“And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness… And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel: so will I save you and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.” Zechariah 8:8,13
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Greetings in the precious name of Jesus. I am including in this prayer letter an article recently written by our friends Martin and Norma and submitted for publication in the Spring issue of the Polish Christian family magazine, Nasze Inspiracje. Martin and Norma are in leadership at Succat Hallel, a 24 hour worship center not far from the House of Peace. God is indeed moving among His people:
A Very Special Year
Shalom! We have moved into a very special year in our land. This spring Israel will celebrate her 70th anniversary! On the 14th of May, 1948, a miracle occurred! The Hebrew people, who had for centuries been scattered throughout the world, were now, as foretold by their prophets, gathered back into their ancient land of promise. Their language had been restored. And on that afternoon in a hall in Tel Aviv, David Ben Gurion read in Hebrew the “Scroll of the Establishment of a State”—(“Declaration of Independence”), which included these words, “ [We do] HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.” That evening at midnight, after over 2500 years, a nation under the sovereignty of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once more came into being!
In the year 1948, May 14th fell on the 4th day of the 2nd month in the Hebrew calendar, the month of Iiyar. Since then, “Independence Day,” as with other festivals in Israel, has always been celebrated according to the Hebrew Calendar rather than the Gregorian. This means that this year the 4th of Iiyar falls on April 19th, which is when the primary celebrations will take place. But there will certainly be others as well on the 14th of May! In fact, there is a sense here that because it is the 70thanniversary, this entire year has something incredibly important about it! This anticipation is not only in Israel! This year Israel is expecting more tourists from the nations than ever before. Already, many hotels are finding themselves overbooked throughout the year!
Israel’s 70th year
Why is this 70th year so important? Why do so many people sense there to be something very significant about the number “70”? We certainly cannot explain all the reasons! But we would point out that the numbers “7” and “70” turn up at very significant times in the Hebrew Bible. Often, the number “7” in Scripture appears to signify “completion” or “fulfillment”. And 70? It is recorded in the Book of Genesis (46:27) that the number of sons of the house of Jacob (Israel) who came down to Egypt in the days of Joseph was seventy (Four-hundred years later, they would depart a mighty nation). In the early days after the Exodus, God met with “70 elders of the people” (Exodus 24:9). Is “70” a number related to beginnings and leadership which will expand? In the Book of Daniel (Chapter 9:24), there is a mysterious prophecy of “seventy weeks” for the Hebrew people and Jerusalem, which is related to “finishing transgression, making an end of sin, making atonement and bringing in righteousness.” In 605 BC, Daniel was among the captives of the southern kingdom of Judah when they were exiled to Babylon. 70 years later, they were released from captivity and allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple. Might the completion of this first 70 years of modern Israel signal a time for release of a new freedom in the area of worship?
“Placing our trust in the Rock of Israel”
The last paragraph of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, signed 70 years ago this year, begins this way, “Placing our trust in the Rock of Israel, we affix our signatures to this proclamation…” This concept of Israel trusting in God as her Rock is very ancient. In the Book of Deuteronomy (Chapter 32), she was given a song in which over six times God is referred to as her “Rock”—her source of strength, anointing, salvation and protection. In many of the Psalms (18:2, 31, 47; 19:15) King David declares the LORD to be his Rock—his Deliverer, and Redeemer. As Israel wandered in the desert before entering Canaan, the LORD provided water for His people out of a rock (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8). In the New Covenant Scriptures, Rav Sha’ul (Paul), a First Century Messianic Jewish teacher, reveals that the Children of Israel had actually been strengthened during their wanderings in the desert by a spiritual rock which followed them—and that rock was their Messiah! (I Corinthians 10:4)
“Awake O Israel”
This brings me to a wonderful thing which has occurred during these first seventy years of our nation. Many, many Jews in Israel are awakening to the identity of their Messiah. Today there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews living in Israel (a Messianic Jew is one who has come to believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Savior. Today, moving in the authority of their Messiah, Jews are rising into areas of influence within Israeli society—government, military, education, the arts. And in the schools, believing Israeli children are learning to pray for each other, and to share their faith with their schoolmates.
“That I may see the Messiah”
One thing more about “70”! In Hebrew there is a numbering system made up of Hebrew letters. The letter signifying “70” is ayin. Besides the number 70, ayin is also the Hebrew word for “eye”. As we move through this “ayin” year, may the “eyes” of many Israelis be opened to recognize and trust in their Messiah, Yeshua—the true Rock of Israel, mentioned in their Declaration of Independence seventy years ago this year!
Martin and Norma
“The poison of Asps is under their lips”
The Apostle Paul writing in his Epistle to the Romans declared these words, which are as appropriate today regarding Israel’s enemies as then: “Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Rom. 3:13-14). Regardless of P.A. President Abbas’ efforts to change history, God is calling and returning His chosen people back to the land of Israel and not Palestine.
