In our 5 November Update, we focused on the implications of the elections of 28 October in Brazil, in which Jair Bolsonaro was chosen for the presidency of that country. We wrote of Bolsonaro’s love for Israel, and of his declaration four days later that, “as previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.” We also mentioned Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s intentions of coming to Brazil for Mr Bolsonaro’s January 1st inauguration. Last Friday, the Prime Minister and his wife Sara did indeed arrive in Rio de Janeiro, where he was welcomed by a huge crowd of Brazilians chanting “Israel! Israel!” It is the first-ever visit by a serving Israeli Prime Minister to that country, the fifth-largest by area in the world, and the sixth most populous. Later the Netanyahu’s were given an incredibly honouring welcome by President-elect Bolsonaro, which included presentation to the Prime Minister of Brazil’s highest and most important national award for high-ranking guests, one in the past reserved for such dignataries as US President Dwight Eisenhower, and Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Up to 1/5 of the population of Brazil is thought to identify as Evangelical Christian. It is this vast community of believers which is credited with propelling Jai Bolsonaro into office in the elections last October. On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister was honoured with the unveiling of a stamp, issued by the Brazilian state of Amazonas and dedicated by Christian supporters of Israel in the city of Manaus. The stamp (see above) contains a picture of the PM Netanyahu with his name in English and Hebrew. It also bears the number “70” commemorating modern Israel’s 70th anniversary, with the words Mazel Tov—“Good Fortune” beneath; and at the bottom are two hands clasped in friendship, with the names Brazil and Israel on either side.
Inside the zero of “70” is a Star of David, representing Israel. If you look carefully, you will see within the star the Hebrew letters מושיע — Moshia [Pronounced: mo-SHI-ah], which in Hebrew means, “Savior.” Some Israeli papers assumed the word to be referring to Netanyahu. However, we strongly suspect, given the spirit of Christians who were behind this honou, that the word is an acknowledgment that out of this nation came forth the Savior of the world! After all, it is this same word which appears in Hebrew translations of Luke 2:11, where angels tell the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people, for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior (Moshia), who is Messiah, the Lord!” Moshia appears also a number of times in the Hebrew Bible, such as in Isaiah 60:16, where Israel is told that she will come to know that, “YHWH is her Savior (Moshia), her Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob”; and Isaiah 19:20, where the inhabitants of Egypt are promised that when they cry to YHWH, “He will send them a Savior (Moshia).”
In his address to this Christian community, Netanyahu pointed out that their new president’s first name Yair happens also to be a Hebrew name, meaning “he who brings light. And I think that we have now an opportunity together to bring a lot of light to the people of Brazil and the people of Israel. This is an alliance of brothers.” At the inauguration yesterday, the new president seemed to affirm this “brotherly alliance,” when, stepping down from the platform where he had assumed his new title, Prime Minister Netanyahu was the first person to receive from him a personal embrace.
And as regards the movement of the Brazilian embassy—in a meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu told Jewish leaders that Bolsonaro had informed him, “I will move the embassy to Jerusalem. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ just a question of ‘when.'” Perhaps this may be seen as similar to President Trump’s initial promise to move the US embassy, which in the event, took place quite a bit later. Yet, the prospect of such a move has already been drawing furious opposition, especially from Arab states, which are threatening breaks in economic relations with Brazil if such a move takes place.
In our Update of last November 5th, we cited the Torah Reading for that week, in which the LORD promised Isaac (as he earlier had Abraham) “in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 26:4; 22:18). In it, we pointed out how the Hebrew for the verb “be blessed” appears is reflexive; thus, a more literal rendering from the Hebrew being, “and by [or, ’in’] thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves” (JPS; also NASB: note); or, “all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring” (NRSV, A.E.). We further observed,
This would seem strongly to imply that nations may themselves have a part in bringing God’s blessing upon themselves through their relationship to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel!
We continue in a season of the leaders of Nations choosing whether or not they will “gain blessing for themselves” by aligning with God’s purposes for His land and people Israel…or not. We believe that one way in which this has been recently realized has been the decision by President Trump of the United States, and Jimmy Morales of Guatemala to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move their nations’ embassies back there (Paraguay followed Guatemala in moving its embassy, but under new leadership, quickly changed its mind and moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv).
We see Brazil’s blessing of Israel and her leader this week as indicative of a struggle by the believers in that country to influence their nation to come into alignment with God’s purposes for Israel and the “footstool of His throne”—Jerusalem. And in so doing, they will “gain blessings for themselves” as a land and a people. The following prayer requests for the new President are slightly modified from those used in our Update two months ago.
* Spiritual and physical protection for President Bolsonaro, his wife and family. That he be strengthened and physically restored [from a serious wound he received from an assailant during his campaign]. That he also be strengthened and matured in his Faith. Pray for the spiritual leaders God has placed in his life. Pray that as the leader God has, for this season, placed over Brazil, Yair Bolsonaro will indeed epitomize the Hebrew meaning of his name, He who Brings Light…the Light of truth and righteousness into the leadership of a nation which for years has floundered in darkness.
* That his mind be protected; that “the shalom of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard his heart and mind in Messiah Yeshua” (Philippians 4:7).
* That during these initial weeks and months of his presidency, Mr Bolsonaro will move forward in humility—that he will be granted wise and godly counselors to his Presidency. “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of His heart from generation to generation” (Psalm 33:10-11).
* That President Bolsonaro will continue to receive divine knowledge and insight regarding Israel and its place in the alignment of nations with the purposes of God. That he will be given strength and stamina to stand in the path and principles into which God has called him. That he will not be persuaded to change his stance on Brazil being a friend of Israel—and of officially recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, and moving the Brazilian embassy there.
* For the mighty nation of Brazil, that it come into the blessings of the God of Nations. That it be healed from violence, corruption, and economic recession–that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God displace the false ideologies which have ruled in the heavenlies over that land.
* That the Church of Jesus the Messiah there be raised up and released in power and insight to do battle with the demonic structures struggling to keep Brazil from coming into her place as a leader of the Kingdom in her hemisphere—and the world.