Archives For Ron Cantor

ISIS in Israel—Not for Long

Seven ISIS fighters infiltrated Israel last week from southern Syria. Israel has a sophisticated fence system, whereby they know when someone approaches the border. The terrorists made it 650 feet before the Israeli Airforce took them out.

The IDF found a Kalashnikov rifle and several explosive belts. The belts would have been used in suicide bombings. It was a bold but stupid move for ISIS, as there was little chance that they could sneak through the border undetected.

The questions we should be asking are: Why were they sent? Was it a test? Does ISIS have other plans?

ISIS also sought to infiltrate Jordan. However, Jordanian forces attacked them, killing several members of the radical Islamist group.

Eli Wiesel’s house, Defaced

Last week, the childhood home of one of most prolific voices from the Holocaust, Eli Wiesel, was vandalized with pink paint. The culprits wrote: “Pedophile. Jewish Nazi who is in hell with Hitler.”

Wiesel’s book, Night, recounts the horrors he and others suffered in the Holocaust. His childhood home in Romania is, not only a museum, but also a historical monument.

“This grotesque act represents an attack not only on the memory of Elie Wiesel but on all the victims of the Holocaust,” said a statement by Romania’s National Institute for Holocaust studies, which is named after the writer. —Breaking Israel News

Jewish State Law

There is a huge controversy in Israel, at the moment, over the new Jewish State Law. In short, it declares:

  • Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.
  • Hebrew is the national language, while Arabic has special status.
  • Hatikva (The Hope) is our national Anthem.
  • The flag of Israel is two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
  • Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
  • Jews from all over the world are welcomed to come home to Israel.
  • Encouragement of settling the land.

That is basically it. There is nothing all that controversial about it—so why all the hoopla? Why did it barely pass (65-52)?

In our Declaration of Independence, we guarantee equal rights to all citizens—Jewish, Arab, Christian, etc. Had Netanyahu included a statement that affirms equality, it would have received more than 100 votes. So why not include something that we all agree on? Netanyahu would say, equality is already affirmed in other laws—and that is correct. However, his opponents claim that he did not include it because he wanted the vote to be close, giving him the opportunity, before the next elections, to point at the opposition and say, “They are not patriots—we are.”

Sadly, even here in Israel, politics is a very dirty sport.

50,000 Israelis came out to Tel Aviv, in support of our 300,000-strong Druze community, over the weekend to protest the law.

Rally in Tel Aviv against new Nation State Law

Fresh Sanctions Could Tumble Iran

Today, new sanctions take effect on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The goal is to put massive economic pressure on Iran. Already, there are protests in the country—and they are not blaming the US, but their own leaders for their economic woes.

Jerusalem has praised President Trump for leaving the Iran Nuke Deal and returning to sanctions, while Europe seeks to keep the deal alive. However, Europe is shortsighted by only seeing the economic value in doing business with Tehran. They fail to see (or refuse to see) how damaging it is to Middle East stability—as Iran props up Syrian Dictator Assad, funds Hezbollah and Hamas, and stands with the rebels in Yemen against the Yemeni government.

Trump commented on the failed Iran Nuke Deal:

“The JCPOA (Iran Nuke Deal), a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond.”

The people of Iran want to know why their government is sending all their money to terrorists, while the country is falling apart.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for angels to be with the IDF to combat ISIS.
  • Pray for the Iranian people to have courage to take back their country.
  • Pray for unity in Israel over the new Jewish State law.
  • Pray that God will give us politicians who love the land and the people, more than power.
  • Pray against anti-Semitism in Europe.
  • Pray for a great move of God in Israel that would open the eyes of the Jewish people.

 

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note: Dan Juster, Ariel Blumenthal and Asher Intrater contributed to this paper.

Is someone who prophesies mistakenly a “false prophet”? Is someone who teaches in error a “false teacher”? For instance, we believe strongly in the Gifts of the Spirit. If another teacher teaches cessation (the idea that those gifts have ceased), is one of us a false teacher?

We maintain that there is a difference between teaching in error and being a false teacher. A false teacher is teaching false doctrine about Yeshua and leading people away from the true gospel doctrine. It is not merely someone who has made a mistake in his or her theology. If our standard is that we must be 100% right all the time in doctrine, then we all are false teachers to some degree—as we have all changed and/or tweaked our doctrinal understanding over the years.

