Archives For Isaiah 2

This is a guest post from my dear friend and mentor Asher Intrater, leader of Revive Israel/Tikkun International. We often fear messages about self control, because we see it as ‘human effort’. But see the smile on God’s face when you say no to the flesh and yes to the Holy Spirit. There is grace for this. More and more I see that self-control regarding our appetites is a major key to spiritual power. Don’t be afraid to read and embrace. We love and bless you!

How we love the fruit of the spirit! – love and joy and all that good stuff. It is the very personality of God within us. There’s one fruit of the spirit at the end that seems to be less talked about: self-control. We could call it the Final Fruit.

 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control… – Galatians 5:22

Perhaps people are less attracted to this fruit because it demands saying “no” a little bit. It means saying “no” to our own desires, or at least restraining them to a certain degree. But this fruit is quite important.

Yeshua received the power of the Holy Spirit, primarily by saying “no” three times to the devil (Luke 4:1-14). Self-control is about saying “no” to ourselves. It is similar to “denying ourselves” (Luke 9:33). It means guarding our minds so that dark thoughts don’t come in at any time (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:4-8). It is keeping the door closed to anything that would give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-29).

We receive every blessing by grace because Yeshua was crucified FOR us. At the same time, God calls us to live as if we are crucified WITH Him.

I am crucified with Messiah, and I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me. The life I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:22

We call this the crucified life. It is our response to His being crucified for us. We are not actually crucified physically. We live daily “as if” we are crucified. Self-crucifixion is a spiritual parable. On a day-to-day basis I exercise self-restraint over natural desires. The fruit of self-control is the way we live out the idea of being crucified with Him.

When the Lord wants to bless us, there is first a period of self-control. Sometimes this period is one minute, sometimes one year. Often it seems like forever. Self-control is needed before the blessing, during the blessing and after the blessing.

Just because God blessed you with a nice meal doesn’t mean you have to eat everything on the table. We exercise self-control in order to keep the blessings in their place. We keep the bad things out, and we keep the good things under control. God remains on the throne over us.

This example may be a bit graphic, but self-control reminds me of when you are forced to wait before going to the bathroom. You squeeze a muscle deep down inside and hold it shut tight. On a soul level, that is what self-control is like.

We are not waiting to relieve ourselves. We are waiting on the Lord. We hold ourselves back from our own instincts in order to give the Lord time and opportunity to work in our lives. While we wait on the Lord, we exercise self-control.

Patience is greater than power; and he who rules his own spirit is greater than one who captures a city. – Proverbs 16:32

You can be greater than an army general, an athletic champion or a prime minister. They are heroes. The one who can control himself is a “super”-hero. Self-control is the greatest of victories.

I sense even as I write this that there is divine ability to increase self-control. I pray for you right now as you read this that the fruit of self-control will grow abundantly in your life.

Israel is the lowest ranked team at the World Baseball Classic, 200-1 underdogs! They have been compared to the Jamaican Bobsled Team. And, as I am typing, they are in the ninth inning at 8:19 AM, Sunday morning (Israel time) and are about to defeat baseball powerhouse, Cuba. This is after going undefeated in their first round against third-ranked Korea, fourth-ranked Taiwan and ninth-ranked Holland.

This is nothing short of a miracle…well, just short of a miracle. After all, we are talking baseball, not Red Sea partitions.

Yawning, not Fawning

Now you would expect that the nation is just overwhelmed with excitement and pride. The truth is, most Israelis could not explain the rules of baseball and are unaware of our success at the #WBC. When our Sports Minister was asked if she was going to South Korea, (where Israel is playing), she was clueless that the event was even taking place.

Players and coaches read the book of Esther for Purim before going out and being Cuba (@Yair_Rosenberg, Twitter)

Nevertheless, to see sluggers wearing the kippah and singing (or at least listening) the Israeli national anthem is moving. In addition, according to Jewish tradition, the players read from the book of Esther (known as the Megillah) from the dugout.

“The Finger of God!”

