We made it! The busiest and most intense time of life in Israeli society has come and gone. The Jewish Fall Feasts began in the month of Tishri (September 13) with the Feast of Trumpets, the day that is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. The ten days between this Feast and Yom Kippur are known as the “Days of Awe” during which the more religious Israelis spend time preparing themselves for the most solemn day of the year, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Four days later the joyous week long celebration of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) starts and finally on the last day of Sukkoth, the holiday of Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah) is celebrated as synagogues throughout Israel finish the yearly reading of the first five books of the Bible. The scroll is then wound back to the opening chapter of Genesis and there is dancing and rejoicing with the Torah outside each synagogue.
Each Feast is filled with prophetic meaning. The Feast of Trumpets reminds us of the seven trumpet blasts in Revelation 8, which marks the beginning of the End Time tribulations that will shake the earth. Yom Kippur culminates with the final and great trumpet blast that the New Testament declares will herald the Day of the Lord’s return. And Zachariah 14 reminds us that after the return of the Lord and the establishment of God’s Kingdom, the gentile nations of the earth will keep this Feast by coming up to Jerusalem to worship our King and God.
On Yom Kippur, our congregation joined four other local congregations for thirty hours of fasting, prayer and intercession, worship, the Word and fellowship. We have been doing this event for nearly ten years and it was generally agreed that this year surpassed anything we have ever done in the past. For the first time, the leadership baton was passed to the younger generation and they did a terrific job.
For the two Shabbats during Sukkot, our congregation was filled to overflowing with Christians from the nations who came to Jerusalem to participate in the various conferences that correspond with the Feast Days. It was so wonderful to see so many who love Israel and the Jewish people and who support our Messianic community.
In the midst of this festive month, Jerusalem and the West Bank have experienced a significant increase of violence and terror attacks. In the past several days, four Israelis were murdered. Two parents were killed in a drive by shooting in the West Bank. Their four young sons were unharmed in the back seat. In another event the following day, while walking home from the Western Wall, a couple with their two children were attacked by a young arab who jumped out and began stabbing them. The husband was killed and the wife seriously injured with one child also wounded. Another Jewish man who came to help was also stabbed and died from his wounds. In other recent terror attacks, several others have been wounded by stabbing and several rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza.
The world has been overwhelming silent in condemning the murder of these people and in many instances, in a very perverted way, the blame has been placed on Israel. As is always the case, when Jewish radicals attack Palestinian civilians, the Israeli government is quick to condemn the violence and arrest the attackers. In stark contrast, the Palestinian government has commended the recent murderers as Palestinian heroes and encouraged their local population to continue and increase the vicious attacks on the Jews of Jerusalem.
Another graphic example of the difference between the two governments has been the recent violence on the Temple Mount. Today the Al Aska Mosque is located on the ancient site where Soloman built the Holy Temple. Israel has always encouraged a policy that allows everyone to come to visit their holy sites. Throughout last week, there was an outbreak of violence on the Temple Mount as the Palestinian Government called on their people to attack the Jewish people who wanted to come up and quietly pray at the ancient site of the temple. The Jewish presence was met with violent attacks that the Israeli military brought under control. While Israel’s policy is religious protection for all, the Palestinian government has called for ongoing violence to ensure that only Muslims would be allowed to visit this site that is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Please pray for the situation in Jerusalem. It is very tense and there is a loud call coming from the Palestinians to increase the violence. Please pray that the guilty parties would be arrested and that the current violence would decrease. Pray that the Israeli government would have wisdom as they respond to the overwhelmingly anti Semitic coverage of these events.
We are continuing in the battle for my physical health. Today, I am scheduled to start six weeks of radiation and chemo treatments. Please pray that these treatments would be effective and will destroy only the works of the enemy in my body. Pray that the negative effects of these treatments will be minimal. And of course, please pray that the end of the matter will be complete healing from this very serious disease.
These are indeed awesome times! The ancient Jewish Feast days are being celebrated in the midst of one of God’s great miracles; the regathering of the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland. And even as this miraculous event highlights the faithfulness and power of our God, we see a mighty wave of anti semitism and darkness that ultimately wants to eliminate this testimony of God’s faithfulness. Yes, there is a war raging but we know that the end of the story will be His Kingdom manifest and the powers of darkness bound forever.
In conclusion, we want to wish you a very blessed 5776. May it be a year in which you experience the love and goodness of Yeshua our Messiah in an ever more wonderful way. And may it be a year in which we give ourselves to seeing His wonderful purposes manifest around us.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun Ministries International.