The New Covenant is clear that false teachers and false prophets are not those who merely made a mistake, but are deceivers.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. (1 Peter 2:1)

Yeshua gave us a clear warning about the emergence of false prophets in the End Times:

And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many…(they) will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:11, 24)

A false prophet in the New Covenant is not a believer who loves Yeshua, preaches the Gospel, moves in the power of the Holy Spirit, and is a recognized leader of the Body of Messiah, and yet happens to make a predictive prophecy that does not come to pass!  (That’s just one way we might prophecy incorrectly).

This might have happened because they allowed their hopes and emotions to boil over, resulting in a kind of presumption—or for any other number of reasons.  Biblically, a false prophet is an unbeliever (or former believer!) using demonic inspiration to draw people away from God and faith in Yeshua. The Torah also makes it clear that the primary issue was prophets/teachers whose words would lead the people astray, to abandon their faith and follow after “other gods.” (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:9-22)

Under Moses there were two ways to identify a false prophet.

  1. He spoke in the name of other gods.
  2. His word did not come to pass.

But in the New Testament Yeshua says, referring to false prophets:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matt. 7:16-18)

So, again, when we speak of false prophets were not speaking of believers who preach Yeshua and have long lasting fruit in the kingdom—but one time publicly gave a presumptuous word, but rather we are speaking about cult leaders like David Koresh, Jim Jones or Charles Manson. In most cases the false prophet claims to be a messiah or the Messiah.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Scriptures teach this whole idea of prophecy under the New Covenant versus the Old.

New Testament Prophet/Prophecy

Revelation contains an important statement about the true nature of prophecy since Yeshua’s death, resurrection, ascension and outpouring of the Spirit. John sees the return of Yeshua and the wedding supper of the Lamb. An angel rebukes John for seeking to worship him and says:

“Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)

What does this mean? “For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.”

This is a fundamental difference between Old and New Covenant prophecy: We prophesy to confirm the Gospel, the message of His life, the cross, resurrection, ascension, the new birth and indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit to all who believe, and the hope of His Second Coming to fully establish the Kingdom on earth…we have the full, prophetic revelation of everything God wants men to know in order to be saved!

Before Yeshua fulfilled all of these prophetic acts, the prophets:

…searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Messiah in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glories that would follow. (1 Peter 1:10-11)

By the Holy Spirit, the best the Old Testament prophets could do was to search for and predict the timing and nature of the events of the coming of the Messiah. But for us, we got it! It’s happened, it’s been preached, passed down and recorded in Holy Scripture.  When we respond to that prophetic message—Yeshua can save you—the Spirit of the Messiah himself causes us to be “born again” from above; and then the Holy Spirit makes His home in us, giving us an “anointing from the Holy One,” which leads us into all truth. (1 John 2:20, John 16:13).

This means that NT prophecy, and the gift/office of prophet is not what it used to be! We no longer predict the coming of Messiah, we proclaim it and prophetically call all men embrace it.

The Rock Comes Forth

Just look at Simon Peter (Rock) after Shavuot (Pentecost). Only 10 days earlier he still didn’t understand the gospel (see Acts 1:6-7), but moments after his immersion in the Holy Spirit, he speaks by the Spirit mysteries that had been hidden.

He quotes Joel about the outpouring. He quotes prophecies of King David, showing they were referring to the resurrection and the deity of Yeshua. He speaks like a world class theologian.

Seeing what was to come, [King David] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:31-33)

Where is the man who is rebuking Yeshua for saying that he was going to be crucified? Where is the disciple who denied Yeshua three times? Peter is uneducated, but through the spirit of prophecy, he shares the testimony of Yeshua.

In Acts 3, after the healing the crippled man, he speaks of the end times in the most marvelous way.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Yeshua.  Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (3:19-21)

And before the Sanhedrin he was so intense and overpowering, they said:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Please go back and read Acts 2-4 and be amazed at how the Holy Spirt works through the uneducated Peter.

But what about False Prophets in the New Covenant?

