Iran, Purim, and Where we Stand

Iran, Purim, and Where we Stand

Shalom Chavarim/Friends,

As we move into the new year and toward Spring, we also see events around our world confirming the word of the Lord regarding the Last Days and His return: Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the [Messiah],’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matt. 24.4-8).

Succinctly, Yeshua/Jesus noted:

  • False Messiahs – Don’t be deceived
  • Wars and rumors of wars – Don’t be frightened
  • Natural disasters – again, don’t be frightened
  • Expect these things as ‘birth pangs: that is, with increasing frequency and intensity

While there are false messiahs aplenty—Jim Jones, David Koresh, the late Rabbi Menachem Schneerson of the Lubavitch sect of Orthodox Judaism, to the ultimate False Messiah/Anti-Christ yet to come—we are not to be deceived: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). When you know the authentic, you can spot a counterfeit every time. So let us be students—good disciples—of our Lord and ‘study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15).

Wars, Rumors of Wars, and a Soon Coming Embassy

Lately a day does not go by regarding the tension between Israel and Iran (via Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Assad in Syria), with skirmishes on the border to the looming threat of a future nuclear armed terrorist state in Iran. At this point I won’t say anything about John Kerry and the Obama admin paving the way for a Nuclear Iran, plus the 1.7 billion dollars in cash that was given to the corrupt Iranian regime, that abuses its own people who long for the freedoms we enjoy in the West. OK, I did say it. Anyway, we are where we are.

This week at one sunset I sat in my living room and heard, then saw Israeli F-16s fly over head, with full afterburners on (that means you could see the fire coming out of the back of the plane), conducting training runs. What is coming I cannot say exactly, but with the US sale of F-35s to Israel—fighter aircraft which are undetectable to radar—an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities (think “Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility”) should not surprise us.

To add to the drama, it appears that within a matter of weeks the US Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem—right here in ‘my neighborhood’ of Armon HaNatziv—apparently on the Birthday of Israel. It is interesting that something that has gained world attention is literally right around the corner from where I live, and it is no secret that the enemies of G-d are certainly enraged at a political move that further legitimizes Israel as a state and Jerusalem as their eternal capital. So be it. Please pray for G-d’s will to be done, G-d’s people will be protected, and that cooler heads will prevail in the Muslim/Arab world.

The Temple Mount

Last week I, a media team member and a CFI representative from Scotland went to the most contested piece of real estate on the planet, Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, to take photos for CFI’s stock footage library. This is the area where Solomon’s first temple was erected, then destroyed in 586 BCE, then later Zerubbabel’s/Herod the Great’s temple complex was built, which was destroyed in 70 CE/AD. What is there today is an Islamic shrine called the Dome of the Rock—built on the site of the original temples—and the Al Aksa Mosque at the southern end of the 34 acre temple mount platform. We only got about two 10-minute sessions to shoot, due to schedules and a long line (even in February), but here are a few shots. We’ll get back up there soon to explore more, and I’ll write more on this then, but for your own research, here’s an excellent source I read recently:

pat at dor
Me standing on the Temple Mount in front of the Dome of the Rock

CFI work and Training on Video

Things are moving along at CFI. My work has lightened the load for some of my teammates, and allowed to focus more on projects, particularly Front Page Jerusalem. Be sure to check out the interviews:

I am continuing taking photos and developing a library of daily Scripture ‘memes’ for CFI’s social media outreach, including FaceBook and Twitter; we are working to increase web traffic and interest in all of the projects under the CFI umbrella. You can take advantage and share some of these memes in your own ‘sphere of influence’ on your FaceBook or Twitter page! Go here:  and here: . This is a great way to get the word out! 🙂

We are also training with video camera and lighting techniques, which fortunately, I do have a little background in from when I worked at a TV station in the late 1980s. The technology has of course progressed, but the basic techniques are the same. I am excited to see how the Lord will lead us in the particular aspect of ministry.

…and Here comes Purim!

If you have never heard of Purim (or aren’t quite sure how to pronounce it), it’s OK, we are all learning. You will find it in the book of Esther, the plot essentially being… a ‘Deep State’ government entity attempts to overthrow the will of the legitimate government through deceit and subterfuge to derail God’s plan and destroy the Jewish people. It is so effective that the only hope is that God Himself intervenes, which He does. Yet, one of the ironies of the Book of Esther is that God is never mentioned throughout the entire story. Lesson: just because God seems to be silent doesn’t mean He is not at work. There are a lot of “hidden things” in life, so also in the Book of Esther.

