Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah) Begins Tonight

Yom Teru’ah, renamed by the rabbis centuries later as the Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShanah, is literally “the head of the year,” meaning its beginning. It is important to note that this differs from the “religious year,” where God reordered the calendar in Exodus 12:2 to begin the year with Passover. This appointed time, though called the New Year actually is not in the religious sense. The trumpet was sounded on a variety of occasions in the ancient Jewish community:

·         To announce significant events (Leviticus 25:9)

·         To assemble Israel (Numbers 10:2)

·         To obtain God’s help against an enemy (Numbers 10:9)

·         To call God’s attention to an offering (Numbers 10:10)

·         To announce the Presence of God (2 Samuel 6:15)

·         To warn of war or danger

In Leviticus 25:10, God specified trumpets be used to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all its inhabitants.” That verse appears today on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, assuring us that America was founded by Bible believers.

I was a camp counselor for seven years at Indian Village, Forest Home. Each morning we were awakened to the loudest drum. At mealtimes, a smaller drum with a different beat was used. Different drum beats signified different events. Both could be heard throughout the camp so all would be aware of what was coming up. In the same way, the priests used a silver trumpet or a shofar, and the people knew what each sound meant.

Illustration provided by Ray Hart

Illustration provided by Ray Hart

The Feast of Trumpets is a one-day celebration in which no work is to be done and an offering is made to the Lord. The day is accompanied by trumpet (shofar) blasts.

History: Over the years, the rabbis decided that the Feast of Trumpets marks the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of another and so they renamed it “Rosh Hashanah,” the New Year. But the rabbis also recognized that the sound of the shofar on this day is an announcement of the upcoming Day of Atonement or Judgment (see below), and therefore the start of a time of introspection in which everyone is to examine themselves to see if they are living their lives in a way that is pleasing to God and, if not, to repent and to also try to heal any broken relationships with others.

Scripture References:

·         Old Testament: Leviticus 23:23–25; 26:27–33; Numbers 10:1–10; Deuteronomy 28:58–67;                                         Isaiah 11:1–12, 27:12–13

·         New Testament: 1 Corinthians 15:51–53

Prophetic Fulfillment: The trumpet was a signal for the field workers to come into the temple. The high priest blew the trumpet so that the faithful would stop harvesting so as to worship. Now, when the trumpet sounds (according to 1 Corinthians 15:51–53), living believers will cease their harvest and rise from the earth. The church will be taken out of the world (in the rapture) prior to the day of judgment.

In 1 Corinthians 15:51–52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, Paul referred to the last trumpet and the trumpet of God. When Paul used these Hebraic expressions, he clearly had in mind the Feast of Trumpets as he described the rapture of the church, making a deliberate connection between the rapture and the Feast of Trumpets. The trumpets mentioned in Revelation are not the same. We are talking here about the trumpet of God. In their book The Last Shofar! Joseph Lenard and Donald Zoller explain more about the significance of the Feast of Trumpets, which came to be known as the Feast of the Unknown or Hidden Day:

Among the seven Feasts, The Feast of Trumpets is unique. Other Feasts were determined by calculating a stipulated number of days between the Feasts, based on the Jewish lunar calendar. Only the Feast of Trumpets is celebrated on the first day of the lunar month and was determined by observing the appearing of the New Moon—that faint sliver of light indicating the beginning of the lunar cycle of waxing and waning. The possibility of obscured atmospheric conditions or poor human judgment to identify the appearance of the New Moon made the beginning day of the Feast uncertain—the day and hour unknown or hidden. In addition, orbital considerations of the relationship of the earth, moon and sun,…affected the observation of the New Moon.

The Hebrew common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is Shanah Tovah (Hebrew: שנה טובה pronounced Shawˈna toˈva), which translated from Hebrew means "[have] a good year". Often Shanah Tovah Umetukah (Hebrew: שנה טובה ומתוקה‎‎), meaning "A Good and Sweet Year", is used.

This excerpt was taken from Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel by Deby Brown. Her book should be released in about a month.

New U.S. Army Base to be Located in Israel

Ground was broken in Israel last Monday for a permanent U.S. Army base that will house dozens of  American soldiers, operating under the American flag to defend against rocket and missile attack.

Israel Air Force Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich, the IDF's air defense commander, left, with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Gronski at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new permanent U.S. Army base in Israel. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel Air Force Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich, the IDF's air defense commander, left, with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Gronski at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new permanent U.S. Army base in Israel. (Israel Defense Forces)

This U.S. presence will enhance Israel’s ability to detect and defend against the growing rocket and missile threat in a joint effort.

Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commanding general of the Army National Guard in U.S. Army Europe, said the planned base “signifies the strong bond” that exists between the United States and Israel. “This life support area represents the first ever stationing of a U.S. Army unit on Israeli soil,” he said. “The U.S. and Israel have long planned together, exercised together, trained together. And now, with the opening of this site, these crucial interactions will occur every day. We’ll have Israeli airmen, US soldiers living and working side by side.”

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has been working with its U.S. counterparts for nearly two years to establish the new facility

"We Are Here to Stay Forever."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem. (Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem. (Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a major address on Monday, August 28th, to mark the 50th anniversary of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. He spoke out strongly against any scaling back of Jewish settlements. He will not evacuate a single settlement. Before a large crowd, Netanyahu declared: “We are here to stay forever. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land.”

Many in the international community consider Jewish settlements in the “West Bank” illegal. This issue has been a central part of peace talks for years. Netanyahu underscored the risk Israel would face if it withdrew from this area.

The Prime Minister continued: “There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace,” he said. “We've uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen again.”

Watch the video of Netanyahu's address below:

This land belongs to Israel forever: ’I give to you [Abraham] and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan [even the West Bank], as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’  And God said to Abraham: ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.’ Genesis 17:8-9

The First of Elul and the 40 Days

On the Jewish calendar, today is the first day of Elul, which begins a special 40-day period of the year called “Days of Favor.” According to Jewish tradition, it was during this time that the Lord forgave the people of Israel after they had sinned with the Golden Calf at Mount Sinai. Therefore, it is during this period of time that the Jewish people repent and confess their sins until the 40 days are over, which ends on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) with fasting and prayer.

Worshippers at the Western Wall in Israel during the month of Elul

Worshippers at the Western Wall in Israel during the month of Elul

This date in history goes all the way back to Moses receiving the tablets of the Law. When he descended Mount Sinai after having spent time with God, he returned to his people and saw they had fallen into sin by worshipping the Golden Calf.

You know the history – in anger, Moses destroyed the two tablets of the law and burned the calf the following day (Exodus 32:19 and Deuteronomy 9:11).

Moses approached God on Mount Sinai a second time to plead with God for His forgiveness. After 40 days, he returned. It was on the first of Elul that he ascended the mountain for a third period of 40 days to ask for mercy and complete atonement and he received the second set of tablets and the assurance of God’s forgiveness (Exodus 34:1; 27—28; Deuteronomy 10:1—5).

The Jewish people recognize this 40 days as a time of repentance and mercy and call it the “Days of Favor.”

Elul ends on Erev Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year's Eve), which is on Wednesday, the 20th of September. On this day, the Hebrew year of 5778 will begin.

This is a time to pause and consider our ways - to set goals for personal improvement for the coming year.

Why not join with your Jewish friends in spending some time with God asking Him for forgiveness of any sins that have gone unconfessed (1 John 1:9) and repenting from that sin. It is a good time to search your heart and it's always good spending time with God!

Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner, October 8, 4 - 7 pm

Our Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner is our biggest event of the year! We will celebrate on Sunday, October 8th, 4 - 7 PM at a beautiful location in Yorba Linda! The Feast of Tabernacles (also known as Sukkot in Hebrew) is celebrated worldwide October 4-11, 2017.  Children age 12 and up are invited to attend. Registration is now open. All tickets are $25 each. Limited seating.

After the sound of the shofar calls you to dinner, you will be presented with an authentic Mediterranean meal.

Dinner includes beef, chicken and kafta kabobs with vegetarian falafels and tahini sauce, tabouleh, rice, hummus and pita bread.

  • Learn about the biblical foundation for the Feast of Tabernacles
  • Have your photo taken with a 200-year old Torah scroll under the sukkah
  • Hear the traditional blessing sung in Hebrew and English
  • Experience the joy of music with silk banner dancers 

You may register by mail: 18340 Yorba Linda Blvd. #107-153, Yorba Linda, CA 92886. You may also register via credit card through Pay Pal with a $2 processing fee per ticket.   Either way, please fill out the form by clicking here.

Tisha B'Av - A Jewish Day of Mourning

Tisha B'Av is the Fast of the Ninth of Av (Jewish calendar) and begins at sundown, July 31st. It is a time for mourning, the saddest day in Jewish history, which primarily commemorates the destruction of the First (586 BC) and Second (70 CE) Temples in Jerusalem. It boggles the mind to think that both Temples were destroyed on the very same day of the Hebrew calendar.

