Thursday, April 24, 2008

Israel 2008 (Pray for Peace – Prepare for War)

Mary and I returned from our visit to Israel last week. It’s taken me several days to process what this trip meant to us. I suspect it will take months. In summary, we’ve had an “interest” in Israel for decades. Now, we have a deep love for her and her people.

As a Jewish believer, the trip was a true “homecoming.” We were part of Joel Rosenberg’s, Joshua Fund humanitarian relief tour. We and our best friends, Jim and Joyce Beckett, wanted to partner with an organization that would do something effective for Yeshua’s Kingdom rather than “take a vacation.” Nearly 200 other believers from across America and Canada joined Joel, his family, and the Joshua Fund organization’s leadership in this Epicenter 2008 mission.
Since this was our first adventure to Israel, we can only compare our experience to those reported to us by others. From what I can tell, other tours are packed with as many Holy Land sites as time will permit. In contrast, we were brought to specific locations and given time to absorb each site’s significance: culturally, historically, and biblically. Our tour seemed to have purpose and intentionality, in a word, “calling!”

From a historian’s point of view, we walked from pre-Abraham times, through Israel’s Kingdom period, the time of Yeshua, the destruction of the temple and scattering of the Jewish people, recognized the return of the Jewish state and celebrated Israel’s 60th rebirth as a nation.
On April 19th, we conducted our annual Passover Seder. Having seen with my eyes His restoration of the Holy Land, the section from Psalm 87 (quoted in full below) spoken during the Seder became, for me, yet another sure prophetic word fulfilled. Many of Israel’s seven million citizens have been “born in her.”
The tour culminated at the Epicenter 2008 Conference on April 10, 2008. Biblical prophecies were placed in contemporary context. I recommend that my readers perform a careful examination of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, and Matthew 24. Finally, I urge everyone to go to the linked web site and listen to the conference audio presentations.
Based on everything we witnessed, learned, and experienced, the Holy Spirit has impressed us with urgency. My prayer is that we would be like the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12:32, NASB). It is our time to recognize the times in which we live. We must know how we should conduct ourselves and how we should prepare for what is coming. The conference slogan, “Pray for Peace – Prepare for War,” is apropos.
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. “I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia: ‘This one was born there.’” But of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; And the Most High Himself will establish her. The LORD will count when He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, “All my springs of joy are in you.”
I ask each reader to go the Joshua Fund web site and pledge your support for Israel. Please join with us as we pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.


Charles J. Patricoff,

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