Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD
Matt. 24:6 And ye shall hear of WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Matt. 24:7FOR NATION SHALL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time answer our questions. I was reading Luke 11:29-30. It is the passage where the crowds asked Jesus for a sign, but answering them, Jesus said that no sign would be given them except the sign of Jonah. I’m a little baffled as to why Jesus would phrase it this way since He’d been doing miracles left and right all this time. Weren’t those signs as well?
ANSWER: Yes those other miracles were signs and that was the point. No matter how many signs He gave them, they were always asking for more. This time He warned them that even pagans had seen God’s greatness in the signs He had sent them and had repented. Pagans had no Scriptures with which to confirm these signs like Israel did, they accepted them on faith and responded. They would be prosecution witnesses at Israel’s judgment.
QUESTION: When the Pharisees asked for a sign, the Lord Jesus said in Matthew:
12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 12:40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Why then the scribes and Pharisees did not say anything about what the Lord said?
I mean, did they understand that the Lord will die and come back after 3 days?
Did they not know that Jonah died inside the belly of fish and was raised back?
ANSWER: The Scribes and Pharisees were highly trained and knowledgeable students of the Bible. That was not the problem. The problem was that they considered Jesus to be just a man, and an uneducated one at that. Although He had fulfilled some of the prophecies about the Messiah, He hadn’t fulfilled any of the ones they were looking for.
He wasn’t a powerful King with a great army that would defeat the Romans and make them free again. He wasn’t from a prominent family. Almost none of the experts of the day confirmed His Messianic claims. His followers were largely poor, ignorant common folk who would never amount to anything.
But after His Resurrection they remembered His promise and changed their minds about Him. Of the 3000 who became Christians on the Day of Pentecost, many were Pharisees.
QUESTION:“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed.”Matthew 16:4. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.” Luke 11:30.
Can you give me an explanation of what exactly is the Sign of Jonah?
ANSWER: Jesus explained this in more detail in Matt. 12:38-42. Even after documented evidence of countless miracles, some Pharisees asked Jesus for a miraculous sign to prove He was who He claimed to be.
The sign of Jonah meant that He would spend three days and three nights in the tomb to support His claim, just as Jonah had spent that amount of time in the whale. The tragedy of this was that because of their unbelief, the religious leaders would only know for sure that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah after they had put Him to death. And although the Lord tarried on Earth for 40 days after fulfilling His promise of the sign of Jonah, they still refused to accept it.
2Chr. 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
2Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land
Up until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks with President Vladimir Putin Moscow on Wednesday Nov. 11, Israel made clear in every way possible – diplomatic and military – its resolve to prevent Iran and its proxies from establishing a presence in Syria.
The resolve to remove Iran, Hizballah and the other Shiite militias under Revolutionary Guards command was emphasized for the umpteenth time on Tuesday, before Putin’s special emissaries. His special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin arrived in Jerusalem for another try to shift Netanyahu from his all-or-nothing stance on Iran. With them was a large Russian delegation of security and military officials from the Operations Division of the Russian General Staff and intelligence units specializing in Syrian affairs. The prime minister complained about lack of trust after Putin’s repeated violations of his promises to Israel regarding Syria.
But the biggest problem still be confronted is Iran’s intransigent determination to stay in Syria which is equal to Israel’s determination to drive this arch enemy off its Syrian doorstep. This impasse was amply illustrated on Sunday.
Israel insisted on keeping up its military attacks on Iranian command posts and depots filled with new weapons constantly flown in to Syria, while deterred Hizballah and Iraqi, Afghan and Shiite militias were undeterred from advancing on Israel’s borders, even in Syrian army uniforms. This week they are shortening the distance to their goal day by day. Putin can’t, or won’t, push the Iranians out of Syria to meet Netanyahu’s demand. Without the Iranian militias, the crumbling Syrian army is no shape for conducting substantial ground operations to recover all the areas still in rebel hands. The Iranian proxy input was pivotal in the battles two months ago around Damascus and now, too, in the ongoing Syrian offensives in the southwest.
And so, while Putin gave US President Donald Trump and the Israeli prime minister solemn promises to keep pro-Iranian forces out of the operations going forward in the south, at the same time, he deployed the Russian air force in their support for bombing rebel positions.
