It was a passage in Zechariah 14 that clinched it for Susan Jones, a Christian supporter of Israel from the United Kingdom. Immediately after reading the passage, Susan knew the time was right to plan her first trip to Israel.
"I was reading the book of Zechariah where it says that the nations will come up to Jerusalem after Jesus comes back," she said. "I thought, ‘I need to do this now, before Messiah comes back. I need to come up to Jerusalem on behalf of my nation and worship Jesus."
The three Jewish holidays observed by Jews around the world include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover. These holidays are not only important to Jews and many Christians; they play a significant role in biblical prophecy. Do these high, holy days hold the key to Yeshua's return? Many believers think so. To discover why, watch video below.
South Carolina Republicans James Ulmer and Edwin Merwin have publicly apologized for describing Jews as penny pinchers in a newspaper op-ed piece the lawmakers co-authored.
Ulmer and Merwin, who serve as chairmen in the state's Republican Party, came under fire early this week after the article was published Sunday in the Orangeburg Times & Democrat. The two men praised Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., for watching over federal dollars the way "Jews who are wealthy" take care of "pennies and dollars."
"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," the two men wrote.
"By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."
The comments drew harsh criticism from South Carolina Democrat Sen. Joel Lourie, who is Jewish. "The words of these key Republican leaders are disgusting, unconscionable and represent prejudice in its purest form," wrote Lourie in a prepared statement late Monday.
Ulmer responded Monday with an e-mail to the press, in which he apologized for his remarks. "I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology."
Merwin followed suit with a written statement. "I concur fully with the apology offered by my co-author, Jim Ulmer, and likewise beg that any and all who were offended will accept my deep- felt apology."
Lourie insisted that DeMint and South Carolina Republican Party chairwoman Karen Floyd condemn the op-ed piece and remove Ulmer and Merwin from their positions. The two lawmakers denounced the comments, but Floyd refused to call for Ulmer's and Merwin's resignations.
"It was an offensive and inappropriate comment that Jim and Edwin have rightly apologized for. These kinds of stereotypes are absolutely unacceptable," Floyd said in a statement. "It goes without saying that some people will continue trying to exploit this mistake for political gain, but as far as we're concerned, their apology ends the matter."
Torah-observant Jews are extremely respectful of the Torah scroll. In each synagogue, the Torah scroll is placed in a special case called an ark. The scroll is rolled up, and a beautiful, embroidered cover is placed over the scroll to keep dust from collecting on it. When the time comes to remove the scroll for reading, a man is appointed to carefully remove the scroll from the ark and uncover it, placing it on the platform for the speaker.
The speaker actually never places his finger on the scroll itself but will use a metal or wooden instrument about eight inches long, called a yad, which resembles a small hand with a single index finger pointing upward. Called the finger of God, this object is used by the reader and speaker to follow the lines of the text. This serves a dual purpose: it preserves the sanctity of the scroll, and it prevents oily, human fingers from eventually erasing the black-inked letters on the parchment.
In the second weekly reading of the Torah, Noach (Noah), we meet a man of God building an ark at his Master's direction. This ark, built in a dry desert must have seemed so strange to the neighbors. "Hey, look at that nut, Noah; his god told him to build a huge boat, far from water, and he is doing just that. How odd, they must have thought. But Noah persisted because he was "righteous, wholehearted and walked with God."
Yet, as godly as this man was, one of his sons didn't inherit much of that spirit. In fact, Ham, one of three sons, was cursed through his son, Canaan. What would cause a godly man like Noah to curse the descendents of one of his own sons, his actual grandchildren? Did he have a bad temper? Was he given to fits of anger? Was he just hung over from his drinking bout the night before? All this might be possible, but there's a greater meaning to this curse.
The book of Romans would be incomplete without a masterful treatise on the plight of God's people, the Jews. Paul provides this treatise in chapters 9-11 of the book. The setting for the story is this: The Jews, God's chosen people, are about to be temporarily displaced from their active role in God's kingdom. Their continued disobedience finally had run its course, and the result was an awful price to pay:
"Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God's offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it" (Rom. 11: 11-12, NLT).
During my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I saw numerous young people going about their daily lives. I thought to myself how difficult it must be for them to learn about Yeshua, that He was born in their homeland, died on the cross and got up from the grave not far from where many of them live.
But thanks to the unceasing prayers of believers around the world and the efforts of Messianic congregations in Israel, Jewish youth are coming to faith in Messiah. Not only did the Holy Spirit appear in the Upper Room more than 2,000 years ago, He is showing up in Israeli culture and revealing Himself to a new generation of Jews. Click below to watch video.
Last week, Simchat Torah was celebrated in synagogues all over the world. Immediately upon reading the last portion of Deuteronomy, the Torah scroll containing the Five Books of Moses, is rolled back to the beginning, to B'resheet and Genesis 1:1-5 is read.
This way we remember that the Torah is God's never-ending teaching for right living. It's a handbook for how to obtain blessings in our lives. This is a fun time, when we actually "dance" around the ark or building, holding the scroll in our arms. It's always exciting to have a new beginning, which is why we enjoy Simchat Torah so much.
The Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth and one of Israel's most popular tourist sites, is one of 28 finalists in the 7 Wonders of Nature, an international online competition that grades the seven natural wonders of the world.
To reach the final shortlist, the Dead Sea beat out approximately 440 sites from 220 countries.
The competition will last through 2011, and organizers expect millions of people to cast their vote. Other natural wonders in the competition include, the Amazon River, Galapagos Islands, the Grand Canyon and Maldives.
Officials are hoping the competition will promote tourism in the Dead Sea region and raise public awareness around the world about the problems facing the sea, which has lost close to one meter of water annually for the past 30 years.
For the next two years, Israel's Ministry of Tourism will lead the campaign for the Dead Sea to be selected as one of the winners in the contest, via 14 offices around the world, websites in 11 languages, and marketing activities that will emphasize the unique attributes of the Dead Sea. (To vote, go to www.new7wonders.com.)
Positioned 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is known as the largest natural health spa in the world. It is made up of black mud and thermo-mineral hot springs that ease muscular tension, improve blood circulation and alleviate rheumatic pain.
Other tourist attractions in the area include the Roman fortress at Masada, Ein Gedi and Einot Tzu Kim, nature reserves and the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
We are living in the last days, and many of the prophecies in God's Word about Israel have been fulfilled. One of these main prophecies is in our reading in Jeremiah today.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks of a time when Israel will no longer say, "'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers" (Jer. 16:15).
The Jewish holiday Sukkot, which is also known as the Festival of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated not only in the Holy Land, but also around the world. Jews call it the "season of joy" because Messiah was born. In biblical times, Jews journeyed to Jerusalem to commemorate the children of Israel's exodus, when God led them in the wilderness and they lived in booths. Jews today celebrate the holiday by eating, rejoicing and sleeping in decorated booths for eight days. Whether you're Jewish or not, we can all celebrate Yeshua and rejoice that He has come to "tabernacle" or dwell in us. Click below to watch video.
Nearly everyone has a special place he would like to visit during his lifetime. For many people, that place is Israel.
The mere mention of the country's name evokes a wide range of emotions, one of which is longing. For thousands of years, Israel has held great significance for people from all walks of life, and those who have a heart for the land yearn to see it.
Though Jesus clearly said of His return to the earth, "Of that day or hour no one knows" (Matt. 24:36, NKJV), there are signs throughout Scripture that point to the second coming of the Lord. One of them is the increasing number of Jewish people who are coming to recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah, and another is the growing body of Messiah in the land of Israel itself.
The Messianic movement refers to the growing number of Jewish people who have become believers in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. This movement began with the Jewish disciples, continued into the first four or five centuries and then was lost. After a terrible season of forced conversions during medieval times, more reasonable attempts to help Jewish people find Jesus began during the post-Reformation period.
Some 5,000 Christians from 100 nations marched through the streets of Jerusalem Tuesday to show their solidarity with the nation of Israel.
March participants waved Zionist banners and flags, while others wore T-shirts that read "Jerusalem United" as part of a campaign responding to political pressure on Israel to stop construction in the largely Arab eastern part of the city.
The Israel Antiquities Authority in Migdal near the Sea of Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old synagogue from the Second Temple period this month during archaeological excavations.
The 390-square-foot synagogue contains mosaic floors and walls covered with frescos. Also, a square stone featuring sides adorned with reliefs and engraved with a seven-branched menorah was discovered in the hall atop a pedestal with a triangular base.