PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL, 9/28/2011

L’Shana Tova!

1. THURSDAY [BEGINNING SUNDOWN WEDNESDAY] IS THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS AND THE “HEAD” OF THE HEBREW YEAR 5772.

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing [of shofars--rams’ horns], a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’” (Leviticus 23:23-25; see also Numbers 29:1-6)

This Thursday marks the beginning of the Biblical Fall Feasts—Yom T’ruah, the Day of Blowing (of shofars)—the Feast of Trumpets. It has also come to be known as Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the [civil] Year.” Although Hebrew months are numbered beginning in the Spring (Exodus 12:2), the numbering for the Hebrew year changes on the first of the seventh month, Yom T’ruah [according to Hebrew tradition, the world was created on this day]. This week we enter the Hebrew year 5772.

*Of first importance, it is to be a day of t’ruah as a memorial (see Scripture above). T’ruah means a shout, a cry, an alarm, a blast or series of blasts on the shofar (ram’s horn). Psalm 33:3 says that musicians are to make t’ruah skillfully on their instruments together with singers singing a new song! Suffice to say that it is a day on which a ‘sound’ is to go up memorializing the greatness and faithfulness of YHVH, the LORD!

* The sound of the shofar also speaks of the Source of our redemption. It was through a ram caught in a thicket by its horn (from whence is made a shofar) that God “provided the lamb” to take the place of Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:13-14). We believe that it is this relation to the “Lamb of God who carries away the sin of the world,” who “defeated Death,” who came to “undo the works of the Evil One,” which gives the shofar its special authoritative power when blown in the timing and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit!

The sound can be an alarm, a call to battle, a sound of victory, rejoicing and celebration. There were shofar blasts from heaven as the YHVH descended upon Mount Sinai to meet with Moses and deliver instruction regarding His Law, and how His people could draw near to Him (Exodus 19:16, 19). I Corinthians 15:52 (Hebrew translation) speaks of one Final Shofar when the dead in Messiah will be raised and those remaining changed in the twinkling of an eye.

*It is a joyous holiday in Israel, beginning this year at sundown September 28th, a family-and- friends time of wine and feasting, of giving gifts, of sounding the shofar, of eating apples dipped in honey and wishing each other “Shana Tova” – a good year!

*However, with the joy there is to be a certain sobriety—it is to be a sabbath for taking account, for becoming awake and alert, a day of remembrance but also for looking forward to the Day of Atonement nine days later. As such, it is sometimes referred to as Yom HaDin—the Day of Judgment. These ten days are considered “Days of Awe.” We take account of our sins.

Many devout Jews partake of an ancient custom called Tashlikh—the “casting” or “throwing.” They go to a body of water and empty their pockets or throw stones into the water, repeating the final three verses from the prophet Micah, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in lovingkindness. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and lovingkindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.”

PLEASE PRAY: For revelation to Jews during this holy season by the Spirit who was sent to convict of sin and righteousness and judgment—revelation of the One in whom “truth and lovingkindness” were realized (John 1:17)—in whose work God pardons our iniquity and passes over our transgression!

*Thursday also begins the seventh Hebrew month—Tishri. In earlier times, the name Ethanim was used (I Kings 8:2). Ethanim is related to the word Ethan, which has to do with steadiness, as an “unwavering flame” or “a steady flow.” Brown-Driver-Briggs (P 250 #388) interprets it in this context as “a month of steady flow.” There are presently many forces, both outside of and within Christendom which are working to fragment the Body of Messiah regarding its God-ordained call to bless and stand with Israel and to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

PLEASE PRAY: that in this month of new beginnings the Lord bring our streams into a steady flow of constancy. That He focus the prayers of His watchmen and watchwomen into a steady truthful flame, until Jerusalem’s righteousness ignites and “goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a torch which burns.” (Isaiah 62:1)

2. THE PALESTINIAN CALL FOR STATEHOOD AT THE UN.

On Friday, following a speech the previous day by President Obama in which he took a strongly positive Israeli stance on many issues, Palestinian President Abbas gave an address at the UN in which he informed the General Assembly that he had submitted a request to the Security Council unilaterally requesting that Palestine be recognized as a nation and granted full membership, with borders following those of 1967 [i.e. the armistice line from 1949] and with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Later in the day Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a brilliant speech [The transcript may be accessed at http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/full-transcript-of-netanyahu-speech-at-un-general-assembly-1.386464, and the full address viewed on YouTube by Googling “Prime Minister Netanyahu UN speech”]. Within his speech he denounced lies regarding Israel which have often poured forth as fact within the UN. He pointed out ways in which the organization has at certain times resembled a “theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament” [Netanyahu might well have included the fact that the UN Security Council is presently headed by the Hezbollah-controlled nation of Lebanon].

He spoke how “a malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy. That malignancy is militant Islam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews, Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality.” And Mr Netanyahu closed his speech by a call to the Palestinian people whom Mr Abbas represents, “Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah [quoting in Hebrew from Isaiah 9:2]: ‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.’ Let that light be the light of peace.”

It is not certain how much time will take place before the Security Council votes on President Abbas’ request. It could be a matter of a few weeks or longer (the usual limit aimed for is within 35 days). The US is hoping that it will not have to use its promised veto were to be a majority to vote for statehood. If the request is defeated, it will almost certainly go to the General Assembly, which although not able to confer full membership, could still upgrade the Palestinians into an “observer state” status.

PLEASE PRAY:

*That God, who “hath made of one blood all nations of men…and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: that they should seek the Lord” (Acts 17:26-27b KJV)—the God who “changes the times and the seasons…removes kings and raises up kings,” who “makes peace in your [i.e. Jerusalem’s] borders” (Psalm 147:13)—that this God will rule and over-rule the decisions looming before nations regarding the borders of Israel and the habitation for Jew and Palestinian Arab in this part of the world—“that they should seek the LORD!”

*That Prime Minister Netanyahu will receive guidance, strength and courage as he leads the nation of Israel. We would recommend downloading the speech mentioned above and perusing it thoughtfully and prayerfully—not necessarily in order to come into agreement with everything he says, but to acquire/ something of a sensitivity to the spirit of the man in bringing him before our Lord. Pray that both he and President Abbas would “see a great light”—the light of the Prince of Peace!

3. SPAIN RECOGNIZES ISRAEL AS JEWISH HOMELAND.

Spain on Saturday declared its recognition of Israel as a homeland for Jews. The move was startling, because until now, Spain has been seen as the leading country in the European community in support of Palestinian rights, and this sort of recognition is something which the Palestinian Authority has steadfastly refused to grant, despite International Law from 1922 mandating it as such. Yet Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez’ speech before the UN General Assembly dramatically verbalized Spain’s commitment to Israel “as the embodiment of the project to create a homeland for the Jewish people.”

She mentioned how since its inception, Israel has had to suffer wars and terrorism against its people and stressed that Israel’s security is a top priority for Spain. While supporting the General Assembly granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer state, Jimenez emphasized that “effective, sustainable peace can only be achieved through negotiations between the parties.” (See “Spain recognizes Israel as Jewish homeland, for first time”: Ravid, Barak, HAARETZ.com, 10:21, 25 Sept 2011)

PLEASE PRAY:

*Blessing upon this flicker of affirmation within the government of Spain towards the Jewish presence in Israel.

*Divine guidance within the Body of Messiah in Spain in praying for the redemptive purposes of their land in regards to Israel. Jews were an integral part of Spanish society for centuries. But they underwent severe persecution there as well, culminating in the atrocities of the Inquisition and their eventual expulsion at the hands of Queen Isabella in 1492. Pray that any remaining reproach on that nation can be confessed and removed so that wholeness and the blessing of those who bless Abraham may flow through the society, that she may move into God’s call and purposes for her during the coming season.

–Friends in Jerusalem