Netanyahu is meeting Putin Wednesday for the third time in six months. At each meeting, he was forced back into concessions to pay for Russia turning a blind eye to Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria. The prime minister first agreed to Iran and its proxies holding back in positions that were 80km from Israel’s border; he then agreed to 40km and now Israel is clinging to the 1974 Separation of Forces accord signed with Syria at the end of the Yom Kippur War. This is tantamount to permission for the Syrian army and its (Iranian) allies to move up to 10km from the border and in some places only a few dozen meters from the Israeli Golan and Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) basin. But even that Israeli concession is being whittled down. Tuesday night, the Russian UN mission led an Iranian and Syrian bid to curtail the authority of UNDOF, the international force monitoring the demilitarized zone marked out in the 1974 treaty. Once again, the Russians are two-timing Israel to protect Iran’s presence in Syria. Until now, the IDF did not step in to arrest the serious slide in Israel’s strategic position vis a vis Iran’s menacing proximity to its northern border. It also silenced operations in the run-up to the prime minister’s meeting with Putin.
But the price for Russia’s blind eye to Israel air strikes against Iranian targets has become excessive. Time has run out for deliberating whether this price was worthwhile or an inquiry into the failure of Israel’s often lethal air operations to break Iran’s resolve. Hizballah and other Iranian cohorts are too close for Israel to indulge in soul-searching. Netanyahu’s critical conversation with Putin on Wednesday is the last one before Jerusalem decides whether to go to war in Syria against Iran, Hizballah and the militias.
Putin is not keen on another war front developing in Syria, but neither is he willing to throw the Iranians out. President Trump too is deeply reluctant to engage in any further military combat in Syria. So it is now up to Israel alone to make and carry through this fateful decision.
A reinforced deployment of tanks and heavy guns is parked along Israel’s frontier with Syria as the civil war that transformed the balance of power in the Middle East appears headed into its final stretch.
The fighting in Syria has come full circle as its army sets its sights on retaking Daraa province, where the regime’s brutal reaction to anti-government graffiti on a school wall sparked the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The offensive against one of the last two major opposition strongholds has brought Syrian forces close to the Israeli-held section of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
As the thud of shells echoes across what has for decades dependably been Israel’s quietest frontier, fears of new conflicts have risen.
Iran, whose forces helped to propel Assad to the brink of total victory, has a presence on the doorstep of archenemy Israel.
With the U.S. on the sidelines, only Russia has the clout to prevent the Israeli military from being drawn deeper into what remains of Syria’s war.
“None of us here is foolish enough to believe things will just go back to the way they were,” said Qasem Sabagh, a member of the Golan Druze community that came under Israeli control, as he looked out at a United Nations post where Syrian relatives once came to shout greetings through a loudspeaker. “The entire world wants a piece of Syria—Iran, the U.S., Israel, Russia.”
It was Russia’s military intervention in Syria in September 2015 that turned the course of the war in Assad’s favor. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to Russia on Wednesday for the eighth time since it entered the conflict. He’s said he’ll press for Iran’s ejection from Syria and demand that Syria “strictly” uphold the 1974 disengagement accord that set out a buffer zone.
Read more: Netanyahu to Discuss Syria Red Lines in Meeting with Putin
Both objectives are complicated, and if they’re not achieved, the Middle East could see the first head-to-head war between regional powers since Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Several confrontations have taken place in the past few days. Over the weekend, a mortar shell from Syria exploded in the buffer zone, provoking Israeli artillery fire. Syria accused Israel of attacking the T-4 airbase used by the Syrian air force and Iran’s Quds Force. And Wednesday, the Israeli military, without giving further details, said its missile defenses shot down a drone that infiltrated Israel’s airspace from Syria.
There will be limits to how far Putin will press Iran, and his strategy is to find a middle ground between the conflicting interests of major players, said Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group that advises the Kremlin.
The Russian leader may agree to keep letting Israel bomb Iranian convoys transporting advanced weapons to Hezbollah while allowing Iran to maintain a route for arms supplies to Hezbollah that would stretch from Iran through Syria to Lebanon, he said.
Iranians are deeply embedded in the Syrian security forces, and if they “stay in large numbers, the potential for greater conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria will remain high,” added Ford, now a senior fellow with the Middle East Institute.
Iran, some analysts said, is playing a long game. It’s sitting out the campaign in southern Syria, deeming it less risky to let Assad’s troops win back territory near the Israeli-held section of the Golan, said Omar Lamrani, senior military analyst at Stratfor, a Texas-based advisory firm.
