JUBILEE – 50 – Revelation and Restoration

JUBILEE in Hebrew is YOVEL (יובל).

In biblical times, the special shofar used by shepherds to call the sheep together before they returned home to their sheep-pen was called a yovel. It was made from a gazelle horn and, unlike the curved shofars used for ritual purposes, it is straighter and dark in color.

 A Dorcas gazelle, Israel – Wikipedia

The concept of ‘return’ blends well with a central commandment of God concerning a jubilee year. We see in the book of Leviticus:  

It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan” (25:10) “In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property.” (25:13)

The reason God gives as to why no one could make a permanent claim to the land of Israel is: “The Land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the Land is Mine.” (25:23) In a Jubilee year things are restored to their original, God-intended place!

In this generation, we celebrate the restoration of the Land of Israel and of her people to their God-intended place.  We also celebrate the Jubilee of the restoration of Jerusalem – the reunified City of God to its rightful place. In 1967, during the Six Day War, when Israel was attacked by the armies of the surrounding Arab nations, a brigade of the Israel Defense Forces broke through the Lion’s Gate of the Old City, which had been held by Jordan since the War of Independence in 1948.  Against impossible odds they were victorious and the city, including the holiest place for the Jewish people – the Temple Mount with the Western Wall, was restored to Israel’s sovereignty. 

Jerusalem is a place to which one returns – a place of connection and meeting. Here, in this city, heaven meets earth; the past and the present meet with the future. This Holy City of God is where we will meet our soon-coming Messiah; a day when this fleeting life will meet eternity. Then God’s purpose for the city, the one envisioned from before the very Beginning, will be fulfilled in radiance —the establishing forever of the eternal Dwelling Place of the Holy One of Israel.

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo I come and will dwell in the midst of you,” says the Lord.

(Zechariah 2:10)

The Lord’s Sanctuary will be established with powerful praise and unshakable strength in His city, which is the heart of the universe—the City of the Great King. There, His throne will be set and the light of Zion will shine forth to the nations, bearing the vision of eternity in the spirit of kindness and truth.

A new song will flow forth, a pure haunting melody carrying luminous words of redemption and hope; and this Holy Place will finally become a House of Prayer for all nations.  King Solomon knew God’s purpose for His Dwelling Place on earth and the vision of promise it contained. When he dedicated the first beautiful Temple in Jerusalem – built as designed by his father King David in accord with God’s specific instructions and plan, Solomon proclaimed:

“… that all the peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear Thee,  as do Thy people Israel, and that they may know that this House which I have built is called by Thy Name”  (I Kings 8:41– 43).

Also, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, the Great Shepherd’s yovel is sounding and he is gathering his flock from the nations and leading them home where they belong, to be one flock with the family of God.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast My covenant—
these I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer;
…for My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (56:6-9)

May we soon all rejoice together in grateful praise, thanksgiving and joy in the City of the Great King – the eternal, golden, filled-with-His-glory, Jerusalem ~ YERUSHALAIM SHEL ZAHAV.

~ Keren Hannah Pryor

Artwork:

  1. Baruch Nachshon, Israel – www.nachshonart.com 
  2. Alex Levin, Jerusalem – https://artlevin.com

5779 / 2019 Counting The Omer Calendar

COUNTING UP TO HOLINESS – KEEP CLIMBING!

Sefirat Ha’Omer – Counting the Omer between Passover and Shavuot 

BETWEEN REDEMPTION AND REVELATION

If we are merely counting down to something, then that thing is, by definition, finite. It is limited; it disappears as quickly as it arrives. But if, instead, we “count up” to something, we desire it to be infinite, to be unlimited, to be everlasting. And so we celebrate the timelessness of Torah [the Word and ways of G-d] and the importance of each and every day when we commit ourselves to counting the Omer, because, “In matters of holiness we should always ascend, and never descend.” *

Download: 2019 Omer Calendar

 

* Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Counting Up, Not Down, Toward the Omer

5778 / 2018 Counting The Omer Calendar

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHWH your G-d, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHWH your G-d.
Deuteronomy 16:9-10

Download 2018 Omer Calendar

5577 / 2017 Counting The Omer Calendar

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHWH your G-d, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHWH your G-d.
Deuteronomy 16:9-10

Download 5577 / 2017 Omer Calendar

Daily Omer Thoughts – Seven Weekly Segments

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download Omer Thoughts Week Five
Week Six – Download Omer Thoughts Week Six
Week Seven – Download Omer Thoughts Week Seven

 

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Six

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download The Omer Week Five
Week Six – Download The Omer Week Six

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Five

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download The Omer Week Five

 

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Four

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Three

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download The Omer Week Three

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Two

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week One

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

Enjoy our Daily Omer Thoughts during the 7 weeks as we journey from Redemption to Revelation.

They will be shared in weekly installments.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One

CELEBRATING JERUSALEM DAY – Yom Yerushalaim

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CELEBRATING THE RESTORATION AND REUNIFICATION OF JERUSALEM 

Yom Yerushalaim  ~ 28 Iyar 5775  / 17th May 2015  ~ Jerusalem Day

 

Following is an excerpt from the historic JERUSALEM COVENANT, written to acknowledge the miraculous return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem in June 1967.

The original Jerusalem Covenant is displayed alongside Israel’s Declaration of Independence in the Knesset and for the past twenty years has been signed by hundreds of visiting dignitaries.

Once again, ‘our feet stand within your gates, O Jerusalem –
Jerusalem built as a city joined togethe
r’
which unites the people of Israel to one another
and links heavenly Jerusalem with earthly Jerusalem.

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Jerusalem – peace and tranquility shall reign in the city:

‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be tranquil. May there be peace within your walls, and tranquility within your palaces.’

Out of Jerusalem, a message of peace went forth and shall yet go forth again to all the inhabitants of the earth:
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.

In the future, The Holy One, the Blessed, will comfort Jerusalem only with Shalom.

From this place, we once again take this vow:

‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its strength; may my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not raise up Jerusalem at the very height of my rejoicing.’

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And with all these understandings, we enter into this Covenant and write:

‘We shall bind you to us forever;
we shall bind you to us with faithfulness,
with righteousness and justice,
with steadfast love and compassion.’
 

We love you, O Jerusalem,
with eternal love, with unbounded love,
under siege and when liberated
from the yoke of oppressors.
We have been martyred for you;
we have yearned for you,
we have clung to you.
Our faithfulness to you we shall
bequeath
to our children after us.
Forevermore our home shall be within you.”

Amen and Amen.

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YOM HA’ZIKARON – MEMORIAL DAY

Israel’s Memorial Day – (Tuesday evening- Wednesday, 18 April 2018)

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In Memorium for the fallen soldiers, security guards, and victims of terror. (ז״ל)

The two thousand year old hope of the Jewish people – to return to their homeland – has been realized; yet is not completed. We must continue to stand in support and prayer with Israel and its eternal capital, Jerusalem.

At this time, while we commemorate the nation’s achievements, we shall always remember the many who have paid with their lives, and those who continue to be willing to do so, in order that today we can live, prosper and create as free people in our Land, as promised by God.

Our hearts and thoughts are with the families of the fallen and all who have lost beloved ones.
May our Father in Heaven comfort each one and surround them with His blessing, comfort and strength.

~Keren Hannah

YOM HA’ATZMAUT – INDEPENDENCE DAY – A History

CELEBRATE ISRAEL – 19TH APRIL, 2018 / 4th Iyar 5778

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Historic Land of Connection 

Israel, although small geographically, is a land huge in historic significance. Biblical history revolves around it. The Bible, however, is not only a history book; it was primarily given by God to teach us about Himself and how we best should live as His children. This indicates that, in the view of the God of Israel, our very lives as His people are somehow connected with His Land – this little land of Israel. 

Land of Connection 1

Situated as it is on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the land masses of Turkey and Russia to the north, the stretches of Arabia, Iraq and Iran (ancient Assyria and Persia) to the east, and Egypt and Africa to the south, historically Israel was a corridor linking them all. Trade routes ran through the land serving travelers in every direction. Three of the main routes were the Coastal Highway, which ran through the Jezreel Valley and the plains of lower Galilee, the King’s Highway that provided a route to desert caravans to the east of the Jordan river, and the Damascus Road leading to Babylon and Persia. These highways provided convenient access to invading armies and were often scenes of military conflict.

