Shalom from Tel Aviv!
This month we are writing about signs, struggles, plagues and dangers that point to the End. Some have their principal significance in regards to Israel. Others directly affect the whole world.
All point to the final struggle between Good and Evil, between God's people and those who belong to the prince of this earth. We are admonished by Yeshua (Jesus) Himself to "be on the alert.” He spoke of wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes..."when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door." (Matthew 24:42,33) The prayers of God's people have enormous influence on local, national and world events. For that reason, we believe it is especially important for God's people to be acquainted with significant events. Here are some of our observations.
ORTHODOX JUDAISM VS REFORM JUDAISM IN ISRAEL
On December 2, 1986, Israel's High Court of Justice ruled that Shoshana Miller must be registered as a Jew. Why did her story make front page head lines in Israel for weeks? Because Miller had been converted to Judaism through a Reform Rabbi.
Orthodox Judaism's bitter enemies are Conservative and Reform Judaism, Christian missionaries, and most of all Messianic Jews, who like the Conservative and Reform branches of Judaism, do not accept Orthodoxy as their authority. Orthodox political leaders run a continuous battle against all of its' enemies. However, its' hatred of Messianic Judaism is so great that had they the power, they would close down every Messianic Jewish place of worship in the country. However, their ultimate dream is that no one will worship in Israel except in an Orthodox synagogue.
In fact, at the moment, there is a play called "The Last Secular Jew", which has been banned under pressure from Orthodox circles. The play takes place after "the next war", when the State of Israel has become the "Theocracy of Judea", in which those who do not conform to halacha (Orthodox religious law) are interrogated and tortured.
Obviously, those knowledgeable in the books of Daniel and Revelations can see a platform from which the false messiah could operate. In fact today many secular Jews are not only growing more alienated from Orthodox Judaism; they are genuinely frightened by its' implications. Two Israeli novels, The Road to Ein Harod by Amos Keinan, and Jeremiah's Inn by Binyamin Tamuz have recently dealt with the spectra of an Israel wholly in the grip of Orthodoxy.
Against this background, two years ago, as Israel’s rotating government (see our Newsletter of January 1987) was set up, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz was made Minister of Interior. He has been by all standards, the most fanatical of all our Interior Ministers. Among other things he, by administrative fiat, refused Israeli citizenship to all Jewish converts who were not converted by Orthodox Rabbis. The significance of all this is that this move gave him power to deny persons, considered Jewish by the vast majority of American Jewry, the right to immigrate to Israel.
Thus, Shoshana Miller’s victory at the High Court is a very important victory. In fact, when the court gave the verdict, Rabbi Peretz resigned, believing that such a move would force the government to enact a law against the High Court’s verdict. However, his ploy did not work, and Peretz is out. Fore the born-again Jews of Israel, this is a great victory, to see such an enemy of democracy and religious freedom removed from office.
The Jerusalem Post added in its’ December 3rd editorial, “But while this court decision does not signal the victory of Jewish religious pluralism in the Jewish State, a battle has already been won. And that too is something.”
God has promised to bring the Jewish people back to the land of Israel, especially those who are born again. (Deut. 30:1-6) It is His desire that the Gates of Israel be open to all Jews, and WE MUST PRAY against any man or group which tries to seize power to close these gates under any pretext.
MORDECAI VANUNU THE CHRISTIAN TRAITOR
First we had the shock of hearing that an Israeli, who had worked at the top secret Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, had betrayed his nation by selling nuclear weapons information to the London Sunday Times last October.
He had been known to be an outspoken leftist, and had moved in radical Arab circles. The son of an Orthodox family, he finally joined the Communist Party some years ago. He then resigned his job and left the county. But before doing so, he took two rolls of film with him, which he had secretly photographed at the nuclear center.
But then other parts of the story began to surface. His repugnance toward his nation and to his own Jewishness caused him to look for another life. He left for Australia, and there converted to Christianity via the King’s Cross Anglican Church in Sidney. Now the plot thickens.
At the church, Vanunu met a Colombian journalist named Oscar Guerrero, who persuaded him to expose Israel’s nuclear capacity. The London Sunday Times then paid his way to England to tell his story.
Shortly after that, he vanished in England. An Australian Anglican clergyman, who baptized Vanunu, flew into Israel looking for “his friend”. He said he believed Vanunu to have been abducted to Israel, and he had come to see if he could help him.
But it was only some weeks later that Israel finally released the information that they are holding Vanunu here in Israel, and that he will be imprisonment. How he got from London to Jerusalem, and whether or not his revelation that Israel has from 100 to 200 nuclear weapons is correct, will be the stuff of many an article.
However, there is another element of which the non-Israeli might not be aware. A much repeated equation in Jewish History is: Jew becomes Christian; Christian becomes traitor to his former Jewish people. Vanunu has repeated that equation. To add fuel to the fire, the Rev. McKnight who visited Israel searching for Vanunu, made sure that every Israeli in the country was aware that the missing man was indeed a convert to Christendom. He intimated therefore, that he had strong friends who were looking out for Vanunu’s welfare.
Even the liberal-minded comic strip writer Kirshen, printed a cartoon in the Jerusalem Post on October 29 which conveyed the sentiments of many Israelis. Two men are discussing the Vanunu case:
First man: "An Australian Clergyman is here... holding press conferences and searching for a missing Israeli."
Second man: "So?"
First man: "So isn't that unusual?"
Second man: "Not really, 'Christian' clergymen have a long history of trying to save Jews.. .once they've converted and betrayed their people. (last emphasis is ours)
So, Satan is alive and well. Once again, as he has done for 19 centuries, he would connect the name of Yeshua (Jesus) with a traitor to the Jewish people. So the reasoning goes, if you hate Israel, just become a follower of Jesus, a Christian...
PRAYER REQUEST: That somehow God will turn this around to show that there is a vast difference between one who converts to Christendom because of self hatred of his own Jewishness and one who is truly seeking God through the Jewish Messiah Yeshua. There is a vast difference between nominal Christianity and truly born again gentile Christians who love, pray for, and are willing to even be a servant to Israel.
We would add that if Israel does have such a nuclear arsenal - which we have heard hinted about for the last 19 years - then it is one more sign that we must work while it is yet day, for the night cometh. Pray for God to raise up laborers in Israel.
Actually, according to a report published by the Armament and Disarmament Information Unit at Sussex University the world is spending $1.8 million every minute for arms - for a total of $900 billion a year. The U.S. and the Soviet Union are the world's largest spenders, but Third World Countries have tripled their spending since 1969. The signs are here. Your work and our work is cut out before us.
JEWISH POPULATION IS DWINDLING
Another sign that the end is upon us: In 1939, there were 16.5 million Jews in the world. The number dropped to 10.4 after the Holocaust. By 1970, there were still only 10.4 million Jews in the world. The number has dropped by almost a million in 1985 (9.5 million). The forecast is that by the year 2000, 8 million will be left and in the year 2025, only 6 million. The figure was given by Prof. Yitzhak Warzawski, chairman of the Demography Committee which was appointed by the Executive of the World Zionist Organization.
The reasons for the dwindling Jewish population in the last 15 years are assimilation, the growing number of mixed marriages in which some Jews convert to other religions, and a lower birth rate than the general population.
The Jerusalem Post (Dec. 2) writes: The average Jewish family in the Diaspora has only 1.5 children. The minimum necessary to prevent population decline is 2.1. In Israel the average is 2.8. However, Israel has its own problems. For the second year in a row, more Jews are leaving than are coming to Israel. In 1985, 10,600 immigrants arrived in Israel, but 15,300 Israelis left for good. Israel now has a Jewish population of 3.55 million Jews and grew only by 1.5% this year, compared to 2% annual growth rate in the early 1980's. So, Israel's percentage growth is dwindling.
This is another sign of the soon coming of our Messiah. For Israel as a nation has a job to do and God said that His call upon Israel is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Furthermore, God Himself has said Israel will not cease to be a nation.
"If this fixed order (of the universe) departs from before Me, declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever." (Jeremiah 31:36)
Jewish born-again believers must be encouraged to immigrate to Israel. For really it is they, above every other Jew, who understands the reason for being Jewish - to be a light to the gentile nations and fulfill this crucial part of her calling. (Isaiah 49:1-5)
AIDS RACES ACROSS AFRICA
AIDS has the greatest potential for apocalypse of any disease this century. The figures in the U.S. are well known: 1) 15,000 Americans have died, 2) 11,500 are under assault, 3) 1 to 2 million carry the virus, vulnerable at any time to a final all-out attack. 4) In 5 years, about 145,000 dying Americans will need health care and other services costing between $8 and $16 billion annually, according to U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. 5) With all the enormous research being carried out worldwide, Dr. Koop says for now "there is no cure for AIDS. (Time, Nov. 3, 1986)
And now comes the news from Africa. The disease, brewed in hell itself, is violently galloping across Africa so fast and so ferociously that it boggles the imagination.
It is estimated by leading AIDS researchers (Newsweek, Dec. 1) that several hundred thousand Africans are now carrying the disease. Perhaps up to 1 1/2 million Africans will be dead from AIDS in the next 10 years - not to mention the continued multiplied transmission of the disease, which is a certainty. Dr. Francis Barin of the Bretonnean Hospital in Tours, France, a leading student of AIDS in Central Africa says, "We risk an apocalypse".
"We're running scared," said WHO chief Dr. Halfdan Mahler. "I cannot imagine a worse health problem in this century." WHO officials acknowledged that they were slow to recognize the worldwide dangers posed by AIDS. "Everything is getting worse and worse in AIDS and all of us have been underestimating it - and I in particular," Mahler told the New York Times.
Most African countries have tried to cover up the fact that AIDS exists in their country. For example, one British projection recently indicated that within the next 10 years, Zambia will have a million AIDS carriers. Zambia responded to this data by deporting two British AIDS researchers.
The afflicted government’s fear of publicity is understandable: The merest whisper of an AIDS panic would discourage tourism and investment. And what can a government do about it?
In Africa, as many women as men are infected and the disease is being passed mainly by heterosexuals, not just homosexuals. In the capital of Zaire, Kinshasa, in the major hospital, one out of every seven babies is born with AIDS.
But, those who love God's Word and follow Him cannot help but note that most of those who contact AIDS (except, for example, those tragically innocent victims such as have received blood transfusions or who receive it from their spouse or in birth) have done so through an act of sin through homosexuality, fornication, or narcotics.
For example, in Tanzania, the hamlet of Kashenye has lost 60 people to AIDS. The regional medical office, Dr. Jairo Kidenya said that Kashenye, a smuggler entrepot "was like Sodom and Gomorrah...there were wild parties, orgies." Case-control studies show that Africans with AIDS had an average of 32 sex partners, compared with three partners for uninfected Africans.
"...And they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory." (Revelation 16:9)
It is a signal for those who are watching that the end is near. God's wrath concerning the evil in this world will only be appeased by judgment. God's advice to his people is to stay clean of sin and under His protection.
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 'Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues;'" (Revelation 18:4)
NEWSWEEK DIAGNOSIS GIVES LITTLE HOPE
"The last thing Africa needed", observes Barin, the French researcher "was AIDS. The last thing anyone needs to ignore is the dimensions of this 20th century plague and its implications for the future. Already in much of Africa, no one is completely safe. Even allowing for disparities between cultures, that may soon be true in much of the rest of the world, too." (December 1, 1986)
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for the mightiest outpouring of the Spirit of God on Africa that the world has ever known. That whole nations will be pulled away from the yawning mouth of hell. There is only one answer for Africa. The God Who Sent His Son...that the world might not perish…
SEMINAR ON INTERCESSORY PRAYER
Dr. Mike Brown and wife Nancy, from Long Island, just completed a five session seminar for our congregation in Ramat HaSharon. A Messianic Jew and a scholar in semetic languages, God has granted Mike mighty gifts and an annointed message for Israel. Mike electrified our congregation with the strongest challenge to spiritual warfare through intercessory prayer for Israel, than we have ever been confronted with. Our congregation is a praying group, and so the challenge was accepted with great intensity.
We feel that these messages are vital for those who are called to intercessory prayer and especially for Israel. Therefore, we are making them available in the U.S. and Canada or elsewhere for those of you who wish them. The tapes have Dr. Brown's message in English with a Hebrew translation.
And remember, as we have said in the past, whether we speak of financial needs or not, we need your faithful monthly support. We are working steadily day in and day out, seeing more Israelis come into the Kingdom of God than ever before.
It is you who makes our work possible, and who makes expansion possible. We look to the Lord and He looks to His Body to work together for His Return, when the Full Number has come into the Kingdom of God. (Romans 12:25,26)
May your reward be mighty in the World to Come! He is Faithful, and He will perform it!
For the Lost Sheep of Israel,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram