House of Peace

“I have set watchmen on your walls O Jerusalems:  They shall never hold their peace day or night.  You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent.  And give him no rest till He establishes, And till he makes Jerusalem a praise in all the earth” (Is. 62:6-7).

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong, Let all that you do be done with love” (I Cor. 16:13).

Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Greetings in the name of Jesus!  Israel after months of political maneuvering and back-room deals has a government.  A government elected by the slimmest of margins, 60-59.  A government made up of eight coalition parties which had only one point of agreement: remove Prime Minister Netanyahu from his office.  A government so fractured it has been labeled “fragile.”  A government where if one member leaves, it falls. Nobody will be able to take a trip abroad, attend a funeral, find themselves inconveniently hospitalized, or feel compelled to abstain for even the most heartfelt of reasons. As if to underscore the weakness of this new government, former PM Netanyahu still resides in the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem.  He is in no hurry to move out, believing that this coalition of strange bedfellows won’t last long.

The first order of business is for PM Bennett’s government is to work out a State budget for 2021-2022.  The last time this was accomplished was in March of 2018.  The Basic Law (Similar to our Constitution) gives the government 100 days to pass a budget; if it fails, the Knesset automatically dissolves and new elections are held. That means the new coalition will have to negotiate the budget’s terms among its eight constituent parties and get it through the committee stages and all three plenum votes by late September.

One possible benefit of this new government is the appointment of Ayelet Shaked, as Interior Minister.  This Ministry for the past twelve years has been under the control of the Ultra-Orthodox party, namely Shas.  This party has gone out of its way to make Aliyah (immigration) into Israel difficult for non-Orthodox candidates.  Individuals and families that perhaps declared they were Reform or Conservative Jews were either denied entry or had their applications stuck in official limbo.  Others who were Messianic were outrightly refused.  The Interior Ministry also controls extension of visa applications, thus Christian workers for Churches and NGO were often limited to one year.  Tourists were also restricted to 90 days or less.  Please pray for Ayelet (Gazelle in Hebrew) Shaked (Almond) that the LORD would give her wisdom in her position and allow the gates of Israel to be open.

Incendiary Balloons and IAF Counter-Attacks

The Iranian sponsored terrorist group Hamas is again “testing” Israel’s resolve.  The last week has seen this group launch numerous incendiary balloons against Israel.  Over twenty fires have resulted, destroying crops, orchards, and  nature preserves.  These attacks from Gaza were in response to the “Flag March” in Jerusalem, which celebrated the reunification of city’s eastern and western sections plus the restoration of the Old City in 1967.  The Israel Air Force responded to these provocations by bombing numerous Hamas “outposts” in Gaza.  Later Thursday evening (June 17), rocket warning sirens were sounded in the Israel communities near Gaza.  These attacks may signal the beginning of another conflict. 

Will the new government be able to contain this violence?  The answer to this question is still uncertain but PM Bennett in the past has stated that he would take action Hamas and its continued launching of these the airborne explosives. 

Lebanon in Crisis

Israel’s Northern neighbor Lebanon has been in an ongoing crisis with government after government falling and Iranian sponsored Hezbollah terrorists gradually taking complete control.   The latest challenge to this nation is the complete financial collapse of its money system.  The Lebanese Pound has essentially become worthless, losing 90% of its worth and forcing its citizens to be dependent on U.S. dollars when they can get them.  The collapsed economy has brought misery and distress to Lebanon.  Food prices have increased by 400 percent, and gasoline/cooking propane is often unobtainable or sold at insane prices. (foreignpolicy.com)   Israel is closely monitoring this ongoing crisis, wary that Hezbollah may initiate a cross border war.  This terrorist army has an estimated stockpile of some 200,000 rockets/missiles ready to be fired at Israel.  Please pray for the people of Lebanon.

The Red Heifer

There is a minority of Jewish religious followers in Israel that are looking for the perfect red heifer.  To meet the requirements of the Old Testament law for purification of sin, a red heifer was needed, or specifically the ashes of a red heifer (a redish brown cow, two years old or less.  This red heifer was to be “without defect or blemish” and to have never borne a yoke.  The slaughtering of the red heifer is described in Numbers 19:1-10.  The carcass of the red heifer was then burned and its ashes were collected and used in the removal of sin or in the cleansing of those who had come in contact with the dead (vs 9). 

This imagery of the red heifer is also a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for sin.  The Lord was “without blemish” just as the red heifer was to be.  As the red heifer was sacrificed “outside the camp” (Num. 19:3)  Jesus was crucified out side of Jerusalem (Heb. 13:11-12)  And as the ashes of the red heifer cleansed people from the contamination of dead so the sacrifice of the Lord saves us from the penalty and corruption of death. 

The finding of a red heifer in these days also foreshadowing the coming of Christ.  Jesus prophesied the desecration of the temple in Matthew 24:15.  Believers who follow a futurist timeline of eschatology see the re-discovery of a pure red heifer as a sure sign of the rebuilding of the Third Temple and imminent sign of Jesus’s return.

Members of Jerusalem’s Temple Institute have been busily re-creating and gathering items for the next Temple.  Priests are being trained, a golden menorah is finished, the show-bread holders, and seeking to have everything in readiness, should the time come to build the Temple.  A perfect red heifer though has been sought for years.  Cattle in Israel are in short supply though, so the Temple Institute has had to look else-ware.

This search has now reached Texas!  In an interview on Israel’s national news site Arutz 7, Dallas Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Sabo,  recounted his unique experience in the search for the red heifer at a farm two and a half hours from his city.  Sabo explained that he was approached by the Temple Institute who sent him and a crew to examine the heifers at the farm.  A cattle farmer named Donald Ferrell claimed to have five red heifers. It was an opportunity they could not miss.

They would have to examine the cows according to strict halakhic criteria. To be considered a red heifer, the heifer would have to meet standards. For one, the cow would have to be completely red, not even five strands of black or white hair on the tail could exist. (www.israelnationalnews.com)/  The team penned up the five young heifers and then, they took up to eight hours to examine each calf.  The process was to say the least thorough. The farmer who had five red heifers born on his ranch was astounded to have someone call him up and ask if they could check his heifers to see if one was unblemished.  Ferrell stated that: “For me to think it’s coincidence, I can’t believe that. I think that God had a hand in it,” he told Arutz-Sheva news.

Rabbi Sabo also said “examining a cute cow might sound fun and easy but it’s the exact opposite. While the heifers were only three months old, they already weighed 300 pounds. They were not very cooperative. They kicked and moved around. And their mothers were unhappy the way the calves were being handled.  The Rabbi also declared that the whole experience was surreal to him, “You had to pet down the cow and literally go hair by hair.”  Sabo said he was petting the cow with one hand while saying, “Good girl, good girl, you’re doing good,” while holding his phone with Zoom in the other hand, at the same time having a Halakhic discourse with the Rabbi.

Sad to say, the herculean efforts by the Temple Institute’s team were for naught.  None of the five heifers were kosher.  They documented the procedure with videos and photos to closely examine the heifers on a Zoom call with Rabbi Ariel of the Temple Institute. 

The Blood of Christ

Paul writes that “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).  The writer of Hebrews declares “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? “  (Heb. 9:13-14)

Pray for the Jewish people that they may realize that the ashes of a pure red heifer are no longer needed.  The blood of Christ is sufficient to wash away every sin and free all from the contamination of death.

Also, keep this new Knesset, the Government of Israel in prayer to fulfill its purpose which, God has allowed it to come forth in this time.  

Shabbat Shalom,

Gene and Marylois/House of Peace