“This is the Iranians themselves accepting that for the sake of the success of the offensive, it’s better they sit it out,” Lamrani said.
Then, at a time of their choosing, they can try to penetrate the border area, said Ehud Yaari, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported late Wednesday that Syrian air defenses had responded to an Israeli attack on the Quneitra Province in southwestern Syria.
“The aircraft of the Israeli enemy fired several missiles in the direction of some army positions,” SANA quoted the military source as saying. The report indicated the targets were Syrian army posts near the towns of Hadar and Juba. SANA said Syrian air defense blocked some of the strikes and that only material damage had resulted from the attack.
Reports also surfaced of heavy IDF activity over Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Israel Defense Forces later admitted to having fired missiles into Syria’s southwestern Quneitra province.
“The IDF attacked three Syrian army positions in response to an intrusion by a Syrian UAV that was intercepted earlier on Wednesday,” the military said in a press release.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that he did not have intentions to help overthrow Assad’s government, but wants what he called Iranian forces to depart war-torn Syria, Channel News Asia reported, citing an Israeli official.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 70 reporters and media workers are currently trapped in the Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Daraa after being caught between forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the closed off borders of Israel and Jordan.
The whole “privilege” narrative these days is somewhat alarming. It was once explained to me that a man walking through a crowded room could go from one end to another and people would move out of his way. If a woman, however, tried to do that, people wouldn’t move out of the way. This was labeled an example of male privilege-essentially blaming a lack of common courtesy by those in the room on a man who knew how to move through a crowd. This doesn’t set well with my spirit. In this example, a sociological term is assigned to convince others that their right of equality is being violated. It made me think a bit. What is God’s order and what does that mean to a people?
In a fallen world, one that would deny God, those who are the deniers and the deceived are always trying to cause separation from God. They are attempting to use their intellect to pit people against people using esoteric ideas and expressions that cause confusion and division. There is a God-given order for those who believe. And, while believers are not perfect in its implementation, God’s order is intrinsically balanced and, at the same time, liberty-oriented. It protects both male and female. As Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Privilege, in the sense of those who use it to try to ascribe some sort of guilt or wrongdoing on people, may be better defined as a human condition of entitlement. Those who use the term are often guilty of envy, blame, and strife, wanting to assign a reason to paint an entire group of people with the same brush to justify their own prejudices-or their agenda. This way of thinking is not healthy, but then what can be healthy if it goes against God’s order? A society that continuously attacks men and confuses masculinity with labels like “privilege” will eventually reduce itself to a population of base, leaderless, godless sleepwalkers controlled by the very ones who are pointing the finger of privilege. That is their agenda.
There is a Godly order. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.”This is not about man-assigned privilege. It is divine order. With that comes responsibility. Ephesians 5:33 says, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she honors her husband.” Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Verse 6:4 says, “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” You see, if the world followed God’s order, it would be considered an honorable privilege to be a man. And men need to be men-as defined by God, not by men.
‘The numbers just don’t stack up,’ one cabinet minister wearily declared to me on Monday night. This is, perhaps, the single most important fact in British politics today: Theresa May does not currently have the votes to pass her Brexit plan even if she could get the European Union to accept it.
Boris Johnson and David Davis’s resignations mean that it won’t just be Jacob Rees-Mogg and a dozen ultras voting against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, but a far larger group. Further proof of this came on Tuesday, when two of the party’s vice-chairs — Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield — resigned so that they could oppose the deal. Tellingly, neither one would have been on anyone’s list of Brexit obsessives. When I asked a Remain–voting cabinet minister where things will now end up, he predicted that there would be ‘60-odd voting against’ Mrs May’s compromise, ‘and you can’t make up for that with pragmatic Labour MPs’.
Boris Johnson’s resignation letter was free of classical analogies. But one would have been appropriate. For what Mrs May appears to have won is a Pyrrhic victory. She has got the cabinet to agree a common position that looks like it will open the door to negotiations with the EU. But the price she has paid for this success will result in so many Tory MPs voting against the deal that it is difficult to see how it can pass.
