You will need to copy/paste the link into your browser.)
When did Palestine become a country?
There has never been a country called Palestine. Most so-called Palestinians came from southern Syria. As the Syrian President of Syria said to Yassar Arafat in the 70's, "You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people."
What was the name of the Zionist, JEWISH-OWNED newspaper in Jerusalem before 1948?
Before the PLO was birthed and certainly before Israel became a nation, the word Palestinian was a generic word that had no connection with Arab life, ethnicity or culture. A Palestinian was anyone, Jew, Arab, Christian, Beduin or anyone else who lived in the "region" of Palestine. If you were Jewish you called yourself a Palestinian Jew. So, the Jewish newspaper being called the "Palestine Post" was perfectly normal. Shortly after Israel became a nation, they changed the name to the "Jerusalem Post".
Who changed the name of Israel to Palestine?
It was the Roman Emperor Hadrian who conquered Judea and the Galilee and changed the name to Philistia (Palestine) after the extinct ancient Philistines. His goal was to utterly destroy the Jewish people, as they continue to rebel against Rome. By exiling the people and changing the name of their homeland, he knew they would not survive more than two or three generations. And yet, God watched over his people for 1,900 years and brought them back to their homeland, just as he promised. (Jer. 31:10)
The picture of the Bible map comically is titled "Palestine in the Time of Messiah." To be sure, there was no Palestine in the time of Christ!
Test your knowledge of Israel’s History?
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Not bad at all, better than most. Please share this on Social media. Challenge your friends to the Israel quiz. Make sure to get my free eBook on the Israeli Palestinian conflict at by signing up below.
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The Sequel to ‘Identity Theft’ is Here!
Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this my blog. I am the GODTV Israel Regional Director host of the daily TV program, "Out of Zion". I also serve on the leadership team of a Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-filled congregation in Tel Aviv. We love Yeshua and we love Israel. Hope to see you hear soon!