Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry The Jerusalem Prayer List – September 1, 2023. By Joseph Shulam.

The Source of Our Salvation

The reading of this next Shabbat is named Ki Tavo, from the Torah we read from Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8. From the Prophets (The Haftarah) is from Isaiah 60:1-22 and from the Gospel we read from Matthew 4:13-24.

Last Shabbat as we rolled the Torah Scroll, I notice that the right side of the Torah Scroll was getting very close to the end. This reminded me that in just in a few days from now, this year, according to the Jewish calendar, 5783 will soon become 5784. As Bob Dylan (Baruch Zimmerman) said in his song, “Times are a changing!” In these last days so much has changed all around our world and also in Israel, both inside and outside.

Israel is going through a very difficult and very challenging time. Our government needs help from God. Our nation, the nation of Israel, needs God’s grace and serious introspection, from our prime minister to the last member of our parliament (Knesset) and every civil servant in this country. This whole nation needs to do some soul searching and learn from our past history that divided, the Jewish nation cannot stand. Very similar circumstances brought about the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E (A.D).

The radicals led by Elizar Ben Yair, were looking and were desiring the absolute perfect, free and independent state of Israel. Such a state never existed. From the day that Abraham and his group arrived in this part of the world and until now, Israel has been the salami between the empires.

Israel was always connected and dependent to one of the two empires that surround this land. We were always connected to the empires on our north, Assyria, the Babylonians, even earlier, on the Hittite empire. Remember that Abraham had to buy the cave of Machpela from Ephron the Hittite. The Hittites were holding all of south Judea and also most of the Eastern Galilee. Later it was Egypt and later it was the Babylonians.

Now, with all the bravado that Israel is broadcasting, the truth is that we are dependent on the USA, and on the prayers of many Christian Evangelicals who pray for our country and stand with the Jewish people. It is a total farce to think that we are an independent self-standing Jewish country.

As the Kings of Israel in our ancient history had to run to Assyria and Babylon and beg for help, so we are doing now! We are running and begging the President of the USA to invite our prime minister to the White House in Washington and sometimes even begging Mr. Putin in Moscow for help. Just like in the good old days of King Hezekiah of Judea, the kings of northern Israel went to Babylon and to Damascus to seek help.

Israel needs help and needs your prayers. We, the Jewish Disciples of Yeshua in this land of Israel need your help in so many different ways. In the late 1970s when my family was horribly persecuted, I and my family went through attempted murders. Only after we appealed through Mike Adams, who was the congressional aide to Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, and reached all the way to the President of the USA, and he called the Israeli Embassy in Washington, did the persecution end.

The same dependency and need of support are true now. I realize that out of pride many Israelites live in LA land and don’t see or confess or admit that Israel as a country, needs help and support both political and financial.

It is important for our brothers and helpers and supporters to realize that the solution is like the prophet said a long, long-time age:

I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. “But if you say to me, “We trust in the LORD our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’?”’ Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses—if you are able on your part, to put riders on them!” (Isaiah 36:5–8 NKJV)

In short dear brothers and sisters, Israel is in deep trouble! For the last 30 weeks hundreds of thousands of people have been rioting all through the country against the judicial reformation that the government of Israel is trying to pass. The reality in my opinion, is what some ministers in the present government are trying to do is to castrate the Supreme Court of Israel so that the present government would have complete freedom and control to legislate and do whatever it pleases.

These demonstrations and the action of the present government are splintering this nation and forcing deep division between the supporters of the present government and those who oppose the limitation of our democracy.

This deep division put many of the Israeli army leadership, former generals and heads of Israel’s glorious intelligence agencies, military pilots and executives of major successful Israeli industries and professors with international acclaim, to take sides and deepen the divide in Israeli society.

In sort dear brothers and sisters, Israel needs your prayers. We the disciples of Yeshua our Rabbi, Savior and the King of the Jews, need your prayers and your support.
We have the opportunities to do good and feed the poor of Jerusalem and publish interesting and inspiring materials. In print, we publish the Teaching from Zion magazine and send it to thousands of brothers and sisters around the world, for free, and if you don’t get this magazine by mail, you can always download it from here.

We are feeding close to 180 families who are sent to us by City Hall of Jerusalem to receive food; good food of very high quality with four different Kosher levels. We have a scholarship fund that help Jewish Disciples of Yeshua study in the Universities in Israel without extra financial strain, and succeed. Over the years we have blessed hundreds of disciples of Yeshua to study and succeed in to become lawyers, and doctors, and social workers, psychologists, and engineers.

This part of our ministry is a kind of insurance for the future of the community of disciples of Yeshua in the land of Israel. You can see that Netivyah has not made appeals for funds very often, but we have some financial challenges that are not a result of mismanagement, but a result of new opportunities to do better and become a bigger blessing and improve our outreach in the media and do better and feed more needy citizens of Jerusalem, while we continue to bless the Jewish disciples who are serving in the Israel Defense Forces. This time I am asking you to make some extra effort to help us be a help and a blessing to the people of Jerusalem and to the disciples of Yeshua in the land of Israel and to many in the world who need and want good basic and solid teaching from God’s Word.

