Three years ago we were in Israel with two friends, on an assignment from the Holy Spirit. We went to several strategic places as He directed, spending time in prayer and listening for His Voice. On the day of Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) we were in the big, beautiful city of Haifa. We experienced the stunning silence and solitude of this day as ALL the people remained indoors, in prayer and fasting. Then at around 4:00 pm, as the sun began to sink below the horizon, they came out gradually, quietly, many with their children, to get a little fresh air. I took this picture of the first little Israelis we saw, on a normally traffic-jammed, busy street, in their little plastic car! It touched my heart. But my heart is even more bowed low before the God of Israel this year, as the Israelis are on TOTAL lockdown for three weeks, and no one will be coming out after the day of prayer and fasting. The silence and the solitude will continue on. I pray that Elohim, Almighty God, will use this time to bring Jacob back to Himself as they continue to struggle with this Corona virus plague. And I wanted to share with you (below) the letter I just received from a wonderful Messianic pastor in Israel. Please read and be blessed by the words of this Jewish believer and pray that MANY Jewish people will find their Messiah Yeshua in the marvelous way that this pastor has found Him - in the words of His Book!
Yom Kippur - The day when the heart of Israel turns to God in unison
As the nation of Israel prepares for Eve of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, there’s a sense of solemness and anticipation in the air, especially as this Yom Kippur is commemorated in the shadow of a COVID19 complete lockdown.
Yom Kippur marks the day when the fate of the entire nation of Israel is to be sealed and God is to redeem the people, writing their name in the Book of Life.
Leviticus 23:26-32 — “The LORD said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD. Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
In Old Testament times, the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year to offer a sacrifice for his own sins, and then also offer a blood sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of the nation. The New Testament teaches us that we have a greater High Priest in Yeshua, who through His own sacrifice and the shedding of His blood reconciled us to God and redeemed us once and for all!
Hebrews 9:6-7 “These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.”
Hebrews 9:11-12 “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
The nation of Israel commemorates Yom Kippur with fervent prayer (תפילה tfila) and fasting (צום tzom), and all businesses, schools, malls, shops, and roads close down in honor of Yom Kippur. You won’t find any traffic on the roads and no public transportation at all. There won’t be any TV or radio broadcasts, no restaurants, coffee shops and no entertainment whatsoever. Combine that with the current national Covid lockdown in Israel, this Yom Kippur will be a very solemn one.
This change in the nation’s behavior and attitude allows for a time of introspection and reflection. The nation of Israel spends the entire day at their synagogues (בית כנסת Beit Knesset) in prayer and fasting, in hope of redemption. Current lockdown restrictions that were placed on the amount of people that can gather together for prayer have stirred quite a debate in Israel, especially in light of such sacred days as the High Holy Days. As the whole nation of Israel stands before God in hope of their salvation, we who believe in Yeshua can celebrate our eternal redemption and salvation through Him! Yeshua redeemed us through the sacrifice of His own blood, now and forever!
Revelations 21:27 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Revelations 3:5 “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”
We believe that our salvation (ישועה Yeshua) and redemption (גאולה Geula) has already been won by our High Priest, Yeshua (Jesus), and that our names have been recorded in the Lamb’s book of life! It is God’s deep desire for the nation of Israel to come to know their Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua), and to be saved by receiving his atoning sacrifice for their sins, having their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Romans 10:1 “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them (nation of Israel) is that they may be saved.”
We encourage you to take this Day of Atonement which starts tonight, local Israel time, to fast and pray together with us and the whole nation of Israel.
It is the time to humble ourselves before the Lord, cleansing ourselves and seeking rest in Him, while we intercede for this nation that will be seeking atonement for their sins.
There’s immense power in the “prayer of the righteous” (James 5:16), so we will be devoting this Day of Atonement to prayer, and just taking this time to humble ourselves before the Lord, seeking His face and praying for the salvation of Israel and the nations.
Pastor Israel Pochtar
Voice of Judah
It feels to me as if the one thing the enemy uses to successfully fracture the Body of Messiah and keep us at odds with one another is the misconception that one is either standing on the Word or flowing in the Spirit, upholding Biblical Truth or following where the Spirit leads. I have yet to understand why and how these have become opposing positions! This battle would end if only we could fully understand what Yeshua was trying to teach us in John 4:23-24. It is the famous passage where Yeshua is with the woman at the well and He clearly says to her, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH." It is the word "and" not the word "or" that He uses! We do not choose Spirit OR Truth! Our Master says the true worshipers will worship Him with BOTH. Why is it so hard to embrace both equally in our lives? Truly, we need both to grow into the fullness of Yeshua.
In Simon Guillebaud's excellent devotional he wrote this for the September 23rd reading: "The Bible can be likened to a road map and the Holy Spirit can be likened to a tour guide. The guide knows the map (indeed wrote it)! I can kid myself that I can get around fine by knowing the road map, but actually I need the tour guide to direct, reveal and empower me to get to where I need to go and do what I need to do. The Pharisees ultimately made the mistake of seeing knowledge of the Word as an end in itself, rather than leading them to an encounter with the Person of Jesus through the Spirit of God."
I loved that analogy as I love travel! My various trips to Israel have all been different, and through those different trips I think I've fully experienced what Simon is trying to show us. On some trips we rented a car and used a map and we eventually worked our way through the country, but not without lots of errors, U-turns, surprise road blocks and unnecessary stops. A trip with a tour guide who KNOWS Israel, makes the journey so much easier. Not only do we avoid the errors and U-turns, but we glean deep revelation of the Land and it comes alive for us! The tour guide knows the map and how to understand it, but he takes us further and brings it to life -- to an "encounter with the Person of Jesus."
I am thirsty for the Holy Spirit. I spent so many days, weeks and years moving in the flow of the River of God, composing songs, receiving downloads of teaching, and embracing the peoples of so many different cultures with the deep love of Messiah. Now my days drone along inside this house, attending to the needs of my husband, cooking meals, doing laundry. I cry out to Abba to lead me again into the fire of His Spirit. Catherine Fox wrote, "The biblical images to describe the work of the Spirit - fire, mighty rushing wind and flood - are exactly the sorts of things we pay to insure ourselves against!" And Simon writes, "The difference between graveyards and nurseries is that one has perfect order while the other has life. If we live like we've got God figured out, we've missed Him."
I don't have You figured out, Father. No, not even close! I can curl up in my study with my coffee and pore over the precious pages of Your Word, and this is good. But I need that mighty rushing wind to awaken me to the deeper revelation and open my ears to hear the Voice of your Spirit! I know You are getting ready to move in a whole new way, and I don't want to miss it! Cancel that insurance policy and send the rain!
Yeshua appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration (in Matthew chapter 25) in His heavenly glory. Two appeared with Him there: Elijah and Moses. Why? What is that picture supposed to show us? The two represent Spirit and Truth - and only when the two are there together on that mountain does Yeshua glow in the full radiance of His divine nature! I am praying that this division will cease and the Body of Messiah will come together to worship Him in Spirit and Truth -- as His true worshipers are called to do.
Kelly Ferrari Mills