Israeli Defense Troops Deployed to All Borders

Israel is being threatened at all of her borders and is now on high alert. Israel's Defense Force (IDF) has increased the presence of both active duty and reservists to protect the country's borders. General Yehiel Gozal says, “If this situation doesn’t quickly get under control, it is likely that a war will develop.”

40,000 Palestinians have been rioting at Israel’s southern Gaza border. 62 rioters have been killed by IDF forces and at least 2,000 have been injured. Gaza has proudly announced that of those killed, 50 were members of the Hamas terror group. International media report that the Palestinians were holding peaceful protests, but videos of the riots portray a different picture.

For over a month, rioters have set tires ablaze, planted bombs, flown kites that were on fire into Israel, destroying Israeli fields. They have hurled firebombs, Molotov cocktails, and stones at IDF troops. Palestinians directed machine gun fire from Gaza at IDF aerial vehicles. Several residences in the Israeli border town of Sderot were hit. Sderot is where Song For Israel placed its first bomb shelter.

 Smoke can be seen less than a mile away on the Gaza border as Deby, director of Song For Israel, picks wheat.

Smoke can be seen less than a mile away on the Gaza border as Deby, director of Song For Israel, picks wheat.

Last month representatives from Song For Israel were on the Gaza border. We picked wheat in a field bordering Gaza as we viewed smoke from burning kites in the background. Shmuel Bowman, Director of Operation Lifeshield, created the video below. Song For Israel partners with Operation Lifeshield in saving lives by placing bomb shelters on Israel's borders. Please watch the video and then consider partnering with us to save lives in Israel.

To learn more about the Bomb Shelter project or to donate, please click here.

 

 

 

Feast of Pentecost (in Hebrew "Shavuot") May 19th

May 19th was Shavuot, which in Greek means “Pentecost” - also often referred to as the “Feast of Weeks” or "Feast of Pentecost." On Shavuot, the Jewish people celebrate the events that took place on Mt. Sinai. In Exodus 19, when God descended on Mt. Sinai, thunder ripped throughout the sky, the ground shook, and a shofar blew a long blast. A dense cloud of smoke and fire surrounded the summit because the Lord descended on it. No one was to touch the mountain - not even animals. To disobey meant certain death. Moses spent 40 days up on the mountain where he received God’s law. God’s promise to the Israelites was that from that day forward, if they were to fully obey the covenant, they would be a nation of priests.

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The Israelites immediately disobeyed. When Moses came down from the mountain he saw them worshipping idols. Moses allowed the Levites to take up their swords, and 3000 who did not follow the Lord were killed that day.

Approximately 1300 years later came the Day of Pentecost (the Greek word for Shavuot). The Disciples were observant Jews and came to Jerusalem, celebrating the anniversary of the covenant. Jews were required to come to the temple three times a year to celebrate and Shavuot was one of these occasions. From all over the world, they came to celebrate the anniversary of their covenant with God.

In Acts 2, we read that a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. As Tongues of Fire came to rest on each worshipper, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages. Peter commissioned the crowd saying, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2: 38-39)

Three thousand became believers that day. Ephesians 2 speaks to the Gentiles (anyone other than a Jew) and explains that Gentiles were “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were cut off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one….and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross….”

Leviticus 23:17 says, “You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering….” The two loaves would be lifted high, one in each hand and waved as arms were crossed in the air. This wave offering of the two loaves represents what happened at Pentecost when the two groups, Jews and Gentiles, were brought together!

The feasts and festivals of the Bible are filled with types and symbols that point to the Messiah. The connections between Shavuot and Pentecost are obvious and exciting. Here are some parallels.

Moses acted as an intercessor between God and His covenanted people. Jesus intervened on behalf of the world.

At Mt. Sinai, the fire descended only on the summit of the mountain with Moses. Fire (the Holy Spirit) came to rest on each individual.

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God established His covenant with the Hebrew people. God’s covenant was made available to all who believe.

The Holy Law was inscribed on stone by the finger of God. The Holy Spirit wrote the Law on their hearts.

At Mt. Sinai, 3,000 were killed due to their disobedience. In Jerusalem, 3000 were granted salvation in return for their faith.

God declared the Israelites a nation of priests. Believers became priests to all the nations.

This explains one covenant grafted into the first. We celebrate the common anniversary of our receiving God’s revelation both at Mt. Sinai and in Jerusalem.

Today, as believers, we celebrate on Shavuot the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. According to tradition, dairy foods such as cheese, cheesecake and milk are eaten on Shavuot because Torah is compared to the sweetness of milk and honey. In Ecclesiastes, one line reads, "Honey and milk are under your tongue." In some communities children are introduced to Torah study on Shavuot and are given honey cakes with passages from the Torah written on them.

Let us use this feast to make a public commitment, just as the people of Israel did, that "we will do and we will listen."

Chag Sameach

חג שבועות שמח 

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Photos from our 2018 Israel/Jordan Tour

Here are some photos from our Song For Israel April 2018 Israel/Jordan Tour. Enjoy!

If you are interested in joining us for a tour in 2019, please click here.

US Embassy Moves to Jerusalem - Israel's Eternal Capital

May 14, 2018, is an historic date for an historic event – The USA Embassy was moved to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. This occurred 70 years to the date from Israel’s rebirth as a nation, fulfilling prophecy and regathering the people to the Land. Israel has a 3,000-year old history. King David made Jerusalem the capital of Ancient Israel.

“President Trump's decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. It has been the capital of our state for the last 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"President Trump is making history," said the Prime Minister during his address at the festive event. He said, “By recognizing history, you [Trump] have made history. We are deeply grateful and our people will be eternally grateful for his bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the embassy there. Thank you, President Trump, for your bold decision; thank you for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever.”

Netanyahu quoted Zechariah 8:3, “Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’” Netanyahu claimed this to be true of Jerusalem.

Holocaust Memorial Day - Remembering Eva Beem

Although much of today's world rejects the notion that the Holocaust even occurred, the evening of Sunday, April 23rd, through Monday, April 24th, is considered Holocaust Remembrance Day (in Hebrew--Yom HaShoah). It is a sad day as many still have memories of the evils done to family members and friends. Still others question how such evil could be allowed to occur in our world. But it did happen.

When I visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center, I was given a little card with the name and picture of a little girl who lived during the Holocaust. Eva Been was a darling girl from The Netherlands. She came from a normal family where her father was a high school teacher in Northern Holland. The Jews of The Netherlands were well-integrated into the general population and they were active in all aspects of the country's social, cultural and economic life. 

 Eva Beem (From the Archives of the Simon Wiesenthal Center)

Eva Beem (From the Archives of the Simon Wiesenthal Center)

Eva was eight years old when the Germans invaded her town and separated the Jews from the rest of the population, forcing them into restricted ghetto areas. Eva's parents decided they would go into hiding, hoping their children would be safer posing as non-Jews in a rural village. They found a Christian family willing to risk death to save them. Eva was given a new name and identity and attended school with others from the village.

The Nazis realized that many Jewish children had been sent into hiding and therefore intensified their search. Eleven-year old Eva and her brother Abraham were arrested and ultimately deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. Both were murdered upon their arrival.

Eva was one of 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Germans and their collaborators during the Holocaust.

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Today, Israel and the Jewish people are still targets. Their neighbors in Iran chant "Death to Israel" and "Drive them into the Sea." It is horrible to think such things still take place, but another Holocaust could happen. Satan would like nothing more than to defeat God's plan for Israel. To understand more of God's plan, order this book, "Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel" by clicking here.

Song For Israel exists to educate people about God's eternal plan for Israel from a biblical viewpoint. We stand with Israel. Will you?

Please consider making a donation to help further our ministry. Please click here.

Auschwitz

Auschwitz, a new 15-minute documentary on the history of the Nazi death camp, was premiered January 27, 2015, in the presence of 300 Holocaust survivors from Auschwitz, marking 70 years since the liberation of the death camp. The film was produced by Steven Spielberg and narrated by Meryl Streep. Please share so their memory will live on.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Although much of today's world rejects the notion that the Holocaust even occurred, the truth is kept alive and history is acknowledged during the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a sad day as many still have memories of the evils done to family members and friends. Still others question how such evil could be allowed to occur in our world. But it did happen.