A Renewed Call for Violence
In a fiery address delivered January 14 to the PLO Central Council, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for renewed violence against Israel stating “Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and do it. I say this out in the open. If you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead” (www.imra.org.il, 1/16/18). He also publicly negated the much-heralded past Oslo agreements with Israel. Abbas also responded to U.S. President Trump’s recent comments threatening to cut Palestinian aid by cursing him and saying “When have we ever rejected negotiations? We will not accept America as a mediator with Israel,”, Abbas then voiced a blatantly false historical review, in which he claimed that conspiracies to settle the Jews in the Middle East had begun in the 17th century with Oliver Cromwell, and continued throughout the centuries, and that the Zionist movement, thus “constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.”
Mahmoud Abbas spewing more lies declared that: “‘The significance of Israel’s functional character is that colonialism created it in order to fill a specific role; it is a colonialist project that is not connected to Judaism, but made use of the Jews so they would serve as pawns, and they were, under the motto ‘the Promised Land’ and ‘the Beloved Land,’ and they brought them here’… There is an important matter – how will the Jews immigrate [to Palestine]? The Jews do not want to immigrate because of killing and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust that took place they did not immigrate [to Palestine].” (Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 15, 2018)
“Our Canaanite Forefathers”
Abbas also publicly identified all Arab Palestinians as being descended from Canaanites, thus having a historical right to the land.
“We shall stay here regardless of the occupation and the settlements. We shall not leave this country. This is our country. This has been our land since the days of the Canaanites. By the way, the Canaanites are our forefathers… The Torah says so… and I do not want to go into history or geography… From the days of the Canaanites and to this day, [our forefathers] have not left this land. We were here before our patriarch Abraham” (www.memri.com, 1/16/18).
Abbas “Sabotaged the Peace Process”
Israeli Security Cabinet member Yuval Steinitz commenting for the Israel Government on Abbas’ remarks stated that the Palestinian leader’s latest scathing and warlike remarks against Israel, “shows that Abbas does not believe the Jews have the right to self-determination, thus he is sabotaging the peace process as a way to force Israel to make concessions” (www.ynetnews.com 1/18/18).
Please continue to pray for the continuing fulfillment of Zechariah 8: 8, 13 over the nation of Israel. Pray that God will cause the Jewish people and Israel to be seen as a blessing and not a curse by the nations. Pray for Israel’s enemies who are quick to conjure up lies and persecute God’s chosen people. Pray for the people of Palestine to see the truth that Israel is called by God to return to its land. Pray for Palestine for at present they are fast becoming a goat nation (Mt. 25:31-40).
UNWRA funds cut
In a formal letter, the State Department notified the U.N. Relief and Works Agency that the U.S. is withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding installment to the body. The letter also makes clear that additional U.S. donations will be contingent on major changes by UNRWA, which has been heavily criticized by Israel. “We would like to see some reforms be made,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that changes are needed both to the way the agency operates and is funded. “This is not aimed at punishing anyone.” Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, praised the move, arguing that UNRWA misuses humanitarian aid to support propaganda against the Jewish state and perpetuate the Palestinians’ plight. “It is time for this absurdity to end and for humanitarian funds to be directed towards their intended purpose: the welfare of refugees,” Danon said in a statement
The U.S. donated $355 million to UNWRA in 2016 and was set to make a similar contribution in this year. The first installment was to have been sent this month. But after a highly critical Jan. 2 tweet by President Trump, the State Department has opted to wait for a formal policy decision (www.worldisraelnews.com). The nation of Belgium immediately authorized sending a $23 million donation to UNWRA to partially replace the U.S. funding cut by U.S. President Trump (www.i24news.tv)
Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Express
In a bit of “good news,” Israel is about to launch its newest fast rail link between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Scheduled to officially start running April of this year, the fast rail link promised to whisk passengers between the two cities in just 28 minutes! Bus service today takes about an hour to reach either city, depending on traffic! In historical times, a journey to Jerusalem took two days by horse. Test runs by freight trains are being conducted for at present. The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem rail project, begun in 2001, has cost an estimated NIS 7 billion ($1.8 billion). The new service will cut travel time down significantly from the 78-minute ride on the old line built during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
The trains will reach speeds of up to 160 kph (100 mph). When fully operational, they will depart every 15 minutes in each direction, carrying up to 1,000 passengers each. The longest tunnel in the Fast Lane project is 11.6 km (7.2 miles) long, making it the longest tunnel in Israel. In Mevaseret Zion, a suburb just west of Jerusalem, the train passes underground some 650 feet, as the Judean hills here are higher than Jerusalem. A new train station, opposite Jerusalem’s Central bus station has also been build. Passengers meet the train by descending some 260 feet below the ground (www.timesofisrael.com).
Going Up to Jerusalem
Marylois and I will be returning to Jerusalem and the House of Peace, next week. While our time Stateside has been full, and joyful, we are greatly anticipating our next season in Jerusalem. Pray with us for a safe journey and a profitable season sharing the Messiah.
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace