God is never mentioned in Esther, yet His fingerprints are all over the pages of this beloved book. In the same way, did we fail to recognize God among us when Yeshua (Jesus) walked the earth some 2,000 years ago? Did he, like Esther, come “for such a time as this?”
We don’t always recognize the significance of events as they happen in our lives until we look back and see how everything fits together.
The missionary asked my great-great-grandfather, Hakim, “Did you know that the Messiah you are expecting has already arrived?” and told him that Jesus was the Messiah. Hakim was so upset that he slapped the missionary in the face and threw him out of the synagogue. But that wasn’t the end of the story…
Will God fulfill his promise of sustaining the Jewish people? Several Jewish authors express concern about our survival.
Following Yeshua will mean going against the flow of the values and priorities of the world. It may cost us relationships with family and friends, our reputations and opportunities. We might encounter suffering, heartache and rejection. But God will never desert us.
I take comfort in Jesus’ words: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:29–30).
Although my faith made for some uncomfortable times with my parents, it also led to some thoughtful and fruitful discussions. And, much to their credit, they never allowed it to rupture our relationship.
Occult forces? Evil entities? Isn’t that just medieval superstitious mishegoss? No, unfortunately, it’s not. Satan is real and out to destroy God’s greatest creation, humankind. His favorite target? Our Jewish people.
Looking back, I realize that probably 75 percent of the people in that occult encounter group were Jewish. Just as I believe there is a God, I believe that Satan is real and seeks to destroy the Jewish people.
“Why didn’t God just kill me if He hated me so much? Why did He let this happen to me?” young Gregory silently screamed. How Greg came to believe in a God who loves him is at the heart of his autobiography.
But as the months progressed, so did Shifra’s frantic behavior. She would only wear clothing that was blue, said to be an unpleasant color to demons. Noise was also a good safeguard. So bells and clappers sounded incessantly in the home.
The Hebrew Scriptures specifically warn us against dabbling in the occult: “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer [practitioner of the dark arts] or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Below the surface were the unanswered questions, “Who am I? Can I know God? What follows death? Can I have the positive assurance that my sins are forgiven?”
He asked if I wanted to pray. I replied, “Sure, where’s the prayer book?” “You don’t need one,” he explained. “Just talk to God from your heart.” I folded my arms across my chest, looked upwards, and said, “God, I don’t know who You are. But I’m tired of doing it by myself, so You have a go.”
Josh Leon lives and works in the Orthodox community. One of the things he enjoys most is plowing through the rabbinic texts and discovering what he believes is more evidence that Jesus fulfilled the messianic expectations of his Jewish people.
Today’s threat from ISIS is not the first time Israel has faced radical fundamentalism from Syria. The modern-day fundamentalism is a flash forward of what the prophet Daniel predicted (and which came to pass in the second century b.c.). But today’s existential threat to Israel is building to a far greater crisis.
In these times of stress and uncertainty, many people rely on one another to feel supported, holding onto each other for strength. But it is difficult to grip the arm of your friend when the ground seems to be shaking underneath your feet. For the few of us in Israel who believe in Yeshua, we know that the only thing reliable and strong enough to hold us is the Lord.
Afer Yoel and his five siblings, all born in the U.S., made aliyah with their mom and dad, he and his brother Dan served in an elite unit in the IDF, where both have narrowly escaped death in combat. Yoel, a Messianic Jew, shares his story and reflects on the difficult subject of God’s protection in battle.
A review of Future Hope, a book by David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus and a fifth-generation Jewish believer in Jesus. Brickner examines prophecies in the Scriptures concerning end times and tells how it is possible to have confidence and hope as these climactic and catastrophic world events unfold.