God is moving …
Have you heard that Israeli leaders are urging Jews to read through the entire Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter? Amazing, but true. Here’s the latest.
(Central Israel) — You probably haven’t heard this in the mainstream media, but Israel’s most senior leaders are urging the Jewish people to read through the Bible, the whole Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter.
Can you imagine President Obama or any other U.S. leader calling on American people to read through the Bible? Neither can I.
Given the general trend here in Israel towards secularization, this is quite a surprising yet thoroughly encouraging development. I’m sure many of you are skeptical, but it really is true. Here’s the latest.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off the new school year here by encouraging children to rediscover the Word of God and Biblical roots of their Jewish heritage.
“First of all, the study of the Bible,” he said in August. “Knowledge is a critical word. We want to give it [knowledge of the Scriptures] to every child in Israel, Jews and non-Jews as one, religious and secular. This is the basis of the new world, and the basis of Israel as a strong nation in the world.”
Last week, the prime minister and his wife, Sara, hosted another in a series of occasional Bible study groups at their official residence. They discussed — among other things — the Biblical connection Jews have to the Temple Mount, despite a recent U.N. vote denying Jews have any such connection.
The Netanyahus organized their first home Bible study group in December 2011, as I reported at the time. In so doing, they carried on a tradition first begun by David Ben Gurion and later by Menachem Begin but rarely repeated by other Israeli premiers. Their stated goal was to set an example for the nation and to “perpetuate a love of the Bible.” [See here and here for coverage of other Bible studies they have held.]
Meanwhile, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and several government officials have launched something they call the “929 Initiative.”
This is a wonderful and worthy effort to encourage all Israelis — even the most secular and non-religious among us — to read one chapter of the Jewish Scriptures a day, every day, until they have read all 929 chapters.
Rivlin and his colleagues kicked off the $12 million initiative in December 2014. Since then, they have been encouraging Israelis to continue reading verse by verse, chapter by chapter through the full Hebrew Bible or “Tanakh” until everyone finishes together in the summer of 2018 for the 70th anniversary of the prophetic rebirth of the Jewish State.
There is a pretty impressive and sophisticated website dedicated to the project, with Israelis of all kinds, from a wide variety of backgrounds, writing articles on what they think about the Bible verses they are reading. There is also an app that helps Israelis remember what chapter they’re supposed to read each day and help them mark their progress.
Here are several article about the initiative. I commend them to your attention.
- National Bible project launched — “New program aims to make Book of Books accessible to wide parts of Israeli society through daily reading of biblical versus in country’s different communities and sectors.” (Ynet News, December 28, 2014)
- Crack open your Bible: 929 day study project begins in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post, December 18, 2014)
- Left and Right, Secular and Religious, Brought Together by Bible Study — “Israelis from across the political and religious spectrum join a national conversation about the Tanakh, on the website 929” (Tablet Magazine, January 9, 2015)
I especially wanted to bring this all to your attention as we celebrate Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles (aka, “Feast of Booths”). Why? Because in the Torah, Moses commanded the people to read through all the Scriptures in their entirety every seven years. Sadly, this is a commandment many if not most of my fellow Jews have forgotten, or never were aware of in the first place.
10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and [a]the alien who is in your [b]town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)
Some of my favorite stories in the Bible are when King Josiah called the nation of Judah together to hear the Word of the Lord read to them in its entirety, and when Ezra and the priests read the entire Bible to the nation of Israel after their return to the Land from Babylonian and Persian captivity.
Several years ago, we organized an Epicenter conference with the theme, “The Power of The Word.” Several of the speakers taught on this largely forgotten history of Jewish leaders calling the nation back to the Scriptures — if you’re interested in watching the videos of those and other messages, please click here.
I’m grateful to Netanyahu and Rivlin and to the other Israeli leaders who are calling our people back to reading the Bible cover to cover. Will you join me in praying that more Jews (and Gentiles) heed their call? Thanks so much, and Chag Same’ach — happy holidays from Israel!
By Zach Vogel
October 24, 2017
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft organized a trip earlier this year in which 18 NFL Hall of Famers traveled to the Holy Land in Israel on a spiritual journey.
Some of the game’s all-time greats in Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Joe Greene, Cris Carter, Andre Green, John Stallworth, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Dave Casper, Jerome Bettis, Ron Yary, Lem Barney, Willie Lanier, Mike Singletary, Andre Trippett and Bruce Smith all made the trip.
The trip to Israel was highlighted by some of the players being baptized in the Jordan River, the same river that Jesus was baptized in, according to the Bible.
According to Sports Spectrum, the baptisms were helped along by former Arizona Cardinals star Aeneas Williams. Williams serves as a pastor at The Spirit Church in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Baptism is an outward sign of what has already happened on the inside of us,” Williams said. “Getting in the water, literally, your sins have been washed away and when you come up, it is symbolically a new person. The old person has been buried. We rejoice in the Lord. Hallelujah.”
“Having them being baptized, it’s the greatest thing in their life,” Kraft told NFL Films reporter Katie Nolan. “The people here impact America and can be positive role models, so if they’re happy and they’re spiritual and doing good things, I mean, they’re great guys.”
The players baptized included Steelers legends “Mean” Joe Greene and Jerome Bettis, Vikings legend Cris Carter, and Bills legends Bruce Smith and Andre Reed.
* * *
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it, he hid it again,
and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
(Matthew 13:44, NIV)
Messianic Soldiers In The Israeli Army: Bolder Than Ever About Their Faith
By Kehila News Israel March 07, 2016
Read the entire article at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=172#rMRSOAXXbZHoBXJR.99
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known,
to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and all are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate his righteousness,
because in his forbearance
he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.“
(Romans 3:21-26, NIV)
Evangelist Franklin Graham visited the city of Qaraqosh in Iraq during the Easter weekend and discovered something amazing when he rummaged through the ruins of a church that was burned down by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Qaraqosh used to be the home of some 50,000 Christians before ISIS took over in 2014, forcing them to evacuate. Graham wrote on his Facebook page that now, just a handful — about seven families — remain in the city.
“I visited a church that had been burned and destroyed by ISIS and met with the pastor. Incredibly, in the ashes and debris, we discovered one of our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that had been given to a child there at some point. I couldn’t help but wonder where the child who received this box is today,” he shared.
The evangelist said that his heart goes out to the pastors in that region, because most of their congregations are now dispersed all over the world due to religious persecution.
“As shepherds they want to be able to help their flocks. They want to be able to care for them and protect them, but until there’s a political settlement there’s no way this is going to happen,” he said, adding that people should pray for these pastors.
Graham also revealed that he found charred pages from a Bible in one of the ruined churches. When he picked it up, he read the verse John 20:27, which reads: “Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.'”
Graham spent Easter Sunday with believers in Iraq, sharing God’s hope with members of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Erbil. He said he was told by some members of the congregation that ISIS militants were forced to leave their homes because of ISIS.
“In spite of the tremendous difficulties, they have hope in Jesus Christ,” said Graham. “I told them, ‘Today we celebrate Easter, when our Lord rose from the grave. He is alive — He is not dead. He’s alive, and the only hope in this world is for God to change hearts, and the only way hearts can be changed is through Jesus Christ.'”
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” — Jesus (Matthew 24:9-14, NIV)