Part of the problem for Mrs May is that many Tory Eurosceptics think that if her deal is defeated, Britain will simply default to leaving the EU without a deal. They see the choice as being between Mrs May’s deal and leaving without a deal and trading on World Trade Organisation terms. Indeed, one of the things that led to Boris Johnson’s resignation was his conclusion that no deal would actually be preferable to the Chequers plan. As this group are quick to tell you, the House of Commons has already paved the way for a no-deal Brexit by voting to trigger Article 50 and start the two-year process of formally leaving the EU.
This is technically true. But it misses the political realities of the situation. Barely one in ten MPs supports the idea of a no-deal Brexit, and it is certain that the House of Commons would try to foist another solution upon the government. However chaotic the process, an alternative would be found.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The first question to ask is whether Mrs May will survive as Prime Minister until Brexit Day, 29 March 2019. May loyalists are bullish about her prospects. They point out that she has weathered the departure of two of her most senior cabinet ministers with remarkable sangfroid. They also say, rightly, that there have been remarkably few people agitating for a leadership election.
At the moment Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the European Research Group, the key lobby of Brexiteer Tory MPs, keeps saying he wants to change the policy, not the Prime Minister. But it’s increasingly clear that you can’t do one without the other. As one cabinet minister tells me, ‘she desperately wants a deal’ and she regards the Chequers plan as a crucial step towards that. Those around May know that if she abandoned this plan, she would lose face at home and all credibility in Brussels.
But even if Brexiteer Tories decided to try to remove Mrs May, they wouldn’t succeed. They probably do have the numbers to get the 48 letters which would force a vote of confidence, but they definitely don’t have the 159 votes they’d need to win it. Matters are further complicated by the fact that if Mrs May won a vote of confidence, she couldn’t be challenged for another year. Interestingly, one of those closest to Mrs May believes that a confidence vote might, in fact, benefit her, as she would win it comfortably and then have a year without the threat of another one, giving her a freer hand in the Brexit negotiations. Her critics agree. As one cabinet member puts it, ‘If an attempt is botched, she’ll be in the constitutionally unprecedented situation of being a prime minister who cannot be removed by her party.’
Some Brexiteer Tories think it best to wait until September to dislodge her. Their logic is that the EU will be asking for further concessions by then and they calculate that Mrs May will oblige. If she caves on the two issues that the voters care about most keenly — money and migration — then a confidence vote could finish her off. But others argue that by September it will all be too late. They contend that a new prime minister, installed now, would have a chance of getting Britain ready to leave the EU without a deal by March next year. Wait until the autumn and Britain will be forced to take whatever the EU offers.
When I wrote The Late Great Planet Earth, I included a section titled, “Do We Really Live and Learn?”
In some areas, we clearly do. A farmer tries a new technique. Even if it doesn’t work, he has learned something useful. Learning from mistakes is one of the reasons fewer and fewer farmers feed more and more people. It’s true of any successful scientific endeavor.
Sometimes we over learn. A man drives down a quiet street and suddenly gets caught in a traffic jam. He determines never to drive down that street again. Later, his wife points out that there was a wreck on that street that day, and that it’s usually quiet. But the man refuses to ever try that street again. He has over learned.
In other areas, humanity does not learn. We’re like a famous 1950s TV character – Beaver Cleaver. Many years ago, the TV Land network ran a commercial for “Leave It to Beaver” that nicely sums up the problem. “Why doesn’t the Beaver ever learn his lesson?” the ad asked. “He is often taught his lesson. He promises to remember his lesson. But the next day he has forgotten his lesson. Is he deliberately ignoring his lesson? Not exactly.”
The ad then showed a still close-up of Beaver’s face. A graphic was added to the forehead area. It seems to show a vast empty space inside Beaver’s skull. A small brain is depicted at the top of the empty space. The word “Lesson” is shown entering the head through one of Beaver’s ears, then bouncing around in the almost empty chamber. The announcer says, “New evidence suggests that Beaver’s lesson enters one ear, floats around his head a few seconds without any contact with his brain, then floats out the other ear.” We then see the word “Lesson” floating out the opposite ear.
Too often, that’s us – that’s humanity. And it’s not just on little things, but big issues like conflict and morality. We don’t learn the lessons of past mistakes. Those lessons just float in one ear, and out the other. We keep making the same mistakes.
War makes a great example. History tells us to avoid war if we possibly can. But too many nations are quick to the trigger. History also teaches that you cannot avoid war by ignoring the possibility of it. In fact, ignoring war seems to encourage it. But nations forget that, too.
