“Eastern world, it is exploding, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’…” And so starts a song that is one of my personal favorites. It tells of a world falling apart and on the brink of nuclear war; a war which would destroy life as we know it.
The lyrics speak of of the racism, hatred, and intolerance that tears our society apart. Most of all, it expresses the fear we all feel of what is about to happen to our world… Truly a song for our times, don’t you think? A day doesn’t go by without us hearing about yet another tragedy. Wars, natural disasters (of every type imaginable), an economic collapse and the disintegration of our society and its values – and it’s all there in this one song.
Is there anything that we’re not worried about? If it’s not some rumor of an asteroid hitting, resulting in horrific tsunamis (East Coast) then it’s an earthquake (or two!), resulting in tsunamis destroying Washington and Oregon, or a perennial disaster favorite – California, falling into the sea. Is it animals supposedly fleeing Yellowstone Park? Maybe it’s tied in with fears of a One World Order, one currency for North America or the latest rumors of United Nations troops hiding in the U.S. preparing to take away guns from American citizens
Is it because the Shmitta (7th year Sabbatical year when the ground in Israel is commanded to be left fallow) ended this Rosh Hashana (Yom Teruah) – the New Year? Is it because, once again, on Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) blood red moons appeared? To many, that is a truly ominous sign… This song could almost be the anthem of our days, the topics seemingly ripped from today’s headlines. However, though – this song, “Eve of Destruction,” comes from 1965; not 2015.
It was written by Barry McGuire in July, 1965 and dealt with the burning issues of the time – all the fear and the challenges of a
world facing destruction. Well, it’s now fifty years later and we’re still facing those same issues, although people seem to think that this time it’s totally unique.
How should a person of faith view today’s news and the anxiety of their family and friends? People are staring up at the sky, looking for blood red moons, asteroids and other celestial bodies. But, how does the God of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) view all of this? Should we be focused on the heavens and be looking for signs to guide out daily behavior? Our beloved Avinu Sh’bashamayim (Father in Heaven) cautions us specifically, through his prophet: “ Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel: thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them…” Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 10: 1-2
Although this seems like a pretty clear warning to me, there are those who count themselves among the children of Israel today who are filled with panic. Instead of focusing on the way we should be living our lives, based upon our faith in God, Himself, we become focused instead on the latest conspiracy theory…Instead of living a life filled with Emuna (faith) in our God, we instead quake at the all the rumors that people keep shoveling in our direction. We really need to begin asking ourselves – do we believe in a God that can deliver upon his promises, or one that can not? For those reading this article, I think you’ll agree with me – we believe He can do anything, and will live up to those promises He has made. And He repeatedly urges us (throughout Scripture) to return to Him and to the path he has set out for us.
Instead, the path people seem to be seeking leads them to the mountains, swamps, deserted areas, anywhere they can escape from the people who should be the ones comprising their communities. Communities where children will be raised to be loyal to the One Living God and where, as a community, people can begin growing in knowledge of HaShem’s (God’s) path – the one He has directed us to follow. But, shouldn’t we be scared, shouldn’t we begin running away, you’re asked? Tehillim (Psalms) 27:5 tells us, “For in the day of evil He shall hide me in His pavilion.”
Yes, we should always be prepared for any kind of disaster – several days of bottled water, food a first aid kit, etc. But, do we think that the Lord brought us to this point, drew us into His understanding to let us be swept away in some catastrophe that he will allow to be visited upon this planet? “Were it not that I believed I should see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living…” Tehillim 27:14 We ARE a people of emuna/faith, we must believe in the promises that He has made.
And we are assured that this emuna/faith will be rewarded. We are told NOT to fear: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: For the Lord your God, He it is that goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31:6
And not only not to fear, but to trust in Him, and it’s repeated: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Yehoshua (Joshua) 1:9
The only instance in the entire Tanach (Hebrew Bible, what some still mistakenly refer to as, the “Old Testament”) when HaShem promises to do something with ALL of His heart and might is to restore His people. “…And I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will truly plant them in this land with My whole heart and with My whole soul.” Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 32:41 More than one hundred references speak of the restoration of ALL of Israel, a promise that is consistent throughout Scripture and is undeniable.
“I will surely assemble, O Yaakov (Jacob), all of you; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.” Micah 2:12
“And I will strengthen the house of Yehuda (Judah), and I will save the house of Yosef (Joseph).” Zechariah 10:6
“Fear not: for I am with you; for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather them from the west; I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth…” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 43:5-6
It doesn’t matter how it is that you feel you’re connected with the people of Israel – whether you are part of either the House of Yehuda (Judah) or the House of Ephraim (Joseph) or the “companions” of both houses, spoken about in Yehezel (Ezekiel) chapter 37. Or, if you feel you are ‘spiritually’ connected to the people of Israel (spiritual DNA?) or believe you are “grafted” into the people, these promises apply to all of us…
“Thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will save My people from the east country, and from the west country…” Zechariah 8:8
“…I will sift the house of Yisrael (Israel) among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:9 When He is ready to call us home, He will not forget us; any of us…and, that process of return has already begun.
And there is no clearer proof of this promised restoration of His people then in the rebirth of the Modern State of Israel. “Therefore say, Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel.” Yehezkel (Ezekiel) 11:17 And indeed, as improbable as it seemed, particularly coming after the Shoah (Holocaust). “Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born in one moment?” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 66:8
No where else in the entire world is there a nation that has the same name, speaks the same language, has the same faith and lives in the same land as it did 3,000 years ago – ONLY in Israel… As Jewish people from all over the world have begun to return home, it has raised hopes and expectations all over the world among those who love Israel and long to be connected to it. “‘But days are coming, says the Lord, when it shall no more be said, As the Lord lives, that brought brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt; but, as the Lord lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands into which He had exiled them: And I will bring them back to their land that I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:14-15
“‘And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries into which I have driven them, and will bring them back to their folds; and they will be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them: and they will fear no more and not be dismayed, neither will any be lacking says the Lord.”
Behold days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise a David , a righteous offshoot, and he will reign as king and prosper, and will execute justice and righteousness in the earth. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely.
Behold days are coming, says the Lord, when they will no more say, As the Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but as the Lord lives, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel, out of the north country and from all the countries into which I have driven them and they will dwell in their own land.” Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 23:3-8
Do we believe in a God that fulfills His promises, or not?
We in Israel get to see Biblical prophecy being fulfilled on a daily basis – the wasteland that had been Israel (as described so eloquently by Mark Twain who visited the Land of Israel in 1867) has been transformed into a gorgeous, vibrant Land, blossoming with produce of all kinds. Just as He had promised it would, once His children began returning HOME. When you taste Gold Medal award winning Israeli wine, or date honey (the original honey of the Bible) you truly begin to actually taste the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy!
“This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Old men and old women will yet again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem and every man with his staff in his hand. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets. ” Zechariah 8:4-5
Come to Israel, and you can see this with your own eyes!
This is not the first time that people of faith have been put to the test, as the world we know seems to be teetering on the edge. This is not a time for running and hiding, but rather for building up, a time for planting not uprooting a time for embracing not for shunning. A time for faith, not fear…faith in our God and His promises.
It is a time for us to return to Him and to His path; to connect even deeper with His Chosen Land – Israel and all of it’s people. It is a time to visit Israel, buy Israeli products, support Israel in every way you can and continue to build and strengthen your communities. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him; and He will bring it to pass.” Tehillim (Psalms) 37:5
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