Due to its strategic geographic importance, many strong nations battled over this little corridor of land. The Assyrians invaded and occupied Israel from 740 BC and repopulated the region of Samaria with foreigners from Mesopotamia, who became known as the Samaritans. The Babylonians again invaded to quell insurrection and destroyed Jerusalem and the First Temple in 604 BC. The Jewish population was exiled to Babylon, leaving only the poorest families behind in Israel. Persia subsequently took over the whole area and the Babylonian exile lasted almost 300 years until the Persian Empire fell to the Greek leader Alexander the Great in 332 BC. During the time of Darius’ rule, many Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem, led by Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubavel, in order to rebuild the Temple. The large number who chose to remain in Babylon, including the now aged prophet Daniel, became a flourishing and influential community.

In Israel, the imported Greek culture slowly took hold in the form of Hellenism. It dominated commerce and trade in the area, as well as the newly introduced sporting and cultural events, and in order to participate the Jews had to speak Greek. Many Jews forsook the ways of their God, became assimilated into the culture and adopted the popular Hellenistic lifestyle.

Rome, in 200 BC, with its vastly superior fleet and large, well disciplined army, took control of the region as the Roman Empire expanded over most of the then known world. It was at this stage of history that Jesus (Hebrew – Yeshua) was born in King David’s birthplace of Bethlehem in Judea and then lived most of his life in the Galilee village of Nazareth. The Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us that Galilee in Yeshua’s time was “encircled by foreigners and filled with able-bodied men [who resented the heavy taxation imposed by the Roman occupiers under Caesar] prepared to fight rather than to submit.” [1] There was a fervent messianic hope that Ha’Mashiach, the Anointed One, would be sent by God to redeem Israel from the heavy Roman burden. 

Land of Connection 2

During the three years of his ministry, 27-30 AD, Yeshua was based in the town of Capernaum (Kfar Nachum – Village of Comfort) on the shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), which was home to Peter and Andrew. Yeshua and his disciples traversed the Galilee, Judea and Samaria. His only trip outside Israel, when he “withdrew,” possibly to have a break from active ministry, was north to the non-Jewish cities of Tyre and Sidon. The highlight of the trip was his encounter with the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:27).
The dynamic center of his ministry, however, was Jerusalem, the site of His Father’s House, the splendid Second Temple. He wept over Jerusalem as he foresaw the destruction that would come upon her before she would be raised up again as the City of Peace – the City of the Great King. His holy city!

At Yeshua’s crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, the messianic hopes of many were dashed. Then he arose! And, after his resurrection from the dead until his ascension to the Father, he met with his disciples confirming that he was indeed Messiah and Lord. This was followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Temple at Shavuot (Pentecost) after which the Good News of the Kingdom of God indeed went forth, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

Land of Connection 4

Artist: Baruch Nachshon

…And many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

Undergirding the Word was the promise of YHWH: “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the Holy Mountain” (Zechariah 8:3).

The Word went forth but forty years later, in the year 70, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans. Again, the majority of the Jews were exiled and the land slowly became desolate until 1948 when, in a marvelous intervention and outworking of God, the modern State of Israel was born. During that interim period of almost 2000 years the land, then named Palestina by the Romans, was invaded and trodden down by Byzantines, Arabs, Kurds, Mongols, Mamalukes, Tartars and Turks – as well as by the Crusaders from the West. Throughout the string of invasions Jews continued to dwell in the land. At the time of the first Crusade, for example, there existed sizeable agricultural Jewish populations in the Galilee. There also were important Jewish communities in Jerusalem and other cities such as Hebron, Akko, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramlah, Ashkelon and Gaza.

In the Diaspora, whether prospering in peace or being mercilessly hounded and persecuted, the longing for Zion never abated. Many times a day, and at weddings and funerals, Jews prayed, as they continue to do, toward and for Jerusalem. On Shabbat, before the Ark is opened in every synagogue, these words are prayed:

Merciful Father, deal kindly with Zion, rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Truly in Thee alone we trust; high and exalted King and God, eternal God.

Throughout the centuries there are records of those who with undying hope and great tenacity made their way back to Eretz Yisrael. Many who attempted failed and died en route. Those who succeeded, accepted with love the difficulties and tribulations of life in Palestine in those days. Their dedication no doubt paved the way for all the pioneers who followed, including during the modern restoration of Israel as a national homeland. The unwavering love and connection with the Land that carries Jerusalem at its heart is reflected in these words of the poet, Yehudah Halevi, who lived in Spain during the twelfth century:

Would that I have wings that I could wend my way to thee, O Jerusalem, from afar!
I will make my own broken heart find its way amidst your broken ruins.
I will fall upon my face to the ground, for I take much delight in your stones and show favor to your very dust.
The air of your land is the very life of our soul.

 

The Restoration

The major political turning point occurred on November 2, 1917, when the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, which stated that: “His Majesty’ s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” As a result Great Britain was given the Mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations) in 1922 in which they were charged “…to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of a Jewish National Home” in Palestine (Article 4).

In 1947, a special United Nations committee proposed that the Mandate be terminated and Palestine divided into two sovereign states, one Jewish and one Arab. This Partition Plan was adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 33 to 13, on November 29, 1947. 

Land of Connection 5

The Arab state was named Transjordan and the Jewish state, Israel. David Ben Gurion was placed at the head of the provisional government which, on May 14th, 1948, proclaimed the establishment of the reborn state of Israel.

The fact that we who are now living are witnesses to the miracle of the restoration of the Promised Land to God’s people carries with it a wonder and a responsibility – a “creative challenge…demanding new action, new thinking.” [2] The full depths of the spiritual meaning and implications may escape us, as it did the early pioneers who might not fully have imagined how their backbreaking work of removing the stones, draining the swamps and suffering malaria would impact the generations to come.

“When the Lord brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those who dreamed!” (Psalm 126:1)

Nevertheless, we can do our part, however small it may seem, in upholding and proclaiming in faith the Word and promises of God regarding Israel. We can “set our sights” on Israel; live there if we can, stand with her wholeheartedly in support and prayer if we cannot. In the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel:

To be involved with the life of Israel is to be in labor. What is the meaning of the State of Israel? Its sheer being is the message. [It] is a rehearsal, a test, a challenge to all of us. …Nonparticipation in the drama, is a source of embarrassment. Israel…is a call to every one of us as an individual, a call which one cannot answer vicariously.

It is, at the same time, a message of meaning…a hope for a new appreciation of being human. [It] is to participate in the process of continuous redemption…[to ensure] that awareness of God penetrates human understanding. …This is the challenge we face. The Bible is the challenge and the way. [3[

These sentiments are powerfully echoed by his daughter Shoshanna:

The presence of Israel has tremendous spiritual and historical significance for the whole world. Israel is God’s stake in human history, …the dawn and the dusk, the challenge and the test. Israel calls for a renewal of trust in the Lord of history. [4]

The murderous threats against this small nation, that has miraculously remained standing through the continuous attacks on every front by the enemy since its inception, are as virulent and relentless as ever. They have, in fact, escalated and become even more blatant and outspoken. Anti-Semitism has morphed into Anti-Zionism, an attack against both Christians and Jews who believe in the Bible’s authenticity as the eternal Word of God and in its proclamations regarding the Land of Promise.

What does it mean to be a Zionist? David Decker, a Christian pastor living in Jerusalem, answers: “Zionism is simply the belief that the Jewish people should return to live in their ancient homeland [according to] hundreds of Scriptures in our Bible.” He adds: “The whole modern Zionist enterprise, even ‘just’ the physical part, is Divinely blessed and inspired. In my own humble opinion Israel is already the greatest place to live on earth! [However] the real greatness of Israel lies in her spiritual potential…to build the Holy Temple and to become the prophesied Light to the Nations.” [5]

In almost all Bible-believing circles there is a growing anticipation of the imminent arrival/return of Messiah to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Only God Himself knows the details of the ‘bigger picture’ of His plan. In the meantime, we can stand together with Israel and in Messiah and aspire to faithfully do all our Father gives us to do, with joy at all He has already accomplished and in great hope for the promises still to be fulfilled. 

Land of Connection 6

 

~ Keren Hannah Pryor

Footnotes:

1. James M. Monson with Steven P. Lancaster, Regions on the Run, Biblical Backgrounds, Inc. 2009, 30.
2. Abraham Joshua Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity, Jewish Lights Publishing, 1995, 224.
3. Ibid., 224-225
4. Ibid, Introduction, 136-137
5. Pastor David N. Decker, Revival from Zion!, M.A.D.P.-Tarshish Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel, 2004, 29-32.