For most of the world, this time of the year brings reflection and a resolute purpose for the following year – a determination to do better – to be better to ourselves and others. You are receiving this letter as Israel celebrates Hanukkah. Hanukkah is not one of the Feasts listed in Leviticus 23. However, it is a festival mentioned in our New Testament and observed by our Messiah in John 10:22. Chanukah is a celebration of victory, but sadly its storyline has never left the Jewish narrative. The battle to bring the Divine Presence of God through the Throne of David is as real today as when the Maccabees fought the Greeks to restore the desecrated Temple.
Replacement theology’s deception took the understanding of this narrative away from those who say they follow Yeshua (Jesus). There was no stronger message that Yeshua gave than the one he gave in the Temple. As he violently addressed the corruption, he quoted from Isaiah 56:7: “This House (My Fathers house – John 2:16) will not be a den of thieves (corrupt) – it will be a House of Prayer for All Nations!!”
As HaYovel begins its campaign to raise funds for the work we believe God has called us to accomplish, we have found many facets to God’s purpose and plans for us. We have found that there is a message, like Yeshua and like the Maccabees believed and declared. But there are also feet and hands (Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15) as well as support for those feet and hands who share the message and then walk it out.
I hope you are still with me to this point. The fierce belief of those who sat at the feet of Yeshua and listened to His teachings was contrary to the replacement theology many Christians still embrace today. Allow me to take you on a journey with those that sat at His feet – including the 12 disciples. My hope is, after reading this letter, that you better understand the purpose of HaYovel and, more importantly, the purpose of Christianity.
The Resurrection of Hope – Good News!
According to Acts 1:3, after Yeshua’s resurrection, He taught for 40 days on one topic – the Kingdom of God. He spoke a promise that the Holy Spirit would come not many days from now in verse 5. I would suppose that most Jews would understand that “not many days from now” meant this arrival or outpouring of the Holy Spirit would occur on the Feast Day of Shavuot or what many Christians call Pentecost.
The events leading up to this appointed day are significant. Let’s start with two dejected men leaving Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. They had lost all hope of seeing the Davidic Kingdom (Luke 1:32, 33) they had so desperately prayed for after seeing Yeshua—the one whom they believed was the Messiah—dead on a cross. “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21) But in a dramatic turnabout, we see hope revived as the two men encounter the resurrected Messiah who “opens their eyes to all the Prophets have spoken…” (Luke 24:25, 27, 32). Over the next 40 days, He taught from the Prophets concerning Israel’s restoration, which still left one crucial question unanswered, “Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
Yeshua immediately answered the question,
“Only My Father knows the specific time of Israel’s restoration, but here’s what you need to know for now… God will restore the Kingdom (Israel) through the equipping power of the Holy Spirit for one reason – the whole world, every nation, must take part in Israel’s Redemption.” (Acts 1:7,8, paraphrased)
With excitement and expectation, the disciples and those who consistently sat at the feet of Yeshua, gathered in one accord to pray in an “upper room.” (Acts 1:12-14) They prayed and waited.
When Shavuot finally arrived, the disciples’ intense desire to see God’s Kingdom come and the Temple restored (Mark 11:17) ignited a “sound from Heaven like a mighty rushing wind” (vs. 2). The Holy Spirit, promised by God, had arrived. A mixed multitude from every nation under heaven (vs. 5) had also gathered at the Temple that day. They were confused, amazed, and perplexed at what was taking place. (vs. 6-12) Some wanted to know, “What is this all about?” While others mockingly said, “They are all drunk – full of new wine!”
The Reason for the Season
Peter, coming full circle since the rooster crowed, stood before the multitude, and now under the full anointing of the Holy Spirit, began to shout, “Listen to me and listen carefully! We are not drunk! We have not lost our minds!” And then, I believe, with an unrestrainable smile on his face, he roared, “This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel!!” (vs. 12-14)
I want to pause here because there are multiple opinions and beliefs as to what just happened here. Some will see the Holy Spirit manifested and believe that this same power is available for us today. In contrast, others may see this as a one-time event and only experienced at this particular moment. However, there is so much more to this event than a few men and women who are seeking the Holy Spirit to gain some individual benefit. (1 Cor. 12:8-10)
Please listen! What Peter was saying in this passage almost 2,000 years ago is even more relevant today. It is the pearl of great price (Mt. 13:46). It is our faith being made sight (1 Cor. 13:12). Important? It’s not only important; it’s great news!
It’s all about the Kingdom. And not just any Kingdom – the Kingdom of Israel. The question in Acts 1:6 is not a stupid question. Those that spent at least 40 days sitting at the feet of Yeshua were not idiots. Their hearts were burning because Yeshua opened their minds to understand what the Prophets spoke (Luke 24:25).
Peter understood what was spoken by Joel, and he was determined to make sure those in the audience that day understood as well. “Heed my words,” he says with confidence. “This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel.”
“‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’” (Acts 2:17-18)
If you have a reference Bible, you will see this verse located in Joel 2:28-32. Let’s go to the book of Joel and find out what Peter already knew – the prophecy leading up to this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days.
For context, let’s start from the beginning of chapter 2, where God sounds the alarm for the impending judgment on Israel – in Zion on His Holy Mountain. Verse 12 begins the process of radical repentance.
Prayers from the upper room.
Verse 15 is the trumpet call to action – prayer and supplication. Can you hear the 120 gathered in the upper room praying,
“Oh God, Sanctify the Congregation of Israel, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the Bridegroom go out from His chamber and the bride from her dressing room. Oh God, let the priests, who minister to the LORD weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, ‘Spare Your people O LORD and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them (Israel).’ Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17)
Why did Peter use these verses from the Prophet Joel? Because they had been praying and expecting the fulfillment of this prophecy at this appointed time. The entire text is about the desolation and restoration of Israel. Since Peter is using the Prophet Joel to define the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we also believe that Peter, like Joel, believed this event was directly related to Israel’s restoration? (Joel 2:32 and 3:1)
God’s king-size response! The precursor to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Beginning in verse 18 through 28, let’s check off the things that have already started or occurred that God said would precede the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Vs 18: Then the LORD will be zealous for His land and pity His people: 1948 – ✓ – 1967 – ✓
Vs 19: Behold, I will send you… Grain – ✓ – Wine – ✓ – Oil – ✓
Vs 19: No longer a reproach among the nations: Israel is a world leader in agriculture and technology – ✓
Vs 20: Removal of the northern army: Developing allies with enemies of Iran and Hezbollah – maybe
Vs 21: Fear not, O land: Be glad and rejoice for the LORD has done marvelous things.
- Restoring His people to their inheritance – ✓ and growing
- Desolation to reclamation – ✓ and growing
- Animals of the field – ✓ and growing
- Open pastures – ✓ and growing
- Trees bearing fruit – ✓ and growing
- Figs and vines yielding their strength – ✓ and growing
Vs 23: Rain – Former and latter rain returns & a record amount of rain in 2020 – ✓
Vs 24: Threshing floor full of wheat and vats overflowing with new wine and oil
Vs 25: The restoration of what the locust and the enemies of Israel have destroyed.
- Cities are being rebuilt – ✓ and more coming
- The land is being restored – ✓ and growing
After all this, the final precursor to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is in these next two verses:
“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. (27) Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God, And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” (Joel 2:26-27)
This is not an easy word to share. For Christians to experience this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we must first recognize that God will dwell again in the midst of Israel. Not in the cosmos. Not in Independence, Missouri – in Israel.
Again as Peter said, “We are not drunk. We are not delirious. We are not crazy. We desire to listen to what the Prophets spoke. When we agree with what was spoken by the prophets, we ignite the power of the Holy Spirit, and this is when the final Restoration begins.
Let’s be passionate about this. Why? Because we have seen with our own eyes what the prophets have spoken. We have touched it with our own hands. Let us believe, like Jeremiah, that God’s word is eternal. Let’s hear the Prophet Joel and repent for bringing shame to God’s people. Like the two men on the road walking away from Jerusalem, let us all return with great joy for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, there shall be deliverance.
Oh LORD, we desire to be in the remnant whom You call. Give us ears to hear what Yeshua and the Prophets have spoken. Let hope be revived in us as we await the equipping of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we are asking you to sow into HaYovel. Stand with us as we stand in the fight for the Heartland of Israel – Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Join us with your feet. Join us in getting the message out. Join us in prayer.
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P.S. We are launching our end of year fundraising campaign. Due to generous donors, every dollar you give (up to $232,000) until December 31st, will be doubled, for twice the impact. Donate today for 2X the impact.