Israel Facing Worst Drought in Almost 100 Years

Image result for sea of galilee droughtIsrael is entering the 6th year of a major drought, with no relief in sight.  As a result, the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s primary source of water, is approaching a 100-year low.  In fact the water level is dangerously close to the level in which intake pipes of water pumps will be above the water line, making it impossible to pump needed water out of the Galilee to neighboring farmland and orchards.

Fortunately, about 70% of Israel’s drinking water now comes from desalination plants along the Mediterranean Sea.  If not for that fact, Israel would quickly be out of water.  Regardless, water needs are such that authorities are warning residents that water consumption may be limited within a year or so.

I am reminded of a time when water will not be an issue!  Zechariah 14 describes that glorious day when, after gathering the nations against Jerusalem, Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives to take care of business!  A mighty earthquake will split the Eastern Gate wide open and He will enter.  Then, notice:

And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
~Zechariah 14:8

Plenty of water will flow from Jerusalem (of all places!)

However, today’s drought is real, and I hope you will join me in praying for the Lord to bless Israel with significant rainfall.  But there is a greater need.  Jesus described Himself as “Living Water” in John 4:7-14.  Then, in Revelation 22:17, He says:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

A greater drought is occurring in the heart and soul of the Jewish people.  Spiritually, they are thirsty, and we (the bride of Christ) join with the Spirit of God, saying “Come…drink from the Living Water!”  God will take care of physical drought conditions, but only Jesus can rid the spiritual drought.

As we’re “about our Father’s business” in these last days, let’s engage in the task before us.  Let’s pray for Jews and Gentiles alike, who are experiencing spiritual drought.  We know the solution!  Are we sharing it?

A New Experience!

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat is the Jewish sabbath and it begins every Friday at sundown.  The city (and most others in Israel) almost totally shut down mid-afternoon to prepare for shabbat dinner and to attend synagogue at sundown.  Today, we experienced both synagogue and shabbat dinner together!  What a glorious ending to a great day!

I’ll take you through our day in pictures, as we were not in the classroom, but out touring the Old City, prior to Shabbat.

02 GolgothaFirst stop: Golgotha, then the Garden Tomb where we had communion together.  Of note, you will see that the picture of Golgotha (“Place of the Skull,” where the Bible says Jesus was crucified) looks less and less like a skull.  This past February, the “nose” of the skull collapsed and is no longer there.  Erosion, fumes and vibration from an Arab bus station that sits just below it, and jackhammering in a Muslim cemetery atop the hill are thought to be possible causes of the collapse.

459a (Tom) Garden Tomb1

One thing that hasn’t changed….the tomb is empty!  The place where Jesus laid is bare!  Indeed, Jesus our Savior is risen to give us life eternal.  Aren’t you glad for that!

cropped-377-eastern-gate.jpgFollowing our visit to the Garden Tomb, we made our way to the Mount of Olives, where the Eastern Gate stands tall and proud across the Kidron Valley.  The Bible tells us that one day that gate will split wide open and the King of Kings will enter in gloriously! (Zechariah 14:1-4)

From the Mount of Olives (where the Garden of Gethsemane is located), we made our way through Lion’s Gate, enroute to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  There are some denominations that believe this is the place of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  (I don’t believe that to be the case, and I provided reasons in To Golgotha – Part 1 and Part 2.)

15 Police at Lion's Gate on FridayToday, the significance of that trek was that entering Lion’s Gate on a Friday meant encountering multitudes of Muslims headed for prayer on Temple Mount. (Friday is a holy day for Muslims.)  Here is an example of police presence at Lion’s Gate and along the route to Temple Mount.

This afternoon was a new experience for me.  We attended an Orthodox synagogue!  Prior to “schlepping” (Jewish slang for “walking”) to synagogue, we were briefed on what to expect, what to do, and what not to do!  (Such as “don’t take pictures!”  Thus, I have none to show you!)  We were given a handy-dandy little program of sorts, and off we went!  In synagogue, men sit downstairs, while women sit in the balcony above.  True to what we had been told, it was “controlled chaos,” as parents and the rabbi attempted to keep kids settled, while the cantor recited traditional readings.  Intermittently, there would be singing.  It was all in Hebrew, so we simply followed the advice, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do!”  It was interesting, to say the least!

18 Erafaim begins ShabbatWe returned to our hotel where we had shabbat dinner together.  Ephraim and Stephanie Kaye (directors of our seminar) led the festivities, which included some Shabbat traditions and a whole lot of singing (mostly familiar Hebrew songs).  It was a great time, and indicative of what Shabbat meals are like for Jewish families.  They laugh, they play, and they definitely know how to live life to the fullest!

Tomorrow we head to the Galilee area to tour, before our last day in the classroom on Sunday!

From Jerusalem…Shabbat shalom!

The Eastern Gate and Messiah’s Coming

LFTBH Banner(2)

Nice work this week!  You have hung in there, and we’re going to end this week’s study with a bang!  So, prepare to be blessed!

As we’ve seen, Daniel 9:24-27 is a key prophecy in understanding God’s plan for Israel.  We have already taken a deep dive into that passage, but today we’re going to search elsewhere for a few remaining nuggets to stash away in our treasure box.

We’ve learned that Daniel’s prophecy regarding cutting off of the Messiah was fulfilled exactly to the day!  Now, let’s focus on that day (Palm Sunday), and His entrance into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate.

In Mark 11:1-11, we learn that Jesus entered Jerusalem to the jubilant shouts of the people:

“Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

Yet Luke 19:41-44 tells us that Jesus wept because He had an appointment with His people, yet they missed it!  Despite fulfilled prophecy, the Jews did not recognize their Messiah.  They were His people, but they have yet to make Him their God!

DSC00432 - cropped

Fields of Bethlehem

The setting and culture of the day are interesting bits of prophecy as well.  John the Baptist, in John 1:29, declared Jesus the “Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.”  The little town of Bethlehem lies only 6 ½ miles from the Temple.  Lambs for the sacrifice were raised in and around the fields of Bethlehem.

Yes, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, entered the Temple as the sacrificial Lamb of God, sent to take away your sin, my sin, and that of the entire world!  In that day, lambs were brought into the house 4 days before Passover.  Did you know that Jesus entered Jerusalem 4 days before Passover!  Coincidence?  I don’t think so!

The Bible is accurate in every single detail!  Need more evidence?  Okay, let’s take a quick look at the Eastern Gate.  Read Ezekiel 44:1-3.  Indeed, the gate was sealed shut after Jesus entered, and Scripture says it will remain sealed until the Messiah comes again!  Though attempts have been made to unseal it, none have been successful.

377 Eastern Gate

Eastern Gate

The Eastern Gate through which Jesus entered is not visible today.  It currently exists underground, beneath rubble from as early as 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Temple.  The current Eastern Gate was likely built during Justinian’s 6th century building program or in the 7th century by the Byzantines.

In 1517 the Turks conquered Jerusalem and re-built walls above where they previously existed.  Though the original Eastern Gate is buried underneath the ground, Suleiman even walled up the new gate because he heard the Messiah was coming and feared He would conquer Jerusalem!  Thinking they needed to be certain He would not enter, Muslims established a cemetery right in front of that gate that is still there today!  The thought was that the Messiah would not defile Himself by going through a Muslim cemetery in order to enter that gate.

News flash to Suleiman:  When Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives an earthquake will split that gate wide open!  So much for the cemetery!

Suleiman and his forces were not the only ones to mess with that gate!  In 1917, it is said that British General and devout Christian, Edmond Allenby, led British troops in an attempt to drive the Turks from Jerusalem in order to restore Israel to the Jews.  British tanks could not enter the Eastern Gate, however, as it was elevated above ground level at that time.  Thus, there was talk about taking the gate down.

But Allenby took Isaiah 31:5 to heart. (Like flying birds so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem)  He ordered planes to drop leaflets, written in Arabic, saying, “Surrender the city today, Allenby.”  Most Turks had never seen an airplane, much less an entire squadron dropping leaflets, undoubtedly causing some degree of fear.  Beyond that, when “Allenby” was translated into Arabic, it came out “Alla Bay,” meaning “Son of God” to Muslims.  Thus, thinking they had gotten a command from the Son of God, the Turks surrendered without a shot being fired, and without the Eastern Gate being taken down!  Did God send a “bird” to protect, deliver and rescue Jerusalem?  General Allenby would not be convinced otherwise!

Well, today’s post is a bit longer than normal, but did you gather some golden nuggets today?  I hope you have found this week’s study enlightening.  God’s Word is full of “meat” for the hungry sojourner, and as we dig in we are filled!  Be diligent in looking for the Blessed Hope!

The Messiah’s Coming

LFTBH Banner(2)

Nice work this week!  You have hung in there, and we’re going to end this week’s study with a bang!  So, prepare to be blessed!

As we’ve seen, Daniel 9:24-27 is a key prophecy in understanding God’s plan for Israel.  We have already taken a deep dive into that passage, but today we’re going to search elsewhere for a few remaining nuggets to stash away in our treasure box.

We’ve learned that Daniel’s prophecy regarding cutting off of the Messiah was fulfilled exactly to the day!  Now, let’s focus on that day (Palm Sunday), and His entrance into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate.

In Mark 11:1-11, we learn that Jesus entered Jerusalem to the jubilant shouts of the people:

“Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

Yet Luke 19:41-44 tells us that Jesus wept because He had an appointment with His people, yet they missed it!  Despite fulfilled prophecy, the Jews did not recognize their Messiah.  They were His people, but they have yet to make Him their God!

DSC00432 - cropped

Fields of Bethlehem

The setting and culture of the day are interesting bits of prophecy as well.  John the Baptist, in John 1:29, declared Jesus the “Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.”  The little town of Bethlehem lies only 6 ½ miles from the Temple.  Lambs for the sacrifice were raised in and around the fields of Bethlehem.

Yes, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, entered the Temple as the sacrificial Lamb of God, sent to take away your sin, my sin, and that of the entire world!  In that day, lambs were brought into the house 4 days before Passover.  Did you know that Jesus entered Jerusalem 4 days before Passover!  Coincidence?  I don’t think so!

The Bible is accurate in every single detail!  Need more evidence?  Okay, let’s take a quick look at the Eastern Gate.  Read Ezekiel 44:1-3.  Indeed, the gate was sealed shut after Jesus entered, and Scripture says it will remain sealed until the Messiah comes again!  Though attempts have been made to unseal it, none have been successful.

377 Eastern Gate

Eastern Gate

The Eastern Gate through which Jesus entered is not visible today.  It currently exists underground, beneath rubble from as early as 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Temple.  The current Eastern Gate was likely built during Justinian’s 6th century building program or in the 7th century by the Byzantines.

In 1517 the Turks conquered Jerusalem and re-built walls above where they previously existed.  Though the original Eastern Gate is buried underneath the ground, Suleiman even walled up the new gate because he heard the Messiah was coming and feared He would conquer Jerusalem!  Thinking they needed to be certain He would not enter, Muslims established a cemetery right in front of that gate that is still there today!  The thought was that the Messiah would not defile Himself by going through a Muslim cemetery in order to enter that gate.

News flash to Suleiman:  When Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives an earthquake will split that gate wide open!  So much for the cemetery!

Suleiman and his forces were not the only ones to mess with that gate!  In 1917, it is said that British General and devout Christian, Edmond Allenby, led British troops in an attempt to drive the Turks from Jerusalem in order to restore Israel to the Jews.  British tanks could not enter the Eastern Gate, however, as it was elevated above ground level at that time.  Thus, there was talk about taking the gate down.

But Allenby took Isaiah 31:5 to heart. (Like flying birds so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem)  He ordered planes to drop leaflets, written in Arabic, saying, “Surrender the city today, Allenby.”  Most Turks had never seen an airplane, much less an entire squadron dropping leaflets, undoubtedly causing some degree of fear.  Beyond that, when “Allenby” was translated into Arabic, it came out “Alla Bay,” meaning “Son of God” to Muslims.  Thus, thinking they had gotten a command from the Son of God, the Turks surrendered without a shot being fired, and without the Eastern Gate being taken down!  Did God send a “bird” to protect, deliver and rescue Jerusalem?  General Allenby would not be convinced otherwise!

Well, today’s post is a bit longer than normal, but did you gather some golden nuggets today?  I hope you have found this week’s study enlightening.  God’s Word is full of “meat” for the hungry sojourner, and as we dig in we are filled!  Be diligent in looking for the Blessed Hope!