Take Off Your Grave Clothes!
Yes, we are here in Israel. Home. The place where my heart lives even when my body is in America! We are here to do as the Father instructed and pray through the portals of His Presence. We begin the journey in the Old City. This photo should give you a perspective of the massive size of these walls that surround Jerusalem. I have wandered this awesome city so many times now, and yet I am always inspired anew with the mandate given by our Lord when He so clearly told us to keep watch! As quickly as events are happening now, fulfilling the ancient prophecies, we must be ever more watchful. God's eyes are on Israel and His word is finding its fulfillment right here in Jerusalem, the "navel" of the world.
September 20: The Aquaduct beneath Christ Church, Jerusalem
We saw the river! We sang and worshiped in the place where the water was stopped up - and we called it forth! We called for Yeshua to set His feet on the Mount of Olives and cause the earth to shake and the mountain to split so the water could flow as Living Water through Jerusalem to the Dead Sea....healing everything as it flows! Ezekiel wrote, "the water was up to my ankles and then my knees and then my waist - and then a river no one could cross!" (chapter 38) Living water! And trees for healing the nations (Revelation 22).
September 21: The Garden Tomb
It is Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, and the day began with blasts of shofars from the synagogues all around us. Sleepy eyes shot open with the thrilling revelation: I am in Jerusalem! The trumpets are sounding and I am HERE - in the city of the Great King - on the day when He will return here in some future year!
We make our way to the Garden Tomb where we find the precious shalom of this place even more holy because there are so few people here on Yom Teruah. We find a small enclosure where we can sing and worship the One who willingly laid down His life for us and then burst forth from this tomb in Resurrection Power!
Crying out to Him to make Himself known to His chosen people, we sang "open the eyes of their hearts, Lord. Open the eyes of their hearts, cause them to see You. Cause them to see you!"
We petition Him for healing of our own bodies and minds and then the Ruach speaks two words to me: GRAVE CLOTHES. "What does this mean?" I ask. I have to look up the Scripture that uses this phrase and I find it in John chapter 11 - the story of Lazarus. Yeshua tells the men to "take off his GRAVE CLOTHES." Then the Ruach continues and He speaks to all four of us: "Take off your grave clothes and stop living like you're dead!"
Living like we are dead! And old! And incapacitated! And finished. We knew it was for us - a Yom Teruah wake-up call. Maybe it will be a wake-up call for you too. Just like the water that flows from the Aquaduct beneath Christ Church in Jerusalem and goes all the way to the DEAD SEA, where it heals every living thing; so the Lord is calling us to take off our grave clothes and be healed and stop living like we're dead!
September 22: The Tomb of Samuel the Prophet
We worshiped inside this ancient structure towering above Jerusalem and many villages below. Contemplating the life of Israel's great prophet, I was given a revelation. Hannah prayed for a son and promised to give him to God if He would answer her prayer. He answered and she bore a son whom she named Samuel (which means "borrowed of God.") She kept her promise. She gave her son over to God to be raised in the tabernacle at Shiloh.
This is what I am called to do now. This is what we are all called to do with our own children. We must fully give them over to the LORD, trusting that they will be found and saved and then used by God. So I prayed it - earnestly I prayed it - and now I call it a finished work, as Hannah did.
September 24: Hezekiah's Tunnel in the City of David (Jerusalem)
I will be struggling to describe this experience. We had spent time reading the history of this tunnel and how Hezekiah's men achieved an engineering marvel, providing water to the city of Jerusalem during the time of the Assyrian siege. And we had read about Hezekiah's illness, and then his prayer of deep repentance, which touched the heart of God and added 15 years to his life! And so with heads bent low to climb into the tunnel entrance, the Lord began to connect many dots for me. Here we were, sloshing through water that began at our ankles - and then came up to our knees - and then up to our waists! Living water! Healing water! Joy seemed to completely overcome us and then we heard the people in front of us singing and worshiping. We did not know the foreign words they sang, but we knew the melody, so we joined in. Then the people behind us joined in, with yet another language - and it was as if all nations were worshiping in this tunnel filled with water. The worship grew deeper until I thought my heart would burst from the heavenly blessings that overflowed in that tunnel. For 700 meters we walked through this water, touching the rocky side walls carved out by Israelite men 2700 years ago. They believed they could complete this astonishing water system and by God's grace, they did. We believe that God did a healing work in each of us by His grace, and soon we shall know that He did!
September 25: Shiloh and Beth-El
The number of children at the Israel Children's Therapy Center has more than tripled from our last visit. They have run out of room and space to build. So, you may wonder, are there that many tender young souls traumatized by terrorism in Israel? Yes, sadly it is true. It can be felt in the atmosphere, this eternal, cosmic struggle between YHVH and Satan, now manifesting itself fully as the war of Islam upon Jews and Christians. It is an ancient war, not a new one. It played out in the Garden of Eden and then reached its violent fullness through Nebudchanezzer, Alexander, Herod, Antiochus Epiphanes, Titus, Suleman, Hitler, and others possessed by the arch-enemy of the Holy One of Israel.
Yet, in Shiloh's peaceful stillness, the children run and play and feed ducks and play with hamsters. They laugh and run like all children and pose for the camera with silly expressions. Music, art and horses are used to minister healing to their wounded souls. I love them so much! I love them like a Jewish "Ima" (mama), whose heart carries their pain.
At the site of the ancient tabernacle in Shiloh, where the 12 tribes worshiped God for 369 years, we gathered beneath the one tree to pray. The tree is surrounded by hundreds of billions of rocks on all sides and Rosemary exclaimed, "What if all the rocks of Israel began to praise God?" What a staggering thought!
From Shiloh we took the short drive to Beth El, the place where Jacob saw the open vision of heaven - the angels ascending and descending on a "ladder." I sat on the concrete floor of the observation deck at the high pinnacle that overlooks all Israel in all four directions. Here God had spoken to Abraham and confirmed His covenant, that all the land of Israel would belong to his descendants forever. So why is this holy place of the Covenant now surrounded by Arab villages, who lay false claims to this land? Why was I hearing the vile blaring of prayers to the false god Allah, instead of evening prayers and praise to Elohim, the Holy One of Israel? My heart began to weep. "Abba, I came here to press in deep to your Spirit in these portals of your Presence. I looked forward to this time with such joyful awe, and now here I am and I wonder if we are walking this out the way You desired. I do not see any open heaven; not even an angel or two! Are our prayers lifted in these places a blessing to You?"
Then I started looking up into the sky, as He had told me to continually do. I saw a long, wispy cirrus cloud without form. His soft Voice said, "Watch it. Watch the cloud and keep watching." I did. Eventually the cloud began to take a very distinct shape. It looked like a long road, and then suddenly two arrows formed at the end of the road, one pointing straight north and the other pointing straight west. John saw it too and we marveled. What could it mean?
Later that night, in the shower, the Spirit gave me the interpretation of the cloud. "This is the road just ahead of you. You will go north to the Galilee and then west to Haifa. Don't get stuck here. KEEP GOING! You are doing what you came to do. Now continue on - to the North and the West!"
I sensed that He was saying, "You don't have to figure out what I'm, going to do with the prayers you pray in these portals. You are not failing. Just keep going." I recalled that in Shiloh we had learned one new Hebrew word: kadima. This words means "march forth!" Hallelujah! Now on to the North and the West!
September 27: Capernaum and Gamla
Our wonderful hostess in the Galilee Region, Avigail, accompanied us to the next portal in Capernaum. We prayed in this beautiful area on the Sea of Galilee as we read from the Scriptures about the many miracles Yeshua did here. In Mark 2 it tells of a man whose child in Capernaum had just died. Yeshua told him to go back home saying, "Your child will live." The Scripture goes on to say, "The man took him at his word and went home..." We pondered this a long while in this portal of healing miracles. The man "took him at His word" and his child lived! It is this simple faith we must re-kindle in our own hearts, learning to take Yeshua at His word. After all, he IS the Word!
Avigail took us on around the sea to the National Preserve known as Gamla. I had never heard of it - but it seems that there is a lot of study going on in this area, as some have come to believe that this is actually the place of Yeshua's boyhood home. In this photo you can see a second ridge behind the first one, with green trees growing along the right side. An ancient village once covered the left side of this steep ridge, and the Sea of Galilee is at the far end of this photo, in the distance. We spent a long time here, learning about what has been discovered in this area that lends credibility to the newly-emerging belief that Yeshua grew up right here rather than in the traditional site of Nazareth. If you have an open mind to new truth coming forth out of the excavations of Israel's land, visit the website of http://www.gamla.org and ponder what you find there!
As we were leaving Gamla, we stopped at the small market for ice cream bars, and there were two Jewish men who work there, smoking cigarettes and talking together. Boldly I asked one of them if he knew anything about this being the place where Yeshua grew up. He nodded and in his heavy Hebrew accent he said he knew about it and believed it must be true. Curious as to whether he was a believer, I asked him, "So, do you believe Yeshua is the Messiah?" He replied, "No. I don't even believe in God. There is no God. How could there be? There is so much suffering in the world and there is no God who cares about us." The other man was much younger, thoughtful, perhaps less broken and bruised by Jewish persecution and suffering. But when we asked what he believed, I was far more shocked. He said, "I believe that the God of the Jews and the god of the Muslims is the same. There is no difference." I could hardly believe what I was hearing! Avigail was quick and precise in her response as she challenged them both: "The Koran says that Avraham took Ishmael up and bound him for a sacrifice. The Torah says that Avraham took Isaac up and bound him. If He is the same God, why would He tell the story two different ways? He would not! Therefore one story is true and the other story is a lie." We could see the wheels turning, the hearts struggling, wanting to find truth, wanting to know. Finally I got to summarize it for them the same way the Master summarized it. I told them, "When the Rabbis asked Yeshua what is the most important commandment, He told them, 'Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind - and love one another as you love yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets.' So we have come all this way from America to Israel to tell you that there is a God who loves you - and Yeshua, his Son, who loves you so much that He died for your sins. And we also came all this way to tell you that WE love you too!"
It was a divine appointment. It was why we came. We scatter and God waters. Living water! Pray that these two Jewish men take off their grave clothes and live! Now on to the West...
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Kelly Ferrari Mills