In synagogues around the world and at the Western Wall which is Judaism's holiest site, religious Jews gather to mourn the destruction of the Temples and to read from the words of the Prophet Jeremiah and portions of the book of Lamentations. They do not read other parts of the Bible on this day because the other readings bring joy and this is to be a day of sadness.

Although this observance is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem, it is appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people throughout the years on this date:

  • 132 CE, Romans crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews
  • 133 CE, following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, the Temple site and surrounding areas were plowed.
  • 1095, the First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II, killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and annihilating Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland
  • 1290 King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England
  • 1492 an edict of expulsion of the Jews in Spain was carried out
  • 1914 World War I broke out, setting the stage for the later devastation of WorldWar II and the Holocaust
  • 1942 on the eve of Tisha B’Av, a mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Hitler’s Treblinka death camp began
  • 1994, the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires killed 86 and wounded 300 others
  • 2005, more than 8,500 Jewish residents were expelled from Gaza as part of Israel’s ill-fated Disengagement Plan, a desperate bid for peace designed to further relations with Palestinian Arabs. This expulsion was a Land for Peace deal with the Palestinians that obviously did not bring about peace.

 “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Should Believers participate in this day of mourning? Why wouldn’t we? We may consider recognizing this date each year as it reminds us how much the Jewish people have suffered, especially those who followed leaders who led them astray. As fellow citizens in the commonwealth of Israel, we might respond to this day of grief by praying for the Jewish People.

Jesus gave us His example as He wept with compassion when He foresaw the destruction of the Holy Temple and the disaster that would come upon Israel (Matthew 23:37-38). The Jewish people long for and pray daily for the restoration of the Holy Temple. Plans and preparations are already being made in Jerusalem for the Third Temple.

God is seeking intercessors to stand in the gap for Israel. Will you pray for the Jews as they mourn the history they remember this day? Will you pray for Israel?

Song For Israel Placed This Bomb Shelter in Israel Near Gaza

On my last visit to Israel, I visited Eden School at Kibbutz Karmia. This was our Song For Israel project for two years. Since my last visit, we donated the funds for the shelter, thanks to donations that were given to Song For Israel (SFI), and the shelter was placed at the site where 40 girls and young women have classes each day. Until then, there was no shelter for them.

Below are pictures of our shelter. The second photo is the entrance into which the girls would run for safety. The last photo has the donor name: Song For Israel. Thank you to those who donated toward this project.

Kibbutz Karmia is located 2 miles north of Gaza - and is seriously in harm's way from rockets fired by Hamas.

Our current project is at another school near the Gaza border called Kfar Silver. When there is no war, donations come in very slowly; however, we collect for this fund all the time. Why wait for another war to consider sending a donation? Our next shelter is much larger and will cost in excess of $20,000. Would your church or synagogue consider joining us in this project that will save lives in Israel?

For more information, click here and send in a tax-deductible donation today! When you bless Israel, you will be blessed.

 

Ammunition Hill - Jerusalem and the Six-Day War

Another Song for Israel board member and myself (Deby) visited Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem in July. There was a movie that explained its history and then we visited the site.

During the British Mandate (1917-1948), the British built the Police Academy in northern Jerusalem. The ammunition stored on the nearby hill provided the name: Ammunition Hill.

During the War of Independence (1947-1948), the Jordanians captured parts of northern Jerusalem, including Ammunition Hill. As a result of the War of Independence (and continuing until the Six-Day War in 1967), Jerusalem remained divided between two countries - Israel and Jordan. Running between both sections of the divided city, there was a line of demarcation along which barbed wire was strung; mines were concealed and military posts were constructed. The Old City remained in Jordanian hands. 

The Six-Day War broke out on June 5, 1967. Israel's political attempts to prevent this war with the Jordanians had failed and Jordan's King Hussein instructed his army to open fire along the line of demarcation. A bloody battle was waged on Ammunition Hill, resulting in the Old City's capture by Israeli soldiers. Paratroop Brigade Commander Mota Gur reported: "The Temple Mount is in our hands" - The Divided City has been reunited.

In 1975, at the initiative of the grieving families and comrades-in-arms of the fallen soldiers, a memorial site and museum were dedicated on Ammunition Hill, and 182 olive trees were planted - equal to the number of those who had fallen in the battles for Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. 

God performed many miracles during the Six-Day War and many are documented in the book, The Lion's Gate by Steven Pressfield (available on Amazonsmiles.com - add Song For Israel as your favority charity). 

Each year the national Jerusalem Day ceremony is held at Ammunition Hill.

Tensions Remain High Following Terrorism on the Temple Mount

Early in the morning on Friday, July 14th, three terrorists entered the Lion’s Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem and opened fire, killing two Israeli Druze (Arabs – not Jews) police officers and wounding another. The Israeli Arab terrorists fled to the Temple Mount to find asylum in their mosque, but were shot and killed by Israeli police. Al-Jazeera news twisted their reports and said that three Arabs were murdered at the Muslims' most holy site – the Temple Mount.

Israeli police shut down the entrance to the Mount for several days for a thorough investigation and then installed metal detectors and cameras at all the entrances. As a result, Jihadists have accused Israel of infringing on Muslim sovereignty, and Islamic authorities in Jerusalem are advising their followers to avoid entering the site. This has sparked protests from Muslims against the security measures.

For years, all Christians (and non-Muslims) have been screened with metal detectors before entering the Temple Mount. Why shouldn’t everyone be screened for the safety of all? The Temple Mount has been deemed a sacred place for three religions – Jews, Christians and Muslims. Isaiah 56:7 states that this holy site is “a house of prayer for all the peoples.”  Everyone should be allowed to freely pray and worship there. Even when Jewish people come to the Temple Mount, they are heckled by paid Arab women, and Islamic authorities will not allow a Jew to pray.

The following Shabbat (Friday evening), a Jeweish family in Samaria sat down for a dinner, celebrating the birth of a grandchild, when a terrorist in the area walked into their home, murdering the grandfather, grandmother and son (leaving the mother and five children). An off-duty officer heard the screaming and neutralized the terrorists, who is now recovering in an Israeli hospital. His Facebook page told his story...all he had was a Swiff knife and a desire to kill Jews because he was not allowed to worship on the Temple Mount without detectors.

Since that time, the metal detectors have been removed because Israel wants to maintain the "status quo on the Mount." Large riots and stabbings continue over this issue.

We are encouraged to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" in Psalm 122:6. We know that true peace will never come until the Prince of Peace comes, but for now we can pray that the current unrest does not escalate further.

Western Wall Demonstrations

Four years ago, an agreement was made to formally recognize an egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. However, this past Sunday, condemnations and recriminations erupted after there was an indefinite suspension of this agreement.

Protesters in Jerusalem

Protesters in Jerusalem

Song For Israel Board members, Deby Brown and Jeanette Johns, on a busy street corner in Jerusalem, met with several protesters who were displaying banners holding smaller signs carried by individuals to raise awareness of their disappointment in the indefinite suspension of the egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall.  Song for Israel Board members, Deby Brown and Jeanette Johns, on a busy street corner in Jerusalem, met with several protesters who were displaying banners and holding smaller signs to raise awareness of their disappointment in the indefinite suspension of the egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall.

One woman (who did not want her picture taken nor her name mentioned) said that without this agreement implemented, it meant that when her son is old enough for his Bar Mitzvah that she will be unable to be part of the ceremony as it will occur only on the men’s portion of the Western Wall Plaza. To view this lifetime achievement of her son, she will have to stand on a plastic chair to peer over the barrier to watch. She reported that in the past year ten women have been injured because the cheap chairs have fallen over as they tried to view a family member's Bar Mitzvah.

Currently at the Western Wall Plaza, there is a men’s section and a women’s section - and without the agreement being implemented, things will remain as they have been – divided. It continues to be gender separated, even though Orthodox customs are not defined in Israeli law.  The reinstatement of The Western Wall Agreement would define the law, providing a place for men and women (boys and girls) to be together in a designated area.

UNESCO Proves Once Again to Resolve to be Ridiculous

Last year, UNESCO adopted a scandalous resolution denying any Jewish connection to the holy sites in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, including the Temple Mount. This was shocking!

The resolution omitted the traditional, biblical names of sacred Jewish sites, calling them by alternative Muslim names only. Talk about rewriting history and eradicating these sites of their 4,000 years of Jewish and 2,000 years of Christian connections! 

Once again, UNESCO has proven that they are not interested in protecting historic sites in Israel and disregard over 3,500 years of documented history. UNESCO's motion last week suggested that Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs are Palestinian Heritage sites. This is ridiculous. Of course, Israel denounced UNESCO's decision to inscribe the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage site.