Eva Beem

When I visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center (California) with some friends, I was given a little card with the name and picture of a little girl who lived during the Holocaust. Eva Beem was a darling girl from The Netherlands. She came from a normal family where her father was a high school teacher in Northern Holland. The Jews of The Netherlands were well-integrated into the general population and they were active in all aspects of the country's social, cultural and economic life.

Eva was eight years old when the Germans invaded her town, separated the Jews from the rest of the population, and forced them into restricted ghetto areas. Eva's parents decided they would go into hiding, hoping their children would be safer posing as non-Jews in a rural village. They found a Christian family willing to risk death to save them. Eva was given a new name and identity and attended school with others from the village.

The Nazis realized that many Jewish children had been sent into hiding and therefore intensified their search. Eleven-year old Eva and her brother Abraham were arrested and ultimately deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. Both were murdered upon their arrival.

Eva was one of 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Germans and their collaborators during the Holocaust.

Today, Israel and the Jewish people are still targets. Their neighbors in Iran chant "Death to Israel" and "Drive them into the Sea." It is horrible to think such things still take place, but another Holocaust could happen. Satan would like nothing more than to defeat God's plan for Israel.

Cover FINAL 10 31 17 Reduced (Small).jpg

Read more about God's plan by ordering the book, "Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel" by clicking here.

Song For Israel exists to educate people about God's eternal plan for Israel from a biblical viewpoint. We stand with Israel. Will you?

Please consider making a donation to help further our ministry.  Please click here.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

 Photo Taken at the Berlin Jewish Museum

Photo Taken at the Berlin Jewish Museum

Tonight marks Holocaust Remembrance Day, which in Hebrew is called “Yom HaShoah” and is a solemn date when Israel remembers the 6,000,000 Jews killed in the Holocaust. This morning in Israel, every vehicle will stop and humans will stand at attention for two minutes while sirens sound in remembrance...

 Auschwitz

Auschwitz

Auschwitz was the biggest Nazi concentration camp in Europe during World War II.  More than 1,100,000 men, women, and children lost their lives here.  While multiple tracks led into these extermination camps, no one ever came out on them.

Six Million Jews (half of the world’s Jewish population at the time) perished under Hitler’s "Final Solution."

Check back tomorrow for more Holocaust articles. 

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Leo Scheuer...A Holocaust Survivor Story

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When I was in Germany, a friend and I went to the German Jewish museum and I took this picture and I copied the story: “Leo Scheuer worked as a doctor in eastern Poland, which the Soviet army occupied at the start of the war. German troops took control of the area in June 1941 and put the Jews living there in a ghetto. In the fall of 1942 orders were given to shoot all the ghetto residents, but Leo Scheuer managed to flee to the home of a former patient, who hid him in his yard. He survived in a hole in the ground for fifteen months before Soviet soldiers liberated the area and he could emerge from his self-confinement. These phylacteries were among the few objects that Leo Scheuer had with him in his hiding place. They are worn on the head and arm for morning prayers and recall the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.

In 1965 Leo Scheuer immigrated from the Soviet Union to the DGR. In 2002 he died in the Bush district of Berlin at the age of ninety-three.”

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Counting the Omer to the Day of Pentecost

During the Feast of First Fruits, God told Moses to speak to the children of Israel and have them bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of their harvest to the priest, according to Leviticus 23:9-17; 21. The priest would then wave the sheaf before the Lord on the day after the Passover Sabbath. From this date, they were to count the days for seven Sabbaths. On the fiftieth day, they would celebrate the day of Pentecost - also known as Shavuot or Feast of Weeks.

  An "omer" -- a sheaf of Wheat

 An "omer" -- a sheaf of Wheat

The time counted between Passover and Pentecost was called “counting the omer.” An “Omer” is a sheaf of barley and wheat – the first of the harvest - and it was waved before the Lord. Pentecost does not have a fixed calendar date in the Bible but is observed after completing the counting of the omer.

Just as the firstfruits contains a promise of not only looking forward to the early harvest but also to the day of redemption -The number “50” symbolizes freedom and redemption.

We see in the New Testament that Christ is both Lord of the harvest and of firstfruit. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ as the Firstborn from the dead. Passover was fulfilled as Christ is seen as the Passover Lamb (a sign of His death). But at the Feast of Firstfruits, He is seen as the risen Savior. After counting the omer, we will celebrate the Day of Pentecost as it was fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) was given to all who believe.

