Category: Uncategorized

Pittsburgh, Darkness, and a Call to Prayer

Pittsburgh, Darkness, and a Call to Prayer

Darkness in Pittsburgh
By now you are well apprised of the tragedy that has occurred in Pittsburgh. The rise of anti-Semitism around the world is real—across Europe, South America and in the US and Canada. Where this is leading our world is something most people would just rather not think about, and not to place blame on anyone, but this was the very thought expressed by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, the Rabbi of Tree of Life in Pittsburgh: “I never thought it would happen here.”

To no one’s surprise the blame game has begun, and some are trying to politicize the whole thing to their advantage: it is shameful. President Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh is entirely appropriate—for the worst mass murder in the Jewish community in US history, it is appropriate, if not incumbent that the President pay his respects. In case anyone has forgotten, despite his personal flaws, Donald J. Trump has demonstrated on several occasions that he is the most pro-Israel President since Harry S. Truman, and arguably the most pro-Israel President in US history.

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President Trump and First Lady Melania place memorial stones on victims’ Stars of David.

Yet, we are told by the media that Pittsburgh’s “Jewish leaders” have expressed their desire that the President not come to Pittsburgh, as has Pittsburgh’s mayor, a Democrat, and Pennsylvania’s governor, also a Democrat. The Washington Post ran this headline: “Thousands signed a letter saying Trump was not welcome in Pittsburgh. He plans to visit anyway”, which seems to paint DJT as a cavalier politician insensitive to a grieving community.

Of course, The Washing Post is regularly hostile to the President, so this comes as no surprise. What also comes as no surprise is what you will read in a moment further down in the article (I am a little surprised that they printed this info).

Who are these “Jewish Leaders”? Who are the “Thousands [who] signed a letter saying Trump was not welcome in Pittsburgh”? Do they speak for the Greater Jewish Community?

These ‘leaders’ are from an organization called Bend the Arc, whose mission statement reads:
“Bend the Arc is a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews all across the country. For years, we’ve worked to build a more just society. Now we’re rising up in solidarity with everyone threatened by the Trump agenda to fight for the soul of our nation.”

‘Progressive’, as in socio-politically liberal, embracing everything from partial-birth abortion, to homosexual special rights (which if ratified into law could levy a fine of $250,000 for an offender: Dr. Michael Brown tell us more here), to a nation without borders—which means you have no nation.

Here is a little more from WaPo about Bend the Arc: “Bend the Arc was founded in 2012 as an advocacy organization. Three years later, with the help of Alexander Soros, son of liberal philanthropist George Soros, the group launched the first Jewish political action committee focused on dealing solely with domestic issues.”

Ah, ‘Alexander Soros, son of liberal philanthropist George Soros.’ That name does seem to pop up a bit these days. And now you know, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.”

Flashback to 2012

In 2012 I led several HOI (Hope of Israel Congregation) outreach teams onto the streets of Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention. Together we handed out more than 5,000 pieces of Good News literature entitled, “Top Ten Reasons The DNC Should Support Israel” to people including Fox News’ Juan Williams, and Tom Brokaw, and NY Jewish congressman Jerry Nadler.

It was a week of interesting discussions to say the least (not everybody was friendly), and since that time, the Democrat Party has all but turned away from any support of Israel, which is more than a bit strange considering the prominent number of Jewish politicians on the political left. For the upcoming 2020 Republican National Convention, Charlotte should be an interesting place; of course, a lot can happen between now and then.

One other thing about all this: while a large portion of the overall Jewish community in America is liberal (I have Orthodox friends in the US who are embarrassed and bewildered at the liberalism in the Jewish community), I believe that the Jewish community in general is warming up to…not just a conservative point of view, but to…the idea that maybe there is something different about these Christians who support Israel, and the Savior they worship. They know they have friends in true Believers in Jesus/Yeshua. So, don’t let liberal groups like Bend the Arc or J Street discourage you—they may have the power of the media, but they do not speak for all Jewish people.

Remember to Pray
Let me say that I am sorry to be so much about politics in this letter, but I—probably like many of you—believe the spiritual battle is truly raging for the life and soul of our nation. As the Book of Esther shows us, there are such things as ‘Deep State’ operations in governments—and make no mistake: the people of God are the target. But rather than completely immersing ourselves into conspiracy theories, we are called to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), and against the darkness that is encroaching upon us. Our God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—is still in absolute control. He laughs at the schemes of the wicked and mourns with His people (Psalm 2:4; Isaiah 63:9).

I was naked, and you clothed me
Which brings me to something you are interested in: His people. Yesterday I was across the street from our headquarters at our Distribution Center, where we provide clothing for new immigrants (“olim”) in Israel.

It was a bit of a ‘mad-house’ as about 25 new Russian speaking olim were crammed into our clothing area, looking through some pretty nice stuff donated by Believers in the UK and the USA. I was thrilled to see young families with children, elderly people, and middle-aged people glad to find some help and to realize there are people who care: most of them are very poor.

It is also moving to see these people obtain their own copy of the Hebrew Scriptures in their own language—many for the very first time. Please pray that G-d will continue to reveal Himself to His people, that the spiritual blindness with be taken away (Romans 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:16).

Thank you for praying for the ministry of CFI Jerusalem, and for your prayers and support of my work here. It is all important, and Jewish (and Arab) lives are being touched with the love of God through his people.

Blessings in the King,

Pat

PS: If you would like to support my work, please click here.

PPS. Remember to vote next week. 🙂

A New Year, A New Covenant, and A Feast of Trumpets!

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Today in Israel, and around the world, people are celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which also coincides with the Biblical Feast of Trumpets, hence the blowing of shofars in synagogues and homes world-wide.

You may be wondering about a New Year in the middle of the ‘regular’ year: how’s that work? A Jewish friend and I were talking about that recently, how the different calendars function, etc. Some folks may object that Rosh Hashana really is not a Biblical feast day, but is observed along with the Feast of Trumpets (see Lev. 23:23-24), which is true. The way Rosha Hashana came about was when the Jewish people who returned to Israel from Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BCE, they brought some cultural baggage with them, part of which is the adaptation of the Babylonian calendar.

According to Exodus 12 the actual Biblical calendar puts the beginning of the year in the Spring (an obviously logical place to begin new things). So, what do we do? Well, many people celebrate the modern civil Western New Year on January 1, which isn’t biblical either, but is based on the Gregorian calendar, the original goal of which was to change the date of Easter. In 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII introduced his Gregorian calendar, Europe adhered to the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.E.

So, to interact with people in the world we live in today, some accommodations are regularly made. Suffice to say, every day is a new day, and as the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23). May we keep this in mind as we go through our days and years, whenever we may begin them.

A Trumpet… for you!

One significant aspect of the Feats of Trumpets is its prophetic meaning, but to explain that, a little back story is required here. A few years ago I wrote a research paper for a class at SES on this topic entitled A Case for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which I have excerpted here. I hope you enjoy it, and if you would like a copy of the full paper click here.

What about The Last Trumpet?

The question regarding the last trumpet from 1 Corinthians 15:51 is often used to support the Post-Trib view: “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” Which trumpet is this ‘last trumpet’? There are seven trumpet judgments in Revelation (9:2-11:15), as well as other references to trumpets in the same book (1:10; 4:1). Often the reference is made to Revelation 11:15 as the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15. However, one must remember that at the time Paul wrote to the Corinthians, John would not receive and write the Revelation for another thirty or forty years, which would likely be a different generation. While it is possible that the Spirit of God could prophetically inspire Paul to write verse 51 for a future referent, Paul’s immediate audience in Corinth would have no way to interpret what it meant, which would not explain the very mystery he claimed to be revealing.

So, what is the last trumpet? The answer may be found in the mysterious, prophetic nature of the seven feasts that God gave to Israel in Leviticus 23. In the same letter to the Corinthians, Paul references Passover/Unleavened Bread, where he exhorts the Jewish and Gentile believers to celebrate Passover in light of the New Covenant, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened, for Christ [Messiah] our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7); also First Fruits fulfilled in the Resurrection:

“Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Cor. 15:20-23).

The Corinthians were apparently familiar with the feast days God gave to Israel, thus a quick overview of the feasts will be helpful for us here.

In Leviticus 23 God lays out seven annual feasts that Israel was to keep perpetually: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. Many recognize these as a framework for God’s overall program for the redemption of Israel, and the world. In the New Covenant we recognize that four of seven have already been fulfilled:

  • Passover, with the death of Messiah as the Passover Lamb without spot or blemish;
  • Unleavened Bread, with the sinless (unleavened) ‘Bread of Life’ placed in the ground;
  • Firstfruits, with the resurrection of Messiah as ‘the firstfruits of the resurrection’;
  • Pentecost, fifty days after Passover when God gave Israel the Law, fulfilled in the New Covenant by God giving Israel His Spirit.

Take special note that each of these feasts were fulfilled in the New Covenant on their exact day. This is no coincidence with a sovereign God. Is it presumptuous to expect that the remaining three feasts will also be fulfilled on their respective days? We shall let that question lie for now, since no man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. However, regarding the last trumpet, let us consider the next feast day on God’s prophetic calendar: The Feast of Trumpets.

There were several purposes for the trumpets to be sounded: a call to assembly or announcement, a call to mobilize, to war, or to judgment, and a call to worship and celebration.[1] In light of the overall prophetic scenario revealed for the last days, all of these purposes are fulfilled at the sounding of the trumpet and Messiah’s return: 1) He calls the assembly (ekklesia, or church) to mobilize and meet Him in the air; 2) the trumpet of war and judgment is sounded for the last battle between God and Satan revealed in Revelation 4 through 19; and 3) the trumpet of celebration and worship, as we will be reunited with loved ones and worship God as never before when we see Him face to face!

Also, bear in mind that at Pentecost, the giving of the Law was introduced with a series of trumpet blasts (see Ex. 19) similar to the Feast of Trumpets. Thus we see that the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets serve the church age as bookends—initiated and consummated with trumpet blasts, with a season of harvest between them (see Lev. 23:22). This idea the Corinthians would very likely have understood. It is also important to realize that during the Feast of Trumpets (known today as Rosh Hashana) there was not only one trumpet blast, but an entire series of trumpet blasts. It may well be that it is not just the literal final trumpet blast at Rosh Hashana that we are anticipating, but the last one at the moment of the Rapture that will matter to the believing remnant at that time. That remains to be seen.

For the complete paper on this topic, click here.The PreTribulation Rapture[2018] You are free to download.

May G-d bless you on this Rosh Hashana with a sweetest New Year yet, and may we live expectantly as we await to meet our G-d and Savior! Chag Sameach!

PC

[1] Sam Nadler, Messiah in the Feasts of Israel: God’s Appointed Times in History and Prophecy (Charlotte, NC: Word of Messiah Ministries, 2002), 95.

A convergence of Holy Days, Politics, and A Cup of Trembling    

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As you are probably aware, tomorrow will be a big day here in Israel: not for Israel only, but for the whole world. I do believe that the official recognition by the USA of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city—and the subsequent embassy move—is a significant milestone in G-d’s plan and world history. (Click here for photos of new US Embassy site on my PCinIsrael FB page)
Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel

For the first time in 2,000 years—and then under Roman administration—and more than 2,600 years since under complete Israeli sovereignty, Jerusalem is recognized the historic and rightful capital of Israel by a foreign nation.

As exciting as this is, I believe if we look a little deeper we will see even more extraordinary events occurring. Tomorrow, not only will the US officially move its embassy, this will occur on the standard calendar date of May 14, when David Ben Gurion signed the Israel Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. But wait there’s more.

To add to the intrigue, Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים, Yom Yerushalayim) begins tonight at sundown. This day (through sundown tomorrow) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City during the Six Day War in June 1967, and recapture the Temple Mount as well.

Soldiers_Western_Wall_1967
The iconic 1967 photo of Israeli Paratroopers, just after they had captured the Western Wall and the Temple Mount– for the first time in 2000 years.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious holiday to thank God for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem”.

However, this day is not celebrated on the Western/Gregorian calendar, which would place the date each year on June 7, but on the Hebrew calendar day of 29th of Iyyar, which this year falls on—you guessed it—May 14.

So, tomorrow we will celebrate the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with the US embassy move on Israel’s Independence Day, as well as the historic reunification and reclaiming of Jerusalem under Jewish control. Perhaps that is a coincidence, and I have not done an exhaustive study, but I don’t see where these two dates have occurred on the same day before now. (If you find more info let me know.)

The Nakba and Ramadan

More intrigue follows as the usual Palestinian propagandized day of rage, the “Nakba” or Catastrophe follows on Tuesday, May 15. Here it is claimed that the Jews ‘stole’ the land of the Arabs, which conveniently leaves out pretty significant details of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence/ Survival.

Add to that the ridiculous claims by Hamas leaders and their insanity to…”drive the Jews into the sea” (…again?) with the familiar slogan, “From the River (Jordan) to the Sea (Med) Palestine will be Free.” I will simply say about this and the rest of similar aspirations: sooner or later we have to grow up, and face the truth, which is actually what G-d calls each of us to, as Isaiah wrote,

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool”(1:18). Then true peace can be known by all parties.

On the heels of Tuesday’s Day of Rage/Nakba comes the Muslim feast of Ramadan on May 16, a month long observance of partial fasting and prayer, which is scheduled according to the Islamic calendar.

Wrapping up this coming week and beginning the following week is the Biblical Feast of Shavuot/Weeks, also known as Pentecost, where the Law of Moses was given on Mt. Sinai, and in Acts 2 the Body of Messiah was ‘birthed’ to essentially launch the New Covenant era.

A Cup of Trembling

It does seem that we are accelerating toward the end of this age seemingly with increased momentum and focus on Jerusalem, especially in light of Zechariah’s prophecy that G-d says “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about.”

There is still much left to occur according to the prophetic vision given in Scripture, but presently it does seem that against all odds and expectations, with some pretty unlikely players on the world stage, G-d is driving His plan to focus world attention on Jerusalem and ultimately on His Son, who one day will reign there in person.

It should be an interesting week, so please pray for calm, and the safety of the young men and women guarding Israel’s borders. One of my friends who we work with at CFI is an Ethiopian Jew. Right now she has three children serving in the IDF, one of them on the Gaza-Egypt-Israel border. So please pray for their safety and her peace (which she seems to be handling quite well).

Pray also that our Arab neighbors will reject the foolish and futile attempts by their political and religious leaders to thwart G-d’s plan as it advances, and to consider the way of peace that He has set forth for each and all of us (John 14:27).

And Chag Yom Yerushalayim Sameach, Happy Jerusalem Day!

Pat

Israel: Looking at Year 70

Israel: Looking at Year 70

Today began the week of Israel’s 70th Birthday. I have a few comments on that in a moment, but first, a little of ‘normal life’ here in the Land on a Sunday, or Yom Rishon/Day One.

A Sunday with my Neighbors

My 78 year old next door neighbor, Yakov*, has our little section of the neighborhood all dressed up with Israel flags of about four different sizes—as a Sabra (native born Israeli) and an IAF veteran, he’s definitely into it. Earlier this week as I arrived home from work I sat on their porch and talked with him and his wife for a few minutes, and about the upcoming celebration.

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Happy Yom HaAtzmaut (Sameach)!

It is fun and pretty awesome to sit and listen to the stories of people who have been here onsite for the past 50+ years, to tell what it was like and the changes Israel has been through over the past 5, 6 and 7 decades.

Today, I continued to do some touch up work on my apartment, painting some of the trim that has been neglected for years (Yakov’s wife, Golda*, said the steel safety bars over the window haven’t been painted in 40 years since they first moved in. They kina look it, too.) While I was painting the walkway rails two weeks ago, Yakov asked me if I could also paint a pole he had put up for some grapevines, which I was happy to do. So today I did that as well as the front door.

Afterward, I needed to go to the grocery store, so as I walked out of the house, Gil* (my other next door neighbor who is Modern Orthodox) and his littlest son Danny*, were coming down their steps, going for a walk—Danny was on his tricycle. So we all walked together, Gil carrying my trash bag as I carried the recyclables and pulled the shopping cart, as Danny pedaled along beside us. We got to the small playground next to the supermarket—sort of a community center area where a lot of parents—Jews and Arabs—bring their children to play while folks sit and talk, or shop.

While Danny climbed around on things, Gil asked me about the recent US led attack on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities. We both agree it was probably a good thing to do, and that WW3 probably will not erupt out of it (hopefully). The conversation wound its way through Deep State-New World Order politics and the ‘Trump Phenomenon’ that the NWO didn’t seem to see coming, to a corrupt liberal media in the West as well as in Israel, to Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel 9, The False Messiah (Anti-Christ), Armageddon, most of which he was pretty familiar with.

We both agreed that a new temple on the Temple Mount wouldn’t really mean too much in the way of a ‘Messianic Kingdom’ if people do not love one another—which is the goal of the Torah and the Prophets. All said and done, it was a good start for further discussions. BTW, for a good source of accurate news on Israel, go here: http://honestreporting.com/

I returned home and as I was sweeping my walkway, Hans*, the Seminary student from Germany with the wife and four children, invited me over for a few minutes with his in-laws, who will be leaving to return home tomorrow. There we roasted bread on a stick while we discussed life in Israel via broken English and German, and laughter.

This is sort of normal life on a day off in Israel, even though there are dangerous events going on at the Gaza border, armies and factions are fighting a hundred or so miles away, and Israel is preparing for her 70th birthday. It is all very interesting.

Also beginning tomorrow is CFI’s annual conference, where CFI representatives from 35 countries, volunteers and supporters will gather to hear a host of speakers including Israeli government officials and Knesset members, IDF and security spokespersons, Messianic Jewish and Christian Arab pastors, Christian media journalists, CFI’s many project directors, and more. For more, visit CFI’s FaceBook page.

Israel @ 70: Important for everybody

Nevertheless, I am excited about this week. Tuesday night begins Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) through Wednesday, to remember Israel’s fallen soldiers.

This is followed by Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), beginning on Wednesday night through Thursday. This is not only a once in a lifetime event, but a ‘once in history event’, and I do wonder about the significance of it.

Very quickly, the number 70 is frequent and quite interesting in Scripture:

  • 70 = 7 (Perfection) x 10 (representing God’s law i.e., The Ten Commandments, and completeness)
  • 70 Persons of Israel/Jacob’s family went down to Egypt (Ex. 1:5).
  • 70 elders were appointed by Moses (Numbers 11:16).
  • After reading the covenant God gave him to read to the people, Moses took 70 elders, along with Aaron and his sons, up Mount Sinai to have a special meal with God himself (Exodus 24:9 – 11).
  • Israel spent a total number of 70 years in captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10), wherein the Land received her Sabbath rests that had gone unobserved for 70 sevens of years: “to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete” (2 Chron. 36:21).
  • 70 sevens (490 years) were determined upon Jerusalem for it to complete its transgressions, to make an end for sins and for everlasting righteousness to enter into it via the Messiah (Daniel 9:24).
  • Yeshua/Jesus sent out 70 disciples (Luke 10:1)

There’s more, but obviously there is something to the number 70 in the Word. If one studies Jewish history, you will recognize that there is a significance to dates and events beyond the realm of mere coincidence: there is a sovereign God ruling over the affairs of men as well as His own Chosen People.

Seventy years ago the world saw a nation born in a day—out of the ashes of the Holocaust, a nation that in two generations would grow to become the focal point of world attention, whether for praise or defamation. The world saw a scattered people, a previously dead language, and an all but forgotten promise, all come to life in the form of a nation that would lead the world in every area from technology to the arts—it is unprecedented in human history. God promised, and He delivered (see Deut. 30:1-6; Ezek. 36-37; Isaiah 66:5-9; Amos 9:15).

Will anything out of the ordinary or exciting happen this week? I do not know. Perhaps the celebrations will go off without a hitch, though a terrorist attack—or a series of such should not surprise us. Yet, God is sovereign, and He hears the prayers of His people. So let us pray for safety, that His will is done, and that we are careful to observe what He is up to in our day.

Vision for the Future

One other thought. The corresponding letter in the Hebrew alphabet for 70 is the letter “ע” ‘ayan’. This letter is associated with the eye, by which we gain our vision. Romans 11:25 states that in regards to the Good News of Messiah, “blindness in part is happened to Israel.” Not a total blindness, but a partial blindness. Could it be that this year the eyes of a significant number of God’s Chosen will people be opened to what His word really says? I do not know, but, we can pray that it be so.

This week we celebrate the faithfulness of our God. So remember, whatever you may be facing, take heart—God keeps his promises. Happy Birthday Israel!

Shalom from Jerusalem,

PC