The phrase false prophet is used 11 times in the New Testament, and it never refers to a believer. There is the False Prophet of the antichrist and Bar Jesus of Acts 13, “a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!” and he was “seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.” (v. 8)

The other references refer to false messiahs and deceivers of the truth. Never, not once, is a child of God referred to as a false prophet—and yet, we know that every believer was encouraged to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). So, if one claims that someone who makes a mistake in prophecy is a false prophet, they are claiming that he is an unbeliever, presently and always, in line with the devil, seeking to deceive the body—despite repentance, loving Yeshua and bearing fruit for the kingdom—which is absurd.

Furthermore, we must ask ourselves: are prophecy and prophets exactly the same under the New Covenant as the Old Covenant? If so, should one who prophesies presumptuously be put to death? (Duet. 18:20). If that is our conclusion, then a host of others should be killed. But there is a clear difference.

Every Believer Should Seek to Prophesy

In the Old Covenant, God spoke almost exclusively through prophets. In the New Covenant, every believer is encouraged to seek to prophesy:

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy…the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Cor. 14:1, 3)

The Greek word translated eagerly desire is zéloó—where we get our word zeal. It is an onomatopoetic word, meaning it sounds like itself (like buzz) and it sounds in Greek like “boiling water”. In other words, we are to be boiling over with zeal for the gifts of the Spirit (as we “follow the way of love”). It should be something we pray for every day.

Now, if someone who makes a mistake in prophecy is then cut off from the Lord and deserving of death, why, then, is the apostle seeking to put the everyday believer in such a precarious and perilous position by encouraging him or her to seek to prophesy? And, yet, we know that under the New Covenant, it is not just prophets who prophesy, but every believer can do so. That is Peter’s meaning in quoting Joel in Acts 2—that God’s Spirit is not just for prophets, but all flesh, meaning, any believer who is hungry.

Prophecy is an objective word from heaven, but it is highly filtered through the subjective lens of the human vessel—through our emotions, our intellect, our theology,  and even our wounds and presumptions. Paul said, “We look through a glass darkly” and “We know in part and we prophesy in part.” (1 Cor. 13) Paul also says, “If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.” (Romans 12:6) So, there must be the possibility of prophesying beyond your faith or presumptuously, as in Deuteronomy. In such cases, leaders should deal with that, but with the goal of restoration, not repudiation.

Paul says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all; hold on to what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:19-21) What about that which is not good—or bad—and the people who falsely or presumptuously prophesied? Did they kill them? Did they label them permanently as false prophets, excommunicating them from the body of believers?  It seems not.

Something has Changed

The argument is very simple. Michael Brown has a chapter in his 2018 book Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church on the problems and pitfalls of prophecy. He simply says that the standards of I Cor. 14 show that other prophets and leaders weigh prophecy in the New Covenant, and there is no hint that there is a penalty for making a mistake.

Obviously, something has changed. It is simply to note that the consensus of the Charismatic and Pentecostal world (and its scholarship) is that New Covenant prophecy does not function in the same way as the Mosaic covenant standards. It is that all might learn to hear from God and that leaders would be responsible to confirm (or not).

Because they did not have the Scriptures in the way that we do today, the word of the prophet was much weightier. A missed word could be the difference between life and death. With the New Covenant and the fuller revelation of Yeshua and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are less dependent on prophets today—though they are needed—and more dependent on hearing God through His word and in personal time in prayer.

Need for Accountability

Indeed, there are many self-proclaimed prophets who do damage and take advantage of the Lord’s people. There is a horrible lack of accountability when it comes to public prophecy. We must do better! Please do not take this writing as an excuse for the plethora of silliness that is out there when it comes to prophecy and prophets. But we cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater (or drown him for being a false prophet!).

So, are we going to take the position that anyone who is not 100% accurate is a false prophet? Or can one make a mistake, repent and ask God for forgiveness, and seek to grow? Does not God forgive such things? Or, are we then disqualified for life? We are for mercy, but that should not be interpreted as taking prophecy light. It is no small thing to declare that you are speaking for the Lord. And one who does so presumptuously in public should submit to discipline by other leaders.

Tone it Down

One thing we can do is tone down our proclamations. We rarely, if ever, say, “The Lord told me…,” but use language like, “I sense that God might be saying…,” “The Holy Spirit bore witness with my spirit,” or, “I felt led of the Spirit.”

Making proclamations such as “Thus says the Lord…” places one in a precarious position and will rightly invite rebuke if you are wrong. It is always better to tone down the way in which we deliver prophetic words.

