“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings from the Ozark Mountains and the ETH&S ministry headquarters.  Marylois and I arrived at the base Wednesday night after a visit with our son Bryan and daughter-in-law Sheri and grandkids.  They live in Maryland, and we took the opportunity to be with family after flying back from Israel. We had a precious time with family, and got to observe our first “Thanksgiving” in a long time with them.

This is a season of darkness, but also a time when our thoughts and decorations focus on the light.  The prophet Isaiah foretold of a time when God’s light would come upon Israel, a scriptural passage highlighting the Messiah’s coming.  A time when “darkness shall cover the earth” and “gross darkness the people.”  A season that may very well speak of our present day. This present age is bringing with it a rapid decline of morals and godly habits, along with an increase in mass murders, gender confusion, and wars to name a few other signs. The powers of darkness are striving to achieve dominion for they know their time is short.  But “the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”  Darkness can never overpower light, no matter how small it is or how great the darkness is, light’s brightness shines through.

I love Jesus’s word: “I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  The shepherds of Bethlehem saw the glory of the Lord.  The wise men pursued his star and worshiped the babe.  Simeon held him and prophesied he would be “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Lk. 2:32).  John the Baptist declared that “All flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk. 3:6).  The blind man washed and saw Jesus and worshiped (Jn. 9:38).  This is a season to rejoice and be encouraged.  To shout from the housetops that “Messiah is come,” and that the gates of hell shall not overcome you or me or His fellowship of believers.

Darkness in Hebrew (hoshekh) can be translated as evil, obscurity, falsehood, misery.  It is also figurative of blindness.  Light though in Hebrew is “or.”   It means to illuminate, to refresh, to gladden, to cheer, to kindle or set on fire.  It also means welfare, prosperity, and happiness.  May the LORD fill you with his light this season and kindle your soul with His presence.

Seasons back, Marylois and I, her aunt, and June Lewis visited Jericho, the ancient city of the priests and where Jesus restored blind Bartimaeus’ sight.  We were visiting the spot where Zacchaeus had climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus.  June asked me if I thought this was the original tree. I replied “I don’t know, but I know Jesus must have passed very close to here.”

It was then, in that instance, the entire van we were in was enveloped in light.  It was so intense, it was as if we had become a part of it.  All of our bodily breath suddenly left us.  It was then I heard a still soft voice whisper:  “I am still passing by this way.”   We had stepped through a heavenly portal for just a moment.  I have never forgotten that experience.  He is the light, and when we are in his presence, we become light. I have been to Jericho, many times since then, and but have never had another experience like that.

My word to other believers is not to seek Him or look to find Him in such “holy places,” but to know that His light in you will draw all men and women unto Him. There is plenty of darkness in the world, and in many people, who pass you by; but when they see Jesus in your eyes, they will be like Nicodemus and come to you. Let His words be like the two disciples on the Emmaus road.  May they burn within your heart.

My prayer this season is that we would all remember the Christ in you, the hope of glory. “May the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints is.” (Eph. 1:18)

Israel and Hezbollah
This week, the IDF uncovered two large tunnels originating from Lebanon which were dug into Israel. These underground passages were found near the village of Metula on Israel’s most northern border.  Hezbollah, the Iranian supported force, carved out these tunnels to launch cross border attacks. The IDF announced a new anti-tunnel operation called “Operation Northern Shield” to prevent their use. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that these cross-border tunnels “are wider and larger and their goal is to transfer battalions, large forces into Israeli territory in order to come in and carry out a killing spree and kidnappings and to capture villages” (www.timesofisrael.com). In a meeting with 25 foreign ambassadors, Netanyahu declared:  “We are denying our enemies the weapon of tunnels systematically and decisively. What we are facing is one big enemy. That enemy is called Iran.” Netanyahu also mentioned that there is a “reasonable possibility Israel will have to operate in Lebanon to neutralize the threat posed by Hezbollah’s terror tunnels” (www.ynetnews.com).

Pray that the enemies of Israel will lose heart and bow their knee. Pray that Israel will uncover all secret passageways and hidden schemes that its enemies want to devise against her.  Pray success for the IDF in all its operations against its enemies.  Pray that the God of Israel, who never slumbers nor sleeps, would rise up and defend His people. Pray that those who desire to work evil against Israel be continually frustrated.  Pray that they will see their success denied on all fronts. Pray wisdom for Prime Minister Netanyahu as he seeks to avoid a three-front war against Iran, Syria (Hezbollah), and Hamas.

Hanukkah
This is the season of light in Israel and throughout the world. This week is Hanukkah, a time celebrating the cleansing and re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after it had been recovered by the Jewish Maccabees in 164B.C. Sources reveal that there was only enough oil to burn in the Temple Menorah for one day and eight were needed. God multiplied the oil and it burned for eight days!

Messianic believers see this celebration as pointing toward the Light which was to come. Hanukkah continues for eight days, with a new candle or new oil lamp lit every succeeding night in a branched shaped holder called a menorah.  The center of the menorah is a ninth candle traditionally called the shamash or “servant” lamp or candle.

The future coming Messiah is also seen through the servant branch in Zechariah’s word “Behold, I am bringing forth my servant, the BRANCH” (Zec. 3:8).  He is the true light and life of the world, and in our lives as well.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gene and Marylois,
House of Peace