Archives For Israel

The symbolism is powerful. For eight days we take one candle called the servant candle and light eight other candles. In the same way, Yeshua came as a servant and gave us light. In Israel being a light can be scary. You never know how someone will react to your faith. So last night, when 20-year-old Shai Sol testified of her faith in Yeshua before the whole country, every believer in Israel was challenged and encouraged.

Elana and I were hosting the leaders-in-training group from our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua for the last night of Hanukah. After lighting the candles and eating Sufganiot (1,000-calorie fried donuts), we turned on the TV at 9:00 PM to watch Israel’s newest reality show—HaKochav Haba—The Next Star. And we waited to see Shai.

Her audition began around 9:45 PM. On the show, the hosts first talk to the contestant before he or she sings. Shai got right to the point. “I think I will reveal that I am a Messianic Jew.” The interviewers were confused and asked, “What does that mean?” Shai responds, “Jews who believe in the Tenach (Old Testament) and the New Testament.” Continue Reading…

Last night I went to listen to former Finance Minister Yair Lapid (above left) speak in English to about 1,000 Anglo-Israelis. He started off the evening by telling a personal story.

He takes his daughter on a coffee date every Tuesday. During a recent coffee time, after ordering an espresso, he received a phone call. Normally he lets nothing interrupt these special dates. His office knows not to interrupt him. However, looking at the phone, he saw it was Prime Minister Netanyahu and felt he should answer. He did and the Prime Minister informed him that his services would no longer be needed—he was fired from his post as finance minister.

He hung up the phone just as the waitress was returning with his espresso. He looked at her and said, “When I ordered this espresso, I was the finance minister of Israel. By the time you brought it to me, I was fired and am now unemployed.” Continue Reading…

There are many preaching today that the nation of Israel is not a fulfillment of the promises of restoration to the Jewish people given by the Jewish prophets. And even if it is, how can we know for sure? Others have thought they were fulfilling prophecies and were wrong. We examine these claims to see if there is any validity to it.

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.16.41 AMScreen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.16.26 AM



Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.00.48 AM

Who is/are Abraham’s Heir(s)?

Ron Cantor —  December 10, 2014 — 8 Comments

The Torah portion (in Judaism there is a yearly calendar for reading the Torah) from a few weeks ago focused on Isaac. The Lord speaks to him in Genesis 26:

For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” (Gen. 26:3b-5)

In this promise to Isaac, the Lord affirms, that the promise to Abraham of the physical land of Israel, is meant for Isaac’s physical descendants, whom he declares will be as numerous as the stars of the sky, adding that through them, all nations on earth will be blessed.

In last week’s Torah reading, God affirms these promises to natural Israel to Jacob, Abraham’s grandson:

“I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” (Gen. 28:13-14)

This is very significant for several reasons:

One Man Can’t be as many as the Stars in the Sky

Those who embrace Fulfillment Theology (a more polite version of Replacement Theology) claim that all the promises to Abraham were fulfilled in the person of Yeshua on the cross. In other words, according to one of their leading theologians, the land promises are no longer to the Jews, but to all believers. And they no longer refer to Israel, but the whole world.

There is no argument that Abraham has spiritual children—believers in the Messiah from all nations—and that the most precious fulfillment of Abrahamic promise is in Yeshua and His followers. But the promises we see here are to Abraham’s physical son and grandson and to his physical seed—which would be like the stars and spread out through the east, north and south, meaning it was not merely to one person, Yeshua, as Fulfillment theologians claim—and it clearly refers to the physical land of Israel and multiple recipients.

To Abraham, the Lord promises to make his seed “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”

The DNA is in—Jews are Jews!

These passages also confirm that Israel will remain a significant nation in the future. Why is this important? Because there are many who claim that present day Israelis are not really Jews. The theory is that a massive group of Europeans called Khazars converted to Judaism. The story is that the ruling class of the Khazars, who formed Southern Russia empire in the eighth century, converted to Judaism. According to this myth, the entire community of Khazars converted and their descendants now make up what we know as Ashkenazi or European Jewry—like me.

The first problem here is that only about half of Israelis are European Jews. The other half come from all over the Middle East and Africa. What’s more is that scientists have now proved through DNA tests (click here to read article) that 75% of all European Jewish men come from the Middles East—not southern Russia. And Biblically, Jews must still be in Jerusalem when Yeshua returns (Zech. 12:10 and Zech. 14:1-4). How can they be in Israel as Zechariah says, if the Land of Israel is not promised to them and those possessing today are imposters? In Matthew 23:39, Yeshua says that the Jews will see Him again when they confess, Blessed is He (Yeshua) that comes in the name of the Lord. How can that happen if they don’t exist?

In addition to the dozens of promises where God says He will bring the Jews back into their own land (Ez. 36:24ff, Jer. 30, the whole chapter) he affirms with Isaac the physical Land of Israel as a gift from God: “To you an your descendants I will give all these lands.”

So the idea that the supernatural return of Jews from all over the world is really just an elaborate hoax or amazing coincidence in which God had no hand, is absurd. It would have to mean that there is another identifiably Jewish group out there that has yet to claim the land—not possible.

If only the Boycotters were to Truly Boycott

And lastly, the Replacement/Fulfillment camp claims that the Jewish people were a blessing to the world by bringing forth the Messiah and therefore, I guess, have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer needed. Another reason, as some claim, is because of Jewish rejection of Jesus (which wasn’t as widespread as some think: see this video) God has cursed Israel and cast them aside. It is true that the most powerful fulfillment of the prophecy to be a blessing to the nations was through Yeshua, however God continues to use Israel to bless the world in so many other ways.

In fact, Israel is the leading nation in the world (per capita) providing technological breakthrough in communications and medicine. Fifteen percent of all Nobel Peace Prize winners were Jewish, despite making up only .03 percent of the worlds population. After decades of worrying yearly if we would have enough rainfall, Israel now desalinates seawater and many of our cities use this for drinking water.

If all of those calling for a boycott against Israel were to truly stop using products that Israel profits from they would need to get rid of their cellphones, stop using instant messaging and should go homeopathic, because it is unlikely that receiving medical attention would be completely Judenfrei—free from Jewish influence.

You see, Paul said that that God’s calling on ethnic Israel is irrevocable (Rom. 11:29) and that was after Yeshua died and rose from the dead. Yet Fulfillment Theology says that all the promises to Abraham were fulfilled in full on the cross. Clearly Paul did not agree with this view as he affirms several times in Romans 9-11 of God’s continued love and calling on natural Israel. He even predicts in Romans 11 that the future Church would seek to erase Israel’s from God’s plan. And that has happened.

No Place for Pride

Often when I write on this topic some wrongly assume that I am claiming Jewish superiority. God forbid! This is not at all about Jews being better than those from the nations—called Abraham and His descendants because of His desire to reach the nations. This is about God’s faithfulness. God’s hand on Israel is not because of Jewish obedience or righteousness, but for God’s glory.




Bibi and the Rabbis

Ron Cantor —  December 2, 2014 — 2 Comments

(This is a guest post by Jamie Cowen, a lawyer who lives in central Israel.)

The Nationality bill is an attempt by Israel’s right wing parties to define Israel as a Jewish State. You might ask, why is this a problem since Israel is a Jewish state? Exactly. What?  Let’s examine modern Israeli history.

The land of Israel was occupied by numerous powers for 2000 years. The longest running occupation was the Ottoman Empire (1516-1917). As part of the Treaty of Paris of 1856, concluding the Crimean War, England successfully pressured the Empire to allow Jews to immigrate to their former home land, thus opening the door for the Aliyah movements (immigration to Israel). Just prior to the end of World War I, the Zionist movement lobbied for the British to declare the then Land of Palestine to be a Jewish homeland. This culminated in the issuing of the Balfour Declaration – a letter from then British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Zionist movement.  The letter stated, in part, that the British government favored the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Treaty of Versailles, concluding World War I, granted Palestine to the British, thus making the Balfour Declaration effective and ushered in a much larger immigration of Jews to Israel.

Following World War II, the British transferred their mandate over Palestine to the newly formed United Nations. In November, 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into two states, a Jewish one and an Arab (Palestinian one).  On May 14, 1948, Israel was officially established when she issued her Declaration of Independence. Here are some relevant parts of the Declaration’s text:

“Accordingly, we, members of the people’s council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations general assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

“The State of Israel will be open to the immigration of Jews and for the Ingathering of the Exiles from all countries of their dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Since the issuing of the Declaration, Israel has always considered herself a Jewish and democratic state. Both concepts are embedded in some of Israel’s Basic Laws, a form of constitution for the nation. However, from time to time, the Jewish and democratic natures clash. Examples are: Businesses are forced to close on Shabbat. Couples who choose not to be married by the Orthodox Rabbinate can only marry outside of the country. Women seeking divorce from their husbands must seek the Rabbinate’s approval first or cannot be divorced. Generally, however, democratic principles trump Jewish religious standards. The tension between Israel’s Jewish and democratic natures is often resolved by the Supreme Court. So, what’s the problem?

Some of Israel’s right wing politicians, including the Prime Minister, believe 1) the Supreme Court has erred on the side of democracy over Jewishness, and 2) Israel needs a new Basic Law declaring she is a Jewish state in order to thwart international efforts to enhance the rights of Arabs both within the State and the territories and to force the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel to declare that Israel is a Jewish state.  There are several fundamental problems with this new proposal.

1) Some of the language in various proposals would make Jewish law a guide for Israeli law. As a body of law, Jewish law is an amazing set of laws developed over thousands of years.  However, Jewish law is developed and determined by rabbis and thus lends itself to a theocratic form of government. History is replete with failed theocratic states, e.g. Iran, Sudan, the new Caliphate of Syria/Iraq. Freedom of speech and religion would be jeopardized by such a proposal.

2) Even if the language above is stricken, a new Basic Law could lead to a reconsideration of Israeli case law, which has helped make Israel a modern and successful nation. Anytime a new law is enacted, it must be interpreted by the courts. There are numerous possible unintended consequences from such an action.

3) Why is there even a need for such a law? It’s clear from Israel’s Declaration of Independence and other Basic Laws that Israel is a Jewish State. Pushing this issue again is simply a provocative act towards the international community and Arab citizens.

4) The enactment of such an act will likely lead to the collapse of the current government and the rise of a new one, possibly full of haredim (ultra-Orthodox), to the detriment of the country generally, and to the Messianic Jewish community, particularly.

5) Enhancing religious law in Israel is a recipe for disaster. The sole arbiters of Jewish law in Israel are the haredim. They comprise a small minority of Jews both in Israel and throughout the world. Many of their rulings are overly restrictive and discriminatory. Secular Jews would flee the country, and the country would regress in numerous areas, including religious plurality and tolerance.  The result would be a type of Islamization of Israel.

Please pray for the defeat of this bill and for righteous and progressive leaders to arise in the land.