So, why isn’t the nation more excited? Let’s go back to 2004. When Maccabi Tel Aviv scored six quick points, they were still trailing by three with two seconds left in the Euroleague basketball game that would decide if they made the playoffs or not. They fouled the other team’s best shooter. He hadn’t missed a foul shot in his last 18 Euroleague games! He missed them both. Tel Aviv got the rebound and Gur Shelif quickly passed the ball to Derek Sharpe, who swished a three-pointer, as time ran out. We won in overtime!

The headline read the next morning, “The Finger of God!”

“Maccabi’s coach, Pini Gershon, declared the shot a Passover miracle. “You have witnessed a miracle. I am a believer. And if this is not a miracle, I don’t know what a miracle is.”

As a new immigrant, I watched the ending on a beach in Eilat with about 500 people. It was truly the greatest comeback I’d ever seen. We went on to win the Euroleague Championship that year.

You see, being the people of the book, rebirthed after 2,000 years of wandering around nationless, we view every victory as God-inspired. When Israel won just two medals—a bronze and silver—in last summer’s Olympics, the bronze medal winner, Or Sasson said, “We did something amazing. Israel is a judo empire.”

Well, not quite. But we overcame a lot to get those medals. First, a Saudi opponent forfeited her match to avoid going up against an Israeli. Then, the Lebanese Judo team would not let the Israeli team on the bus they were supposed to ride together. Finally, after the aforementioned Sasson, defeated his Egyptian opponent, the Egyptian refused to shake his hands. So, with the world against us, we tend to see the finger of God, not only in theology and war, but also in sports.

Why not Baseball?

And yet, when I just told my very Israeli wife of Israel’s heroics in the World Baseball Classic, she had no idea what I was talking about. Let me explain why.

  1. First, Israelis don’t play baseball. We play soccer and basketball. In schools, there are no baseball teams.
  2. Secondly, Israelis don’t watch baseball. Your average Israeli could not tell you what a bunt is. A sacrificed fly might be mistaken for doves being sacrificed at the Temple, before connecting it to baseball.
  3. And, thirdly, our “Israeli” team doesn’t have many Israelis—two, to be exact—and my guess is they immigrated.

“Support has also suffered because the team is, well, not very Israeli. Thanks to the WBC’s “heritage rule,” its players are almost all Americans with major or minor league experiences and varying degrees of ties to Judaism and Israel.”

So the only way for Israelis to truly get excited about this “Purim Miracle” is for our team to keep winning.

Mensch on the Bench

A mensch is a Yiddish word for “stand-up guy” and some are crediting Israel’s miraculous success with their mascot, who actually can’t stand up. The Mensch on the Bench, as he is known, resembles a rabbinic Jew; he is 5ft tall and was the idea of infielder Cody Decker.

“[The Mensch has been a] big hit in South Korea and with pictures of him wearing a t-shirt making the rounds on social media, he’s also been involved with generating the hashtag #JewCrew.”

Is Baseball the new Judo?

After Israel’s Olympic success in judo, it became all the rage for younger Israelis. However, the problem with baseball is that you need 18 people, a field and equipment. Nevertheless, if the Israeli team continues on this tear, the larger population will rally behind our sort-of-Israeli team. The good news is that it slowly catching on. After today’s win, I noticed that it was on the front page of, not just our English news sites here in Israel, but our most popular Hebrew site had a story about it as well.

If Israel somehow reaches the finals in Dodger Stadium, they will arrive too soon for us to connect it to Passover, and Purim is just now ending. We might just have to event another Jewish holiday. Maybe this one will be celebrated with hotdogs, peanuts and crackerjacks.


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It has been reported that some 500,000 Syrians have been killed in the six-year-old civil war. This has created a refugee problem numbering more than 10,000,000. Yet, it is the country on Syria’s southern border—her mortal enemy, Israel—that has done more for the refugees and for those wounded in attacks, than Arab countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Israel agrees to take 100 Syrian Orphans

According to an Amnesty International report, these countries have not taken in even one Syrian refugee. And yet, Israel is preparing to receive 100 Syrian refugee orphans. (Note: some of the nations listed dispute the Amnesty report.)

It does seem quite strange that you would take in refugees from a country that would love to see you eliminated from the face of the earth. In fact, the L.A. Times published an article back in 2015 entitled: One country that won’t be taking Syrian refugees: Israel.

Think again. A plan proposed by Israel’s interior minister would have 100 Syrian orphans come to Israel. For three months, they would stay in dorms and then be placed with Israeli Arab families. Yes, Israel has 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens. These are not Palestinians but Israeli, with all the freedoms that Israeli Jews enjoy.

Israel’s Secret Field Hospital

Imagine this scenario. A wounded Israeli needs medical attention. He doesn’t have time to get to an Israeli hospital, but there is a hospital just over the Syrian border. So, he pleads with the Syrians to let him in. Would they let him in? How would they treat him? Would they charge him for treatment?

Of course, this is a nonsensical postulation. It would never happen, but if it did, more than likely the Israeli would either be turned away, kidnapped or killed. And then, there is that adage, “Love your enemy.”

Up in the Golan Heights, Israel established a field hospital to treat Syrians. As of last August, Israel had treated over 2,500 wounded Syrians at both this field hospital and in other Israeli hospitals, saving many of their lives.

In one case, the Israeli Defense Forces went into Syria, just over the border to evacuate eight wounded Syrians. Under heavy fire, Israeli soldiers (our sons and daughters) risked their lives to save members of an enemy state. This is unheard of. But it doesn’t surprise me. Despite the image that the media spreads of an imperialist, apartheid state—this is the real Israel.

The field hospital has been closed, but Israel’s heart has not. The military decided that it would instead do emergency treatments in military ambulances while they are on their way to a hospital in the Galilee. The IDF Northern Command said that the closing of the field hospital was done to increase efficiency, and that the field hospital can be re-opened at any time.

Of course, the Syrians, who have been taught since youth that Israel is a bloodthirsty, evil nation, were shocked to see the compassion. One surgeon said:

“They say that before the previous week, before they came, they thought we were the Great Satan, the enemies, and looked for the tails between our legs.”

In the same article, a rebel fighter remarked.

“Bashar [Assad] didn’t take care of us. Here, in Israel, we are being taken care of. Bashar doesn’t care about us, whereas Israel does. Bashar fires shells at us, he doesn’t care about us at all.”

Another expressed his shock:

“They taught us about the Zionist enemy, the Zionist oppressor. But when we saw the Zionists, [we realized] they were nothing like what we’d been told. They’re human beings just like us, human, and even more than that.”

The Times of Israel wrote an excellent piece on the Israel field hospital.

100 Tons of Secret Love from Jews

An Israeli group has collected 100 tons of supplies for Syrian refugees. Winter coats, boots, warm clothing and more will be donated for those Syrians fleeing civil war. But there is one catch. All clothing tags with Hebrew or any other reference to Israel had to be removed. In addition, the goods will be delivered via a third party so the recipient will never know that it was their mortal enemy, Israel, that is helping them in their most difficult moment.

 “I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for,” Gilad Perry, Dror Israel’s international collaborations director, said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy country,’ overwhelmed me.”

Whenever Israel does something like this, there are those who scoff, saying, “You are just doing this for the PR.” And yet, here there is no PR. I want those Syrian refugees who have been breastfed lies about the character of Israelis since birth, to know the truth about us. But even as they are wearing Israeli jackets and Israeli boots, they will still assume we hate them.

“Through you, the whole world will be blessed”

God said to Abraham that His seed would be a blessing to the world (Gen. 12:3). This has come true—even towards our enemies. While the donors were happy to give anonymously, I want the world to see what a great country we live in. So I don’t apologize for asking you to be sure to share this information with your friends.

PIC: from Israel’s field hospital in Haiti, which received the worlds highest grade possible and has become the standard that other nations are copying. 

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Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! And speaking of the birth of the Messiah, I feel compelled to comment on the fact that Respected Megachurch Pastor Andy Stanley has questioned the significance of the Virgin Birth. I understand he is seeking to reach the unreached by being edgy, but theologically the Virgin Birth is an essential part of God’s plan of salvation for mankind.