Accept for the account of Agabus in Acts 21, we do not see New Testament prophets saying “This is what the Lord says…” Rather, James’ tone, and he was the most senior apostle, is more low key in Acts 15 when he says, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15:28)

Function of the New Testament Prophet

  • A prophet can know things by the Spirit (Peter knowing that Ananias and Sapphira lied [Acts 5]).
  • He can sense one’s calling by the Spirit (Ananias to Paul [Acts 9] Prophets to Barnabas and Saul [Acts 13:1]).
  • Strengthen the body (Silas and Judas [Acts 15, Eph. 4]).
  • Proclaim the word of God in power. (Many examples such as [Acts 2, 10]).
  • Predict the future (Paul predicts that the false prophet Bar Jesus will be blind [Acts 13] or Agabus predicts a famine [Acts 11:28]).
  • Proclaim judgment on a believer or unbeliever (with Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5], and Bar Jesus [Acts 13]).
  • Weigh the prophetic words of other prophets and non-prophets (Acts 14).

Final Word

False prophets go to hell or, at least, invite “swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Peter 2:1). They do not go around the world preaching the gospel and loving Yeshua. False prophets lead people away from Yeshua, as do false teachers. Just as a teacher’s doctrine can change over time, and he can make mistakes in his exegesis and hermeneutics, so, too, can a believer make a mistake in prophesy, repent, and be restored.

There can be no question that the New Covenant brings a higher level of mercy in regards to mistakes in prophecy and that believers are never referred to as false prophets.

 

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Scroll down for video of rescue

Israeli Soldier Shot by Hamas Sniper

For months now, we have been told the Hamas border protests are peaceful. Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, Israel gets blamed for defending itself. On Friday, Aviv Levi was shot by a peaceful Hamas sniper. The bullet penetrated his bulletproof vest and he succumbed to his wounds.

Aviv Levi was 21-years-old and lived not far from me in Petah Tikva. Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement:

He fought in Gaza “with determination and bravery, and to our great sorrow, sometimes this struggle bears a very great price. I am sending condolences from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of myself and on behalf of all Israeli citizens, to his family.” —Times of Israel

I have written a longer piece on how Israel responds to the death of her soldiers.

Egypt Warns Hamas not to Respond

In the wake of the first death of an Israeli soldier since the March 30 protests began, Israel bombarded Hamas targets in Gaza. Egypt warned Hamas that if they responded, Israel was ready to “go to war in two hours.”

Four Palestinians were killed in the strikes and more wounded.

Israel can deal with a lot. We are very patient. Already Palestinians have burned 8,000 acres with their fire kites and balloons, caused raging blazes in Israel’s southern farms and nature reserves, which killed wildlife. But when a soldier is killed, the patience runs out.

As of this morning, there is a very fragile ceasefire in place.

In a Secret Mission, Israel goes into Syria to Save Lives

On Saturday evening, at the urging of the United States and European countries, Israel evacuated some 800 civil defense volunteers—known as White Helmets for the color of their helmets—and their families. The White Helmets are labeled as terrorists by the Syrian government. The 3,000-member group has saved more than 100,000 lives since they began. They are true Syrian heroes. President Trump petitioned Prime Minister Netanyahu to help evacuate them, as the Syrian forces would surely kill them.

(It is a stunning thing to see in this video Israeli soldiers giving our water to Syrian children)

The Russian-backed Syrian troops have been moving closer and closer to Syria’s southern towns. There was fear that the White Helmet rescue workers would be singled out by the Syrian army.

The secret operation began around 9:00 p.m. Saturday, reaching its peak after midnight. The evacuees arrived at the border with Israel, and the IDF opened the gates and let them through. Medical treatment was provided to those in need, and the evacuees were provided with food and water. —Times of Israel

Israel then transferred them to Jordan. Jordan refused to take in refugees, as it will overwhelm their economy. However, assurances from Germany, Canada and the U.K., that they will receive them, caused Jordan to acquiesce.

Israeli Forces entered into Syria and arrived at Quneitra, just a few kilometers from the border on the Syrian Golan Heights. A convoy of buses waited for them at the border to take them to Jordan. Those in need received medical treatment.

An individual involved in the rescue told Hadashot news the effort was “one of the most moving operations. There were lots of children.” —ibid

On the way, a woman went into labor, needing an emergency C-section.