General Douglas MacArthur said, “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace… military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative.”
Or does it?
Humanity has a long history of eventually using every weapon it invents. And today’s weapons are devastating. That’s true even of non-nuclear weapons, but the nukes are the worst. In just the last year, several nations openly spoke of using nuclear weapons preemptively.
It is by the grace of God that we have not yet experienced a full blown nuclear war. Since the 1950s, we know of dozens of instances when humanity was within minutes of an all-out nuclear exchange. But information on nuclear devices is highly classified by the nations that have them, or plan to have them. So, we only know some of the near misses.
The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 is the most famous close call of the nuclear era. But there have been others. For instance, in 1979, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, received a call from NORAD headquarters. Their news was unthinkable. They said the Soviet Union had just launched 250 intercontinental ballistic missiles and they were on a trajectory for the United States. They said the time window in which we could respond was 3 to 7 minutes. Then new information came in, raising the number of incoming missiles to 2,200.
In seconds, the US prepared for a full nuclear response. Nuclear bombers prepared for takeoff. ICBM crews prepared to launch missiles. Fingers hovered near fire-buttons. But US officials held back, waiting for satellite data to confirm the attack. Six minutes later, NORAD realized it had all been a computer-generated illusion. A technician had inadvertently loaded a training program into an operational computer. The program simulated a massive Soviet attack.
There are many such stories. The world is still intact – but not because human systems are so efficient, or because human beings are so good. The world is still intact because God is so good. In situation after situation, we see that the hand of God stayed the hand of man.
But it won’t always be so. Before one of the major judgments of God on humanity, the flood of Noah, the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.” (Genesis 6:3NASB)
2 Thessalonians 2 tells about Antichrist and the coming culmination of lawlessness in the world. Verse 7says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”
“He who now restrains” is the Holy Spirit working through God’s people, the Church. At the Rapture, the Church will be taken out of this world and the Holy Spirit’s ministry of restraining lawlessness will end. As bad as things seem now, they are going to get much, much worse.
If you have never turned to Christ, received His pardon and joined the family of God, now is the time.
MESSIANIC TIPPING POINT: MAJORITY OF JEWS IN ISRAEL, NEW TORAH REALITY
Then, when I have brought you to the land of Yisrael, to the country that I swore to give to your fathers, you shall know that I am Hashem.Ezekiel 20:42 (The Israel Bible™)
The Israeli government recently announced that the largest community of Jews in the world is in Israel. This demographic fact has far-reaching Messianic ramifications in Jewish Law, requiring the Jews to reinstate Biblical commandments that have not been seen in two millennia and bringing redemption one, rather significant step closer.
Last week, Immigration Minister Sofa Landver reported to the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs that Israel had taken America’s place as home to the world’s largest Jewish population.
It is difficult to definitively quantify the Jewish population since the definition of who is a Jew varies widely between the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements. But the United States has been host of the largest Jewish population since WWII, with just over four million Jew in 1945. That number grew to 5.4 million in the 1970’s, although the previously rapid growth slowed due to assimilation, intermarriage, and low birth rates. Landver reported that 5.7 million Jews currently live in the US.
The Jewish population in Israel at the state’s inception in 1948 was approximately 650,000, less than six percent of the global Jewish population, and grew over the next ten years to 1.8 million. By 1980, there were 3.2 million Jews living in Israel, rising to 5.8 million by 2010. Landver reported that there are currently 6.6 million Jews in Israel.
“Having a majority of Jews in Israel creates a different halachic (Torah law) reality, requiring Jews to perform certain mitzvoth (Torah commandments) they have not had to perform in 2,000 years,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, said to Breaking Israel News. Rabbi Weiss explained that this condition of a majority of Jews in Israel was anticipated in prophecy as the final return of the Jews to Israel. It is referred to as the third inheritance of the land, the first being by Joshua, the second after the Babylonian exile.
The third inheritance refers to Jews’ prophesied return from the exile that followed the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Jewish tradition holds that this return will usher in the building of the Third Temple, the return of the Davidic Dynasty, and the messianic era.
“But this is not something that will just happen,” Rabbi Weiss said. “The Jews returned to Israel in order to pave the way for the moshiach.”
When a majority of Jews live in Israel, Jews are required to count the 50-year Jubilee cycle, a mitzvah (Torah commandment) the Sanhedrin reinstituted almost two years ago.
