- A PORTENTOUS WEEK IN ISRAEL.
This is an incredible week, filled with portentous events of great spiritual as well as physical significance. It is a wonderful week—it is a terrible week. Tumultuous changes are taking place in the Heavenlies which effect Governments, and which are releasing blessing and peace and powers of violence and hate. Please Pray that the God of all Spirits will guide Israel and all Nations in His truth and teach us, for He is God our Saviour and in Him we Hope all day long…(Psalm 25:5)
* Sunday May 13th . Was “Jerusalem Day”—the 51st anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish oversight during the 1967 War. It was also during that war that Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights came back into Israeli hands. Sunday, tens of thousands of Israelis—mostly youthful “settlers” from the Territories—flowed joyously through the streets of Jerusalem, into the Old City and to the Western Wall—in a traditional “Flag Parade”, singing psalms and praise songs. On Sunday the Israeli government okayed a plan to apply Israeli curriculum to all schools in the capital and to build a cable car system of access from the Mount of Olives and from central Jerusalem to the Western Wall.
* Monday 14 May. This is the day according to the Gregorian calendar when modern Israel came into being 70 years ago (The day following the Hebrew calendar was celebrated by Israel on the 19th of last month). It is also the day that President Donald Trump chose for the U.S. Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We believe this recognition by the U.S. of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, sealed by the physical moving of its Embassy here on this anniversary, to be of great spiritual significance and consequence. Two days later, on the 16th of May, the nation of Guatemala (the first nation to cast a vote for Israel’s creation in the UN vote of 1947) will move its embassy to Jerusalem; and Paraguay on the 22nd of May. Other nations soon will follow suit…others will not.
For this week of celebration, many hundreds of believers from around the world are visiting the capital–there are conferences, gatherings for worship and prayers, special parades…
* God’s blessing, favour and protection over this huge Governmental transference of location and indeed alignment—from one joined with other nations counter to God’s word regarding His plans and purposes for Israel and the Nations—to one “in line” with His place for blessing and favour.
* For Guatemala to come into her new place in relation to Israel, Jerusalem—and the God whose Son will reign from the Mountain in her midst. Pray for other nations to come into God’s alignment with the place which is the foot of His Throne.
* That any mistakes and “glitches” in ceremonies and in the implementing of this move would be covered over in God’s grace.
* Protection physically and spiritually for President Trump and Vice President Pence, for Jared Kushner, his wife Ivanka Trump Kushner, and US Sec. of Treasury Steven Mnuchin who are leading the delegation here to effect the transfer. Pray a “rear guard” over all involved in bringing this into being.
* For the hundreds of believers who are here in Jerusalem this week to pray—regarding the 70th Anniversary and the Embassy transfer—that God lead and guide them with His Spirit in releasing praises and thanksgiving which give Him honour, and petitions, prayers and declarations strategic, powerful and effective during this critically important week.
* Monday and Tuesday May 14th, 15th . Naqba. This word in Arabic means “catastrophe”—it is applied by Palestinians to May 15th, the day (Gregorian calendar), following that on which Israel declared independence in 1948. It was inaugurated by Yasser Arafat in 1998 as a day for Palestinian demonstrations against what they see as displacement from their property in 1948. The demonstrations are generally held at the internationally recognized borders of Israel and have often been characterized by violent attempts to break through the borders into Israel.
In June 2007, two years after Israel removed its military and civilian presence from the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) forcibly overthrew other parties in the elected government of the Strip, murdering or torturing hundreds of those in the opposition party Fatah, and taking control. The charter of Hamas, which calls for the Muslim retaking of all of “Palestine”, has never been revoked. After the takeover, both Israel and Egypt participated in an embargo to keep advanced weapons from being smuggled into the Strip from Iran and other radical Islamist regimes. However, Israel has consistently allowed each week tons of humanitarian materials and food to be allowed into the Strip, and it controls the electricity and fuel used there. Hamas, which continues to show no regard for the welfare of the Arab people under its rule, has consistently diverted these humanitarian and building materials from getting to the people at large, instead using them to strengthen its military aims against the Jewish State. It frequently uses the young people as human shields, and heavily populated areas as bases for its rocket launchers.
For the last seven weeks Hamas has stirred up the people in Gaza to participate each Friday in a violent “March of Return”, with thousands camping at the borders and approaching the fence marking the border with Israel. The Palestinians (mostly young people) have hurled stones and fire bombs and in many cases attempted to breach the fence. In some cases, little children have been sent to the border. In recent weeks, fire bombs have been sent across the border in balloons or kites, rigged to explode and fall on the ripe Israeli wheat fields. Already tens of thousands of dollars-worth of crops have been destroyed. Israeli security forces have attempted to use non-lethal ways to keep the rioters from crossing the border, but already dozens of Palestinians have been killed and many hundreds wounded. This past Friday night, some 200 Palestinians broke into the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, a gate through which hundreds of trucks travel daily bringing food and medical equipment into Gaza, and set alight the Strip’s only fuel terminal. Now Gazans a will be without fuel for weeks because of the violence done them by their own people.
The organizers of the “March of Return” have all along pointed towards its culmination being the day when the U.S. officially moves its Embassy to Jerusalem. Thus, Naqba this year is planned to include two days, May 14th when the Embassy moves, and May 15th the usual day. They are hoping for over 100,000 demonstrators to arrive at far more locations than in previous weeks, and to succeed in breaching the borders. Israel has dropped thousands of leaflets into Gaza, urging residents against approaching the security fence, attempting to sabotage it or to carry out terror attacks:
Hamas is trying to hide its many failures by endangering your lives. At the same time, Hamas is stealing your money and using it to dig tunnels [i.e. for terrorist incursions into Israel] at your expense. Don’t be puppets in the hands of Hamas. You deserve a better government and a better future. The IDF is warning you against approaching the security fence. Do not approach the security fence and do not participate in Hamas’s life- threatening farce.” 1)
Yet the spirit of hatred and cruel violence which rules and controls these people (actually called “sinat-hamas” in Psalm 25:19), hates these very people it controls (who are made in the image of the God of Heaven) and feeds upon their suffering, even as it drives them to hate the people who are called by His Name.
May 15th is the beginning of the 3rd Hebrew Month (Sivan). This year it also marks the beginning of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan.
* God’s protection over Israel and her borders. His guidance of life for her during the new month.
* Calmness, alertness, self-control for the Israeli troops protecting the borders.
* That the destroyer will be held back from the Palestinian youth in Gaza.
* That the power of Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be broken and its people set free to seek the true God. Zechariah 9:5-7 promises a day when that leader’s power will be broken, the blood will be removed from the people’s mouth, and a remnant will become “like a clan of Judah” before God.
* That the plans of the enemy during this Ramadan will be thwarted—that thousands of Muslims around the world will have their vision cleansed and clarified—and call on the One whose Name is above all Names—and filled with forgiveness, mercy, and Life!
1) “Ahead of planned mass riots, Israel warns Gazans: ‘Don’t be Hamas’s puppets’: The Times of Israel, 14 May 2018 9:42 IST
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The Parashah for this week 6-12 May 2018 is called B’Midbar—“In the Desert”:
TORAH: Numbers 1:1—4:20
HAFTARAH: Hosea 1:10—2:20
B’Midbar (“In the Desert/Wilderness”)
This is the Hebrew name for the book called “Numbers” in most English Bibles (after the “numbering” in the census lists of Chs. 1 & 26). The book describes key events taking place between Israel’s leaving Mount Sinai and her arrival at the borders of Canaan some 38 years later.
*Numbers 2:2-3: “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard…On the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies; and Nahshon the son of Amminadav shall be the leader of the children of Judah.”
The tribe of Yehuda (Judah), along with Issachar and Zebulun, was to camp facing the East. The Hebrew root for Yehuda is related to hands or arms raised in the giving of thanks or praise to God (cf. Gen 29:35). Judah was to camp on the side of the Tabernacle facing eastward—as though to “awaken the dawn” (Ps 57:8) with an offering of gratefulness. Psalm 63:1-4 bears a beautiful picture of this holy principal being demonstrated hundreds of years later by David (himself a descendant of Nahshon and Amminadav). He is also “in a desert” –and his Hebrew literally says, “Elohim, my God are you, I will ‘dawn’ you (i.e. seek You early)…my lips shall praise you…I will lift up the palms of my hands in Your name.” Hundreds of years after the death of David, , King Jehoshaphat, heading out to engage an overwhelming foe (II Chron. 20:21) would place singers and praisers in front of his army, singing “Hodu la’Adonai ki tov, ki le-olam hasdo!”—“Give thanks (with the raising of your hands) to the LORD for He is good, for to forever is his lovingkindness!”
In the reading two weeks from now, Numbers 10:14 will make clear that the tribe of Yehuda was also God’s choice to be in the lead when the camp broke up and moved forward. A tribe epitomizing thanksgiving and praise, Judah is also the “royal tribe” from whom a scepter would arise which would never depart. As such, it must always come first. From this tribe would come the King of Kings, Yeshua/Jesus—of whom Jacob had prophesied that his brothers would praise, and his father’s children bow down before Him (Genesis 49:8)! Zechariah 12:10 prophecies the repentance and renewal of “the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem”—yet 12:7 reveals that first must come salvation of the “tents of Judah.” We believe this will have a literal physical fulfillment. But we see also that the prophecy has a spiritual implication—that the rebirth of Jerusalem and eventually all of Israel must be ushered in by an outpouring of Praise and Worship in Spirit and in Truth. There are many signs that this is beginning to happen! In recent years at least four houses of prayer and worship, some of them 24/7, have opened in Jerusalem.
PLEASE PRAY: For praise, thanksgiving and worship to again rise to its place in the forefront of Israel (whose call includes being a praise in all the earth (Isaiah 62:7; Zephaniah 3:20). Pray for strength, inspiration and vision in houses of worship and prayer which God has raised up in Israel in recent years.
Pray for believers in the Israeli Defense Force and police to have grace in making praise and thanksgiving a priority. Since Nahshon was to be Judah’s leader—his name has come to be one of the synonyms in modern Hebrew for “pioneer” (Tradition says that he was the first to place his foot in the Red Sea after the command came to cross over). Pray for those called to pioneer worship in a resurrected Hebrew language in restored Israel today! There are many, both old and young, male and female, Jew and Gentile through whom praise and worship in the ancient language has, during the past 30 years, begun again to be awakened!
Numbers 4:4-6, 15. “This is the work of the descendants of Kohath in the tent of meeting, concerning the most holy things. When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over it a cloth of pure blue (Hebrew: tekhelet—a sky-blue dye made from a special mollusk), and shall insert its poles…When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they will not touch the holy objects and dies. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.”
Given the clarity of these instructions, it is strange the pictures and figurines one may see in souvenir shop windows in Jerusalem depicting Levites carrying the golden Ark of the Covenant, with the Aron—“chest” and its Cherubim plainly visible. As is here and in other passages made clear, no one ever was allowed to look upon the holy Ark, except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (and then only through clouds of incense). On the road, it was not paraded out for everyone to gaze upon. Before leaving, the Aaronic priests (not the other Levites) came in and took down the veil. It appears that they then moved forward holding it as a screen, until, upon reaching the Ark, they draped it over the holy object as a covering. Upon this, other coverings were then laid (upon this holy chest upon which kippur—another word for ‘covering’—was made in blood once a year on behalf of the people’s sin). But the Ark of the Presence was Holy…and touching it or even looking upon it was more than even the especially set-apart priests were allowed to do. Each person involved was expected to embrace the special responsibility of his office—and not seek another. The Levites cared for the outer courts; from among the Levites, the sons of Kohath would be the ‘carriers’ of the Ark; from among the Levites, only descendants of Aaron (kohenim—“priests”) could approach the holiest chamber to dismantle it—and from within the descendants of Aaron, only he and his successor could actually enter, once a year, within the veil.
*Hosea 1:10: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the Life-God.’”
PLEASE PRAY: For more and more of the millions of returned Children of Jacob to be awakened to their true identity—to recognize that they are not merely an ancient people related to certain Patriarchs; they are, in fact, beloved children of El Hai—the “Life-God” Himself, Who has sent forth His Son that they may “have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)!
*Hosea 2:16; 19-20: “‘And it shall be, in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘that you will call Me “My Husband,” and no longer call Me ‘My Master’…I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.”
PLEASE PRAY: For awakening of a longing in Israeli hearts for these wonderful attributes—righteousness, justice, loving kindness, mercy, faithfulness—with which her God is wooing her. Pray that grace will be released on that longing which will result in the ‘knowledge’ of her Lord prophesied at the end of the verse! It is interesting that in verse 16, the substituted word “my husband” is “ishi”, which literally means ‘my man’. This knowledge can only come about in revelation of “the ‘man’—Yeshua the Messiah!”
*Hosea 2:14-16 (NIV): “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Achor means ‘trouble’. “Door (or ‘Opening’) of Hope” is Petah Tiqva (There is a large city by that name in central Israel). PLEASE PRAY that Israel will find grace to lift her eyes from her troubles to the God of Hope (Romans 15:13), finding entrance into His life through the Door which He has provided (John 10:9).
20 May 2018
(Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost)
Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12
MEGILAT (Scroll of) RUTH
Martin & Norma Sarvis
[20 May is Shavuot—“Feast of Weeks/Pentecost”: TORAH: Exodus 12-20/Numbers 28:26-31; HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12; BOOK of RUTH. The Parashah for next week 20-26 May 2018 is called Naso—“Elevate!”: TORAH: Numbers 4:21—7:89; HAFTARAH: Judges 13:2-25 (Heb: 2:1—2:22) .].
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