Archives For Israel

Jerusalem’s Old City is the most controversial piece of real estate in the world. More specifically, the Temple Mount. Recently, the United Nations confirmed the UNESCO decision that the Temple Mount had no connection with historic Israel. Donald Trump has pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, essentially confirming that the US recognizes Jerusalem (and not Tel Aviv) as Israel’s capital. While some countries in the past did have embassies in Jerusalem, they have all now moved to Tel Aviv. These moves were against the desire of the State of Israel. I know of no other country where the international community does not recognize her capital.

But what does God think? God loves Jerusalem. The Psalmist laments in Ps 137:

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

But the world hates Jerusalem. We read in Zechariah that God is:

“going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zech. 12:2-3)

Jerusalem will be a cup that sends the nations reeling. In other words, she will cause the nations to be confused. They will not be able to figure her out or know what to do with her. For instance, the nations will seek to erase her history as we see with UNESCO or take it over, as the UN wanted to do in 1948. And the imagery her is of a hernia, “all that try to move it will injure themselves.” Be careful, UN.

In the past 83 years, Jerusalem has been under the control of five entities. The Turkish, the British, and then the UN had control over her for a very brief time in 1947. They voted for Jerusalem to become an international city controlled by the UN. Shortly after that, the Jordanians seized control during the Israeli War for Independence. And then, in 1967, the Israelis captured Jerusalem when Jordan attacked her during the Six-Day War.

Since that time, she has been in Jewish hands. But the controversy surrounding her has remained and even increased. Now the Palestinians want control over Jerusalem and, more specifically, THE TEMPLE MOUNT. In fact, the Temple Mount is full of vocal and aggressive Hamas activists that harass Jews who want to visit. There truly is no real estate more controversial than Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount.

Why Jerusalem? It is a dot on the earth. It’s not much bigger than a shopping mall, and yet all the nations are going crazy over it. Why the Temple Mount? Because that is where Yeshua will return. It is from this area that He will rule in the age to come. His throne will be here. There is more warfare over this little piece of land than any other in the world. Nations have fought over it for centuries.

But according to Joseph Farar, the Temple Mount is not even mentioned in the Koran. He says, “Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem.”

Of course this doesn’t matter to them. What matters to them is that Jews cannot control Jerusalem and they must be dealt with. In Zechariah 12:3 it says that all nations will gather against Jerusalem.

God is not impressed. The UN may claim Jerusalem is not Jewish, but they are mere ants in the eyes of God. They have no authority over Jerusalem. Yes, God used them in 1947—during a momentary lapse in their anti-Semitic judgment—but they have no say over her future.

The closer we get to the coming of Yeshua, the more controversial this piece of real estate will become. In fact, the Bible says all nations will attack her leading up to the final attack on Jerusalem in Zechariah 14. But, as we know, the Lord will come and fight against them as He sets up His millennial kingdom.

Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name. (Zech. 14:3-4a, 9)

 

 

An amazing thing happened the other day!

We were filming the fourth episode of a series on the Six Day War for #OutofZion, when I began to read a powerful and long quote from Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who gave an amazing speech as Israeli Soldiers took Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in 1967. Suddenly, I felt God’s presence in a powerful way. Deep emotion welled up and I spoke with passion. We were in the Western Wall Plaza and a small crowd formed around us. While we had already filmed three episodes, this was clearly different.

When I finished speaking, I noticed an Orthodox family. The father told me how powerful the message was and asked me if I would come give sermons at his Orthodox synagogue. He said that had been looking for someone to bring messages. He hung around while we finished a small video clip. After I finished, I thanked him for his encouragement but told him, “You might not want to invite me to share sermons, as I am a Messianic Jew. I believe Yeshua is the Messiah.”

He responded, “You just lost a job.” And then added I could still do t’shiva—repentance and become orthodox. I told him I repented when I found Yeshua and added that it was nice to meet him.

The point is that he and his family felt the presence of God, but his bias towards Yeshua quickly closed him off. Of course that is why I wrote Identity Theft—so people like him can see that believing in Yeshua is perfectly Jewish.

Yigal, one of our cameramen, said that it reminded him of when the people said of Yeshua, “he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Of course, it wasn’t me, but any New Testament communicator under the anointing would have been just as effective. It is the Presence of God.

Please pray for him and his family.

Here is the quote I was reading as the first Jewish soldiers entered the Western Wall Plaza towards the end of the Six Day War:

“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem – rebuilt!”

I am writing to you from JFK airport in New York (10 days ago) as Rosh Hashanah comes to a close. I was supposed to fly to San Diego and give one message and get home to Israel before Rosh Hashanah, but then I was invited to Orlando to promote our new show on God.tv, “Out of Zion.” I really didn’t want to go, but Elana said, “If you go, you can fly through Richmond on the way back and spend Rosh Hashanah with the girls.”

Chabad Richmond

And that is what I did. What a great day it was to be with my parents, my sister and my daughters. We went to the Orthodox Jewish synagogue with my parents. This was not the Conservative synagogue in which I grew up, but the far stricter, “Chabad” stream. And this synagogue has a special place in my heart. The rabbi’s father was the rabbi when I was a kid. After I came to faith in Yeshua, my parents asked me to meet with him, and we did, weekly. His goal was to convince me that Yeshua was not the Messiah and that I should simply become an Orthodox Jew.

Yankl Kranz (in the picture) was a dear, sweet man with good hopes for Richmond. He used to drive a huge ‘bookmobile’ trying to get Jewish kids to read Jewish books. It was a library on wheels. We really enjoyed each other. He died young and his son, Yossel, took over for him. Yossel and I have a bit in common. We are both American Jews, rabbis of sort, and we both married beautiful Israelis. He is a fantastic communicator and unlike in Orthodox Judaism in Israel, he doesn’t put guilt trips on the more secular Jews, but seeks to draw them in at whatever level they are willing to enter.

Theological Divide

However, despite the similarities there is a great theological divide. Though his sermon was well written and quite humorous, his basic point, as we were beginning the High Holy days—days where our sin is highlighted and we seek forgiveness—was not “Repent”. But the opposite. “You are far more righteous than you think. Don’t say I don’t keep kosher, say, I keep kosher most of the time. Don’t say, I don’t keep the Sabbath, but say, I keep the Sabbath most of the day.” He does not see us as sinners.

He characterized Jeremiah as depressed, not understanding that he was broken over the sinful state of the Jewish people as he saw prophetically that they were about to be conquered by the Babylonians and their Temple destroyed (586 BCE).

“If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Orthodox Judaism fails to understand that the Torah is not a set of rules to please God, but that our inability to keep the Torah revealed to us that we are sinners in need for forgiveness (Gal. 3, Rom. 7). While we should strive to keep the Ten Commandments, each time we read them we realize how far we fall short. Isaiah said that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Is. 64:6) To be clear, the analogy is referring to a woman’s monthly cycle.

We have Sinned!

Both Daniel and Isaiah cried out, “We have sinned” but modern Judaism (really post 2nd Temple Judaism created by Yochanan Ben Zakkai [read this about that guy!!] after the 2nd Temple was destroyed) says, we can earn forgiveness through:

  1. Giving
  2. Repentance
  3. Prayer
  4. Good works or mitzvot 

It is during this season however—the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—that we sing Avinu Malkenu, Our Father and King. The very second line is:

Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha

אבינו מלכנו חתנו לפניך

And no, it does not mean, “Our father in heaven, we tried really hard.” It means, “Our father in heaven, we have sinned before you.” This cry is the cry of the Hebrew prophets. And God answered by sending us a Moshia (Savior) who was qualified to take the punishment we deserve, as Isaiah said, “So the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6)

In the same way that a judge doesn’t reward a murderer for the people he didn’t kill or the thief for how much he didn’t steal, God will not turn a blind eye to our sin just because we do some good things. But Yeshua came, and according to Isaiah, He took our punishment.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Yeshua came to make us holy, not through our keeping most of the Sabbath, but through His death and resurrection. Here is a video I made related to this.

May this be the Yom Kippur season that the we see the words of Zechariah come to pass:

 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Please consider a special gift this Yom Kippur to help us reach Israelis with the message of the Messiah. Thank you!

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Feast of Trumpets

Ron Cantor —  October 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

The ELCA, not to be confused with the star of Frozen—that would be Elsa—has taken a brazen stand against Israel. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has voted to divest from Israel and encourage the United States to pull all support until Israel leaves what they call “Palestinian Lands”. I take just over five minutes here to explain that there is no such thing as “Palestinian lands”. M apologies to Methodists everywhere for my mistake at the end 🙂

It is interesting, but I was told by a former leader of an ELCA church, that while they were voting to marry and ordain homosexuals, a tornado blew that tore off the steeple of the church!

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