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Apples of Gold—July/August 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

After many years of working hard to transform Israel’s desert into a fruitful land, we now live in nice towns. The land’s transformation has brought many new immigrants to Israel. They speak many languages and are highly educated, but they do not know the Bible. The ultra-Orthodox organizations here take advantage of these immigrants and proselytize them. They are not persecuted for doing so. But we Jewish Christians are persecuted for sharing our faith, yet our congregation is growing. Ultra-Orthodox men go from house to house, warning newcomers to avoid contact with people who believe in Christ. Since I live among many of the immigrants and speak their languages, we have many nice, long conversations about faith and the Bible. Often, we arrive at the subject of Christ. Our conversations always remain friendly. I never approach anyone and say, “You must believe in Christ!” The ultra-Orthodox try to reach people in such a demanding way to persuade them to their way of thinking, but I merely show people what the Bible says.I told them we must know on whom the Lord has laid our iniquity, as it is written in Isaiah 53:6.Recently, I asked some of these immigrants, “Have you heard …

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What Shall We Eat?

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Nothing aggravates people so much as lack of food. Israel’s Minister of Trade, Dr. Dov Joseph, is in charge of the country’s food supply. A tremendous responsibility. Like a housewife with a pitiful allowance, he is trying to provide a very large family not only with sufficient food, but with food that is palatable. Dr. Joseph might plead like Moses, “Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people?” (Num. 11:13, KJV). He is the target of bitter complaints and the butt of barbed jokes. HOUSING PROBLEMS Recently thousands of inhabitants at four [Jewish] refugee camps held demonstrations to protest against the delay in the provision of permanent winter accommodations. Some 35,000 families still live in makeshift huts and tents. The government is trying hard to move them to more sheltered homes before the onset of the rainy season, with its cold and miseries. This small country was not prepared to receive such an overflow of immigrants. Consequently, many live under primitive conditions—in tents, huts, and semipermanent small houses. In the suburbs of the big cities, like Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, there is an almost feverish tempo of building. Blocks of modern apartment houses are going up. …

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The Facilitators

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In 2003, President George W. Bush surprised American troops stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, with a visit for Thanksgiving dinner. “I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere,” he joked. More than 600 soldiers from the 1st Armored and 82nd Airborne Divisions were shocked and grateful, as they enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal they would never forget. Few knew about the undercover mission. Even the president’s own family expected him home for Thanksgiving. The trip required two jumbo jets, dozens of vehicles, a network of staff, highly qualified Secret Service agents, and a security detail on the ground—all working together with one goal in mind: to protect the president of the United States and serve the military. The mission proved a total success, and the troops’ morale was strengthened by the presence of their commander-in-chief. Like the presidential staff, the Levites had a mission: to protect the holiness of God and serve the people of Israel. The book of Numbers explains how they ministered at the Tabernacle day in and day out, facilitating the relationship between God and His people, Israel. Many often typecast the Levites as priests who were in charge of Israel’s sacrificial system. Though the association is not …

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The Covert Conspiracy

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If you think you know everything going on around you, think again. Life is not always what it seems. Sometimes circumstances are orchestrated behind our backs, and how we react can make all the difference. In the book of Numbers, a plot was hatched to hurt Israel, and Israel knew nothing about it. It came from Balak and Balaam. Balaam was a prophet for hire; and Balak, king of Moab, was the man who hired him. After the Israelites left Egypt, they traveled near Moab, making Balak and his subjects “exceedingly afraid” (Num. 22:3). No doubt Balak had heard how this unique people had defeated King Sihon and the Amorites and King Og of Bashan. Terrified, he was convinced “this company will lick up everything around us” (v. 4). Knowing he could not beat Israel militarily, Balak sent for Balaam. “Please come,” he implored. “Curse this people for me, for they are too mighty. . . . Whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed” (v. 6). What type of man was Balaam? It seems he was a well known prophet. Wrote Bible scholar Dr. Charles Ryrie, “Apparently Balaam enjoyed a considerable reputation as a successful …

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Rebels Without a Cause

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Anyone who knows a little Yiddish probably knows the word kvetch. It means to complain and whine habitually. The children of Israel did a lot of kvetching during their sojourn in the desert (cf. Ex. 14:10–14; 15:22–27; 17:1–7). In fact Moses became so frustrated with the complaining that he asked the Lord to kill him (Num. 11:14–15). Numbers 16 records the rebellion of the Levite Korah, a classic kvetcher, who complained against Moses’ leadership and thus complained against God. Korah, whose name means “division” or “split,” conspired with two members of the tribe of Reuben and 250 respected members of Israel’s ruling council to rebel against Moses and Aaron (vv. 11–12). Feeling overlooked in priestly honors and leadership, he became jealous and whipped up discord among the Israelites. Proverbs 29:22 teaches, “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” Korah did both. First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote, Corah, a Hebrew of principal account, both by his family and by his wealth, one that was also able to speak well, and one that could easily persuade the people by his speeches, saw that Moses was in an exceeding great dignity [authority], and was uneasy at it, …

