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Teshuvah : Israel is Drawing Near

| sun, august 19, 2012 |

Today is the beginning of Elul, or the sixth Hebrew month on the Biblical calendar. The entire month of Elul is a month of preparedness, a time of teshuvah, as one would prepare spiritually for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or the Yamim Nora'im, the Days of Awe.

For those not familiar with the word teshuvah, it is a Hebrew word often translated as repentance, though the more specific meaning is better interpreted as turning back to YHVH, as in "turn [shuv] towards GOD."

This period or season of teshuvah is forty days in length and is also known as Yemei Ratzon, or "Days of Favor." This period of teshuvah begins on the first day of Elul and ends on the tenth day of Tishri, or the first day of Yom Kippur.

This traditional observance of the season of teshuvah originated shortly after the children of Israel left Egypt in the midst of the exodus to the Promised Land. The observed period of 40-days mirrors the last 40-days Moses spent upon Sinai as he received the revelation of the Torah, a place that rabbinical and Biblical tradition pinpoints as the birthing ground for the newborn nation of Israel, the site in which Israel first became a nation and agreed to be bound by the perpetual covenant.

It is believed that Moses ascended Mount Sinai no less than three times and upon the third descent Moses had obtained forgiveness for the children of Israel after they had been previously caught in the grievous act of idolatry, worshiping the golden calf.

Could Israel strike Iran or even Syria during this period of nationally recognized repentance before Yom Kippur?

In the years of studying Jeremiah chapter 50 and 51, I have often wondered about the meaning behind the following verses:

In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.
They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. Jeremiah 50:4-5

And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve. Jeremiah 50:19-20

Could these verses possibly indicate the timing of Israel's strike on Iran or Syria, a strike that will surely bring the condemnation of the Obama administration? Could these verses give a glimpse of the spiritual state of Israel before Babylon's destruction, when the hammer of the whole earth is cut asunder and broken?

 I (YHVH) have laid a snare for thee, and though art also taken, O Babylon, and thou are found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD. Jeremiah 50:24

The passages of Jeremiah 50, verses four and five, indicate a future tense, a day in which, unlike Jeremiah's time, Israel will no longer be divided into a northern and southern kingdom made up of Israel (in the north) and Judah (in the south), rather the "land of Israel" will be one nation, the nation of Israel. This came to pass on May 14, 1948, when Israel, after almost 3,000 years, once again became a contiguous nation, something that hadn't happened since King David ruled the land.

These verses also seem to indicate that this gathering together of Jews in the land at a future date will be driven by a desire to once again dwell in the Covenant land and as they seek Zion a supernatural passion to be once again joined with the LORD in a perpetual covenant; the covenant first uttered at Sinai, will once again motivate the Jews to dwell again in the land. This could possibly be a reference to the Zionist movement, a movement that began well before 1948, and one widely considered to be the largest driving force behind the resurrection of the modern Jewish State of Israel.

Though these verses may indicate a general time frame or prerequisite of events necessary for the fulfillment of Babylon's judgment and Israel's redemption to come to fruition, it also seems to indicate an even more specific time frame in which the judgment of end-time Babylon will come to pass. As with most prophetic verses in Scripture, the certainty that these verses also hold a multi-layered interpretation could indicate that these verses not only imply a general multi-year time frame, but perhaps these verses are also capable of narrowing down the time frame of the events to a very specific period, a time in which Israel traditionally observes a season of teshuvah and prepares for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

As stated above, shuv is to "turn back, or return," the root action in repentance, which is to move closer to YHVH. So, teshuvah is the act of drawing closer to YHVH. The verses above indicate a period of teshuvah, or a drawing closer, a closing of the gap between end-time Israel and YHVH, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.

Often times in Scripture teshuvah is marked by bakah or weeping, to lament, as the Rauch HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) exposes sin as He moves upon the penitent spirit of man to shuv or return to YHVH as repentance is manifested. As the ugly reality of sin is unveiled, the Rauch HaKodesh essentially enlightens the spirit of man to the terrifying fissure between the spirit of man and YHVH; when such is revealed, weeping soon becomes the companion of shame and remorse.

The idea that these verses in Jeremiah chapter 50, verses four and five, seem to indicate a period of nationally observed teshuvah is reinforced when verse 20 in the same chapter is taken into consideration, when the LORD says, In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

Only time will tell for sure if these verses in Jeremiah are any indication that such events, as pertain to Babylon and Israel, will happen during a period of teshuvah in Israel. It could possibly be that the events in Jeremiah 50 lead Israel to shuv towards YHVH. Though the verses are compelling for such a view, for I (YVHV) will pardon them (Israel) whom I reserve, the fact remains; soon, very soon, the gap between Israel and YHVH will be diminished.

It is during this period of time that YHVH will forgive the iniquity of Israel, just as He did thousands of years ago at the base of Sinai as Israel too was born into sin.

During the season of teshuvah, Isaiah 55:6-7 embodies the theme of the period,

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

I find it interesting that these verses that embody the theme of the season are also the prelude to the incomprehensible essence of YHVH,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

These verses are a reminder that the LORD works and moves in mysterious ways as HIS plan continues to be fulfilled.