“And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a Jubilee unto you.” Leviticus 25:10
The Jubilee (Hayovel in Hebrew) is a Biblical commandment that is observed exclusively in the land of Israel. It is the fiftieth year that comes after a period seven sabbaticals. The year triggers a number of Biblical commandments concerning property rights and returning the land to its original inheritors, the Jews who were allocated the land by lottery. Debts were forgiven and slaves who sold themselves due to debt were set free.
Having a majority of the Jews in Israel will also require the distribution of land and the return of Jewish tribal identity as described by the Prophet Ezekiel.
And it shall come to pass that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you and to the strangers that sojourn among you Ezekiel 47:21-22
The Sanhedrin has made an official ruling on how this should be done and is prepared to do so now that the requirement of the majority of Jews live in Israel and the current situation requires it to be done according to Torah law.
“We are required to have twelve tribes,” Rabbi Weiss said. “The land will be divided according to the Biblical territories. Every Jew living in that territory will receive an inheritance and be considered as if he is from that tribe.”
But when the Sanhedrin declared the beginning of the Jubilee cycle in 2016, they did so on the basis of their ruling that the majority of Jews already lived in Israel.
“We based our decision on the opinion that the Jubilee begins when there are 600,000 Jews in Israel, like the number that returned to Israel from Egypt under Joshua,” Rabbi Weiss said. “When those conditions have been met, as they clearly have, then the conditions for counting the Jubilee has also been met.”
Rabbi Weiss explained the Sanhedrin’s decision to rely upon the number rather than the majority of the total number of Jews.
“The number of Jews outside of Israel is a statistic that cannot be easily established and it is too easily manipulated,” he said. “It involves defining who is a Jew, a point that is a source of fierce debate. There are untold millions of people in countries around the world who are just now discovering their Jewish roots and that will change the numbers as well.”
“Most of the Jews who do not deny their Jewish identity are living in Israel today, effectively creating the condition in which there is no Jewish nation outside of the Land of Israel,” he said. “The decision not to accept Israel, not to do mitzvoth, not to move towards establishing the Temple, these are conscious decisions to reject the clear reality that we have returned as a nation, which requires Israel to act in a different manner than they have for the last 2,000 years.”
Rabbi David Katz, author of Laws of Ger Toshav: Pious of the Nations, is working towards reinstating a classification of non-Jews that is also dependent on this change in demographics: ger toshav (a resident alien).
“Ger toshav is explicitly described in the Torah,” Rabbi Katz said to Breaking Israel News, citing the one of the many verses.
If a resident alien among you has prospered, and your kinsman being in straits, comes under his authority and gives himself over to the resident alien among you, or to an offshoot of an alien’s family. Leviticus 25:47
“It is clearly true that Israel is required to recognize the ger toshav but this will not happen as long as the rabbinate refuses to acknowledge the new reality and continues to enforce the exile paradigm,” Rabbi Katz said. “There are different levels of this classification, including outside of Israel, but the highest level of fulfillment of the ger toshav comes when the Jubilee is declared.”
Rabbi Katz noted an increase in recent years from non-Jews who are interested in being ger toshav. He suggested that this interest seems to be spontaneously generated, as if the sudden change in demographics requiring the return of that Biblical status automatically reestablished it in the hearts and minds of people for whom it is relevant. Though this spiritual cause of the reemergence of ger toshav is appealing, the rabbi prefers a more practical cause.
“The demographics have tilted the scales and made Israel prominent in the world in so many ways,” Rabbi Katz said. “Because the non-Jews are more aware of Israel in a positive way more than ever before. This leads them to want to connect to Israel in a deeper manner, which is ger toshav.”
Rabbi Katz believes that the establishment of Israel was undeniably a part of the geula (redemption) process but he feels that the process has become “stuck” in recent years.
“Everyone agrees that Moshiach ben Yosef is here,” Rabbi Katz said, referring to the first stage in the messiah that Judaism believes pave the way in practical means for the second, more transcendent stage, referred to as Moshiach ben David. “We need to break through this klippah (barrier, literally shell) of exile mentality in order to go to the next level.”
“The statistics will not make these changes,” Rabbi Katz said. “Any change in this approach would have to come from the Temple Mount, not from the exile and not from the political framework which includes the Chief Rabbinate.”