Glory of Zion International Ministries

PRAYER UPDATE FROM ISRAEL (October 9, 2017)

Succa in Jerusalem

The writers’ succa on their balcony, looking eastwards by moonlight down the Hinnom Valley towards the Mount of Olives.

1.   SUCCOT ("FEAST OF TABERNACLES") BEGAN AT SUNDOWN LAST WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4TH AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12TH.

Succot is plural for succah (or sukkah), which most often in Scripture refers to a small, rude, temporary shelter.  Although often translated in English “tabernacles”, this is not the same Hebrew word as is used for the Tabernacle in which the Levites ministered to the LORD in the wilderness.  (That is Ohel Moed—"tent of meeting," or Mishkan-"dwelling place".)

In ancient times, succot were used as

* Sheds for cattle (Genesis 33:17),
* Overnight shelters for warriors in the field (II Samuel 11:11).
* Guard shacks for watchmen over vineyards (Isaiah 1:8).
* Jonah built for himself a succah outside Nineveh (Jonah 4:5) from which to observe what
   God might do to that city.
* In Psalm 27:5 David trusts that God will hide him in His succah in the "evil day".

As part of an annual fall "ingathering" festival, after she had entered the land and was living in nicely constructed houses (Exodus 23:16), Israel was called to rejoice and feast before the Lord for seven days, resting on the first and eighth days. For that occasion, she was also called to build and spend time in succot

ONE OF THE PLACES IN THE TORAH GIVING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS CELEBRATION IS LEVITICUS 23:39-43:
"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths [Hebrew: sukkot] for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”

A DESCRIPTION OF THIS CELEBRATION OCCURS IN NEHEMIAH 8:14-15. This was centuries later after a large community of Jews have returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon:

"And they found written in the Torah, which YHVH had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in sukkot during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, saying, 'Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make succot, as it is written.'  Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves succot, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made succot and lived in the succot. and there was very great rejoicing!"
 

TO RETURN TO LEVITICUS 23:40:

"And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days"Jewish tradition has identified the "fruit of splendid trees" with the etrog (English "citron") —a fragrant, lemon-like fruit; the "branch of palm trees" with the lulav—the unopened leaf of a special palm; "boughs of leafy trees" with the myrtle. Although originally, as implied in the Nehemiah passage, these fruit and branches were (and still often are) the materials for making and decorating the sukkah, one way of "rejoicing before the LORD" practiced from ancient ties is that of waving them together. The palm, myrtle and willow branch are bound together, and held in one hand, while the etrog is held in the other. The user brings the two hands together and waves the species in four directions, then up and down-attesting to God's mastery over all of creation. When shaken, the lulav makes a sound reminiscent of rain—so waving the lulav is also seen as being a prayer for God's provision of rain over the coming season.  The "Former Rains" begin in Israel during late autumn—

TODAY, October 9th, Jerusalem received its first rains of the season!

(Please join with us in praying for mercifully heavy rains this year.  The nation has just experienced four years of severe drought.)

We still build these tiny shelters for use during the festival. Besides blessing the Lord with the lulav, we also gather leafy, fruitful boughs of foliage, and bright fragrant fruit to decorate the succa. This brings to mind how when Israel was out in the desert moving from place to place in these temporary dwellings, God's presence with them was a source of life and beauty. Setting up and decorating the succah is a happy family affair—perhaps in some ways similar to that of Christians in the nations when they decorate a Christmas tree! (Regarding the possible relationship of Succot to the birth of Yeshua, see below). As we rejoice in thanksgiving before the Lord for His provision and sustenance, we remind ourselves that we are in fact still abiding in temporary dwellings—that, as goes the old American spiritual, "this world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through!” –or,

"If our earthly house, this tent, this succah is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavenlies!" (II Corinthians 5:1)

Yet while we are here, the living presence of this same LORD who accompanied Israel through the desert will be with us all the way. And when we face the “evil day,” He will hide us away in HIS succa! (Psalm 27:5).  It is significant that during this season, it is a Hebrew tradition to read through the book of Ecclesiastes—that strange, poetic, unflinching examination of passing "vanities" to which we are tempted to attach our eyes and affections during our journey through this earthly passage "under the sun".

The feast begins and ends with a special "sabbath" (Thursdays 5 and 12 October this year). Since these are "holy" (i.e. set apart) days, the days in between are called chol—"ordinary". During chol ha’moed (the ordinary part of this special season) many people in Israel will have abbreviated work days, and children will be out of school for the entire week.

Finally—amongst Messianic Jews this is generally considered to be the season in which the Holy One Yeshua (Jesus) came into the world in Beit-Lehem ("House of Bread", Bethlehem)—when the Son of God took on human flesh to "tabernacle" among us.  He has now returned to His Father’s house to prepare eternal dwelling places for us with Him!

2. “WELCOMING THE KING OF GLORY” ---PLEASE PRAY WITH US!!

We want to share with you an urgent burden regarding a unique, we believe historical, event taking place this week in Israel, near and in Jerusalem:

A "Gathering to Welcome the King of Glory" grew out of the visit of a group of leaders from the South Pacific, who have prayed for some 30 years into the vision given to an elder statesman prophet, a vision of a “tsunami” of the Lord's glory starting from the "end of the earth" in the Pacific, and finally settling upon Jerusalem.  They felt the Lord told them that this Succot Hebrew Year 5778 was a key time in the release of that tsunami.  They also said they felt that if a gathering were to be held to "welcome back" that glory, it was important that it not be called and organized by them, but rather by the local messianic Body, as representing the "covenant people of the Land".  Many Messianic leaders and ministries from the Land are convening this Gathering. The meetings begin Tuesday night at a location outside of Jerusalem.  They will continue morning and evening, ending at a venue within Jerusalem itself Friday morning.  Many hundreds of visitors from the nations, especially the Islands of the Pacific, will be joining at the invitation of the leaders of the Body of Messiah in Israel to minister together three days before the Lord—and to invite His glory to be manifest in the Land and to return to His city.  The worship together will reflect a number of ethnic expressions from the different nations and Israel.

In the midst of, and in connection with this Gathering, there will be an Elav youth and young adult event on Wednesday afternoon.  Young Jewish and Arab believers from around the nation (and some from Judea, Samaria and the Kingdom of Jordan) will come together to worship the Lord in Hebrew and Arabic.  In the evening they will join with the adults, for a session focusing on inter-generational worship and ministry to the Lord in the land— restoring the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

A core of Israeli leaders has been gathering regularly for months in preparation for this—the emphasis worship and seeking the face of the Lord.  We believe it to be something new which God is doing.  Of course, since Israel’s birth almost 70 years ago, there have been gleams of His glory, manifestations of His presence released here. There have also been many “moves of God” in which men and women from the Nations have come to celebrate and worship in Israel and Jerusalem.  Some have invited local Israelis to take part, some have not.  On many occasions, these have been events of great blessing. 

This is, however, the first event of which we are aware in which leaders from abroad have approached those of the Body in Israel, sharing a vision they felt was from God—but which would only come to fruition if the Body here felt it was God’s word and His timing—and took the initiative preparing a way for it.

Please join with us in praying for this “Welcoming the Return of the King of Glory” gathering! One thing which adds to confirmation that it is from God is the degree of spiritual warfare which has and is being required for its coming to birth! The Evil One does not want the Glory of God to return to Zion.  His attacks have been intense, concentrated and relentless.  Yet, God’s grace has continued to rise up in power; there are continual clear signs that it is His doing!  We believe that His desire is GOING to take place this week!!

A Hebrew prayer from the Siddur—prayed by Jews in synagogues from ancient times—

“OUR EYES SHALL GAZE UPON YOUR RETURN WITH MERCY TO ZION
BLESSED ARE YOU, ADONAI
WHO BRINGS BACK HIS DIVINE PRESENCE (SHEKINAH) TO ZION!”

May a strong manifestation of that “returning” be witnessed in Israel during this Succot!

