The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is part of Passover -- It is actually concurrent with Passover. The seven days following 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 when they had to leave 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

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 some time 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, and rewarded when found. Now, it is freely offered, but as with all free gifts, one must accept it, otherwise it cannot be enjoyed.



Israel and Petra Tour Registration Deadline Nearing

You've heard it said that going to Israeli changes you.  It's true!  No one can explain that better than one who has been. To walk where Jesus walked; to visit the cities mentioned in your Bible; to get baptized in the Jordan River; to stand on the Temple Mount...it's a trip like you've never experienced!

We are flying El Airlines this year (the best as far as I'm concerned!) and they require that we obtain trip payment in full by April 30th (extended). So, if you are thinking of going, please check out our itinerary and fill out the registration form. Click here for more information or email: info@songforisrael.org

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. The Pharaohs changed, hearts changed, populations grew. In the case of the Jewish people, by 1400 BC, the Egyptians felt they 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 freedom. 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, Pharoahs’ 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-Jew. All 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 is 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, 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 celebrate 8 days of Passover beginning Friday, April 22nd 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, in the miracles performed in order to maintain their mere existence, and for 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 has a good place them.

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

“NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”

The Significance of the Sabbath Before Passover

Saturday marked the Sabbath before Passover, which in Hebrew is called the Shabbat HaGadol, or “the Great Shabbat.”

To understand the significance of the Sabbath prior to Passover, we must go back to the Book of Exodus where the Jewish people were commanded by Moses to obtain a lamb for sacrifice and tie it to their bedposts on the Sabbath, just before Passover. The lamb was to live in their house for four days. Of course the family would begin to consider it a part of the family and the sacrifice would become more difficult (Exodus 12:6). 

THE PASSOVER LAMB MUST BE A ONE-YEAR OLD MALE AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.     EXODUS 12:5

When the Egyptians saw the Jewish people setting aside their lambs, they wanted to know what they were doing with them.  The Jewish people told them the lambs were a Passover offering to God who would kill the firstborn Egyptians. Because the sheep was one of the major Egyptian gods, it was a miracle that the Jewish people were allowed to take lambs from among the Egyptians, especially when it was explained that the Egyptian firstborns would be destroyed.

When the Egyptian firstborns heard this news, they begged their fathers and Pharoah to let the Israelites go, but their request was denied. As a result, civil war broke out among the Egyptians in which many were killed.

Later in history, during the time of the Temple in Jerusalem, the lamb was selected four days before Passover so that worshippers could  be certain their lambs were without blemish, according to Exodus 12:5—otherwise their offering could be rejected.  This reminds us of the Messiah, who was called the “Lamb of God” and was without blemish.

Watch for articles and recipes this week about Passover.

Passover Preparations

With Passover (Pesach) beginning the evening of April 22nd, 2016, entire families are preparing for this important celebration. God gave a commandment to the children of Israel, throughout their generations, to celebrate (Exodus 12:14). In preparation, God told them to remove leaven (yeast) from their homes before Passover begins (Exodus 12:15). Families today look in every nook and cranny to find any traces of bread with yeast; they even search their cars!

In the Bible, yeast symbolizes sin. Yeast consumes sugar and that is what causes dough to rise. It really doesn’t take much yeast to make that happen. Yeast is so pervasive that if dough is left on the counter, yeast will attach to the surface of the dough and work its way throughout the entire loaf.

Yeast is quite a visual when we recognize that it symbolizes sin. While yeast eats away at the sugars in the dough and spreads throughout the entire loaf; sin also eats away at us and keeps us away from God.

“A little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump of dough.”  (Galatians 5:9)

Looking for a Passover Seder to attend? Consider this one--open to the public, but advanced reservations are a must!  Click here for details. 

Rare Gold Coin Found in the Galilee

In Eastern Galilee, not far from the site where Jesus walked on water and used five loaves and two fish to feed the multitudes, a modern miracle has occurred.  Found nestled among the grass was an extremely rare 2,000-year-old gold coin minted with the face of Roman Emperor Augustus.