“Her son, Nairouz, came into the world in an open field under the darkness of night just short of the frontier with Israel’s Golan Heights.” —ibid

Sadly, some of the White Helmets declined evacuation through Israel, out of fear of not knowing what would happen to them, but the group’s leadership unanimously voted to go forward with the plan.

This is part of Israel’s Good Neighbor Operation, which we have reported on in the past.

A Record 1,400 Jews Visited the Temple Mount on Sunday

It may come as a surprise to you, but Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount—only Muslims are allowed. On Sunday, which marked Tisha Be’av, the Ninth of Av (the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second temples), 1,400 Jews made their way to the Hamas- occupied Temple Mount.

Jordan condemned the visit to Haram al-Sharif, called the Noble Sanctuary by the Muslim world. Yousef Mahmoud, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, complained that the peaceful Jewish visit was “a black day in the history of the city of Jerusalem, and in the history of Palestine and the history of the Arabs and Muslims.” He went on to call it “a flagrant challenge to the Arab and Islamic nations and a violation of international laws.”

Yawn. You have to understand that overreaction is the norm in the Middle East. This is a region of drama queens, with each politician trying to outdo the others with their reactions.

Yeshua Glick, who has long advocated for the rights of Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount, and who has good relations with many Muslims, was shot by a Islamic terrorist four times. He survived, and now serves in Knesset (Parliament). “Until a few years ago, the Temple Mount was closed on Tisha Be’av for non-Muslims,” said Glick.

Trump Threatens Iran in ALL CAPS

In the online world, ALL CAPS is like screaming. In response to Iranian threats against the US, President Trump unleashed one of his sternest and what will be one of his most memorable tweets. As I have said, rhetoric is a huge part of the Middle East political climate. We all remember Saddam Hussein promising the mother of all wars, before he was soundly defeated in the First Gulf War.

Normally, U.S. Presidents don’t respond to these threats, as they are mostly for public consumption and have no teeth. But not this president:

Israel Shoots Down Syrian Jet

Yesterday a Syrian Jet came two full kilometers inside Israeli airspace before it was shot down. Israeli forces confirmed that it was not Russian before shooting it down. The plane then crashed in southern Syria.

“Two Patriot missiles were fired at a Syrian Sukhoi-model fighter jet,” the IDF confirmed. Syrain sources said the plane was on a mission to attack ISIS targets in southern Syria.

Israel has said that will not tolerate a Syrian military build-up in the south on the Israeli borders and would not tolerate Syrian jets in Israeli airspace.

Prayer points:

  • Continue to pray for the innocent Syrians caught in the middle of a civil war.
  • Pray for Israeli soldiers to be covered and surrounded by angels.
  • Pray that the good news of Yeshua will prosper in both Israel and the surrounding Arab nations.
  • Pray for the family of Aviv Levi.
  • Pray that God’s will would be done on the Temple Mount.
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On Friday, during the “peaceful” border protests in Gaza, Aviv Levi was gunned down by a Hamas sniper. At 21 years of age, his life was over. I want to help you feel the pain that we feel, here in Israel, when a soldier dies in battle.

Your Destiny

Unlike in the U.S., where I come from, from the time you can speak, you know that one day you will serve in the Israeli Defense Forces – and you are proud of that. Most young men want to serve in a combat unit—we call that, kravi.

Israeli men serve three years, and the women serve two. It is pounded into your psyche your whole life that one day you will serve. It is an honor. Beginning in your junior year of high school, you start filling out the forms, going to special meetings and preparing yourself mentally for the army. For those who seek to be in an elite unit, they take special courses during their senior year. I see them jogging with backpacks on the beach. Young people, 17 years old, getting in the best shape of their lives.

Follow Me

In most armies, the commanders stand back and command their soldiers: “Forward!” In the Israeli army, the most legendary phrase is “Acharai” or “Follow me.” Israeli commanders lead the way into the battle.

In 1948, a solider was shot in the eye during the War of Independence. As he lay on the ground dying, he heard over the radio, “We are coming!”

Twenty-three men under the command of Nahum Arieli arrived on the scene, and platoon commander Shimon Alfassi yelled, while under fire: “Privates retreat! Commanders cover them!” —Times of Israel

Many of those commanders died that day, and many believe that was the day that the “Acharai” principle was birthed. Soldiers know that their commanders are willing to die for them. And these bonds last forever in a small country, where you maintain contact the rest of your life.