YHVH is not through with Israel.

Israel is the timepiece of YHVH and for us, as Christians, we are to be observant to the work yet unfinished in Israel and the role that Israel still has to play, along with YHVH's chosen inhabitants of the land, the Jews, as we seek HIS hand of guidance in the increasingly dark atmosphere of the end-times.

Tragically, and inexcusably too often, way too often, westernized "Christians" tend to view the end-times from a Gentile Bride of Christ perspective. From this view these "Christians" wrongly perceive that YHVH's plan is for a "Gentile Bride" and no longer for Israel. This grievous and erroneous ideology has infected many a doctrine within the Gentile "church," but the fact is truth, the Bride of Christ is not a Gentile, nor did Christianity begin as a movement within the Gentile races, rather the first Christians were Jews.

Throughout the centuries after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Gentile "church" abandoned its Jewish roots, rejected the graft, and as a consequence, created images of a messiah, images that so arrogantly stripped Yeshua HaMashiach of His Jewish identity. Once the graft was broken, these branches morphed Yeshua into Jesus, the white European male, the blonde haired, blue-eyed baby in a manger found on Christmas cards, and yes, even some have gone as far as to depict Yeshua as a frail black man withered on the cross. Any depiction that robs Yeshua of His Jewish identity creates a glimpse of the anti-Christ; Yeshua was and still is a JEW.

Even more shocking to those still stuck in the Gentile paradigm is that the mission of Jesus Christ was primarily Jew directed, as He was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy and the law. It was only later, many years after HIS death and resurrection, do we begin to see a shift towards Gentile directed evangelism, by Jews.

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Romans 11:17-18

Why are there so many "Christian" denominations and only one Israel? I believe it is due to the age old tentacles of Replacement Theology. As the Bride of Christ, we don't belong to any specific denomination and we must not call our walk with Christ a religion, but a relationship. The faithful belong to Jesus Christ and will one day dwell in Israel with HIM as HE rules and reigns.

The Bride is from Israel, not the United States of America, Russia, France, Australia, Canada, or anywhere else on the planet. As the body we are spread out over every continent, but rest assured, the day is coming when Yeshua HaMashiach will gather His children from all corners of the world and bring them into the land of His inheritance, Israel. Just as the branches fan out from the trunk, the roots are always grounded, with the roots of the Bride being squarely rooted in Haretez Yisreal or the land of Israel.

As the church, or ekklesia, we must never forget that YHVH made an everlasting covenant with Israel. When YHVH said "olam," or everlasting, HE meant it. Through Yeshua HaMashiach our salvation is olam, so too are all the promises uttered by the LORD. YHVH made a covenant with the people and with the land. The Abrahamic covenant was a promise to create the nation of Israel whereas the Mosaic covenant established the Law that would govern the nation of Israel. Yeshua HaMashiach has not replaced or changed the Abrahamic Covenant, which still has yet to be fully fulfilled; rather HE replaced the Mosaic covenant.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when 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 when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. Hebrews 8:7-9

As Gentiles we should rejoice that YHVH graciously replaced the old Mosaic covenant with the New Covenant of JESUS CHRIST. Sadly, despite the extension of grace, made possibly by Jews, most denominations see no need for Israel any longer.

This New Covenant is not meant to exclude Israel; rather it extends a gracious gift of salvation to the Gentiles, grafted in with the recipients of the original covenant, the Jew.

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.... Romans 11:1-2

So as we watch the events unfolding in Israel, as we watch the nations of the world come up against her in these last days, let us remember, as the Bride of Christ, we are the Body of Christ, and HE is a Jew. Israel is HIS nation, the land is HIS land, and HE has chosen to have the Jew dwell upon HIS land for a purpose.

How can the Bride be complete without the Jew? Can a tree be complete without a root, or a trunk? A tree can still be a tree minus a few branches, but without a root or a trunk it is nothing more than firewood.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34-35

God is no respecter of persons, yet this shouldn't be misinterpreted as YHVH does not favor, or have a plan for Israel that is different than the other nations of the world. The facts are clear, Israel does have a different path than other nations, and yes, it will be from Israel that Yeshua will rule and reign from; no other nation in the world can even make such a claim. Only Israel has received a divine promise backed by the everlasting and eternal promise of YHVH's Word.

This has been a topic close to my heart for some time now. It is time that we, as Gentile believers realize that in the Body of Christ we are no longer Gentile. In the Body there is neither Jew nor Gentile, but as the Gentile, we should be thankful that the adoption has been extended to us and that the plan YHVH has for the days ahead, we too are a part off and have hope in because of a Jew named Yeshua and the Jews that faithfully followed, many unto death, HIS command to bring the Good News to the nations.

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46 -47

Whether or not Israel strikes Iran or Syria in the coming weeks during this season of teshuvah, doesn't change the fact that JESUS CHRIST is on the throne and HE has a plan centered on Israel, Jerusalem, and HIS bride.

Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 31:35-37

God Bless, daniel