 “Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur… 27 the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants” (Esther 9:26-28).

As believers in Jesus/Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, particularly those of us who are Gentiles (“all those who allied themselves with them”, v.27, cf. Romans 11:17), we are privileged to celebrate freedom, and to support Israel and the Jewish people. So, don’t miss this opportunity. Plus, like most all Jewish holidays, there’s food! And at Purim they have special pastries called Hamantashen, ie, Haman’s Pockets/Ears (see below), so don’t miss it.

Hamantashen–let’s eat!

Please continue to pray for our leaders in the US and Israel, and even those around the world like Guatemala, where each of us–whether individually, or collectively in our respective countries, determines G-d’s blessing and favor for us. Shalom.

Happy New Year…and a look back at 2017 from Jerusalem!

“Shalom shalom” from Jerusalem!

“Shalom shalom” can be translated as “perfect peace,” such as in Isaiah 26:3…“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” As you probably also know, “Shalom” is often used as “hello” as well as “goodbye”, regarding which, I once heard a Jewish man quip, “I didn’t know if I was coming or going.” Well, we are hours away from bidding 2017 farewell, while welcoming in 2018! It has been an interesting year to say the least; momentarily I’ll recap a few things that stood out for me here in the Land. But first…

Messiah-mas in the Old City: God keeps His Word!
How quickly time passes. A week ago many people were preparing for Christmas, family get-togethers, and gift exchanges. For me, I was obviously away from my mom and sister and my extended family, and we missed each other: yet, time flies and it seems longer than just a week ago that people were celebrating the birth of Messiah.

For me, last Sunday night I went to a Christmas event at Christ Church in the Old City, where they had an open time from about 5:00 to 11:00pm of singing and worship, as well as fellowship and hot refreshments. It seems this evening is normally attended by 1) Christians in the earlier hours, 2) Messianics in the mid-hours, and 3) Israelis in the latter hours (who come out of curiosity, as well as just having something to do).


After about an hour of singing carols in the church, I found myself in the adjacent café sitting with two older Israeli gentlemen who were attending. David and Gideon* talked a with me little about Christmas, but then mostly about their families who were early pioneers in the Land; they also shared about their own travels around Europe in their younger days and their action during the ’67 Six Day War.

Eventually the subject got around to G-d and the Bible, and Gideon said that he believed in God (sort of), but that the Bible was essentially ‘just stories.’ As you may have already figured out, if the Bible isn’t true, then the Jewish people would have a difficult time identifying themselves as a people, as well as their right to the Land.

Gideon’s parents and grandparents came to Israel when there was practically nothing here in the way of Israeli political order and infrastructure, and he was proud of how Israel has grown since then. I asked him, “Gideon, have you ever read Devarim (Deuteronomy), chapter 30, where G-d says that  “…the Lord your God will bring you [back] into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers” (v. 5). Of course, the fuller fulfillment of the entire passage is when all Israel turns to the Lord, but even now, as foretold by Ezekiel (cptr. 37), there would be a process of restoration of Israel, even while they are in a state of unbelief.

I shared further, “Gideon, not only has this happened just as G-d has promised, it is continuing to happen today, right before our very eyes.” Though he did not know this about Scripture, he agreed with me, and as he would translate some of what David did not understand fully, I encouraged both of them to read the Scriptures and to seek the Lord.

To the North

Earlier this week, I received a call from some of my co-workers that they were going to the Galilee, but since their original driver was called away on an emergency, they needed someone to drive their rental car (CFI closed their offices this week, so we have had the week off).

This was my first visit to the Sea of Galilee since I have been here: frankly, I saw more of the Land in a week as a tourist than I have seen here in seven months. But that’s OK, I didn’t come here to play, but to work and help the Jewish people.

En Gev on the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee viewed from tour boat.  Nearby is Kursi, the town of Gadara where Jesus freed the men with the demons (see Matthew 8:28-34).
The Galilee has a particular beauty that you just have to see in person to appreciate. For one of our team originally from Kazakhstan, it was her first visit to this area, and she was clearly in awe of being there. We walked around Capernaum, Mount of the Beatitudes, took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee from En Gev, then drove up into the Golan Heights to a place called Gamla.
The ancient city of Gamla viewed from the lookout across the valley.