They are all our sons and daughters

Every one of my daughters’ friends went into the army. Our soldiers are not people we don’t know, going to a foreign country, but they are our children who come home for Shabbat dinner and, then, sleep until 4:00pm on Saturday.  They go out with their friends, only to lug a massive backpack to the train or bus station Sunday morning, heading back to base.

My daughter went to school with Nissim Sean Carmeli. They had something in common, both being American immigrants, and were friends. On July 19, he was killed in the 2014 war in Gaza, during a shootout.

There had been concerns that the lone soldier, who split his time between [Israel] and South Padre Island, Texas, where his Israeli parents live, wouldn’t have enough people paying their final respects at his funeral.

But, since he was a huge fan of Maccabi Haifa, the soccer team posted a photo of Carmeli on its Facebook page after his death, asking fans to go so that his funeral wouldn’t be deserted. —Times of Israel

The Soccer team provided two buses to bring people home from the funeral. However, 20,000 Israelis showed up to honor him. Someone wrote a song about him:

“Yesh lcha shtey achayot, v’20,000 achim.”

“You have two sisters and 20,000 brothers.”

Geography

In most countries, you go off to war. In this country, you travel an hour and a half south or north to go to war. Gaza is an hour from my apartment in Tel Aviv. During the 2014 conflict, after the first Israeli soldiers died, Israeli citizens poured into the south to support the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). I will never forget going to visit my daughter at her base near Gaza and seeing rockets flying over my head.

My niece hands out popsicles to soldiers

One farm had been turned overnight into a R&R station for weary IDF soldiers with massages, hamburgers, salads, ice cream, haircuts and more. I walked around, amazed at the hundreds of non-soldiers who had come down to serve. On another occasion, Elana and I (along with some others) went all the way to the front lines to hand out coffee, underwear and sweets. We went from tank to tank, blessing these young men.

In the midst of the Gaza 2014 war, a family visits there son near the front lines.

 

Elana with soldiers on the Gaza border in 2009. We brought all kinds of food, coffee, underwear and socks.

see more more picture of distribution of goods to soldiers at Gaza

Start-Up Nation

Israel has earned the nickname The Start-Up Nation, with more start-ups per capita than any other nation. In their book by the same name, Dan Senor and Saul Singer show how the IDF is the best training for entrepreneurship. IDF soldiers understand what it means not to give up. How did such a young nation that is 15 times its original population, taking in immigrants from all over the world, become one of the most stable and profitable economies in the world? In 2009 Israel had 63 companies on Nasdaq, more than any other foreign country. Senor and Singer would tell you its the IDF

The authors believe that IDF service provides potential entrepreneurs with the opportunities to develop a wide array of skills and contacts. They also believe that IDF service provides experience exerting responsibility in a relatively un-hierarchical environment where creativity and intelligence are highly valued. IDF soldiers “have minimal guidance from the top, and are expected to improvise, even if this means breaking some rules. If you’re a junior officer, you call your higher-ups by their first names, and if you see them doing something wrong, you say so.” Neither ranks nor ages matter much “when taxi drivers can command millionaires and 23-year-olds can train their uncles,” —Wikipedia

Learning about the Fallen

The first thing Israelis do when a soldier falls in battle is to find out who he was. Where did he live. Did I know him. Did my kids know him. Over the days to come, information comes out about his life, what he liked, how he grew up, what were his hobbies. A girlfriend or wife, through tears, shares about his aspirations. What were their plans. Hid dad will share some funny stories about his childhood that molded him into the man he became. Israelis scour the papers to learn about this “boy”. All this through tears.

This custom is partly because we are such a small country and partly because his memory must continue to live in us. He can never be forgotten. On Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day, his name will be read out loud this year, along with thousands of his brothers who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Aviv Levi

So last night, it was a familiar sight to see a crying girlfriend on the news. She wrote this:

Levi’s girlfriend breaks down with reporters.

“My dearest love, my fighter. The heart burns and the tears don’t stop. Who would have thought you’d be gone so quickly? My Aviv, I refuse to believe this is real. I refuse to believe you are gone.”

His friend speaks of their planned trip to South Africa after their army service.

Seeing his friends on TV was something I’ve seen many times, speaking about him, talking about what he loved, what a great friend he was and how he never backed down from a challenge.

