The day after Yom Kippur

A memorial torch is lit during the state ceremony marking 43 years since the Yom Kippur War, held at the military cemetery at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90)

This is the day after Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) and the meaning of this day has changed since the 1973 war – the Yom Kippur War. Now in Israel we are not fasting and praying for the atonement of this Nation but also in remembrance of that horrible war that started in the middle of Yom Kippur in 1973. That war is a monument to some of the most serious ills of the State of Israel, illnesses that are not physical as much as they are spiritual.

In our congregation we were gathered from Monday evening service and Tuesday morning service and Tuesday afternoon and evening service. We were praying and praising and the teaching was wonderful. I did one of the teaching, the last one in the afternoon – the closing service that ends the fast of the Day of Atonement with the blowing of the Shofar (The Ram’s Horn). The first night was done by Moran and the morning service by the younger David. Both of these young leaders did a great job teaching. We had a meal that starts the fasting and a meal that ends the fasting and just about everyone – did the 25 hours fast without food or liquid, not even water. I actually drank water because of some health issues and because today I had a Echo-stress test in the hospital. This is an interesting test for the heart, you do a stress test and during the stress test they do echo test of the heart. I don’t know the results yet, and I will find out the results only after I return from the trip to the USA.

During Yom Kippur there were riots in the East side of Jerusalem and especially below the temple mount – in the ancient village of Siloam. It was in the pool of Siloam that Yeshua healed the blind man on Shabbat and in fact this village is mentioned several times by Yeshua.

The situation between the Palestinians and Israel is not improving and in fact it is getting more and more complicated and dangerous. There are two factors that exacerbate the situation: 1) the very insidious behavior and statements that are coming out of Washington, and Paris, and Brussels. 2) The work of Iran with the Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Ezekiel the prophet has some pretty harsh words to say about Israel, but he also sees the promise of God that prophecies the return of the people of Israel. Everyone can see the predictions of Ezekiel in chapter 36-37, the valley of dry bones. However, few recognize that chapter that deals with the evil Shepherds / Leaders of the people who take advantage of the sheep that God entrusted them with. In this context it is interesting to read the following text: “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD.”
(Ezek. 34:11-15)

You can see here a clear promise of the Lord that includes the return of the Jewish people to their own land. This does not mean that Arabs / Palestinians can live as good neighbors with the people in Israel and share the same land, it also does not mean that a two state solution is impossible, but it does mean at least that the people of Israel have a divine promise by the Creator of the Universe that they ought to be able to live and settle and farm the mountains and the valleys of this land.

I ask you all to pray for the leaders of the Middle East, both in Israel and in the Arab / Palestinian camp to use wisdom and desire peace with each other.

I ask you to pray for the hundreds of thousands citizens of Syria that are suffering unspeakable aggression by the regime of President Assad and by the bombing of the Russian air force. The Russians came to Syria with the goal of fighting ISIS and the terrorists, but up to now they are bombing citizens who are innocent. The world is doing nothing about it! When Israel was fighting in Gaza to stop the Hamas and other terrorists organizations from shooting rockets on our peaceful villages and towns, most of the world condemned Israel for defending itself.

Now you have these big powers, the USA and Russia warming up for another war, may be a cold war, may be more than just a cold war. It is up to us to make intercession and plead with the Almighty ONE to bring a solution from heaven to the bloodshed of innocent civilians, women and children, old and young, who are being sacrificed by their own leaders for their own satisfaction and political gain. I know that the Lord can change this horror in one moment if He so wishes. Our task is to call upon God’s mercy and righteousness to show itself in our time and resolve this horror that is called the War in Iraq and Syria.

I feel very strongly that these wars in the Middle East are really wars that are not based only on land issues, but much deeper spiritual issues that have their origins in enmity and hate that is as old as the Bible. For this reason I am taking this opportunity in this prayer list to ask people around the world to pray – pray for God’s wisdom to somehow permeate to the Jews through the Torah and the Prophets and to the Muslims somehow through the Quran itself. If God can speak to a pagan prophet like Balaam and even to Balaam’s donkey – he can speak to political leaders who have to make some tough and wise decisions with bravery.

This article originally appeared as a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, October 13, 2016, and reposted with permission.