Though not so well known, Gamla is a fascinating site significant for its history, particularly in its role in the Jewish War against Rome in 66-73 CE.

It has been 11 years since I was there last; and I must say that I missed not getting back there sooner. Gamla is home to the oldest synagogue site in Israel, which very likely hosted the Son of G-d where He would have taught in His Galilee/Gaulanitus (Golan) tour:

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching  in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria…” (Matt. 5:23-24a).

Like Capernaum, it is an awesome thought to consider that you are in the very spot on which He stood, taught, and performed miracles (Mark 2-3).

1st century CE/AD synagogue at Gamla
In 2006 our team hiked to the very top of the mountain along a pretty rugged trail. This time one of our team and I made the same trek, it was exhilarating. Gamla has a similar history as the desert fortress Masada, where the Jewish defenders suffered similar fates. Upon reaching the top of Gamla, you not only admire the breath-taking view that includes the distant Sea of Galilee, but you quietly consider what happened on that very spot, where people chose to die free rather than to either be slaughtered or live as slaves to Rome. It is a perplexing situation one hopes never to be confronted with.
Me atop the summit of Gamla; Sea of Galilee in the distance.
In some ways I feel closer to G-d’s people there (and at Masada) than I do even in Jerusalem or the Western Wall; perhaps the tragic nature of Israel’s history is more focused there than at other historical places in the Land. Who knows? But I encourage you, if you have never been to Israel, ask the Lord if He would have you come and see the Land and His people. If you do, consider putting Gamla on your itinerary.

Stuff I remember from 2017
While I won’t bore you with too many details, here are a few details I remember from this year:
  • My last Shabbat at HOI: Sam prayed for me and Robert G and said, “Robert is going to work in Chicago, and Pat is going to Israel, where it’s safe” (everybody laughed).
  • Going away party from worship and dance team, and Laurie Taylor’s awesome “Psalm 122 cake
  • Writing my first blog when I arrived here (seems like yesterday)
  • Visiting an Israeli Army base and getting to talk with some of the soldiers
  • Going to ulpan and being asked by Dana the instructor to sing the first night, out loud (I sang “O say shalom bim romav…”). Still studying Hebrew.
  • Visiting one of the grieving families of a border policeman who was murdered by terrorists at the Old City a few weeks earlier
  • Seeing the Parade of Nations at Sukkot (video)
  • Spending time with Israeli friends and family over HHDs
  • Sukkot dinner with my next door neighbors in their sukkah
  • Catching up with old friends I have not seen in 4, 11, and 33 years
  • Spreading salt and light with the people you meet in passing, on the bus, and with your neighbors, for example…
Earlier this week I was walking through the Machane Yehuda Shuk (kind of an Israeli farmers’ market) and confronted by two young Israelis who wanted to give me a sample snack from their store there. They were both wearing kippahs which is some indication that they have a religious affiliation. We were talking in broken English and some Hebrew when one of them said something about Moshiach (the Messiah) coming soon.

So I asked him, “How will you know who the Messiah is?”

He (Jacob*) replied, “He will make peace with the Palestinians, and will build the Beit Miqdash, theTemple.”

Me: “So you mean, King Messiah, Moshiach ben David (Son of David).”

Him: “Yes.”

Me: “Have you ever heard about Moshiach ben Yosef?” (Son of Joseph) He said yes.

Me: “What does that mean to you?” He wasn’t quite sure, so I suggested, “A suffering Messiah? Like Isaiah’s Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53?” He agreed.

“You know, Jacob, some people believe that the Messiah has already come, and that Moshiach ben David and Moshiach ben Yosef are ‘echad’ (one), that they are one and the same person. Have you ever heard that idea?”

Jacob got very quiet at that moment as he began to think. So I shared, “I have heard that the story of Joseph is a picture of the Messiah: that he is rejected by his brothers, but in the end he gets to rescue them. That’s pretty interesting, isn’t it?”

He nodded, but he realized that he needed to give this some more serious thought, and I realized that I needed to move on. But I’ll be back in the shuk to buy stuff in the future, so hopefully I’ll see my new friend Jacob again.

Out with the Old, In with the New!
This weekend I decided to read back through my journal over the past year, just to reflect on my journey coming here and how the Lord has worked in the process. A year ago I believed the Lord was leading me, but, as some of you may remember, it was not without some reservation or concern regarding many details and responsibilities.
As I moved forward, the Lord has been faithful to lead and provide each step of the way: it is encouraging to recall the moments, obstacles, and challenges on this journey, and how, though I knew not how at the time, the Lord has made a way, and He used many of you to help answer prayers and to support my work with CFI here in the Land—you know who you are. Thank you so much for letting me be your hands and heart, reaching out to G-d’s Chosen People here in His Promised Land.
If I may encourage you all, begin this new year with a journal of your own: each day if possible, but regularly, simply write a Scripture verse or reference, an incident that concerns you, a prayer regarding that or something or someone else. And, when God answers your prayer, record it! You will find great encouragement as you look back and remember things you may have forgotten, and see with hindsight how God worked it all out. BTW, a Bible reading schedule is helpful too. Here’s one:
So as we approach this year’s end, and next year’s beginning, I leave you with wise words from Oswald Chambers, who has been a companion of mine for many years:

The God of Israel will be your rereward. — Isaiah 52:12

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present…

Security for To-day. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, un-remembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us.

Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Here’s to a great 2018! Shalom Shalom in Him Who makes all things new,
PS. BTW, if you wish to give a year-end tax deductible gift, please go here and see directions. Thank you, and Happy New Year! 🙂


The Temple Mount, Al Aqsa Mosque, and Trump Towers over the UN

DSCN1676Looking out my back door: living in Israel, and glad, once again, to be an American.

Wow, what a week, eh? President Donald J. Trump did something that no president in 70 years has had the gumption to do—tell the truth about Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. I don’t know how this will all shake out, and if the US policy will be ‘nuanced’ in the future regarding so-called “East/ West Jerusalem”, but here are a few thoughts that may help us keep things in perspective.

As the President said, “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.” To that I would say, “Amen. Finally.” Yet, predictably, the Arab/Muslim world as well as the Western liberal press and politicians have reacted in “horror and dismay” and Trump’s decision. Consider these headlines:

  • Trump’s Jerusalem speech sparks violent Mideast protests – (USA)
  • Trump ignores warnings with ‘reckless Jerusalem move’ – Al Jazeera (Qatar)
  • Jerusalem’s Christian Leaders to Trump: Recognition Will Cause ‘Irreparable Damage’ – HaAretz (Israel)
  • White House forced to deny Donald Trump has DEMENTIA after he slurred and stuttered during Israel speech – and he vows to take medical test to prove it – The Sun, (UK)

The media has taken what should be an historic landmark for progress in ethics and global politics, and turned it into a silly rant about Donald Trump’s dentures. OK, so The Donald did slur the word ‘states’ in his speech. Big deal. Who of us hasn’t mangled the English language at some point in our lives.

What you are really seeing, my friends, is this world’s opposition to God’s will and God’s word. For example, God said in 2 Chronicles 6:6, “I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” Only one of numerous claims God made regarding Jerusalem.

Yet, the Muslim world has rejected the Bible, as has the Western secular world, therefore anything as important as the status of Jerusalem–notwithstanding recorded history and the archaeological record–will certainly be contested by people opposed to what God has said.

As far as history and the sacred texts are concerned, it should be helpful to observe the import of Jerusalem to the Bible and the Qur’an. In the Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times. In the Qur’an it is mentioned…not once.
I think it reasonable and fair to graciously ask our Muslim friends why is it that Jerusalem is absent from the Qur’an, when it is supposed to be so important to Islam?

Kindergarten with Ashtrays
Yet last week the UN General Assembly “voted overwhelmingly to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem as part of six anti-Israel resolutions it approved on Thursday in New York. The vote was 151 in favor and six against, with nine abstentions.”  The resolution stated that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”

Do you ever feel like our world is run by children? A very good realtor friend once told me that a common quip in the real estate industry is, that it’s often like “kindergarten with ashtrays.” Such seems to be the august body of the UN: foolish men and women who will seem to go to any lengths to deny the obvious truth.

As it has been said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” As believers, we must understand that silence on the status of Jerusalem from the leader of the Free World, the USA, has only served as acquiescence and bolstered the campaign to de-legitimize not only Israel’s right to Jerusalem, but Israel’s right to exist at all.