PLEASE PRAY:

* That that which God has planted in the hearts of His people from the ends of the earth, and which has been shared with and mantled by His servants in Israel, will be manifest in opening a gateway for the King of Glory this week in Israel.

*  That Hell will not be able to thwart God’s purposes.  That angels be released to guard those preparing the way for the Glory of the LORD.  That anti-Messiah (anti-Christ) emissaries will not be allowed to come near to nor to operate against the venue, or those who are drawing near.

* That God’s blessing, favor, and protection be over all logistics for this event—sound systems, security systems, buses and other transportation bringing worshipers to and from the venue.

* That God’s favor, provision, blessing and protection be over all those who have journeyed from the nations to Israel to take part in this.

* That God’s guidance and holy insight attend the Israeli leaders who are hosting the gathering.

* That blessing be over the Elav [i.e. “Unto Him”] youth gathering on Wednesday.  That the Holy Spirit release light, power, and holy inspiration over all these young people—over those facilitating the worship, the prayer, the waiting on the Holy Spirit.  That the Lord God of Israel bring a unification between the generations in their worship and walk in HIM…which will protect the Land and its people from curses (Malachi 4:6).

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world.  This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.  We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel.  All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.

13-14 October 2017

The NEW CYCLE BEGINS!

This weekend the cycle through the Torah begins anew.  This first reading is called Beresheet— “In the Beginning”.

TORAH:  Genesis 1:1—6:8
HAFTARAH:  Isaiah 42:5—43:10

TORAH

*Genesis 1:1-5“In the beginning Elohim (English: God) created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Then Elohim said, “Let there be light; and there was light. And Elohim saw the light, that it was good; and Elohim divided the light from the darkness.  Elohim called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” 
As we open to the first chapter of this divinely–breathed (II Timothy 3:16) book, ELOHIM—GOD is simply there--creating.  The SPIRIT of God is there (vs 2).  And as God speaks, His living WORD is there (Vs 3; John 1:1). Elohim is a Hebrew word translated into English God.  It is a plural word, which could be translated “gods” or “exalted beings”—yet, when referring to the Hebrew God Who is over all, it is always accompanied with a singular verb. 

*Genesis 1:3. “God said: ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.”  The Scriptures do not say that God “created” light (God Himself is light, I John 1:5).  Rather, He spoke it forth— “Be light!”—and it was released into His creation!  John 1:1-9 speaks of Yeshua as being God’s Word, in whom was life “which is the light for men”
There are a number of words used for God’s actions during these early “beginnings” chapters:  creating (from nothing that is seen, Hebrews 11:3); making; building; fashioning or shaping (out of something already created); working. (Interestingly, for bringing into being the “adam” (man) in His image, both the acts of creating and fashioning are used (Genesis 1:2, 2:7).)

*Genesis 1:5. “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”  Today, in Israel all days for religious observance (such as the Sabbath or feast days) are reckoned from sundown the evening before rather than sunrise.

*Genesis 2:3. “And on the seventh day Elohim ended His creative work which He had done, and He ceased on the seventh day from all His creative work which He had done.  Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it(Hebrew: “made it holy”), because in it He ceased from all His creative work which Elohim had created and made.   It is significant that the first place in Scripture in which we see God making something “holy” or “set apart” is here in relation to the seventh day of the week when He shabbat— “ceased working”.

*Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in His image, in the image of Elohim He created him; masculine and feminine He created them.”  “Man” in Hebrew is adam.  In Genesis 2:7, we are shown that Elohim formed the adam out of adamah— “earth” (which, in turn, is adomah— “reddish in color”).  The modern-day Hebrew term for “human being” is still benei-adam— “son (or child) of adam.”  From this passage it is clear that God, although always referred to in the masculine gender, bears, nevertheless, within His nature both the masculine and feminine which is transferred into the nature of those created “in His image”.
By the end of Chapter 3 that image is marred and what had received the breath of life is, because of sin, already dying.  In 4:1 the man and woman have begun to reproduce, and realize that their Creator and the One through whom this new life comes has a name, YHVH (Yehovah, “The LORD”).  Their sons bring offerings to this YHVH (4:3).  Yet it will be many generations before Humankind comes to know and use that Name in a personal and intimate sense (Exodus 3:15b; 6:2-3).