Today, April 9, 2018, is Day 9 of counting the omer. Will you join us in counting it down?

 

Passover - The First of God's Appointed Feasts of the Season

Passover is the eight-day festival and the first of God's appointed days of the Jewish year. The Passover Seder was celebrated, which is a 15-part feast where the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold. Families will read Psalms, sing songs and there will be Hebrew blessings recited.

The observances of the Passover Seder include a number of symbolic foods and rituals commemorating both the slavery in Egypt and liberation of the Hebrews.

They include the following:
•    Matzah (unleavened bread);
•    Bitter herbs - usually horseradish,                representing  the bitterness of slavery;
•    Charoset -an apple, nut, and spice                mixture representing the mortar the Israelites used in building Egyptian structures;
•    Salt water - representing the tears the       Israelites shed due to enslavement;
•    Shank bone of a lamb - representing both the first Passover lamb and the sacrificial lamb during the time of the Temple in Jerusalem;
•    The afikoman - an additional portion of matzah eaten to commemorate the Passover offering; and
•    Four glasses of wine - which symbolize God’s fourfold promise of deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 6:6-8)

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, God saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed God’s command. God then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.

God visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, God spared the Children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday, Passover. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry that the bread they baked as provision for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day, and began the trek to Mount Sinai.

The exodus of Israel in the Old Testament is an illustration of God’s salvation. The New Testament crucifixion was the ultimate exodus because it delivers not just from bondage of a controlling Pharoah, but from bondage to sin itself. It provides for eternal life - not just life in an earthly promised land.

Just as the blood of the lamb on the doorposts saved the firstborn, it is Jesus’ blood, the blood of the Lamb of God, which saves people today. He made atonement for our sins.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”  (Ephesians 2:8).

When we put our faith in Him, we symbolically apply the blood of the Passover Lamb by faith.  Jesus gave us the assurance that the Lord will pass over us when He judges the world if we put our faith in Him and His atoning blood.
 
“I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26a).

Check back tomorrow for more articles on Passover, including Passover recipes. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please click here.

Award-Winning Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

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Total Time:  2 hrs 45 mins                   Prep Time: 45 mins                 Cook Time: 2 hrs Servings: 4-6   

Ingredients:  (note: if you use the Tabatchnick it is very salty so taste the soup BEFORE adding more salt)

soup

4 chicken thighs
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves
salt (or Garlic Salt) 
pepper

1  32 oz. Tabatchnick Classic Whole Chicken Broth

1 to 2 tbs to taste Osem Consommé

Chopped parsley to taste
 

matzo balls 

2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt

1 pinch sugar
2 tablespoons seltzer water

Directions

1. Make the matzo mixture first because it has to be chilled in the refrigerator for as long as possible. I basically used the recipe on the Manischewitz box container but substitute olive oil for vegetable oil. Traditionally they're supposed to be made with schmaltz. You could use seltzer water because it is said that it makes the matzo balls lighter. 
2.  Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl, adding the seltzer last and more lightly with your hands until uniform. Don't worry that it looks too runny because it will firm up in the refrigerator. Cover and refrigerate while you make the soup. 
3.  Put chicken thighs in a pot and add water until the chicken is submerged plus about 2 more inches of water. Bring to a boil then, simmer for 30 minutes. (A double boiler works very well for this as it makes it easy to remove chicken, but if you do not have one a colander or spoon will work as well).
4.  Meanwhile, chop the onion, chop one carrot and one stalk of celery into inch wide or smaller pieces, and crush the garlic (or just slice everything; it was easier and added more consistency to the soup).
5. Skim the top of the stock with a wire mesh spoon if necessary. Add the onion, garlic and big (or all) vegetable pieces along with 1 tbsp. salt (see note). Cover and simmer for an hour. 
6.  Bring a pot of water and a little salt to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Fill a shallow bowl with cold water. Take out the matzo meal and form into balls with a tablespoon and your hands. Make sure to dip your hands and the spoon in the water between every ball. Drop each of the balls into the water then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. The matzo balls should expand about to about 1 1/2 times their original size; I made six from the mixture. 
7.  Remove the chicken from the pot and strain the soup. Return the broth to the pot and add the onion, carrots and celery. (No need to strain it. Leave all the vegetables in the broth for added flavor) Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. 
8.  Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and tear the meat into shreds. Add the chicken shreds back into the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and taste. Add the pepper and more salt if necessary. 
9.  Test the matzo balls with a fork. You should be able to insert the fork without feeling any change in pressure within. Transfer the balls to the soup pot with either a slotted spoon or tongs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes so the matzo balls can absorb the flavor. Reheat if necessary.

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The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is part of Passover -- It is actually concurrent with Passover. The seven days following the first part of Passover, the Jews ate only unleavened bread (no yeast) with their meals. Prior to Passover, they cleanse all yeast from their homes. In Scripture, leaven is a picture of sin. Removing all leaven from the home is a picture of cleansing one’s life of sin.

The celebration of Passover was to remind the Jewish people of the time that they had to leave Egypt in such a hurry that there was no time for their bread to rise; and a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt.

On the first and seventh day of the feast, the people were to hold a sacred assembly. They were reminded of the Exodus because it was the greatest demonstration of God’s deliverance in the Old Testament. God wanted His people to know and trust Him as the God who delivers. The focus is the same year after year.

God declared that eating the Passover meal with its special unleavened bread was the sign of faith that indicated you were a true member of the covenant community of Israel. 

Prophetic Fulfillment -- Jesus knew no sin, nor was any deceit found in Him. He was unblemished and spotless. He was made sin for us that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him. Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Unleavened bread, or matzah, has stripes. 

By His stripes we are healed. Matzah is also pierced. They shall look upon me whom they have pierced. Matzah is pure, without any leaven, as His body was without any sin. The custom during Passover is to bury (fold in a towel), hide, and then resurrect the second of the three pieces of matzah (matzot, plural), which is the middle piece, representing the Gospel (Afikomen). The Jewish people today act out Christ’s resurrection and don’t even know it!

The exodus of Israel in the Old Testament is an illustration of God’s salvation. The New Testament crucifixion was the ultimate exodus because it delivers not just from the bondage of a controlling Pharaoh, but from bondage to sin itself. It provides for eternal life, not just life in an earthly promised land.

Scripture References

Old Testament: Exodus 12:14-20; Leviticus 23:6-8; Deuteronomy 16:8

New Testament: 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:14-7:1; Philippians 1:21, 2:3-5, 3:8, 4:13

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The Symbolism of the Passover Matzah Points to Messiah

Part of the Passover Seder includes the matzah, in which three pieces are wrapped together -- Three pieces of matzah, each in a separate section, yet joined into one. The rabbis call these three “a unity.” Some consider it a unity of the three patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Others consider it representative of the trinity—The Father, Son and Holy Spirit—Three in one.

The matzah is unleavened. Throughout the Scripture, leaven is a symbol of fermentation and corruption and is a symbol of sin. For example, in Leviticus 2:11 we read: No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven…as an offering by fire to the Lord.  This offering was to be made without leaven as a symbol that it was holy before the Lord.

Exodus 13:6-7 tells us that only unleavened bread should be eaten at Passover. Since leaven is a symbol of sin, to begin the Passover season by eating only unleavened bread is symbolic of beginning a life free from sin. Jesus was our perfect example of this because he lived a sinless life.

When the Jewish people were leaving Egypt, God was about to give them His Torah which was to be their guide for holy living. It may be that this was to signify the start of their living lives separate from sin.

Paul wrote of this significance in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:6-8: Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast (Passover), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

If we examine the matzah carefully, we see that not only is it unleavened, but it is pierced and striped. King David wrote prophetically of the Messiah in Psalm 22: For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

Zechariah also prophesied about what would be done to the Messiah when he wrote: And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born (Zech 12:10).

Isaiah wrote prophetically of the coming Suffering Servant of Israel, the One would be not only sinless, but “pierced” and “striped.” But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Jesus, the Messiah, was without sin, yet He was “striped” by way of the Roman whip, and “pierced” by nails through His hands and feet and by a spear in His side. It is not a coincidence that the central item of the Passover, the matzah, points to the One that Paul called “Messiah our Passover.” Each year, the matzah points to One who was sinless, striped, and pierced - the same One whom John the Baptist called “the Lamb of God” - the One whose sacrifice would bring redemption from the penalty of sin. 

During the Passover meal, the father in the family breaks the middle matzah in two, places the smaller piece on top of the matzah cloth and wraps the larger piece, which is called the “afikomen,” in the clean, white linen cloth which is next to the matzah cloth. The Hebrew word “afikomen” is most likely derived from the Greek word “epikomos” which means “after a banquet,” or “dessert.”

Then, the children leave the room and while they are gone, the leader “buries” (hides) the afikomen, this wrapped piece of matzah, somewhere in the room. Then the children return.  They are encouraged sometime during the meal to earnestly search for the “buried treasure” of unleavened bread which is striped and pierced, wrapped in cloth, buried, earnestly sought, and when discovered, found to be of great value. This clearly parallels the events surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

There are many other components to the Passover Seder that point to Jesus Christ as Messiah. But just this one section with the afikomen clearly symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  

Jewish people around the world explain to their families every Passover about the afikomen and its symbolism. The entire Passover is pointing to Jesus Christ, who has already come as Messiah and fulfilled the symbolism. When we take communion, we read from 1 Corinthians 11:24: “And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.”

Passover is the reminder of a sinless sacrifice made on our behalf. When the afikomen is eaten at the conclusion of the meal, it is a reminder of the sacrificial lamb which was eaten. Consider the symbolism of the matzah: unleavened, striped, pierced, broken, wrapped in a white linen cloth, “buried,” diligently sought, with a reward going to the discoverer. Now, it is freely offered, but as with all free gifts, one must accept it - otherwise it cannot be enjoyed.

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Precious Passover

In the days when Egypt was the most powerful country of the known world, they took in many people from other lands because of famine throughout the Middle East. Egypt had plenty and shared with many. But the Pharaohs changed, hearts changed, populations grew. By 1400 BC, the Egyptians felt the Jews had overstayed their welcome. Finding their growing population a threat, Egyptian leaders decided to make the Jewish people slaves. They became less than everyone else, doing the work that Egyptians wouldn’t do. As their times became more and more tragic and desperate, they cried out to God for relief and deliverance. God heard their prayers and with 9 plagues He tried to convince the Pharoah of Egypt to release the Jewish population from slavery and give them freedom. But instead, Pharoah's heart was hardened against them. God brought to the Egyptians a most unthinkable 10th plague - death to the firstborn of all households.

Passover is the celebration of the miracle God used to protect the Jewish families from this horrific firstborn judgment. He gave them advanced, specific instructions to follow the day before He was to take the lives of the non-Jewish firstborns. All Jewish families obeyed to the very detail, including that of painting their doorposts with the fresh blood of a perfect lamb. This Blood caused the Lord to pass over those homes and spare the lives of the children there. God had given them a way to obey and find mercy! His mercy was their salvation! Passover is a time to remember this God of Mercy and Grace.

For the Jewish people, Passover today is much more than a family dinner with required food items, repeated prayers, or something they do to be different. It is all of those things; however, the heart behind the celebration is sincere, and throughout generations the most blessed component of Passover is that of “remembering.” They remember that God delivered them from Egyptian slavery to freedom.

                                         Seder plate

                                        Seder plate

The Jewish people today begin Passover with a Seder dinner. This dinner sets the tone for the entire week of activities. They focus on the importance of remembering, faith, and family. They remember what God has done for the Jewish nation, the miracles performed in order to maintain their mere existence, Abraham’s seed and the promise God made through him. They remember how powerfully God has worked as their provider, protector, and source of life. Their ability to do so enables them to see that their future is in God’s hands and He has a good place for them.

Pray for peace in Israel as Passover is celebrated all over the world by saying the words they say:

“NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been Hospitalized

benjamin-netanyahu.jpg

Please pray for Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as he has been hospitalized Tuesday, March 27th, with a high fever and cough. He was ill several weeks ago and his doctor fears he did not allow himself enough time to heal. 

On Monday, Netanyahu was questioned for about 4½ hours in an ongoing corruption investigation, to which he claims he is innocent. This can be especially draining when you are already not feeling well.