His father eulogized him:

“You were a ray of light for us, glowing and smiling. We loved to watch you grow into the man you became. You were the salt of the earth and paid the highest price because you excelled. You did not evade any task, big or small. You watched over your friends. We are not parting from you — you will be with us forever.”

When an Israeli soldier dies in battle, the country stops. The country mourns, recognizing that it could be just as easily be our own son or daughter. Actually, it is.

 

 

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Recently, I was chatting with my colleague, Ariel Blumenthal. Ariel is a budding theologian within our Tikkun Global Family. We were talking about prophecy and he said something akin to, “The greatest prophetic utterances in the New Testament era are the proclamation of the Gospel.” He based that on the angel’s words to John in Revelation 19:10:

For the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophesy. (TLV)

I had to meditate on that for a while. That afternoon, I felt the Lord redirect my Bible reading to the Book of Acts. I read the first four chapters and then three more today. And, BOOM, like lightning, I saw it!

The Transformation of Peter

The difference between pre-Shavuot/Pentecost Peter and post-Shavuot/Pentecost Peter is probably one of the most under-appreciated stories or testimonies of the entire Bible. Before the Shavuot outpouring in Acts 2, Peter was quite underwhelming. He is an uneducated fisherman. He is overly dramatic and impulsive:

  • He rebukes the Lord (Matt 16).
  • He declares he would die with Yeshua, hours before he denies him three times (John 13, 18).
  • He blurts out something about building tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17). God Almighty had to rebuke him.
  • Even after the resurrection, he is confused and, with the others, goes back to fishing (John 20).

In fact, just days before Shavuot, on the day Yeshua ascended into heaven, he and the disciples did not understand the Gospel message and began to ask Yeshua if he would now restore the kingdom to Israel.

The Rock Emerges

Then, on the day of Shavuot, they were all gathered in one place and the Spirit empowered them for ministry. Fire came and rested on them, and they spoke in tongues. Something happened to Peter. Yeshua nicknamed him “Rock” and said He would build His congregation on that ‘Rock.’ No, that doesn’t mean that Peter was the first pope. It means that a prophetic anointing would come on Peter, whereby he would teach, preach and testify of Yeshua at a level that would birth revival in Jerusalem. And the worldwide ecclesia would be built on that foundation.

If you read Acts chapters two through four, it is remarkable how he speaks. Remember, he is no Bible scholar. We never heard Peter expound upon scripture before this. But now the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Yeshua, comes upon him in power.

Suddenly, he is an expert on Old Testament prophecy. He boldly tells his hearers that this is God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh, as prophesied by Joel. He then quotes five verses from Joel 2. When did he memorize these verses? He didn’t, of course. This is the Spirit of God revealing the Gospel to Peter. Yeshua promised:

When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. (John 16:13 GNT)

At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matt. 10:19-20)

Peter speaks of the prophecies of King David, predicting the resurrection and showing Yeshua to be God. Listen to him:

Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. (Acts 2:29-32)

He speaks as, not only a seasoned theologian, but as a bold evangelist. Three thousand men, plus women and children, were “cut to the heart” and responded to his call that day. Immediately, they were immersed in water.

End-Times Expert in Just a Few Days

In Chapter three, he expounds on the end times. Just about two weeks before this, as stated earlier, he and the other disciples expected Yeshua to take over the world (Acts 1:6-7). Yeshua tells them, it is not the time. First, go preach the Gospel (Acts 1:8). But now, he is an end-times expert:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21)

Oh, that we would know this power of the Holy Spirit to speak through us.

Uneducated Man Speaks with Authority

Next, they are arrested. Peter boldly preaches to the Sanhedrin. His words are awesome! And it is because of the first thing we read in the next passage:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)

While Peter is the vessel, the words are coming by the Spirit. The Sanhedrin is blown away. Just as it was said of Yeshua, he spoke not like the rabbis, but as one with authority (Luke 4:36, Matt. 7:28-29). The Sanhedrin could feel the anointing.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Yes, prophecy has other functions in the New Covenant era (1 Cor. 14), but if “the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophesy,” we should be seeking more and more of His Spirit to prophetically call all men to follow Yeshua—as Peter and the disciples did. If you are a fivefold gifted evangelist, I hope this message will cause a new authority and anointing to arise in you.

 

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