There it sat, waiting to be discovered by Laurie Rimon.  Rimon, a resident of a kibbutz in northern Israel, found the coin while on a hike, and turned it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The coin featuring Augusts’ image is only one of two coins minted by Emperor Trajan in AD 107 as part of a series of coins that honored emperors before him.  This coin dedicated to Augustus refers to him as “Divus Augustus” or August the Divine who reigned during the life of Christ (27 BC to AD 14).  According to Donald Ariel, head curator of the coin department for the Israel Antiquities Authority, Augustus was a Caesar’s heir and considered a deity after his death.

The coin, found in a place and from a period that not much is known about, has created a mystery.  Because it was found on its own, it is very difficult to surmise why it was there, but that hasn’t stopped many from hypothesizing.  Because of the coin’s high value, it would have not been used in everyday transactions.  This has caused many to guess that the coin was part of a salary, possibly for a soldier, placed there to stop the Bar Kochva revolt of the Jewish people against the Romans.

Regardless of the reason for its location, it is still an interesting part of history.  As for how Rimon feels about the situation, "It was not easy parting with the coin," she said. "After all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object, but I hope I will see it displayed in a museum in the near future."  Who knows, maybe it will be ready for viewing on our next trip to Israel.

Quote taken from Libermann, Oran. “Hiker finds rare gold coin in Israel.” CNN, 15 March 2016. Web. 7 April 2016.

Why Have Jewish People Been Persecuted Throughout the Ages?

God has a set plan for all Christians and Jews and it was put in place before the beginning of creation. Satan also has a plan...

God's Plan

God's plan was to select a nation through which to work in order to bring salvation to the world. This nation would be a light to the world, (Isaiah 49:6), a holy priesthood (Exodus 19:6) and the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).  The nation God chose is Israel.

The promises of God were given to the Jewish people (Romans 3:2). God promised to protect them through the ages. It was through the Jewish people that God would bring His message of eternal salvation to the world.

Israel is unique in that no other nation has been given the role that God has given them - Israel alone has been appointed the custodian of the Word of God. If Israel were to fail (and she won't - God would not allow that), then God's plan for world redemption would fail. God guarantees Israel's survival. 

Satan's Plan

God referred to Lucifer as the "anointed cherub," giving him the highest created position. No other angel was created with the beauty and intelligence that God gave to him.

But before the creation of Earth, Lucifer had a plan to usurp God and His plan.  We know this because Lucifer had already fallen from heaven before he met Adam and Eve in the garden to tempt them (Genesis 3:1-7).  How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High' (Isaiah 14:12-14).

How might Satan be exalted above the stars of God and be like God? He would have to overthrow God's plan. Satan has been the head of the evil world system and the power behind the evil rulers in history. He has used earthly kings and rulers to accomplish his plan through them.

Satan is the principality behind the powers of this corrupt world system. According to 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Likewise, his "ministers" (those who serve him) look like they rule with righteousness, but they will get their just rewards in the end.

The Battle Began

Once God stated His plan for world redemption using Israel as His vehicle, Satan put his own plan into action to usurp God's plan and destroy Israel and the Jewish people. Satan has thrown in every roadblock, every evil scheme and deception, to foil God's plan. Time and again, Satan has caused nations and people groups to come against God's chosen people. Often it looked as though the Jewish people would be annihilated, but God has always protected a remnant.

The Battle Continues...

Satan has challenged the very role that God has assigned to Israel and the Jewish people - He continues to come against the Most High God. When you understand the plan of God versus the plan of Satan, you can understand why the world has come against the tiny nation of Israel and the Jewish people around the world.

...And will not end until the Prince of Peace comes

Scripture teaches that there will be an end to Satan and his ruling over the earth. God will ultimately have His way and restore Earth and His people to the place He intended in the Garden of Eden. 

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Purim - Festival of Lots

The Jewish holiday of Purim (Festival of Lots) began the evening of March 23, 2016, and lasted one full day. It is one of the most joyous of all Jewish holidays, as they celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from annihilation in the ancient Persian Empire!

The Story of Purim

The story of Purim is recorded in the Book of Esther with three main characters: Esther, her cousin Mordecai and Haman, the evil man who plotted to destroy the Jewish people. The Jewish people celebrate the fall of Haman, who came close to executing a plot to exterminate the Jewish people. Instead, the people were saved because of the heroic planning of Mordecai and Esther.

Haman was from the nation of Amalek and had authority over all the princes, and the king’s servants bowed down to him. However, Mordecai did not bow because he was a Jew. This was a transgression of the king’s command (Esther 3:3). This angered Haman and he plotted to destroy all the Jews in the entire kingdom (Esther 3:6) The king accepted Haman’s counsel and handed over the fate of the Jewish People to him.  Haman then made plans to exterminate all of the Jews. (Esther 3:8-11).

Esther, an orphan who had been raised in Persia by her cousin Mordecai, was a beautiful, young Jewish woman. When Vashti, the Queen of Persia, fell out of favor with Ahasuerus, King of Persia, Esther became Queen. The king did not know she was Jewish.

Mordecai counseled Esther to save the Jewish people by courageously visiting the king and pleaded on their behalf, telling her that she had probably risen to the position as queen for this very purpose. Esther took a risk and approached the king and planned a banquet for him and Haman. Going into the king, of course, may seem like the logical thing to do, but it actually put Esther’s life in immediate danger. Even though she was queen, she could not come into the king’s presence without his first summoning her. She knew she may have been put to death if she showed up uninvited. She fasted for three days before going to the king, and when she entered his presence, she found his grace instead of his wrath. (Esther 4).

Before the banquet, Haman prepared the gallows to later hang Mordecai for not bowing to him.

The night before the banquet, the king could not sleep and he asked that the “book of records (Chronicles) be read to him. During the reading, he was reminded of some good deeds of Mordecai and realized he had not been rewarded for this. (Esther 6)

The next day at the banquet which Esther had prepared for the king, and in Haman’s presence, the king asked Esther to name anything she wanted. She pleaded with him to save her people from annihilation. The king asked her to expose this evil man who had proposed such a thing, and she named Haman as their enemy. (Esther 7:1-6).

This angered the king and he ordered Haman be executed on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai. (Esther 7). After that, the king elevated Mordecai to take Haman’s position of authority. The king reversed his decree and all the Jews were avenged (Esther 8:1-7).

Today, the 3Three-Day Fast of Esther is a fast from dawn until dusk on Purim Eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. (Esther 9). Purim is a holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the destruction planned by Haman. Although Purim is not included as one of the Biblical Feasts of the Lord, it is a custom mandated by Mordechai in Esther 9.

Purim Festivities

Traditional Purim customs include reading the entire scroll of Esther in the synagogues. Because hidden identities is a strong theme in the Book of Esther, it is traditional to wear costumes on Purim. Feast goers cheer at the mention of the hero and heroine, Mordechai and Esther, and boo the villain, Haman. (Boo!)

After the three-day fast, there is a feast with rejoicing and giving of gifts to one another and to the poor.  “He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20–22).

In addition to giving gifts, a tradition is to eat triangular cookies called oznei haman (ears of Haman).

OZNEI HAMAN OR EARS OF HAMAN COOKIES

More than Just a Remembrance -- A Call to Action

While Purim is a time to remember God’s deliverance of the Jewish People from anti-Semitic forces in Persia about 2,500 years ago, it is also a time to remember that enemies have risen against the Jewish People in every age. Today President Hassan Rouhani of Iran vows to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Once again anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head in Europe. It is also a force here in America, though more subtle. Those that seek to destroy the Jews also have evil plans to annihilate all of God's people, including Christians. Purim is not justa time to remember, but for believers to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit to rise up, like Esther, on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People.

It takes a lot of courage to resist the "Hamans" of this world and to stand firm against popular opinion here in the United States. Weas be must stand for righteousness and stand for Israel. The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 62:1) called upon the watchmen to cry out to God day and night on behalf of Zion (Israel). We as believers are to be watchmen on the walls on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People, especially in these end times as multiple Hamans are calling for Israel's destruction.

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be silent, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)

Americans Help Replace Guitar Destroyed in Fighting A Terrorist in Israel

According to Arutz-7 Israeli news, donors have raised almost $5,000 for Yishai Montgomery to buy a new guitar, after he broke his fighting back a terrorist on Tuesday, March 9th. Montgomery spoke with Israel’s Channel 2 news about the attack. "I had just sat down to play my guitar near the ocean when I heard screams from down the road," he explained. "He [the terrorist] jumped on the bench yelling at me and trying to stab me so I grabbed my guitar and hit him over the head with it. "He was so stunned and didn't know what to do with himself and then started running away." Two police volunteers then shot and killed the terrorist. Ed Deir, from Philadelphia, read about Montgomery's quick reaction to an approaching terrorist and set up a GoFundMe account, explaining: "I Ed Dvir of Philadelphia will speak to Yishai to find out which guitars he wants and will purchase them on his behalf in America and will deliver them to him when I go to Israel." In less than 24 hours, 213 people from around the world have contributed to the campaign. Some added short notes including "GUITAR HEROOOO!!!!!" and "Thank you for being awesome!" To watch the video about Tel Aviv's new Guitar Hero, click below.

 (Arutz-7 News, March 10, 2016 By Matt Wanderman, www.israelnationalnews.com )

 

"Your People Will Be My People"

Followers of Christ are called to bless the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3) and maintain a walk with Christ that causes them to be jealous and want their Jewish Messiah (Romans10:19). Many Jews do not realize that Jesus is Jewish and loves them. They also do not realize that they do not need to give up their Jewish roots to trust in Messiah. Messiah came for the lost sheep of Israel. Are you loving Christ so much that the Jewish people are becoming jealous of your relationship with their Messiah?

We are to be integrated with the Jewish believers, be grafted into their roots, bless them and be one family with themuFollowers of Christ are called to bless the Jewish people.

Paul cautions us in Romans 11:20-21: "You will say then, 'Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.' Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he may not spare you either."

There will come a day when God "will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Hiim as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10). In the end of days..."all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'" (Romans 11:26-27).

God will, without a doubt, continue with His plan for the Jewish people. While He is doing this, He has asked us to bless them and love them. If you are a Gentile Christian, you have been grafted into an olive tree...a tree with Jewish roots, intended to support you.

Paul is reminding Gentile Christians that trusting God also means joining His people. It is no different now than it was with Ruth:

                                             Ruth 1:16

                                             Ruth 1:16

Gentile Christians have joined Israel - not the reverse.

HISTORIC RESOLUTION CONDEMNING THE ANTI-SEMITIC BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, AND SANCTIONS (BDS) MOVEMENT

ALABAMA BECOMES 5TH STATE IN U.S. TO PASS TENNESSEE'S HISTORIC RESOLUTION CONDEMNING THE ANTI-SEMITIC BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, AND SANCTIONS (BDS) MOVEMENT

PJTN'S (PROCLAIMING JUSTICE TO THE NATIONS) CAMPAIGN GROWS AS ALABAMA PASSES ANTI-BDS RESOLUTION AND DECLARES HER UNEQUIVOCAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

February 18th, 2016 (Nashville, Tennessee) - On the heels of President Obama's criticism of the recently passed bipartisan anti-BDS Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act last week, Alabama became the fifth state in the nation to pass a landmark resolution to condemn the anti-Semitic BDS movement.  

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), who spearheaded the passage of the Resolution in Tennessee stated, "President Obama once again, is in complete opposition to the majority of citizens throughout the U.S.  The passage of another anti-BDS Resolution in the Alabama State Legislature is a testimony to that fact. This President never seems to miss an opportunity to single out Israel with his appalling action of boycotting America's only legitimate ally in the Middle East, further threatening to isolate and demonize Israel."  

