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Day 73 — Winter Is Upon Us

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

This has probably been the most painful weekend since the war began. Israelis are still reeling over the accidental deaths of the three hostages on Friday morning. How does one continue to keep going? Only by faith in a covenant-keeping God. Michael Gorman writes in Cruciformity:


The most poignant revelation of Paul’s hope in the future of his fellow Jews is the extended essay in Romans 9–11. Despite the many ambiguities of this disputed and variously interpreted text, a few points are absolutely clear. Prominent among these is that God has neither rejected nor given up on the covenant people. They remain the object of divine faithfulness and love, such that Paul is absolutely certain that, in the end, “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26).[1]


There can be no question that the Old Testament saints had a belief in eternal life. While the subject is not as prominent as it is in the new covenant, they had a vibrant relationship with the unseen and eternal Yahweh. Abraham “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). They, too, suffered heartaches and tragedies. Abraham’s house was completely dysfunctional. He has relations with his wife’s slave so they can have a son. Then, when he has a son with Sarah, they kick the slave out of the house. Jacob is brokenhearted when he has to bury Rebecca. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers and becomes a slave and then a prisoner. And then the Jewish people spent 400 years as slaves.


In this world, there will be troubles, even tragedies. If you look at the story of Israel, there is much disaster. If you so happen to be part of the one nation that God chose to be a light to the other nations, you are familiar with calamity. Satan has had his sight aimed at the Jewish people since God called Abraham. We have suffered 53 attempted genocides, the most recent one being October 7, 2023. But the hope of the people of God is for a greater future. Our hope is in the age to come, where:

 The wolf will live with the lamb,

    the leopard will lie down with the goat,

 the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;

    and a little child will lead them.

 The cow will feed with the bear,

    their young will lie down together,

    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,

    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

 They will neither harm nor destroy

In the midst of tragedy, we stay focused on what Paul called “the hope of Israel” (see Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:7; 28:20). And the hope of Israel is the hope of all believers. Bruce Barton writes:


For Paul, the messianic hope meant the fulfillment of God’s messianic prophecies first given to the patriarch Abraham. For all of its history, the nation looked forward to a time when God’s anointed one would rule over a heavenly kingdom.[2]


Though the kingdom may be heavenly, it will be based here in Israel (Is. 2:3, Micah 4:2, Zech. 14:3, 9). If for the “hope of Israel,” that we do not despair, even as we mourn.

 [1] Michael J. Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 339.


[2] Bruce B. Barton and Grant R. Osborne, Acts, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1999), 453. 


Winter is Upon Us

Many soldiers are turning to Messiah’s Mandate for tactical winter clothing. Two different units this week have asked us to help them buy clothes that will help them deal with the cold, rainy weather. And another organization that has been serving Soldiers since October 7 asked us if we could help them as well in this area. You might remember Dovev. We helped him in his unit about a month ago with tactical equipment. They are 100 men on the border of Lebanon. It is much colder up there than it is down here in the south. The video below is from one of the men in his unit.

I’ll share more about the other group tomorrow. In just a few hours, Elana and I are going to Ashdod, about 20 minutes north of our home in Ashkelon, to participate in a cookout with soldiers who have been fighting in Gaza. We went to encourage them, and to make sure they know that they’re not forgotten.

As we come to the end of the year, when many of you make your decisions, I want to ask you to remember Messiah’s Mandate. We are a ministry dedicated to sharing the good news of Yeshua with our people here in Israel; however, on October 7 we shifted. I felt the Lord put on my heart Matthew 5:16. You know the verse. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Now is a time to show Israel love through our actions.

And you jumped right on board! You cared as deeply as we cared. From your emails I can see that you hurt as deeply as we hurt. And you have been sacrificially helping. Each day we are blown away by your generosity. Our goal is to raise $1 million by the end of the year to bless Israel.

Let me add something that I shouldn’t have to say. But sadly, there’s often corruption when there is fundraising. Elana and I get a salary. It will not go up one penny based on your giving. Your year and gifts will go to bless Israel. During these last two weeks of 2023, we’re going to buy jackets, neck warmers, gloves, thermal shirts and pants, socks, underwear, and tactical shirts and pants—all for these young men and women risking their lives for my safety and that of all Israel.

The world changed on October 7. Just as the Bible predicted, nations are turning against Israel. Yesterday I sent out an email about how many young people in America support Hamas over Israel. Today a Muslim man who for some reason stays on my mailing list wrote me back a gloating and hateful response.

They're only polling Americans...if you polled the whole world—look how the United Nations is voting is these days [against Israel]!!!—It’s now 99% of the world that believes Israel is an apartheid the whole world sees you for who you truly are…the whole world has woken up to who you are. You are oppressors…you're an occupying force always playing the victim card...the me they are more people getting more emboldened by Hitler's ideology of eliminating Jews...

And as I was correcting the English in his quote, the truth of what he wrote was sounding on my phone, as it alerted me to Hezbollah rockets being fired in Israel in the north. He’s right. More and more people are wondering right now if maybe Hitler was right… Maybe the world would be better off without Jews. It is truly a stunning development. Either they simply don’t believe the truth about Hamas, how they raped women, burned people alive, and made sport of dead bodies… or they justified it.

That is what we’re up against. I thank God that you are not one of them! I thank God that you were able to cut through the antisemitism and blindness. We have to keep our eyes on Yeshua and His coming kingdom. Please consider helping at this crucial hour in the history of Israel.

Thank you!


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