The "Tomb of the Patriarchs" is the burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Judaism and Christianity. Abraham purchased this tomb from the children of Heth for 400 shekels in order to bury his wife Sarah after she died. (Genesis 23:20) King David was anointed King of Israel in this city (Hebron). (2 Samuel 5:3) UNESCO's last motion suggested that Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs are Palestinian Heritage sites. T

It is time to defund UNESCO!

Israel accused UNESCO of making a politically-motivated move in an attempt to deny the Jewish character and heritage of certain key sites in the Holy Land. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said following last week’s UN vote: "...The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic. It represents an affront to history. And it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency." PM Netanyahu responded to the motion by calling the measure “another delusional UNESCO decision” and ordered that $1 million be pulled from Israel’s UN funding to establish a museum showcasing Jewish heritage in Hebron. (Times of Israel)

Song For Israel urges Christians and Jews to contact their Ambassadors at the UN and demand that UNESCO rescind their decision to claim Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian historical sites immediately. In addition, please urge UN member states to cut the funding from this anti-Semitic organization immediately.

“Not a word from their mouth can be trusted… with their tongues they tell lies.” Psalm 5:30

 

The "Ketubbah" - Jewish Marriage Contract

This photo was taken at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

This photo was taken at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Ketubbah is a Jewish written marriage contract by which a man commits himself to specific obligations (including financial) towards his wife during their marriage and also in the event of divorce or widowhood. In essence, it was more of a prenuptial agreement. Not many other religions make provision for women in event of divorce or widowhood in the marriage contract.

Jewish exiles from Portugal and Spain illustrated the marriage contract and elevated the art to a highly elaborate level. This tradition of decorated marriage contracts spread around the work with differing local styles and motifs. 

The Ketubbah was considered legal and binding.

 

Jewish Athletes From Around the World Come to Jerusalem for Maccabiah

Participants from over 80 countries gathered for the 50th year of Jerusalem's reunification and participated in the 20th annual Maccabiah Games. Nine thousand athletes joined in the games which began on Tuesday and will continue through July 18th. Forty-three sports will be showcased at the "Jewish Olympics," including tennis, swimming and soccer.

During the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "We are all one people. The Maccabiah is a game for the Maccabees...the Maccabees liberated our land against all others. We are all descendants of the Maccabees... We suffered the greatest tragedies in the history of man, yet we came back."

Rosh Hanikra - Another of God's Beautiful Creations in Israel

Rosh Hanikra is a geologic formation on the border between Israel and Lebanon. In fact, the border is actually drawn in the middle of one of the tunnels. These cavernous tunnels open up into spectacular grottos that are formed by the sea pounding on the soft chalk rock.

We took a cable car down from the top of the cliff to the grottos - just another one of God’s beautiful creations in Israel.

Join us on our next annual tour to Israel. Click here for information. 

Jewish Young Men Dance and Sing in Excitement

While visiting the Pool of Siloam, we observed some young Jewish men, very excited to be in Jerusalem, dancing and singing Hava Nagila at this site.

The Pool of Siloam is a rock-cut pool on the southern slope of the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem, located outside the walls of the Old City to the southeast. The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts.

The Pool of Siloam was first built during the reign of Hezekiah to provide a water supply inside the City during a siege. The pool was fed by the newly constructed Siloam tunnel. Prior to this, the Gihon Spring had emptied into a large open basin at its source before being conveyed to the City by an aqueduct. This basin is sometimes known as the Upper Pool (2 Kings 18:17, Isaiah 7:3). This aqueduct was very vulnerable to attackers so, under threat from the Assyrian King Sennacherib, Hezekiah sealed up the old outlet of the Gihon Spring and the Upper Pool and built the underground Siloam tunnel in place of the aqueduct (2 Chronicles 32:2-4). During this period, the Pool of Siloam was therefore sometimes known as the Lower Pool (Isaiah 22:9). It seems likely that during the Governorship of Nehemiah (from 445 BCE), the pool was also known as the King's Pool (Nehemiah 2:14).

Consider joining us in 2018 for our annual Israel Tour. Click here for information.

 

AKKO - A Preserved Crusader City

The Old City of Akko has secrets above the ground as well as below. We found a perfectly preserved Crusader city being unearthed and brought back to life, located directly under the city built above it.

Inside the site were walls and fortresses, knights' halls, churches, synagogues, and mosques - all reminders of the city's conquerors and religions - from the Canaanites, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Turks, and the British.