In Genesis 4:8 murder is committed, and Abel, a good man whose sacrifice pleased God, becomes the first man to die. It is notable that Abel’s name in the Hebrew is spelled the same as the Hebrew word for “vapor” or “vanity” (This word both begins and permeates the book of Ecclesiastes which we have been reading during the feast of Succot.).  Life is but a vapor which is here and passes away; the lives of Abel the good and that of Cain the wicked are both temporary.

*Genesis 2:24. “Therefore a man (Hebrew: ish) shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his woman (Hebrew: isha), and they shall become one flesh” (NKJV).   

Here the Creator lays out clearly right at the beginning and for all time His ordained order for his human creatures’ being joined together in what we call marriage (His Son, the Messiah Yeshua, would corroborate it in Matthew 19:4-6). Attempting to become ‘one flesh’ in any other kind of relationship besides “man and woman” steps outside of this ordained order, and is strictly forbidden for all humankind (Leviticus 18:22-23; 20:13,15; Romans 1:26-27).  The holy alternative “for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven” is celibacy (Matthew 19:12). 
 
*Genesis 4:26. “And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Ehnosh.”
It was perhaps with an awareness of the death of his brother Abel, as well as of the sin-sickness obviously at work in his eldest brother Cain that Seth chose to name his first son Ehnosh.  Ehnosh is often translated into English “man” (Psalm 8:4, “What is man (ehnosh) that You are mindful of him, and the son of man (ben-adam) that you visit him?”).  The most-used word for “people” is anashim—a plural of enosh.  But at its root, the word more literally means “mortal”.  Just as English “mortal” has to do with that within man which dies (“mortuary” is related to that word), so ehnosh has within it a reference to the fallen effect of sin in the children of Adam.  Ehnush, a word using the same Hebrew letters, appears in Jeremiah 17:9 where it says that the heart is deceitful above all things and “desperately wicked” (NJKV), “desperately sick” (ESV and NAS), “beyond cure” (NIV).

By Genesis 6 the earth is corrupted through sinful man in conjunction with rebellious angelic beings.  “Then YHVH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…So YHVH said, ‘I will destroy the man (Hebrew: the adam) whom I have created from the face of the earth (Hebrew: the adamah).’

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD!
(6:5,7a, 8)
To “find grace in the eyes of” is an expression which is still common in Modern Hebrew, meaning “to bring pleasure to.”  

PLEASE PRAY:  that today, when “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37), we are faced with a rapidly rising darkness of evil on the earth, there will also arise, not one, but a multitude of latter-day “Noah’s” ---who will bring pleasure to their LORD, who will “walk with God”, who will “find grace in His eyes.”  The English translation of a popular Hebrew worship song, written some years ago by an Israeli Messianic teenager reads:

Come Spirit, Come Spirit, Come today
The Desire of my heart is to find grace in your eyes
The desire of my soul is to be more like you
Come God, Dwell within me, Make me pure
Focus my eyes on what pleases You that I may be devoted to You
                                                                                               --Boi Ruakh.  ©2004 by Keren Seguin


HAFTARAH

*Isaiah 42:5-7“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it:  ‘I, YHVH, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.’”   

*Isaiah 43:1-3b“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk throu8gh the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

*Isaiah 43:5-7“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’  Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.’”

*Isaiah 43:10. ‘You are my witnesses,’ says the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.’”n most English Bibles—after the “numbering” in the census lists of Chs. 1 & 26.  The book describes key events taking place between Israel’s leaving Mount Sinai and her arrival at the borders of Canaan some 38 years later.
Martin & Norma
Martin & Norma Sarvis
Jerusalem

[The readings for next week (15-21 October) are called Noach— “Noah”TORAH: Genesis 6:9—11:32; HAFTARAH: Isaiah 54:1—55:5.   Since 21 October is Rosh Hodesh--the beginning of the Eighth Month (Cheshvan), some Synagogues will close with a reading from Isaiah 66:1-24.]

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