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A Trail of Carcasses

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Camped at Sinai for 12 months, the fledgling nation of Israel received God’s Law, constructed His Tabernacle, and established the Levitical priesthood. It had great dreams and high expectations of entering a land that flowed “with milk and honey” as it set out from Sinai to the triumphant sound of silver trumpets. Yet the Israelites of that generation experienced an average of 90 funerals a day (270 a month)—a far cry from what they had anticipated. The book of Numbers records their journey and the failure and demise of the Exodus generation as it wandered in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. An 11-day journey turned into 40 years of wilderness camping and high death tolls. The inspiring story of God’s grace and power, displayed when He delivered the Jewish people from Egypt, became a story of disappointment and discouragement. What went wrong? Bible scholar Paul House explained, All these hopeful possibilities are obliterated due to the most fundamental sin of all, which is the human refusal to believe God’s word. In a crucial moment, faithlessness costs the Exodus generation their opportunity to possess the physical embodiment of Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham and with the nation as a …

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Six Days in June

In Articles by Israel My Glory8 Comments

When the 1967 Six-Day War erupted, the Jewish state had just celebrated 19 years of independence. Levi Eshkol, 71, was both prime minister and defense minister. Eshkol had replaced the legendary David Ben-Gurion in June 1963. Filling Ben-Gurion’s shoes had been anything but easy—particularly with the “Old Man” second-guessing him from the sidelines. At 7,993 square miles, Israel 50 years ago was smaller than Vermont. Its population was 2.5 million (including 261,000 Arab citizens); immigration was slowing, as was the economy; and unemployment stood at 10 percent. Many big companies were state-owned, and Eshkol had to sell some of these assets to balance the budget. But life wasn’t all bleak. Television had arrived in 1966, so middle-class Israelis now enjoyed both a local educational station and English-language broadcasts from neighboring Jordan. A general-interest Israeli channel was also in the works. Having fought its way to independence in 1948—and losing 1 percent of its population in the process—the Israel of 1967 had no permanent borders. For boundaries it had only the 1949 armistice lines. The country was surrounded by 14 hostile Arab nations whose combined population stood at 110 million. In America, President Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House, …

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Apples of Gold—May/June 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Iam glad to inform you that I am alive and back home. There were times when it looked as if I would not come out alive. Many of my close buddies fell in battle. At one time, the Jordanian artillery pinned us down for 20 hours. Finally, the order came to attack. My task as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces is to go before the troops and clear the minefields so others can follow. We went forward under the heavy fire of the Arab Legion—the best Arab fighters. The first three nights we could not sleep at all until we reached Nabi Samuel, a fortress built around the grave of the prophet Samuel. There we were allowed to sleep for four hours. We had not been permitted to take off our shoes for two weeks, so the skin on our feet was burned due to the heat and heavy boots. I used the water I was given to drink to wash my feet. Then I fell down and slept. The four hours passed as if they were four minutes. When I awoke, I saw several soldiers writing little prayer notes and sticking them into the cracks between the …

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Fifty Years Later

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Israel hoped the 1967 war would be its last and that peace would prevail. But that has not been the case. Here is a look at the situation today. The topography of the West Bank is such that no Israeli government could allow a militant Palestinian-Arab entity to control this hilly terrain that overlooks Israel’s main population centers and its main airport, Ben Gurion. Many are unaware that there has never been a sovereign Arab state anywhere in Palestine. They are equally unaware that the West Bank happens to be the heartland of Jewish civilization, with many of the Bible’s familiar events playing out there. And yet there is no denying the 2.7 million Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank chafe under non-Muslim rule and the presence of nearly 400,000 Jewish civilians. Following the reunification, Jerusalem’s Arabs were granted blue Israeli identification cards, entitling them to vote in municipal elections (few do) and enroll in Israel’s vaunted healthcare system (all have). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was also able to return to its original Mount Scopus campus, its home from 1925 to 1948. As soon as the war ended, foreign volunteers joined Israelis to clean up the derelict grounds. And …

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Message in the Wall

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“THE TEMPLE MOUNT IS IN OUR HANDS! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands! All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.” Sounds of gunfire, soldiers singing “Jerusalem of Gold,” and the faint sound of a shofar were heard over the army wireless. It was June 7, 1967, and the Israel Defense Forces paratroopers had just liberated the Temple Mount and Western Wall. Finally, for the first time in more than 2,500 years, a unified Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands. The day after the liberation, Israeli Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan wrote a short prayer and tucked it into a crevice of the Wall. Curious newsmen immediately removed it. It read, “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23). I remember a conversation I had in Jerusalem with a veteran rabbi of the Six-Day War. I mentioned that I had spoken with some Israelis who did not believe God had anything to do with Israel’s victory. He bristled and told me to tell those people to go to him and say that to his face. For him and many others, the liberation of Jerusalem was a great miracle—a special …