A rare photo of Israel’s 1968 Independence Day parade—the first Independence Day of a United Jerusalem after Israel recaptured its ancient capital in the 1967 Six Day War.
If you turned on the news in the past few months, no doubt you heard more than a little about Jerusalem. In fact, the Old City of Jerusalem is the most controversial city in the world and it’s hardly bigger than a large shopping mall.
Jerusalem is “a city that had been fought over countless times in its history. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.”
This is an ancient conflict that goes back a lot further than 50 years, although many believe that its troubles began only when Israel recaptured its 3,000-year-old capital in 1967. King David prophesied of a time when the whole world would be fighting over Zion.
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed.” (Ps. 2:1-2)
The word in Hebrew for ‘anointed’ is Mashiach, or Messiah. Who are these kings of the earth who stand against God’s Messiah and what are they up in arms about? Let’s keep reading. In anger the Lord says:
“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” (Ps. 2:6)
They are fighting over control of Mount Zion, or Jerusalem. Who can forget just a few months ago that the United Nations’ (i.e. “the kings of the earth”) UNESCO voted, against all intellectual honesty, for a resolution concerning Jerusalem (or God’s holy mountain), stating, “there is no connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall.” Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat responded, “In fact, it is the UNESCO vote that has no connection to reality.”
Instead the UNESCO document referred to the Temple Mount only in Arabic as Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, meaning the Islamic Noble Sanctuary. It called the Western Wall Plaza the Buraq Plaza, again denying the Jewish connection.
Now the Truth about Jerusalem:
The Bible, backed up by archeological evidence, tells us that King David established Jerusalem, a Jebusite stronghold, as the capital of Israel in 1003 BCE or so. David moved his capital from Hebron, in Judah, to Jerusalem for several reasons.
By moving the capital from the center of Judah to the border with Benjamin, he united the Tribes of Israel. The City of David led up to Mount Moriah, where the Temple would be built. Jerusalem sits on top of the Gihon Springs, which would give them an endless supply of water.
Jerusalem was a near impenetrable walled city. David was only able to conquer it himself because Joab used the water tunnel to gain access.
However, in 586 BCE Jerusalem was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and then again in 70 CE by Titus of Rome who burned the city to the ground. Emperor Hadrian visited her ruins in 130 CE and decided to rebuild the city to Jupiter, calling it Aelia Capitolina. The Jews revolted and were conquered. Hadrian expelled all Jews and Christians from the city. It is likely these “Christians” were Messianic Jews, as by this time they had been purged out of the synagogue and had their own Messianic Synagogues. All of the leaders of Jerusalem’s Messianic community after James the brother of Yeshua were Jews—until Hadrian’s expulsion.
The Jews wandered the earth for 1,900 years. Never in history has an ethnic people been separated from their homeland for more than a couple of generations before they ceased to be. That is the point of exile—to destroy a race of people.
But by the grace of God the Jewish people survived the prophesied exile and they returned to their own land just as the Hebrew prophets said they would.
“I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God. (Amos 9:15)
“And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Is. 11:12)
“Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’” (Jeremiah 31:10)
AGAINST ALL ODDS
After dozens of attempted genocides and expulsions, against all odds, the Jews came forth out of the ashes of the Holocaust to rebuild their ancient homeland. But despite gaining statehood, Jordan seized the Old City of Jerusalem, deporting all Jews and then sought to destroy every historical connection to Israel, including the Great Hurva Synagogue in the Old City.
In 1948, when Jordan took control of the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City, it divided the city for the first time in its 3,000-year history. Jordan destroyed more than 50 synagogues, and erased all evidence of a Jewish presence. In addition, all Jews were forced out of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City adjacent to the Western Wall, an area where Jews had lived for generations. No one has ever cared about the Jews who were forced from their homes in 1948.
However, in 1967, the Arab countries decided that 19 years of Jewish humiliation was enough. It was time to destroy Israel once and for all. Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal—itself, an act of war, as it would close the canal to Israel’s shipping and cripple her economy. Next he expelled the U.N. peacekeeping force meant to maintain peace between Egypt and Israel in the Sinai desert. Next, he put his troops on the Egyptian-Israeli border.
Then, along with his neighbors, in line with Arab culture, the hyperbolic quotes began.
“The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel … to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle; the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not of more declarations.”—President Gamal Abdel Nasser speech on May 31, 1967, days before the Six Day War.
OVER, BEFORE IT STARTED
On June 5th, early in the morning Israel attacked first—her only hope of escaping annihilation was a preemptive strike. Nearly Egypt’s entire air force was destroyed. Israel achieved air superiority. Israel declared a news blackout for 24 hours. She didn’t want the anti-Israel United Nations to realize she was winning.
As expected, Egypt began to tell tall tales of her victory.
“The Egyptian commander Marshal Amer sent a message to Jordan’s King Hussein, reporting that 75 percent of Israel’s planes had been shot down or disabled, and urging Hussein to open a second front.”
Nasser convinced Jordan that the radar images of planes coming to Egypt, were Egyptian planes returning from their missions, when in fact, they were the Israeli planes bombing Egypt.
Israel sent the King of Jordan this message through the United Nations: “If you don’t intervene, you will suffer no consequences.” The King responded arrogantly (and regretfully, I might add), “They started the battle—well, they are receiving our reply by air.”
The Israelis were concerned the U.N. would call for a ceasefire—but now that the Jordanians had chosen to fight, they had to retake the ancient Old City first.
Israel actually had no operational plan to take the Old City from the Jordanian army. This would be a dreaded “second front.” The only relevant concrete plan was to rescue a group of Israeli soldiers permanently stationed with a U.N. agreement in an enclave on Mount Scopus (an extension of the Mount of Olives) where the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital had once been.
To reach the Israelis, the IDF circled around north of Jerusalem and engaged the Jordanians in a costly four-hour hand-to-hand battle at what became known as Ammunition Hill. When the IDF broke through, they were amazed to find almost no Jordanian military on the east side of the Old City, since Jordanian generals never dreamed they would see Israelis coming around the “back side” and conquering Jerusalem through the Lion’s Gate opposite the Mount of Olives!
A West Point general is said to have remarked that though the U.S. Military Academy studies wars fought throughout history, they do not study the Six Day War—because what concerns West Point is strategy and tactics, not miracles.
CBN just released a movie called “In our Hands, The Battle for Jerusalem” that retells this historic clash.
Colonel Motta Gur’s famous statement was etched in history as he radioed his commanders: “The Temple Mount is in our hands. The Temple Mount is in our hands.”
The Israeli soldiers could not believe they were back in the Old City. One soldier said:
“I’m walking right now down the steps towards the Western Wall. I’m not a religious man, I never have been, but this is the Western Wall and I’m touching the stones of the Western Wall.”
Israel’s chief military rabbi came into the city to thank God with the troops:
“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, ‘Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem—rebuilt!’”
In short, had Jordan not attacked Israel, Jerusalem would most likely still be in Jordan. Israel has an ancient claim to Jerusalem and the entire West Bank, and a modern need for security. Furthermore, for those who believe in Bible prophecy, her recovery to Jewish hands brings us ever closer to the return of our Messiah. It is hard to believe that God restored Jerusalem to Israel, only for it to be turned over to terrorists.
Ron Cantor is founder of Messiah’s Mandate and elder of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. Find out more about Ron Cantor’s books and testimony at www.roncantor.com
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house.” (Deut. 6: 7)
One of the most effective ways to spread the Gospel is hosting events at the congregation where friends and family members of believers are invited to witness special occasions.
In Israel, and at Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv, many of us are the only believers in our families. Some might have another relative or two that believes, but that’s pretty much it.
That’s why, while planning a Bar Mitzvah celebration, we also pray that God would open a door to the hearts of all the relatives who come to the event. As in many cases, this gives us a rare opportunity to proclaim the gospel to people who’ve never before been to a Messianic Jewish congregation. So, during the week of the Bar Mitzvah, we also took the time to pray for the families.
At least ten unbelievers, together with the families who came to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah, came to the event. After the two boys who celebrated their Bar Mitzvah read from the Torah, and after the sermon was over, the parents of one of the kids who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, came to me. God answered our prayers, and this father, who had seen the love that the congregation has for his family, said he’s willing to learn about the meaning of being baptized in the name of Yeshua, and to take this act of faith and become a believer. His wife has been continually praying for him for fifteen years! That prayer has finally been fulfilled!
The meaning of the phrase ‘Bar Mitzvah’ is—the son of the Mitzvah (commandment). In Judaism, the age of 13 is the age where a child becomes an adolescent, where he starts to take responsibility for his actions. Physiologically and intellectually speaking, a young boy at this age can finally understand the depth of the consequences of his actions. It’s important for us to teach these kids that they need to come to the congregation out of their own faith in God and in Messiah Yeshua, and not for the sake of pleasing their parents or friends.
In the Bar Mitzvah lessons, we study the many prophecies we have of the Messiah in the Bible. We talk about the importance of all the covenants God had with our father Abraham, Moses, and, of course, about the importance of the New Covenant. In addition, every week we have a Torah Portion, which is a segment from the Bible that we read from the scrolls. The Son of Mitzvah must know how to read his entire Torah Portion, which is very hard, as the traditional scrolls are rolled up and written on parchment. They don’t have any punctuation to the words, no commas or periods, and that’s why the Sons of Mitzvah must practice, often for months, reading their portion.
In addition, the Son of Mitzvah prepares a small written sermon regarding his Torah Portion and he must read it in front of the entire congregation.
Every time it amazes me to see how our kids grow up so fast. Kids who, “just a minute ago” were so small, are now becoming mature boys. We, as a congregation, have a spiritual responsibility to teach our boys and girls about the Kingdom of God. To instill in them values and encourage them in their faith in Messiah Yeshua. We know that one of the reasons God chose our father Abraham was because he knew how to bequeath his faith in God to his family:
“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
(Genesis 18: 19)
Friends, we want you to co-labor with us in prayer for our nation, Israel. We also invite you to keep the families and newcomers in our congregation in prayer. Some of them are very close to surrendering to the Lord. Also, remember our children at the congregation, as well. Many leaders around the country are witnessing a new powerful wave of God’s Spirit in Israel’s young generation.
Moti Cohen is an elder at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua (The Glory of Yeshua). He and his wife Anna have four children. www.TiferetYeshua.org
Texas Governor Greg Abbott congratulates State Representative Phil King, author of law outlawing state business with companies involved in BDS.
On Thursday, February 9th, 2017, a unique event occurred with profound spiritual implications. At the State Capitol building in Austin, Texas, an event called “The Texas Stand with Israel / Citizens Advocacy Day” was held. The event was organized by Texas State Representative Phil King (R) from Weatherford, Texas. This event was the first ever of its kind to be held in Texas.
The purpose for this historic gathering was to garner support for a new bill being introduced in the Texas State Legislature. The bill, House Bill 89, and its companion Bill in the Texas State Senate, SB 134, were designed to defeat the economic warfare being waged against Israel through a movement called BDS, which means Boycott, Divest and Sanction.
Israel’s enemies devised this new form of unconventional warfare in their never-ending desire to find new ways to combat Israel’s very existence. In fact, Pro-BDS author John Spritzler says, “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
The co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, said, “We oppose a Jewish State in any part of Palestine.” The heart of the BDS movement is to wage warfare on Israel and her right to exist in her ancient homeland!
The BDS movement has gained steam and notoriety around the world with numerous universities, governments, labor unions and businesses now participating. In fact, even some Christian denominations have come onboard with the BDS movement!
TEXAS WAGES WAR AGAINST BDS
This is where HB 89 & SB 134 come in. Texas Representative King and Senator Brandon Creighton (R) saw this new form of warfare being waged on the economy of Israel and felt that something had to be done!
Contained in these bills is a legally binding commitment by the State of Texas to prohibit the State from investing public funds in any group that wages economic warfare on Israel. What does this mean? Texas, now the 10th largest economy in the world, with a $1.6 trillion dollar a year GDP, will use its growing economic might to STAND WITH ISRAEL!
Texas is now Israel’s 4th largest trading partner, conducting over half a billion dollars in bi-lateral trade annually. Since 1996 Texas has done over $13 billion in trade with the State of Israel. In fact, nearly 300 companies in the state of Texas do business with Israel.
10-YEAR DROUGHT BREAKS
In May of 2015 Texas representatives came together and began planning these bills to Stand with Israel. In that same month, heavy rainfalls began to fall on the State of Texas. Over the ensuing months, 17 trillion gallons of rain came down on the State of Texas—thus ending a 10-year devastating drought!
Of course, some may say this is mere coincidence. I say it is God keeping His promises! Genesis 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed!”
Texas has not only enjoyed record-breaking rainfall but Texas’ oil boom produced one half of all job growth in the US since 2009 and added over $600 billion to the overall US economy. In its growing relationship with Israel, Texas A&M University announced in late December 2015 its plans to bless Israel by opening a $6 million marine research center in partnership with the University of Haifa
MUSLIMS FIGHT PENDING BILL
All of this support for Israel has not gone without opposition. One week before our group of 500 supporters converged on the State Capitol, over 1,000 Muslims came to the Capitol in Austin and campaigned one-on-one with all of the State Legislators, urging them vigorously to vote against HB 89 & SB 134. They pressed the Texas legislators to not stand with Israel.
Although they went before us, we came with humility and the strength of God’s mighty Word! We represented Israel and God got the last word in this battle.
Over 500 advocates for Israel came to this event from both the Christian and mainstream Jewish communities! MAOZ was the only representative from the Messianic community at this event.
In fact, the bill sailed through both chambers and its author Representative King called this law the “strongest that any state has passed” and “a model for other states to follow.”
BILL SIGNED INTO LAW!
On May 2, 2017, Israel’s 69th Birthday, at a festive gathering of officials and Jewish and Christian leaders, Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law!
“Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy,” said Abbott. “Texas is not going to do business with any country that boycotts Israel.” The law mandates that companies that contract with Texas government entities must verify they do not and will not boycott Israel. It is likely the toughest anti-BDS law in the world.
Groups that do business with the State of Texas, that have joined in on the economic warfare against Israel, stand to lose untold millions in revenue.
Abbott thanked House and Senate leadership noting, “I have never seen a bill so many people came together to get behind.” Signing the anti-BDS bill as the very first piece of legislation of the state’s 85th Legislature sends a powerful message. Abbott expressed his unwavering support tweeting “Texas says, Don’t Mess With Israel. Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies.”
He added, “The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation—ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination—Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship.”
“People in Israel are just like Texans,” said Abbott who spoke on the “cultural connection between the people of Texas and the people of Israel,” calling that connection “very deep and very genuine.”
For me, it was so encouraging to speak directly with many State Legislators and to hear first-hand their deep commitment to STAND WITH ISRAEL.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can STAND WITH ISRAEL through Maoz Ministries, go to www.istandwithisrael.com!
To watch the governor sign the bill into law, go to this link: goo.gl/dGdBuH
Ted Vanlandeghem is U.S. Spokesman and Director of Partner Relations at Maoz Israel Ministries.
One of the three Katzir camps over the last 12 months
Three Katzir Camps each year are organized by Messianic leader Eitan Shishkoff and a team of wonderful volunteers whose passion is to help teenagers make a life-long decision to follow Yeshua the Messiah. Every camp brings new teenagers into the Kingdom of God, and revives and disciples youth who often struggle against isolation and harassment because of their faith. These camps are absolutely life-changing for the children of many Israeli believing families. This is the new generation which in a short time will be carrying the Good News to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa—from Dan to Beersheva to Eilat!
Total Cost for this summer camp: $65,000. (The teens will contribute around $5,000) We are confident our Maoz contributors will bless these children with $30,000—one half the needed budget!
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF KATZIR YOUTH CAMPS
Yeshua’s transforming power has been on wonderful display consistently over many years during these Messianic youth camps. Again, this summer, we will be gathering teens from all over Israel, representing more than 40 congregations. Here are the true stories of just two young lives we’ve seen transformed through Messiah’s sacrifice and the wonder of God’s Word. Their names have been altered to guard their privacy; but what happened to them is real and lasting.
YOSSI came to a Katzir camp reluctantly. His friend invited him, even when Yossi was messed up on alcohol and without interest in Israel’s Messiah. He’d been raised in the faith from birth, but was far more interested in fitting in with the crowd. Yet his friend was persuasive and Yossi agreed to come. Once at the camp, the depth of Yeshua’s love began working in Yossi’s heart. He saw other teens who were genuinely walking with the Lord. By the end of the camp he could no longer resist God’s saving grace. Today, Yossi looks back on that Katzir camp as the turning point in his life. He is now a key member of Katzir’s young adult leadership team, and reaching out to young Israelis is his passion.
RUTHIE was also “carried along” to the camp by her friends’ urging. Her first days at summer camp were not pleasant—neither for us nor for her. She refused to cooperate in many of the activities, acted sullen, and was unresponsive to appeals from her counselor. Finally, we had to confront her over the necessity of sending her home before the camp’s end. When asked why she was so antagonistic, she began weeping. Her hard shell was melting before our eyes. Wanting to make sure she was sincere, we put her on probation—expressing our intense desire for her to soften and allow the Lord to work in her life. Her behavior changed. At the end of the camp, along with other youth who’d been touched, she got up to share what had transpired. “I came with a chip on my shoulder. I felt that all of this Yeshua stuff was phony. I came because I only wanted to get out of the house for a while. Then during one of the worship nights God touched me. I realized that my hardness was an act, covering up who I really am. Then one of the “moms” of Katzir asked if I wanted to open my heart to Yeshua. I asked Him to forgive me and to cleanse my life, to change me and make me new. I am already a different person than when I came.”
These are only two of the young Israelis whose lives were transformed through a Katzir youth camp. There are many more, waiting for the Lord to dissolve the stubborn shell around their heart. Or, if they are already in love with Yeshua, to equip them as workers and leaders in the final harvest leading to Messiah’s return. Please help us reach them at this still receptive age. It can literally make the difference between eternal life and being lost forever. These young people are the key to reaching the nation of Israel with the realization that Yeshua is our own promised Messiah and King Redeemer.
Eitan Shishkoff is pastor of Ohalei Rachamim (Tents of Mercy), a Hebrew speaking Messianic congregation and humanitarian aid center near Haifa. Tents of Mercy has planted four sister congregations.