Israel's religious leaders turn to the God of Israel in prayer echoing the words of Daniel and Nehemiah as they call for the God of their fathers in intervene in the nation's life and send the redemption.
Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Jonathan Bowen reporting.
This week we came across an article in the Arutz Sheva news from Israel. The article was entitled, “JEWS MOURN AND FAST ON 17TH DAY OF TAMMUZ.”
We quote from the article:
“The Three Weeks of gradually-increasing mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temples and Israel's exile begin Tuesday, with the fast day of the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. This is the day on which Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian forces breached the walls of Jerusalem, after many months of siege on their way to destroying the Holy Temple.
The Three Weeks end on the 9th of Av - Tisha B'Av - the date on which both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, roughly 2,500 and 2,000 years ago, respectively.
The 17th of Tammuz is also the date on which Moses, having descended Mount Sinai and seeing the people sinning with the Golden Calf, broke the first set of Ten Commandments.”
Nebuchadnezzar took Israel captive around the year 606 BC. That is 2,614 years ago. From this point in time the Kingdom of Men represented in Daniel chapter 2 by a great image has had the ascendancy over the kingdom of Israel, or Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Men comes to an end, according to Daniel, when the little stone smites it on the feet and breaks it,
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:35.
The stone power is described as the Kingdom of God that will be reinstituted in verse 44:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
The kingdom of God is going to be reinstituted on this earth in the days of the toe kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. We live in those days today. The Lord Jesus Christ will be the king as was promised by Gabriel to Mary when he told her,
“The Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33).
The disciples anticipated this when they asked Christ in Acts 1:6, “Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” They were told it wasn’t for them to know the times and the seasons – but they would receive the power of discernment once they had the Holy Spirit. It under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they penned the New Testament and the prophecies it contains.
The Acts of the Apostles informs us,
“He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:20-21).
Certainly, the partial restoration of the Jews to the ancient land of Israel has been accomplished. John Thomas anticipated this when he wrote in Elpis Israel in 1848,
“There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom.” This restoration is historical fact, reversing 2600 years of exile. We eagerly anticipate the return of the King, Mossiach Ben David, or Messiah, the son of David as king.
It will be the Jewish people, gathered back to the land, who will form the body of this kingdom under the divine kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Messiah. It will not be “another people” who will inherit this kingdom – certainly not apostate Christendom, but the Jews together with those true disciples who “wait for the consolation of Israel” and are adopted into the Israelitish hope. Before the Jews can be citizens of this kingdom they must become a faithful people once again. Isaiah 62 talks about the spiritual restoration of the Jews that will follow the physical restoration – first the natural, then the spiritual:
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” (Isaiah 62:1-2).
Again, in Isaiah 60:21 we read:
“Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”
It is Jeremiah 31:31-33 who tells us of the word of God being put in to their hearts once again:
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Those are a couple of prophecies that regard the turning of the heart of the nation of Israel, gathered back into the land to their God. The Bible tells us the nation will turn to God in prayer and he will answer them:
“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
So we should look for the Jews to turn to God in repentant prayer, like Nehemiah and Daniel, seeking for God with all their hearts. Listen to the prayer, offered on this “day of mourning” by Shlomo Moshe Amar, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel and Yona Metzger, the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. We will quote now at length:
"We rebelled against Him Who dwells in heaven, therefore we were scattered in all directions... We acted rebelliously before Thee with slandering tongues, therefore our tongues were made to learn to utter lamentation... The tempest-tossed afflicted people were utterly broken up and dispersed; the dry land became a boat wrecked for lack of a captain; she received [punishment] for her sins with principal and double interest, with mourning and moaning... Their adversaries assailed them on that day and... drove the nation like a chased gazelle, and there was none that sought to protect it... Turn to us, O Thou that dwellest on high, gather our dispersed from the four corners of the earth; say to Zion, Arise! And we shall arise. Convert the 17th of Tammuz into a day of salvation and comfort."
Following this confession on behalf of the nation, an appeal to God is given:
“It is a time of trouble for Israel: Israel's enemies sound off and lift their heads in arrogance and conceit, opening their mouths wide with threats and terrorization. They boast of their desire to destroy the Jews; "they have consulted together with one another and made a pact against G-d... saying, Let us cut off Israel" (Psalms 83), and wish to war with us even as we are geared for peace.
We are in dire need of G-d's mercy and salvation; we have none on whom to lean except for our Father in Heaven. We must redouble our Torah study and observance of the Torah's commandments, with even greater strength and greater devotion - for "they come with chariots and horses, but we come calling in the Name of G-d" (Psalms 20).
We therefore hereby call upon the Nation of G-d to gather in synagogues on Tuesday, the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, an hour and a half before the afternoon Mincha prayer, for the recitation of selichot [penitential prayers] and Psalms. Let us cry out with all our strength, and call to our G-d and the G-d of our fathers from the depths of our heart - for "G-d is close to all who call upon Him in truth" (Psalms 145).
May our cries arise before Him, and may G-d arise from His chair of strict justice and sit upon the chair of mercy. May He guide and lead us with compassion and kindness, for G-d's salvation can come in the blink of an eye. And may we see the fulfillment of this verse: "I will give peace in the Land, and you will lie down to sleep without fear... and no sword will pass through your Land." May this occur speedily in our days, Amen.
What an incredible pray from the leaders of the Jewish faithful. What a sign of the times! What a herald of the return! Indeed, we echo the sentiment of the Levites in Nehemiah’s day,
“Now therefore our God, the great, the might, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that have come upon [Israel], on their kings, on their princes, on their priests, and on their prophets, and on their fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.” (Nehemiah 10:31)
We join our prayer with Daniel’s in chapter 9:16-19:
“O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, we beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servants, and our supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O our God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” (Daniel 9:16-19).
May God soon send “the Deliver” to Zion who shall “turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26).
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