Building on the nationwide momentum created by the Tennessee State Legislature in 2015, legislators in Alabama decided to join their colleagues in Tennessee to confront this growing threat head-on. The Senate Joint Resolution 6 (SJR6) was introduced by Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr and Alabama House Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston and was signed by Governor Robert Bentley on February 16, 2016.  The passage of the strongly worded Joint Resolution also reaffirms Alabama's support of the State of Israel as a Jewish State and recognizes that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel.

The catalyst for this effort was a result of PJTN's grassroots/media campaign in conjunction with Jewish and Christian leaders mobilizing together across the state, including the Birmingham Jewish Federation, The Alabama-Israel Task Force and Church4Israel. 

According to Robin Rowan, Founder of Church4Israel, one of the organizations spearheading this effort in Alabama, "The purpose is to recognize the resurgence of global anti-Semitism currently being at its highest point since World War II and condemns the anti-Israel activities on college campuses.  It recognizes that the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has resulted in 'intimidation and violence on University campuses, is harmful to the State's Jewish citizens and has a deleterious impact on the educational environment.'"

PJTN's Board Chairman, Mr. Stanley G. Tate stated, "Alabama and Israel have enjoyed a long history of friendship and are great allies of our shared Democratic values.  Alabama has a unique history with regards to the State of Israel.  In 1942, Alabama passed a resolution calling for the establishment of the Jewish State and homeland five years before the Nation State was established.  That's a miracle!  No other state shares that unique history."

BDS is an international anti-Israel, anti-Zionist propaganda campaign and by extension, an anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish campaign. The BDS movement calls for:

  • Boycotting Israeli products, academics, and cultural leaders.
  • Pressuring companies to stop doing business with Israel and divesting from companies that do business with Israel.
  • Sanctioning Israel for its legitimate self-defense measures to protect Israelis of all ethnicities from terrorism, and Hamas rocket/missile attacks.

The BDS movement promotes the delegitimization of Israel with the stated goal... to eliminate the State of Israel, utterly and completely.

The time has come for elected state leaders to step forward and condemn the hate speech and targeting of pro-Israel and Jewish students on college campuses that has been fueled by the BDS campaign. The incidents of anti-Semitic attacks in general, and against Jewish students on college campuses specifically, have seen a dramatic increase over the last several years.

In closing, Ms. Cardoza-Moore stated, "The recent passage of the Alabama resolution can serve as a positive example and concrete model of a firm step that other state legislators can take as we begin to expose the malicious intent of the BDS campaign and confront it head-on!  With 70% of Americans supporting Israel, I am calling on Christians, Jews and people of conscience to add their voices to this groundbreaking initiative by contacting PJTN.org and launching this initiative in their states.  It's time to confront this anti-Semitic threat head-on!" 

Media Contact for Laurie Cardoza-Moore:

U.S./Christian Media Advisor
Jackie Monaghan

For more information on PJTN visit  PJTN.org

God's Plan For Oneness - Jews & Gentiles Together

God's Plan for Oneness

One of the most beautiful portions of Scripture tells us about the relationship God intended between Jewish and Gentile believers! God's plan is to have one family, made up of all those who receive Jesus as Messiah by faith -- Jew and Gentile. It is a family made from every tribe, tongue and nation.

The New Testament explains God's desire that we would be one family. In John 10:15-16, Jesus makes this statement:

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

This discussion was with the Pharisees-to the Jews. Jesus has sheep in the Jewish flock. The "other sheep which are not of this fold" are the Gentile believers. Gentiles are not in the Jewish flock. However, there will be one flock and one shepherd. Jesus is the great shepherd of one flock.

Both the flock of sheep and the olive tree illustrate God's desire that Jewish and Gentile believers would be one family.

Our Responsibility to the Jewish People

Romans 11:11-12 asks and answers the questions: ...Have they {the Jews} stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Gentile believers, therefore, have a responsibility to make the Jewish people envious. The purpose is that they will see strong and beautiful Gentile relationships with God and want the same. They should be scratching their heads that many believers know their Scriptures better than they do. They should be looking at us quizzically when we tell them we pray for them. They should watch with wonder as they see Gentile believers doing great deeds for others. But most of all, they should be absolutely jealous as they observe us exalting the name of God and worshipping Him with all of our hearts! They should hear about how blessed we feel because we have received the richness of salvation!

How are we doing?

    

Israel's New Underground Iron Dome Defense

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has thwarted numerous incoming rocket attempts from Hamas. However, with much terrorist activity focused on underground tunnels, Israel is now looking to establish new technology to protect themselves.

Israel’s ministry of defense confirmed this week that the United States has budgeted $120 million over a three-year period to help develop and produce a system to detect tunnels that continue to be built by her enemies.

The project has been described as an underground equivalent of the Iron Dome. It will detect concrete-reinforced tunnels that Hamas has burrowed in the earth along the Gaza border.

Hamas has been rebuilding its underground network which was Israel’s target during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge war.  The Israel Defense Force found and destroyed 32 tunnels in that war. Hamas used the tunnels to ambush soldiers, fire rockets or mortars and carry out operations within Israeli borders. Many of Israel's residents are claiming that they can hear digging underneath their homes.

The United States is leaning on Israel to create this underground detection system so that the U.S. can use it to locate tunnels used by criminal gangs that smuggle illegal immigrants or drugs across the Mexican/U.S. border.

 

Tu BSh'vat -- the Jewish Holiday -- New Year for the Trees

This Jewish holiday is celebrated on the 15th of the Hebrew month Sh’vat (January 25th this year) known as the “New Year for the Trees.” It is similar to our Arbor Day or an environmental awareness day.

“I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isaiah 41.19-20

Tu B’Sh’vat marks the beginning of spring in Israel! Most of the rains have already fallen. The beautiful almond trees show the first sign of spring as they begin to bloom.

On this special day, the synagogues around the work plan special activities to celebrate. Together they pray prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord Who gave them the Land of Israel and all its goodness.

Israel is famous for their growth of olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates. It is traditional to have a ceremonial meal on Tu B'Shvat, in which these fruits from the Holy Land are eaten.

In addition, it has become a tradition to plant a tree on this holiday.

Tu b’Sh’vat is considered a national Israeli holiday and not a Biblical one. However, the fact that Israel became desolate while her people were exiled and then became inhabited and fruitful is a prophetical fulfillment.

Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Land of Israel has been desolate as was predicted. It was a wilderness with no vegetation and almost uninhabitable.  In fact, in 1867, Mark Twain visited Israel and published his impression in a book called Innocents Abroad. Here is his description:

“….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

However, today you will see a beautiful land, filled with agriculture! Over 200 million trees have been planted since Israel reclaimed her land in 1948. She is considered the bread basket for the entire Middle East, exporting fruits, vegetables and all kinds of agricultural products to her neighbors. This is a fulfillment of Scripture. Zechariah 8:12 says of Israel: For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit. Isaiah 27:6

The Assault on Evangelical Christian Support for Israel

Yesterday, two of our Board members at Song For Israel attended a conference in West Hollywood put on by CAMERA (Committee For Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America). It was an event that was attended by pro-Israel Christians, Catholics and Jewish people.

Speaker after gifted speaker shared their concerns that anti-Semitism is not only increasing around the world, but specifically in America. In addition, news coming to us from the Middle East is often distorted and Americans are believing the lies.

Dr. Tricia Miller, Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA, monitors Christian organizations and media activity in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict and focuses specifically on the effects of Christian anti-Zionism on support for Israel in the Evangelical world. She shared three developments that began in 2010:

1. Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem -- "Christian Palestianism" abounds with those who support Christ at the Checkpoint. In essence, it is Christian anti-Semitism. Its roots come from the Bethlehem Bible College where they hold that Jesus was a Palestinian (simply because He was born in Bethlehem) and was persecuted by Jews; they compare the existence of Israel and Zionism with the swine flu and other negative comparisons.  You may read more about Christian Palestinianism and Christ at the Checkpoint by clicking here.

2. In 2010, Mart Green (one of the heirs to Hobby Lobby), produced a film called "Little Town of Bethlehem" which has a false narrative and demonizes the Jewish state. It is being shown around America in colleges and churches to undermine support for Israel.

3. "Empowered 21" whose mission statement reads: Empowered 21 is an organization that is helping shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Sounds harmless. Don't believe it. It is a movement toward a one-world religion with a call to unity. They demand full agreement. They demonize the Jewish people, deny the Jewish roots of Christianity, and target an Evangelical Christian audience. The movement is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a huge backing from Oral Roberts University (which formerly was very supportive of Israel). They now demonize the Jewish people and the state of Israel and have strong financial backing.

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Dexter Van Zile is also a Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA, whose work has focused on the failure of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and other Christian institutions to address human rights abuses in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. He has also played a major role in exposing the errors in the Palestinian Christian narrative and has made an important contribution in the battle for accuracy in relation to Christian anti-Zionism. He taught that anti-Zionists believe that Jewish sovereignty is against God's plan. Anti-Zionists believe that Evangelical support for Israel makes Muslims less apt to convert to Christianity. He said to watch Wheaton College as many students from this college are attending Christ at the Checkpoint as advocates. He added to Dr. Miller's presentation that "Little Town of Bethlehem" (which you can Google to watch the trailer) has been applauded by Christianity Today. This film twists truth to gain momentum for the Palestinian cause. It does not present a truthful picture of what is going on in the Middle East.

Dr. Laurie Cardoza-Moore was a dynamic and passionate speaker at this conference. She has devoted her life to educating Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and the State of Israel. In 2005, she became the founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), an organization that utilizes the powerful medium of documentary films to educate Christians and facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities. Song For Israel purchased one such documentary called the Forgotten People, which we plan to air at one of our future events.  She reminded us that we live in challenging and sobering times and that the climax is coming. The "Elect" have been deceived. She quoted 2 Timothy 3 citing that many will turn away from their faith in these deceiving days. Many Evangelical Christians are being deceived right in their churches. She challenged everyone to KNOW the Word of God. It is the only shield we have to guard us with truth. We need to study the whole Bible...the Old Testament with the Torah and the writings of the Prophets as well as the New Testament writings. We need to understand that we as Gentiles, when we became believers in Jesus, that we came into the commonwealth of Israel....a faith with Jewish roots.

Several other speakers, including a panel, presented their findings about the increase of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism spreading across American and landing in Evangelical churches. Christians need to know who Romans chapters 9-11 is talking about and we need to understand our Jewish roots of our faith. 

Song For Israel will soon be launching a new study series called Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel. In small groups we will cover much of what was shared at this conference. It will give a biblical foundation of support for Israel and a love for the Jewish people. It will give a history of Jewish persecution, an understanding of Christians grafted into Jewish roots, as well as challenge Christians to become pro Israel because the Bible clearly supports that! Sign up to receive more information and watch for the date when our book will be published and available to the public.

We cannot be silent on this issue of anti-Semitism...that is what Christians did as the Nazis took over much of Europe -- demonized the Jews and then exterminated them. It began with silence; then the world watched as six million Jews were put to death -- only because they were Jewish. To be silent now invites this same horror to be repeated.  We must know what our Bible says, what we believe, and then stand for truth while we still can...while we still have a voice.

 

Song For Israel 2015 -- A Year in Review

2015 in Review

Song For Israel would like to thank you for partnering with us financially and prayerfully. In 2015 Song For Israel was able to boldly help stand in the gap for Israel and the Jewish people.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to continue to pursue our committed goal of proclaiming God's eternal plan through Israel.  We could not do that without your support.

