Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

History of Israel and Palestine

The information below is taken from multiple internet sites so the information is easily accessed for those who want to know.

It always confounds me that people continue to believe the political rhetoric bouncing around the international community with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Some years ago I was invited by an Arab Israeli woman to speak at a presentation about the history of Israel and the Arab people because she said that I understood more than most the situation in the Middle East. I won’t say that I do because I have very limited understanding of the big picture, but I know enough history and much of it has been covered up by lies perpetuated by the Arab world, especially the so-called Palestinians and their Hamas leaders.

This particular young Arab woman and another one from Jordan explained to me their own family history. Both had grandparents living in Palestine in 1948. Both had a choice to make. One grandfather chose to stay in Israel, become a citizen and continue to raise his family. Today he has a son who manages a bank and granddaughters who work along side Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv as a doctor, lawyer and engineer.

The other grandfather who made his home in Gaza chose to leave Palestine and make his home in Jordan. Because Jordan doesn’t recognize Israel as a legal state, this young woman has relatives that she has never met living in Gaza. She is quite happy being Jordanian and believes her grandfather made the right decision in spite of the separation of family members.

What is Palestine?

Palestine is the name given to the Promised Land of Israel over 2000 years ago during its Roman occupation in order to infuriate the Jewish people.  It has never been the name of a legitimate nation or state, but a geographical term used to describe the region at certain times in history when there was no nation or established state.   Palestine comes from Peleshet meaning ‘rolling’ and is translated Philistine in the Bible.   Peleshet was first used to describe the people who migrated from the area around the Agean Sea and the Greek Islands.  These people created five city-states, one of which is Gaza.  

Modern Zionist Movement

Theodore Hertzl, born May 2, 1860, is considered the father of the Zionist movement promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine.  As a German journalist for a French newspaper, he covered the Dreyfus affair in which a Jewish French Army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany.  It was a profound antisemitic incident that divided France for many years.  While in Paris he witnessed crowds chanting “Death to the Jews!” that changed him from a German supporter to one who began challenging wealthy German to Jews to leave Germany and return to Palestine to establish a Jewish state.  He feared that as quickly as France turned on the Jewish people, Germany would too.  Hertzl died in 1904 before he could witness the events that would directly lead to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Balfour Declaration

On November 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration.  This public statement supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This was the first time in modern history that a major government supported a ‘national home’ for the Jewish people.  The wording in the document had no precedent in international law and was intentionally vague with regard to an actual Jewish state.  There were no specific boundaries given though the British government explained the wording did not mean a Jewish home would cover all of Palestine.  The British also wanted to protect the civil and religious rights of the Palestinian Arabs as well as those in the growing Jewish communities.  No one wanted antisemitism to increase or label the Jews as ‘strangers in their native land.’  In essence this was the beginning of the two-state solution that is always being discussed by the international community today.

In 1922 the League of Nations confirmed the Balfour Declaration and it became known as the British Mandate or British Rule.  The boundaries of Palestine included Trans-Jordan which was eventually removed by Winston Churchill.  Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine trying to escape the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution as 100,000 Jews were killed during this time.  

Pioneers in Palestine

Early Jewish immigrants to Palestine were pioneers in the land and began establishing self-sustaining economies.  The Jezreel Valley was drained and converted to agricultural land.  The Jewish National Fund, a charity that collected money worldwide,  purchased more land for growing the ‘national homeland.’ An underground Jewish militia was created to defend outlying Jewish settlements.  During the mid-1920s, more Jewish people arrived in Palestine.  They set up businesses and created the Jewish National Council which oversaw education, health and security.   The Hebrew University was established in Tel Aviv and Technion in Haifa.  While Jewish immigration increased; the Arabs began rioting. 

Who Owns the Land?

In 1929, animosity between Muslims and Jews intensified over the Western Wall (Wailing Wall, Kotel).  Jews were banned from using any furniture such as chairs for the elderly as the religious Muslims claimed the area was their property and that the Jews were seeking control of the Temple Mount.  More riots ensued in the area and eventually the ancient Jewish community in Hebron came to an end.

The Bible first mentions Hebron with the Cave of Machpelah or the Cave of the Patriarchs.  About 4000 years ago Abraham purchased this cave in which are buried Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.  Today it is enclosed by a mosque proving who actually owns the land as Islam did not exist until 600 A.D.   King David ruled Israel from Hebron about 1000 B.C. for seven years before moving the capital to Jerusalem.

Growing the National Homeland

Between the two world wars, using the terms of the Mandate, the British rejected all majority rule or any other measures that would give the Arab population control over Palestinian territory.  In this way they continued to support a growing Jewish ‘national homeland’ along with an Arab presence.   

Before World War II, Jewish immigration increased with an agreement between the Nazis and the Jewish Agency Ha’avara.  Jewish possessions were confiscated in order to purchase 14 million pounds worth of German goods for export to compensate the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine.  Although many Jews wanted to leave Nazi Germany, the Nazis prevented them from retaining any money keeping them from paying the British government the necessary immigration fees.  Still, Jewish immigration continued and the purchased goods helped the economy to flourish. The British used the taxes paid by the Jewish population to build a port and oil refineries at Haifa and the industrial age began in Palestine.

In the 1930s, 250,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.  Most were German doctors, lawyers and professors.  With the rise of the Nazis and antisemitism, more and more Jews tried to leave Europe, but every country in the world closed their borders to Jewish immigration, including Britain closing Palestine to any further Jewish immigration. 

The White Paper

The “White Paper of 1939” written by Nevill Chamberlain in response to the Arab Revolt (1936-39)  called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state with both Jews and Arabs jointly governing the area.  It effectively rejected the idea of partitioning Palestine.   It also claimed that with 450,000 Jewish people having settled in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration of a ‘national homeland’ had been met.  The document limited Jewish immigration and restricted Jewish rights to purchase land from Arabs.  Both the Arab and Jewish leaders rejected this proposal. 

Civil War in Palestine

On April 2, 1947, Great Britain sent the issue of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.  In July 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine met with Jewish and Zionist leaders.  The Arabs boycotted the meetings.

The report from the meeting proposed “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” to be governed by the international community.  On November 29, 1947, this resolution was adopted by the United Nations and Jewish immigration began again.

The UN General Assembly’s vote created a rift between the Jewish community and the Arabs in Palestine.  Civil war broke out and the Arab nations created the Arab Liberation Army and Egypt joined in this ‘holy war.’ They blockaded all of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem.  Though the Jewish paramilitary (Haganah) had about 100 armored vehicles to try to supply the city, they were destroyed along with hundreds of military men.

The Arabs who lived in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem or other Jewish-dominated areas evacuated east to other Arab areas.   Because the United States withdrew their support for the partition plan, the Arab League believed they could put an end to the plan.  The British decided, however, on February 7, 1948, to support the annexation of Arab Palestine.  The British Mandate would end in May 1948.

The State of Israel is Born

David Ben-Gurion reorganized the Haganah.  Every Jewish man and woman had to receive military training.  Golda Meir raised money from Jews in the United States and through Stalin’s support, they were able to purchase military weapons in Eastern Europe.  Ben-Gurion created an offensive plan, rather than defensive, to establish Jewish land continuity by conquering mixed areas. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, Jaffa and Acre fell, resulting in more than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs leaving the area. This refugee situation caused the larger Arab states to intervene.

On May 14, 1948, the British forces left Palestine ending the Mandate.  The Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel.  Immediately, the United States and Russia recognized the new state.  The Arab League of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and began the first Arab-Israeli war.  

The First Arab-Israeli War

The Arabs used the British military equipment left behind and went on the offensive.  Because Israel had not been a state before May 15, they could not buy heavy arms.  The UN declared an arms embargo, but Czechoslovakia violated it and supplied the new Jewish state with heavy military equipment and planes.  The Haganah became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  

Jewish immigrants, many of them WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors, began arriving in Israel.  They joined the IDF.  After an initial loss of land and its occupation by the Arabs,  the Israelis eventually took back that land along with some of the land that had been included in the proposed Arab state.  At the end of November 1948,  local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On December 1, 1948,  King Abdullah announced the union of Jordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan River; only Britain recognized the annexation.

Israel signed a truce, no actual peace treaty, with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.  Israel’s new borders  (The Green Line) were established even though the borders were not recognized by the Arabs as legal international borders.  Israel had taken control of the Galilee, Jezreel Valley, West Jerusalem, the coastal plain and the Negev.  The Syrians still controlled a strip of land along the Sea of Galilee originally given to Israel.  The Lebanese occupied a small area on the border between Israel and Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea and the Egyptians kept the Gaza strip as an occupied zone.  Jordan remained in the West Bank where it was originally given land.    

On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.  Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, only 6,000 men and women were killed in the War of Independence.  According to the UN, 726,000 Palestinians fled or were evicted by Israel.  Those who remained had the option of leaving or becoming Israeli citizens.  

Jerusalem of the Jews

On May 15, 1967, Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold” began to dominate the Israeli airwaves.  Two days later Syria, Egypt and Jordan and eventually Iraq gathered their troops along the Israeli borders.  On May 26, 1967, Egyptian President, Abdel Nasser, declared that the “basic objective of the battle will be to destroy Israel.”  

On June 5, 1967, the morning before the new Israeli defense minister was sworn in, the Israeli air force launched pre-emptive attacks destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces.  They also defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.  By June 11, the Arab armies were defeated and a cease-fire was called for by the UN.  This became known as the Six-day War, once again started by Arab nations losing more land.

Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.  The Sinai oil fields made Israel self-sufficient in energy.  East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel.  Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship.  For the first time since the end of the British Mandate, Jews were free to visit the Old City of Jerusalem. For the first time in centuries, they were allowed to pray at the Western Wall.  In Hebron, Jews regained access to the Cave of the Patriarchs for the first time since the 1300s.  Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem also became accessible.

Land for Peace

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted the ‘land for peace’ concept which called for “just and lasting peace” based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for the end of all states of belligerency, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries.  The resolution was accepted by both sides, but with different interpretations.  This has been the basis of all subsequent peace negotiations.  

“Land for Peace” is based on Israel Giving Up Land for ‘peace from their neighbors.’  This concept implies that Israeli withdrawal is linked to its neighbors’ willingness to formally make peace.  This never actually takes place because even though Israel gives up land, its neighbors still do not recognize their sovereignty as a nation. 

On June 19, 1967, Israel offered to give up the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan in exchange for peace.  Their offer was rejected by the Arab States: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

Yom Kippur War

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what is known as the Yom Kippur War.  They wanted to regain the land they lost in the war of 1967: Egypt wanted the Sinai and Syria wanted the Golan Heights even though they were offered the return of these lands for peace.  Because the war was started on a high holy day, Israel’s losses were great, however, in less than 24 hours, they mobilized two armored divisions which soon had the Syrians retreating. The Israelis captured territory deep inside Syria almost to Damascus.  Ten days after the start of the war, Israeli forces penetrated Egyptian defense lines and came close to Cairo. Eventually through diplomatic talks, Egypt and Syria regained a portion of their territory and UN buffer zones were established between them and Israel.  Israel withdrew from the Sinai as part of the peace agreement facilitated by the United States and retained control over two-thirds of the Golan Heights.  In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Testing Land for Peace

In 2005, the forced eviction by Israel of its settlers and military forces from the Gaza Strip was a ‘test case’ of ‘land for peace’ with the Palestinians.  Seventeen Israeli settlements  known as Gush Katif with 8,600 residents were forcibly removed from their homes on August 15, 2005.  On September 12, 2005, the Israeli Army withdrew from each settlement up to the original Green Line.  All schools, libraries, community centers, office buildings factories, and greenhouses which could not be taken apart were left.  Synagogues were burned by the Palestinians, “The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy… It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed.”

Later, it was reported that the evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip were transformed into military bases used by Palestinians to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state.  The ‘test case’ for ‘land for peace’ didn’t work.

After the withdrawal from Gush Kativ, the Palestinian Authority took control of Gaza.  On January 25, 2006, Hamas won the elections in Gaza and the West Bank.  Rockets launched against Israeli targets continued from the beginning of the expulsion and have increased since that time.  The area is now being used to smuggle weapons into Gaza through tunnels that are also used to kidnap Israeli soldiers.  

Jerusalem and the Golan

After nearly three thousand years, on December 6, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On March 28, 2019, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Even though Israeli control over the area has not been challenged, this policy will not change 50 years of international views of the Golan Heights as being occupied territory.

What is important to remember is that Israelis and Arabs do live side-by-side peacefully in Israel. It is the media and the international community that would like the world to believe otherwise. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by the terrorist group Hamas and their ultimate goal, along with most of the surrounding nations is not peace with Israel, but a complete destruction of the country and its people.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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Jerusalem and Modern-Day King Cyrus

From the days of Abraham,  Yerushalayim (Jerusalem in Hebrew) has been the center of the known world.  Malki-Tzedek, the righteous king who has no beginning or end, ruled from this city called “Shalem” meaning ‘complete, safe, and peace’ (Genesis 14:18).  Throughout Biblical history, proven through archaeological digs, Yerushalayim was the center of Israel, the capital where the God of Israel dwells, the I Am.  

“In the courtyards of Adonai’s house, there in your very heart, Yerushalayim. Halleluyah!” (Psalm 116:19).

“Blessed be Adonai out of Tziyon, he who dwells in Yerushalayim! Halleluyah!” (Psalm 135:21).

King Solomon built the first Temple in Yerushalayim.  It was destroyed by the Babylonians.  A second Temple was built in Yerushalayim at the command of the prophet Ezra. This is the one that the Syrians desecrated.  They knew and understood the significance of Yerushalayim and how the Temple was central to the Jewish faith.  It was for this reason the Syrians forced the Jews to offer sacrifices elsewhere; then desecrated the Altar.  Their purpose was to destroy the Jewish faith and assimilate the Jewish people into their idolatrous worship.

Yerushalayim is found 773 times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, but only 9 times in the Koran.  This is a huge discrepancy between the two major religions, but one that the world refuses to acknowledge.  They would rather the two ideologies assimilate, or better yet, the one with the proven history in Yerushalayim disappear from the nations altogether.

“They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!” (Psalm 83:4).

The Adversary knows that if he can remove Israel as a nation and Yerushalayim as its capital, then he proves to the world there  is no God of Israel.  If he can destroy the Jewish people and their faith, then he really proves to the world, there is no God at all.  Without the Jewish people, he knows there will be no one to welcome the Messiah back into the holy city and Yeshua cannot return to set up his Kingdom.  Satan’s plane, however, has a flaw.

“This is what Adonai says, who gives the sun as light for the day, who ordained the laws for the moon and stars to provide light for the night, who stirs up the sea until its waves roar — Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name: “If these laws leave my presence,” says Adonai, “then the offspring of Isra’el will stop being a nation in my presence forever” (Jeremiah 31:35). 

Unfortunately for Satan, who is ultimately the spiritual force behind chaos and destruction, he will not only lose this battle, he will lose the war.  Though he will continue to use the nations to fight against Yerushalayim and Israel as the ‘father of lies’ and deceptions, his destiny is already determined (Revelation 20:10). 

“Why are the nations in an uproar, the peoples grumbling in vain? The earth’s kings are taking positions, leaders conspiring together, against Adonai and his anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2).

“A prophecy, the word of Adonai concerning Isra’el — here is the message from Adonai, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit inside human beings: “I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples.  Even Judah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim. When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves,  and all the earth’s nations will be massed against her” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

King Cyrus of Persia was used by Godto deliver the Jewish people from their Babylonian captivity.  They returned to Yerushalayim and rebuilt their city and the second Temple.   With the help of a modern-day King Cyrus, Yerushalayim is  acknowledged to be, by the largest nation in the world, the eternal capital of Israel.  This modern-day King Cyrus has also called for the rebuilding of the Temple.  When that happens, the greatest exodus of Jewish people from the nations will follow (Jeremiah 16:14) along with a great apostasy and a false messiah in sitting in the Temple. 

As the return of Messiah Yeshua comes closer with each passing day, the shaking of the nations will escalate, but also will the promises of God to His people.  As the nations of the world continue to stand against Israel and fight over Yerushalayim, more and more Jewish people accept Yeshua as Messiah.  They are being prepared to cry out: “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” and welcome Messiah back to Yerushalayim (Matthew 23:37-40).

“Adonai is rebuilding Yerushalayim, gathering the dispersed of Isra’el” (Psalm 147:2).

Soon, Yerushalayim will no longer be a city of assimilation and false gods, Greek, Roman, Baha’i, Muslim, and multiple religions.  It will be restored and rededicated to the glory of Yahweh.  All the nations of the world will come to Yerushalayim and worship the God of Israel on the appointed Feast Days.  With Messiah reigning from the Temple, Yerushalayim will finally become the city of our Great King.

“Look at Tziyon, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Yerushalayim a secure abode, a tent that will not be removed, whose pegs will never be pulled out and whose guy-ropes will not be cut. But there in his splendor Adonai will be with us…” (Isaiah 33:20-21).

“Many peoples will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya‘akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Isaiah 2:3).

Psalm 48

Great is Yahweh  and greatly to be praised,

in the city of our God, his holy mountain,

beautiful in its elevation, the joy of all the earth,

Mount Tziyon, in the far north, the city of the great king.

In its citadels God has been revealed as a strong defense.

For the kings met by agreement; together they advanced.

They saw and were filled with consternation;

terrified, they took to flight.

Trembling took hold of them,

pains like those of a woman in labor,

as when the wind out of the east wrecks the “Tarshish” ships.

We heard it, and now we see for ourselves

in the city of Yahweh-Tzva’ot, in the city of our God.

May God establish it forever. (Selah)

God, within your temple we meditate on your grace.

God, your praise, like your name, extends to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with righteousness.

Let Mount Tziyon rejoice, let the daughters of Y’hudah be glad,

because of your judgment [on the enemy].

Walk through Tziyon, go all around it;

count how many towers it has.

Note its ramparts, pass through its citadels,

so that you can tell generations to come

that such is God, our God forever; he will guide us eternally.”

©2017 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Jerusalem of Gold (Video)

Using the beautiful song, Jerusalem of Gold written by Naomi Shemer and sung by Jonathan Settel, we share some video highlights of our family’s time in Jerusalem 2014.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Sarit to Tel Aviv – February 18

Living without internet for one week is not as difficult as we thought, but it was not conducive to writing a blog.  Whenever we had a free moment, we skipped from internet cafes to hotel lobbies with free WiFi.  Even though Chaya tried to be as helpful as possible, she could not get any internet set up.  This created major charges on our phones because of the time difference in the U.S. when we needed to communicate with family.  Though the view of the Sea of Galilee from the apartment was beautiful, and we made the apartment home for nearly a week, there were some problems that need to be fixed.  Hopefully, for the next guests, Chaya will work on giving more information about the apartment’s nuances and supply the kitchen with some necessities like dish drying cloths, rack, spatulas for cooking and maybe even a microwave.  

We said goodbye to Tiberias and headed toward Migdal HaEmek … again.  Migdal HaEmek was where we went round and round and saw the infamous bunny suits.  Armed with a step-by-step Google map and using WAZE for short journeys only, we began our second adventure to meet another Israeli.

When I was planning this trip, I went on a Messianic group and asked for a little help with our itinerary planning.  A very kind woman responded and we chatted back and forth while she helped me with driving questions.  We decided we should meet while on our way to Megiddo, but that day was definitely not in the Lord’s plans.  So, we re-scheduled it on our way to Tel Aviv.

Of course, as we entered the town and followed her very specific directions, we passed the rabbit suits and laughed at how really close we had been to her house a week before.  The directions were perfect and we arrived at Sarit’s house only one hour after we left Tiberias.  The ‘appointed time’ to meet had arrived.

Sarit.  I hope if you read this and I mess anything up, you will correct me.  Sarit is a sabra or native Israeli Jew.  As she showed us her yard, a very beautiful yard with a nature expanse behind her house, she told us how her grandfather had planted all the fruit trees.  The lemon was full of fruit and she gave us a bag of oranges for the road (which are absolutely delicious).   We sat on her patio and drank tea.  Where ‘two or three are gathered in Yeshua’s name,’ he is there.  And, he was.

Sarit, being a Messianic Jew, has such an incredible understanding of the Scriptures and how Yeshua taught the Torah.  It was so refreshing to hear the Word spoken about in its original context with its fulfillment being realized in the Words of Messiah.

Sarit explained why there is a Shin ש on the mezzuah that is placed on the door posts of a house.  It represents “El Shaddai”.  I had always heard that meant “God Almighty”, but she explained that Shaddai means ‘my bosom’.  The Hebrew letters for Shaddai are Shin, Dalet, Yod.  Shin stands for ‘shomer’ or watchman.  Dalet stands for ‘door’.  Yod stans for “Yisrael”.  Thus, the mezzuah represents the “Watchman of the Door of Yisrael.”  Suddenly, the mezzuah with the Shema inside means more than just some tradition to touch when one enters or exits a home.  It is a reminder the Word of God watches and keeps Israel as Israel guards Torah creating a closeness to the bosom of Elohim.  

Revelation 4:4-5 “Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing and wearing gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God.”

Revelation 5:8-9 “When he (Yeshua) took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people; and they sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals; because you were slaughtered; at the cost of blood you ransomed for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.”

Another topic of conversation included the 24 elders in Revelation and how they are representative of the 24 families of Aaron that grew into the Levitical High Priesthood.  It is important to remember two truths.   The Levitical priesthood will be reinstated when the Third Temple is built.  The covenant made with Aaron and the priesthood was eternal.   The representatives of  the family heads of this priesthood will be the 24 elders in Revelation that are around the Throne of God.  When you read the Scriptures in Revelation, you will see that the 24 elders are dressed as priests and are doing the work of a priesthood.  As Sarit pointed out so profoundly, the work of the priesthood was long days with hard work with morning sacrifices, washings, cleanings, taking care of the menorah which burnt 24 hours a day, offering prayers on another altar, evening sacrifices and being the representatives of the people.

We also talked about the neshema or the ‘inner breath of God’ that lives inside of man.  It is this spirit that the enemy tries to steal for his own purposes while God desires that our neshema be reconciled to Him.   We touched on how everything in this world is spiritual and that heaven is not someplace we will go, but just above our feet.  With a little more explanation, we are all spiritual people and the only part of us that touches the dust of the earth is our feet.    This is why we ‘wipe the dust off our feet’ when the message of Yeshua is rejected, and why Yeshua ‘washed his disciples’ feet’.  It was symbolic of leaving this world and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now.

Matthew 4:17 “From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”

Washing of feet was what the priests had to do after a sacrifice before entering the Holy Place.  It was the reason for the bronze laver.  Sarit pointed out that the priests only washed their hands and feet.    How did their priestly garments stay white?  Why weren’t they stained with the blood of the sacrifices?  Selah

Luke 10:11 “Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipeoff as a sign against you! But understand this: the Kingdom of God is near!’”

John 13:12-15  “After he had washed their feet, taken back his clothes and returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am.Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.” 

I actually don’t have time to write everything that Sarit shared with our family and vice versa, but it was definitely meat for our spiritual bones and a time of great fellowship.  We all needed the refreshment in this desert world especially from a sister of Yeshua who understands the fullness of the Scriptures through faith in Yeshua.

I asked Sarit how she came to know Yeshua.  Simply, she was invited three times to a house of a co-worker and finally, the third time, she relented and went.  She had no idea why they were inviting her, but the second she stepped into the door and looked at the husband sitting on the couch reading his Bible, she heard the Spirit speak to her in her ears.  She looked at the husband, and before he could even say a word, she said, “You want to talk to me about Yeshua.”  From that moment on she craved the Word – all of it.

She struggles with those who take Yeshua out of his Jewish life and lifestyle.  For her growing up, Jesus was an abomination to the God of Israel.  She explained that in many ways he still is because those who follow him celebrate Christmas, Easter and go to church on Sunday.  They eat things that are an abomination to him like pork.  Jesus would not have been the Messiah she was looking for and she still would not want him.  She loves the Messiah of Israel who loved Torah and explained the prophets  and the instructions found in the New Testament.   I shared with her that we have actually met people who believe that the Jews don’t need Yeshua because they have Torah. She responded that it’s the enemy who uses the traditions of Jews and the false doctrines of Christianity to keep Yeshua from his people, the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

After an incredible two hours of non-stop fellowship about Yeshua and the Scriptures, we went to lunch.  The little place we went to didn’t have any menus in English so Sarit translated everything and we ordered.  We’re not very creative sometimes and we all ordered schwarma over rice that was absolutely delicious.  My wonderful husband surprised us all with a deep-fried chocolate stick.

Sarit had to go to work so our time was cut short.  We drove her to her job and said our ‘shaloms’.  We were incredibly blessed by our time with Sarit and new personal relationships were formed – all from social media!   The next time we come to Israel, we want to celebrate Shabbat with our new sister in Yeshua.

From Sarit’s house we drove to Tel Aviv.  Strangely enough, we traveled the same route as we took to Tel Megiddo.  It was beginning to seem as if we were having constant deja vu’s.  The countryside was beautiful.  We passed vineyards and fields with with workers either picking or pruning something that formed long rows of green.

Tel Aviv is a huge city, a metropolitan area.   The traffic into it was like traveling to any big city with numerous lanes of traffic and jams caused by fender benders.   WAZE directed our path,  winding and weaving our way toward the Mediterranean Sea.  When we finally turned onto the last street before the Sea, The beach scene and the sea was breathtaking.  It felt  like we were back in Rio de Janeiro. There were lanes of traffic flowing along the beach with bike and walking lanes.  Wind surfers and regular board surfers were floating on the waves.  People were walking dogs or riding bicycles.   I almost expected to hear people speaking Portuguese.

We turned down our little street and drove one block from the beach.  I texted the host for this apartment and he arrived within two minutes.  He took us inside to a very classy apartment decorated in red and black with a huge fish tank.  He explained the locks and keys, the amenities in the apartment, AND THE INTERNET!    He even told us that he owned a restaurant on the beach and if we ate there, we would receive a discount as his guests.

Since the beach was so close, we went there to watch the sun set.  It was breezy and the waves were breaking high.  One wind surfer stayed on the waves until the final rays of the sun settled on the horizon.  Feeling a little hungry, we went to our host’s restaurant and had pizza, pita and humus and shakshuka.  Yeah, I really love that egg dish that reminds me of Huevos Rancheros.

Just in case you’re wondering about the rabbit suits.  They are costumes for the upcoming holiday of Purim.  Purim is the celebration of the Jews’ victory over Haman found in the book of Esther.  The holiday is celebrated with melodrama plays and costumes making it one of the most joyous and fun holidays of the year.  This year Purim begins on Saturday, March 15.  Make a costume, give to the poor, and remember Queen Esther who was used by God to save the Jewish people from destruction.

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