Solomon wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil” Ecc. 8:12). To not deal with people who have committed crimes or have evil intentions only makes for a worse situation in the future. Those who are criticizing Trump’s announcement are simply of the same mind of those who lauded Neville Chamberlain with his 1938 ‘peace in our time’ agreement with Hitler, and we know how that ended.

To finally cease ‘kicking the can down the road’ is the best thing US leadership could do, as National Review’s David French said in calling it one of President Trump’s “best, most moral, and important decisions” that “strikes a blow against international anti-Semitism.”

If some are still not convinced, I think it safe to say that when the world’s leader in state sponsored terrorism, Iran, as well as the PA, Hezbollah, Hamas and N. Korea are angry with what you are doing, you’re probably doing the right thing. Please continue to pray for the President for wisdom, grace and courage to handle this situation in a proper way.

Ultimately, Israel and our world needs a Savior. May God use you and me to bring light and sanity to a dark and confused world.



Happy Thanksgiving from Jerusalem!

Well, hopefully by now you have recovered from Thanksgiving dinner and can breathe normally again. I must admit that being away from home and family for this holiday, the first time in a long time, was a little empty feeling. My sister did email some photos from our family get-together as did a cousin, but it still left a little to be desired. But, I am thankful, as I have much to be thankful for, more than I am sure I realize or acknowledge.
I won’t make a long list here…that would be too long—like yours—and some of it would be only for God’s eyes. But, a few of the things I am thankful for are as follows:
  • That I came to know the Lord 33 years ago—somehow He found me—and I know I have a Home, and ultimately it’s only going to get better.
  • A family—mom, dad, and sister—that has faithfully loved, watched over and cared for me since the time when I was too little to care for myself… even to this day (Dad’s Home now).
  • An extended family that has always been glad to see me, and showed it in so many ways.
  • Friends who have been faithful over the years, who have borne my burdens in spirit and in flesh.
  • A non-leaking roof over my head, good food to eat, nice clothes to wear.
  • Good health, despite the abuses I inflicted on my body through sports and other ‘recreational’ activities in my younger days.
  • Martyrs and heroes, who loved not their lives even to the death, that we might know what it means to have faith and to be free.
  • To be from America, and to be living in the Land that people down through the ages have longed to return to, that even Moses wasn’t allowed to enter in his natural lifetime.
  • Music, the enjoyment of it as well as the ability to play it, even though I am presently unable to play as I would like to. Still I am glad that God created music, for it is one of the highest modes of expression of love, worship and thanksgiving to God that I know.
Speaking of which, this past Friday night Shemen Sasson (Oil of Gladness, [Isa. 61:3]) where I have been plugging into held a ‘Night of Praise’ and fellowship event. SS has a gifted worship leader and song writer and the Lord seems to be bringing together a congregation with a burden to bless Israel. Recently I have been asked to come on-board to play the drums there until further notice, so I am thankful for this “open door.”
After that, a group of us Americans at CFI were invited to the home of the general manager and his wife for a Thanksgiving/Shabbat dinner, which was awesome. So, I didn’t completely miss out on our beloved American Thanksgiving holiday! Sorry, I didn’t think to get any pictures, but, you know what a turkey looks like. 🙂

Holiday Season is here
With Thanksgiving passed, the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday season is underway: they even have a “Black Friday” sales day here in Israel. It is looking like I will not be coming back to the States this Holiday season since I have to be with CFI for a year before vacation days kick in. We do have the week of Christmas off, so I may accompany a friend to Eilat and visit some friends there and get a first hand view of their ministry here in the Land.

Although we know that Peter had a mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39), we don’t read about his family in Scripture: so I wonder if Peter and Paul missed their family while on their journeys. I’m learning more about G-d’s call, and some of what it entails. Sometimes these are unexpected things, things you figured you could handle being a ‘big boy’ and all. Life has many discoveries, about God and about ourselves. I stumbled cross this video of the late Rich Mullins this week: maybe it will minister to you.
Rich Mullins: Between the Songs – Maybe it Hurts to be Called by God
Oh, and here’s an interesting quote from our departed brother:
“I am thinking now of old Moses sitting on a mountain – sitting with God – looking across the Jordan into the Promised Land. I am thinking of the lump in his throat, that weary ache in his heart, that nearly bitter longing sweetened by the company of God…

And then God – the great eternal God – takes Moses’ thin-worn, thread-bare little body into His hands – hands into whose hollows you could pour the oceans of the world, hands whose breadth marked off the heavens – and with these enormous and enormously gentle hands, God folds Moses’ pale lifeless arms across his chest for burial.
I don’t know if God wept at Moses’ funeral. I don’t know if He cried when He killed the first of His creatures to take its skins to clothe this man’s earliest ancestors. I don’t know who will bury me –
…God, on whose breast old Moses lays his head like John the Beloved would lay his on the Christ’s. And God sits there quietly with Moses – for Moses – and lets His little man cry out his last moments of life.

But I look back over the events of my life and see the hands that carried Moses to his grave lifting me out of mine. In remembering I go back to these places where God met me and I meet Him again and I lay my head on His breast, and He shows me the land beyond the Jordan and I suck into my lungs the fragrance of His breath, the power of His presence.”
 ― Rich Mullins
Shalom in Our Shepherd,

The Feast of Tabernacles & The Parade of Nations: a glimpse into the Future


This week as part of the Sukkot celebrations the Parade of the Nations was held in Jerusalem. I was asked by my CFI media team manager Kevin Howard to cover it and get some photos, which I did. Though I have heard about it, I had never seen this parade before, and I must say it was more than I expected. I even caught myself a couple of times, touched by the emotion of seeing so many people from the four corners of our planet, whom I most likely will never see again in this life, come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to support Israel.

To my knowledge this occurs in no other city on earth, where foreign peoples come to bless the indigenous people in their own Land. It is a precursor of Zechariah 14:16, which says “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”

Many Jewish people, young and not-so-young, watching were amazed and rejoicing, clapping and returning greetings; one man kept saying, “This is amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this!”

There is only one explanation: these are people whose hearts God has touched, and they are His witnesses to His truth in Messiah. May the Gentiles continue to make Israel jealous for Messiah–the whole world needs Him (Romans 11:11-27).

Here’s a little slideshow I put together. Hope you enjoy it! Peace.


My Yom Huledet: Birthday Thoughts on Existence, Thanksgiving, and Destiny

dna_helixLast Friday I completed my 58th trip around the sun (plus nine months), and this, like other similar times, gives us pause to reflect.

It is amazing and strange to think that for most of all history we who area reading this did not exist: you just didn’t—there was no YOU. Then with the ‘miracle’ of conception—“boom!”—we began to exist, even though we were only a little cell, complete with all of our DNA genetic material and apparently as spirit beings as well, we began to grow. It is an awesome mystery about life and what we really are as human beings, and why we are here. It is good to think about such things that G-d as put into place. It helps us “magnify Him” (cf. Ps. 34:3): we cannot make Him bigger, but we can see Him bigger, more awesome, and more Wonderful.

In Psalm 139 David reflects on the omniscience and omni-presence of G-d: He knows everything about us—He knows us better than we know ourselves—and there is nowhere we can go where He is not already there. David then writes about G-d’s work in bringing David into existence:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them
(Ps. 139:13–16).

I won’t go into depth here, but I have always thought that it is interesting that David used the idea of “knitting” in how G-d made us (some versions translate it this way). The phrase “skillfully wrought” in verse 15 is one word, רֻ֝קַּ֗מְתִּי / “rukamti”: it means variegate, or to embroider skillfully. If you have ever seen a photo of the DNA helix (like the photo at the top), it looks like it is woven material. Interesting.

Anyway, from there David considers the thoughts that God thinks—God thinks thoughts—toward us:

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

After praying G-d will give his enemies a good thrashing, David concludes with a prayer regarding his own thoughts, and for guidance…even into eternity.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

So, having survived 58 years—when I first entered this world, and took my first breath, and then started complaining, loudly—I’m thinking about this stuff. I thank G-d that He gave me a mother who endured the sweltering heat of an blazing hot August with no air conditioning to carry me to term, and a father who played the roll to me and my sister better than anyone I’ve ever met.

May we all pray that G-d will search us and lead us in the way everlasting as He did for David, and may we each fulfill our destiny in the days that were ordained for [us]” (v. 16.)

Shalom from Jerusalem,


Shalom from Jerusalem and Happy 4th of July!