Read CBN’s report story here:
1. If Yeshua was not born of the Seed of God, He would not be the Second Adam (Rom. 5)—perfect, but he would be born of “corruptible seed”. However, Peter says that He was born of an “Incorruptible seed.” (1 Pet. 1:23)
2. His blood would have been spoiled, tainted with the sin of Adam. Instead we were redeemed with the “precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah.” (1 Pet. 1:19)
3. If he was Joseph’s son after the flesh, what set him apart as Holy? He would have been born into sin, just like you and me. 
4. Isaiah is quoted by Matthew saying “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” So Matthew the BIBLE WRITER thinks it is important. 
5. Stanley says that it is only reported in half the gospels. So what? If it is reported once IN SCRIPTURE, that is enough. The Woman at the Well, the John 9 blind dude, Lazurus’ resurrection and many other stories are only mentioned once, but no one questions their validity. The Virgin Birth, particularly in Luke, is clearly laid out as prophetic. Mark and John start at Yeshua’s adult life.

6. The same angel that announced to Joseph the Virgin Birth said he was to be named Yeshua. Yeshua means salvation. The angel said, “He will bring yeshu’a (salvation) to His people.” Is that not important? And it is only mentioned once in Matthew. Maybe we should throw it out?

Conclusion: We should do everything we can to be culturally relevant, to reach the people of our generation, but never compromise the Word of God. All of the Word of God is sacred and true. #SlipperySlope.

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Messiah’s Mandate
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Thank you so much! God bless you from Tel Aviv, Israel!

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One of the most well known stories in the Bible is when God tests Abraham. And yet, so many miss how this powerful, prophetic act points to Yeshua. When Abraham is preparing for his 100th birthday, the Lord visits him and gives him the shock of his life:

“‘And I will bless Sarah and also give you a son by her; and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” … Then God said: “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” (Genesis 17:17, 19)

And sure enough, in their old age, Abraham and Sarah have a son. The Bible says that Sarah’s womb was dead and yet God gave her a child.

Sometime later God decides to test Abraham and tells him, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

What’s interesting is we don’t get to see Abraham’s reaction. Maybe he had none. By this time, maybe he had learned to trust the Lord. Maybe he argued, even as he laughed, when the Lord told him that 90-year-old Sarah would have a son. What we do know is that he obeyed.

They set out for Moriah. And it looks like Isaac gets a little concerned going up the mountain. They have a conversation:

“Father”…”Yes my son”… “Ehhh, The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Did Isaac know? Was he getting concerned?

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb.” And that is the most powerful verse in the passage. God will provide a lamb. In Hebrew the word is ‘seh’ (like ‘say’) and it refers to a young lamb.

Okay…they reach Mount Moriah and Abraham builds an altar. And again, I would love to see the response of Isaac when his dad begins to tie him to the altar. Did he protest? “Eh, Abba, what are you doing?” Or did they walk so close to the voice of God that both trusted that the Lord who opened Sarah’s womb could also raise the dead.

Abraham lifts the knife and is about to plunge it into Isaac when the Angel of the Lord stops him. Many believe that this is Yeshua appearing in the Old Testament, which makes what I am about to say next even more amazing!

Abraham sees a ram caught in the thicket. There is only one problem. Abraham, a prophet of Yahweh, said that God would provide a lamb—a seh—not a ram which is a different Hebrew word, ‘ayal’ and refers to adult male sheep. A lamb or a seh in Hebrew, is a baby lamb, innocent, like young Isaac.

You see, God would never ask of Abraham that which he was not willing to give Himself. They were in covenant together. God asked from Abraham his most precious possession, his son. God purposely placed Himself in debt to Abraham and would make good on it when He sent to Israel, and the world, His only son as a sacrifice. Many years later, his cousin John, seeing Yeshua come toward him, declares, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Isaiah prophesied that, like Isaac, “he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,” and Paul calls Yeshua our “Passover lamb.” On Passover, you could not use a ram, but only a one-year-old male lamb, without spot or blemish.

You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

The lamb that God provided was not the ram caught in the thicket, but was the angel of the Lord, Yeshua, that stopped Abraham from killing Isaac.

And then that same Lamb, who would come 1600 years later, also in a supernatural birth to a young Israelite, says to Abraham:

“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore… and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”


Consider a year-end gift to Messiah’s Mandate so we can continue to share the good news of Yeshua in Tel Aviv! Thank you!

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