With your help this year Song For Israel:

· Collected and delivered a check for $10,831 to build a bomb shelter in Israel via Operation Lifeshield at the Eden Center (a school for abused teen girls);

· Launched a new SFI project called “Aliyah” (to help persecuted Jewish people around the world move to Israel).

· Completed writing of the first draft of our book called, “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan For Israel;”

· Partnered with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for their Passover Seder at the Embassy Suites in Garden Grove in March;

· Had a Purim Cookie Demonstration in March;

· Spoke on “Passover” at Friends Church Joint Heirs class in April;

· Provided volunteers, representing seven different congregations,  for the Orange County Jewish Federation (At the Shumeli Campus)  at its Yom Ha’Atzmaut event in May.

 · Led two Bible study classes in the Book of Revelation, Parts 3 & 4,      and Hebrews, Part 1;

· Hosted 26 Prayer Meetings;

· Spoke at Friends Church New Life Class in May on “The Jewish Holidays Spell out God’s Eternal Plan;”

· Co-led an educational tour in Greece and Israel June-July;

· Spent an additional week in Israel after the tour and visited the Eden Center (School for abused girls ages 12-18, where  money from our bomb shelter project will place a shelter as the campus is 2 miles from Gaza); visited our partner  congregation Kihilat Hamayan in Kfar Saba, Israel; spent time with Operation Lifeshield director, Shmuel Bowman

· Spoke at Whittier Community Church twice with the messages regarding Israel;

· Shared “An Arm-Chair Tour of Israel” (Israel tour slides and message) with Whittier Community Church, Ben David  Messianic Jewish Congregation and in a private home with 18 in attendance

· Held our annual conference, this year called “Israel—A Light to the Nations,” at Richfield Community Church

· Celebrated with a Chanukah party at the Yorba Linda Community Center in December

 And, with your help we’re excited about 2016 and plan to:

·          Provide volunteers for the 2016 Israel Expo, on May 22, 2016;

·           Solidify a contract that is in the works with radio station KBRT to reach a larger audience across Southern California;

·          Hold our first Spring Fundraising Dinner;

·          Host the annual Israel Tour May 25 - June 5 (with a side trip to Petra,        Jordan);

·         Partner with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for a Passover      Seder;

·         Host quarterly educational seminars;

·         Continue to raise money for bomb shelters in Israel through                       Operation Lifeshield;

·        Continue to raise money for the “Aliyah” project in Israel;

·        Launch a new prayer ministry to focus on prayer for Israel;

·        Create a workbook to go with the “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan       for Israel”

·        Launch a beta test group for “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for         Israel;”

·        Publish the book and workbook for “Understanding God’s Eternal             Plan for Israel;”

·        Offer a Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner;

·        Offer 2 inductive Bible Studies in the Book of Hebrews (parts 2-3);

·        Host a fabulous Chanukah party

·       Work on a plan to reach new people and share our vision

As always, Song For Israel counts on your support.  The discrimination towards Israel is rising every day! Your gift is extremely important to SFI because it provides resources that make an immediate impact through education, lifesaving bomb shelters, and ministry to the Jewish people. Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us to proclaim God’s eternal plan for Israel? Please consider a monthly partnership and/or a year-end tax-deductible donation for Song For Israel. In addition, you might feel led to consider the following special projects:

 1. Funds to publish our new “God’s Eternal Plan for Israel” curriculum

2. Donate towards our Spring Fundraising Dinner

3. Donate to underwrite our Feast of Tabernacles dinner or Chanukah party

 Scripture tells us that “Those who bless Israel will be blessed…” (Genesis 12:3) In addition, our prayer team regularly prays that God will bless you, our donors.

Once again, thank you for helping Song For Israel impact our world in support of Israel and the Jewish people. May God richly bless you.

Blessings and Shalom,

Deby Brown and the entire Song For Israel Team