Now a few words from our Torah Portion that will be read in the synagogues this next Shabbat, September 1st, 2023.
This Torah portion starts with these words:

And it shall be, when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it…” (Deuteronomy 26:1)

The first thing that has struck my interest is that this text has full assurance that this is something that will happen. It doesn’t say “If you come into the land…”. It says

When you come into the land.”

The text identifies clearly which land is in question:

“The land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it.”

Nowadays it is so important for all those who believe the Bible to be the word of God to review and understand that there is no question and it is beyond reasonable doubt that God has given this land, the Land of Israel, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as an inheritance to Israel. The third point is the words that the person who is coming to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple and is bringing his first fruits states: The next point that this text clarifies is:

I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the country which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’”

We must remember that this whole conversation is taking place in the Temple of the Lord and in front of a priest of the Lord, who is there to receive the first fruits that this Israelite man is bringing on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost). The unique thing about this text is that it is the only text in the whole Bible that we learn what the worshipper said with his mouth when he came to offer this special sacrifice and gift to the Lord of his first fruits. Now to the words that this worshiper says:

And you shall answer and say before the LORD your God: “My father was a [lost wandering Syrian], about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the LORD God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; and now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.’ “Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 26:5–10 NKJV)

What we have here is a very short synopsis of the history of Israel from the patriarch Abraham until the exodus from Egypt and they settled in the Land. The thing that interests me is this phrase “a lost wandering {Syrian} Aramean. This text reminds me of the following text from Isaiah the prophet.

Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.” (Isaiah 63:16 NKJV)

This text from Isaiah is extremely interesting and it has the same spirit like our text in Deuteronomy. It diminishes the importance of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the history of salvation and gives God only the credit and glory for our salvation and fulfillment of His promises. With these words the prophet refocuses and credits the LORD only as the source of salvation and faithfulness to His promises. “Abraham didn’t know us (was ignorant of us) and (Israel (i.e., Jacob)) does not acknowledge us.).

This is what the rabbis said about this text from Isaiah 63:16ff:

In the time to come the Holy One, blessed be He, shall say unto Israel, ‘Go now to your forefathers, and they will reprove you.’ And they shall say before Him, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! To whom shall we go? To Abraham, to whom Thou didst say, know of a surety [that thy seed shall be a stranger … and they shall afflict them …], yet he did not entreat mercy for us? To Isaac, who blessed Esau, and it shall come to pass, when thou shalt have dominion, and yet he did not entreat mercy for us? To Jacob, to whom Thou didst say, I will go down with thee into Egypt, and yet he did not entreat mercy for us? To whom then shall we go now? [Rather] let the Lord state [our wrongs]!’ The Holy One, shall answer them, since ye have made yourselves dependent upon Me, ‘though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’.” (Babylonian Talmud – Tractate Shabbat 89b.).

This text has the same attitude like the text in Deuteronomy 26:5-10.

The dependence of Israel on our pedigree being the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), our racial I.D. Is according to Deuteronomy and Isaiah; not the source of our success. Nor is our pedigree as Jews and Israelites something that we can rely on. Only our relationship with the Almighty God, the creator of the Universe, is the source of our salvation and our blessing to receive and hold on to the inheritance that we have in the Lord Himself. He, the Almighty alone, is our savior and He alone has the power to say to us, like to all the nations of the world:

Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow!”

Just as a reminder of what is written above – the words in Deuteronomy about Abraham and the words of Isaiah 63:16 are the most significant words especially for Jews, but also for Christians and all mankind. For the Christians it is of great importance to realize the following:

1. Your church (no matter what church you attend) will not save you and it doesn’t have any authority to forgive your sins. Only God can forgive your sins!

2. Your reliance on the founders of your church denominations – is powerless and hopeless and damaging your relationship with the Almighty God of Abraham who created the Heavens and the Earth. God alone is your savior and He loves the world so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to save you and me and all who die with Yeshua in Baptism and Resurrect into a New Life!”

3. Race and pedigree will not help us in our relationship with the Creator! Our relationship will help us if we do have a relationship with God the Almighty Creator.

a. Relationship is first and foremost a communication, and I would say here that it is always a two-way communication. The simplest way to understand this is this: God gave us the book – the living Word – the Manual of discipline for a good life and a course that will guide us if we follow it to eternal life and a relationship with God.

b. Obedience to the road map of our lives and following the map of what to do and how to do it and the why we need to do it, all done with gratitude and understanding that although the road is a long and hard road – it does lead to life eternal with the almighty God and creator and Yeshua our Messiah our brother.

4. We put our life on God’s altar by serving our fellow men like Yeshua said to those renegade disciples that worshipped him, but ignored the poor and needy and the widows and the orphans:

““Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:41–45 NKJV)

Our relationship with the Almighty God our Creator and our relationship with Yeshua (Jesus), who participated in the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, is based on our relationship and attitude and service to our fellow man, and especially to each other as brothers in the faith and family and community of the saints. It is based on our love for God and for Yeshua and for each other as human being, the Children of the King of Kings!

Reprinted with permission of Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry