What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between Apocalyptic Islam & the “last days” according to Bible prophecy?

September 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

By Joel C. Rosenberg

[My highlights are in red and purple. –PY]

UPDATED: Shana Tova! Sunday evening [9-19-15] at sundown in Israel begins a new Jewish year. And as we begin, the region is full of anxiety over what the future holds.

The good news is that the God of the Bible is the God who knows the future, is all sovereign over the past, present and future, and even gives us a glimpse into the future through prophecy. This year, more than ever, I encourage you to read through — and study careful — the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and especially the prophecies that tell us what the future holds.

Since publishing an article and two fact sheets (here and here) about the nature and threat of “Apocalyptic Islam,” people have been asking me numerous questions.

Among them:

  1. Don’t Christians and Jews also believe in the End of Days?
  2. Are you criticizing all people who study, believe in, teach, or live according to eschatology (the study of things pertaining to the End of Days)?
  3. Is the study of eschatology inherently dangerous?
  4. What are some of the similarities between Shia and Sunni eschatology and Biblical eschatology?
  5. What are some of the main differences between Shia and Sunni eschatology and Biblical eschatology?

These are good and important questions. I’m glad people are asking, especially as we begin a new year. So let me provide some concise answers. I also provide links to more resources below that I think you’ll find helpful.

  1. Yes, many devout Christians and Jews also believe in various prophecies about the End of Days.
    1. JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY: Religious Jews believe the Messiah will come in the End of Days, will establish His global Kingdom upon the Earth (based in Jerusalem), and will rule the entire world with justice and righteousness. Such prophecies are described in the Hebrew Bible books of Daniel (7:9-14, for example), Isaiah, Jeremiah, as well as in the writings of other Hebrew prophets in the Bible.
    2. CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY: Those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah (born again Christians, as well as Messianic Jews) believe we are currently living in the End of Days, that the Lord Jesus will come back to Earth very soon, He will establish His global Kingdom upon the Earth (based in Jerusalem), and He will rule the entire world with justice and righteousness. We also base our beliefs on the Old Testament prophecies, as well as the Gospels, the New Testament epistles, and the Book of Revelation. Many followers of Jesus also believe that prior to the “Second Coming” when He establishes His official Kingdom on Earth, the Messiah will come in the air and “snatch away” or “Rapture” His true followers in “the twinkling of an eye” to be with Him in heaven while He pours out judgment on the nations. We base these beliefs on passages such as I Thessalonians 4:13-5:28I Corinthians 15:50-58, and John 14:1-6. [NOTE: I Thessalonians chapter 5 explains that the Rapture will take place at a time when most people don’t expect it to happen and they will be caught unawares. “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly.” This is a curious passage in light of how many world leaders are currently describing the Iran nuclear deal as putting the world on the path to“peace and safety.”]
  2. No, I am not criticizing everyone who studies, believes in, teaches or lives according to prophecy and eschatology. As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ — as an Evangelical who studies and believes and tries to obey the Bible — I believe very deeply in what the Bible teaches about the End Times and how we are to live as we await the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Second Coming. Indeed, I have written and taught extensively on the importance of rediscovering the purpose and power of Bible prophecy. (see various resources below)
  3. Not all versions of eschatology are dangerous — but some are. The versions of eschatology believed, taught and practiced by the leaders of Iran and the Islamic State are very dangerous, as I have sought to explain.
  4. Some of the core similarities between Biblical eschatology and Sunni & Shia eschatology are these:
    1. Devout Christians and Muslims believe that there will be a period known as the “End Times” or “End of Days” or “Last Days” where God will consummate history as we have known it thus far, and then God will begin a new period of history.
    2. Devout Christians and Muslims that the Messiah is coming in the End Times to establish his kingdom over the entire world.
    3. Devout Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus is coming.
    4. Devout Christians and Muslims believe that time is short and that we need to living differently in light of the coming of the messiah and his kingdom.
  5. Some of the core differences between Biblical and Islamic eschatology are:
    1. While devout Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the crucified and resurrected Son of God, and thus the Messiah, the Savior, and the King who will reign over the world, devout Muslims believe Jesus was merely a prophet, that he did not die on the cross and was not raised from the dead, and that he is coming not to be the King but rather as the deputy to their messiah, known as the Mahdi.
    2. Biblical eschatology teaches devout Christians to love their enemy and seek to persuade unbelievers to repent of their sins and receive Jesus as the Messiah or Christ by faith for the forgiveness of their sins and to be adopted into God’s family and granted eternal life with God. If unbelievers refuse to receive Christ, Christians are still to love them, but they will be judged by God when they die and go to Hell forever. Islamic eschatology teaches Apocalyptic Muslims to give unbelievers an opportunity to repent. But if they don’t repent, Muslims are instructed to execute such “infidels.”
    3. Biblical eschatology teaches that in the last days — particularly during a period of time known as the “Tribulation” — God will pour out His judgment on all the nations of the Earth. During this period, individuals can repent and receive Christ as Savior by faith. However, the Bible teaches that they will go through the worst period of war, famine, natural disasters and many other traumas in all of human history. Followers of Christ are not to cause or lead such wars and traumas. Rather they are to love their neighbors and enemies and preach the Gospel to everyone. But the Bible explains that such wars are coming as a result of leaders and forces obedient to Satan and that many Christians will be martyred during this period. Apocalyptic Muslims, on the other hand, believe that in the last days it is their God-given duty to foment and lead genocidal wars against all unbelieving nations, and to violently establish their kingdom or caliphate on earth. They are specifically instructed to slaughter Jews and Christians in the last days.
    4. A careful study of Biblical eschatology reveals that it does not create a dangerous movement, but rather one motivated by love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion and a desire to create peaceIt is given to us to motivate us to live more holy lives and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people in all nations, and care for the poor and needy, and follow more faithfully the teachings and example of Jesus as His return for us draws near. A careful study of Islamic eschatology practiced by Iranian and ISIS leaders, on the other hand, reveals that it creates a dangerous, violent, genocidal movement.

I hope you find this helpful in understanding and explaining important distinctions between Biblical eschatology and that of Apocalyptic Muslims. What follows are various resources to help you, and any of your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who might be interested in understanding various issues concerning Biblical prophecy — such as the “Rapture” — and how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

LINK: https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/whats-the-difference-between-apocalyptic-islam-the-last-days-according-to-bible-prophecy-glad-you-asked/

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Stay informed and keep watching …

 

To Israel … from Adonai (with love)

“But you, Israel,
my servant Jacob, whom I have chosen,  
you descendants of Abraham, my friend,

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, ‘You are my servant‘;

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

(Isaiah 41:8-10, NIV)

 

Still watching …

 

 

America needs a Josiah. (Part 3)

AMERICA NEEDS A JOSIAH. (WHY AN ANCIENT JEWISH KING PROVIDES A POWERFUL MODEL FOR THE NEXT AMERICAN PRESIDENT.)

By Joel C. Rosenberg

August 18, 2015 

(PART 3: The following has been edited for the sake of brevity. You can find the entire article @ https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/america-needs-a-josiah-why-an-ancient-jewish-king-provides-a-powerful-model-for-the-next-american-president/)

Did the Lord cancel the coming judgment because of Josiah’s faithfulness?

  • No.
  • The Lord delayed but did not cancel the coming judgment of Judah and Jerusalem because of Josiah’s faithfulness to Him and His word.
  • Josiah died around 609 B.C.
  • Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonian empire, in fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies.

How long did the Lord delay the judgment of Jerusalem and Judah?

  • Remarkably, the Lord delayed the prophesied and certain judgment of Jerusalem and Judah for 22 ½ years beyond the life of Josiah.
  • This means that 53 ½ years passed between the time Josiah ascended to the throne to the time the divine judgment of Jerusalem and Judah came to pass in 586 B.C. under the reign of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. (31 years of Josiah’s reign + 22 ½ years of the reigns of other kings)
    1. Jehoahaz succeeded Josiah as king and reigned for three months in Jerusalem, but “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” and was arrested and imprisoned by an Egyptian Pharoah (see 2 Kings 23:28-33).
    2. Eliakim (who changed his name to “Jehoiakim”) was made the next king and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem but “he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” (2 Kings 23:34-37)
    3. Jehoiachin was the next king, he reigned three months in Jerusalem, but “he did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and then the Babylonian empire came to conquer the Jews and Jehoiachin was taken into exile in Babylon. (2 Kings 24:1-16)
    4. Mattaniah was made the next king of Judah by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, who changed his name to “Zedekiah.” Zedekiah reigned in Jerusalem for eleven years under Babylonian sovereignty. In the end, however, the Babylonians “slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.” Then, in 586 B.C., the commander of the Babylonian forces “burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem” and then “the rest of the people who were left in the city [were] carried away into exile.” (see 2 Kings 24:17-20 and 2 Kings chapter 25) …
  • When King Josiah died, he “was buried in the tombs of his fathers” and “all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.” (2 Chronicles 35:24) Jeremiah was present for the burial of Josiah, was particularly broken-hearted by Josiah’s death, because he knew that great evil and terrible judgments were coming.
  • Jeremiah influenced the nation on how to mourn for and remember this godly king. “Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentation to this day. And they made them an ordinance in Israel; behold, they are also written in the Lamentations.” (2 Chronicles 35:25)

Final Thoughts

  • Like the nation of Judah in its day, America is heading towards implosion, towards judgment.
  • Only the grace and mercy of God can get us turned around and heading in the right direction.
  • We need a great revival and a Great Awakening.
  • We need leaders like Jeremiah who are willing to preach and teach the Word of God and warn the country of how much danger we are in.
  • We also need a leader like Josiah who will humbly seek the Lord and boldly make serious, sweeping reforms.
  • I’m not looking for a Pastor-in-Chief or Theologian-in-Chief to be President of the United States — the role of President isn’t the same in the U.S. as the role of king was in the days of Judah.
  • The Church’s job is to pray, fast, repent, preach, teach, disciple and lead a great moral and spiritual revival — that is not the President’s job.
  • The President’s job is to follow the Constitution, protect the American people’s safety, protect the American people’s God-given rights and liberties, create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity, and lead the Free World in a time of great peril and volatility.
  • That said, I am looking for a President who loves the Lord, reads and loves God’s Word, is humble, is strong, is clear-sighted, will pursue bold reforms and can call the nation together to head in the right direction.
  • I’m not going to make a quick decision of whom to support. I’m going to pray for wisdom and clarity and discernment and see if a true Josiah emerges over the next few months.
  • I hope you will do the same.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE @ https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/america-needs-a-josiah-why-an-ancient-jewish-king-provides-a-powerful-model-for-the-next-american-president/

Keeps watching …

America needs a Josiah. (Part 2)

America needs a Josiah. (Why an ancient Jewish king provides a powerful model for the next American President.)

By Joel C. Rosenberg

August 18, 2015 

(PART 2)

JOSIAH AND THE ROAD TO REFORM AND REVIVAL

Lessons from the life of Judah’s most humble and godly king

At a time when Hebrew prophets like Jeremiah were warning of the coming judgment of the people of Jerusalem and Judah because they were refused to read, listen to, or obey the Word of God, the Lord mercifully raised up a leader who did, in fact, love the Lord his God and loved His Word.

His name was Josiah. A godly king, Josiah passionately sought the Lord in his private life and pursued bold, sweeping reforms in his public life to get the Jewish nation turned around and headed back in the right direction.

As a result, the Lord in His sovereignty graciously chose to forestall the promised coming judgment for more than two decades. Indeed, during Josiah’s tenure in power, the Jewish people experienced one of the greatest periods of repentance, reform and revival in their ancient history.

In the end, however, when Josiah passed away, new leaders emerged and tragically they turned away from the Lord and led the people astray. Judgment came to the nation in 586 B.C. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple at the hands of the Babylonian army.

Are there lessons from the life of Josiah for our nation at this time? Is it possible that the Lord might graciously raise up a leader like Josiah who loves Him and His Word and will boldly pursue serious reforms to help turn our nation around and get us headed back in the right direction? Despite our many sins and failures as a nation, might the Lord be willing to forestall judgment – at least for a while – and give us a season of great reform and revival?

These are important and intriguing questions. As we seek answers, let us begin by trying to better understand Josiah, his times, his nation, and his God.

[The following has been edited for the sake of brevity. You can find the entire article @ https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/america-needs-a-josiah-why-an-ancient-jewish-king-provides-a-powerful-model-for-the-next-american-president/]

Who was Josiah?

  • Josiah was 8 years old when he became the king of Judah (2 Chronicles 34:1), that is around 627 B.C.
  • Josiah reigned for 31 years. (2 Chronicles 34:1)
  • Josiah’s grandfather was Manasseh, the most wicked king in the history of Judah (2 Kings 21:1-18).
    • Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king (2 Kings 21:1)
    • Manasseh was the most evil king in the history of Judah and during his reign idol worship, witchcraft, and child sacrifice were practiced. Indeed, the Bible states that “Manasseh seduced them [the people of Judah] to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.” (see 2 Kings 21:3-9, and particularly verse 9).
    • Because of the evil done during the reign of Manasseh, terrible judgment was coming and it was certain. “Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets” that “I am bringing calamity on Jerusalem and Judah” and “I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish….I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies because they have done evil in My sight, and have been provoking Me.” (see 2 Kings 21:10-15)
  • Josiah’s father was Amon, another wicked king of Judah. (2 Kings 21:24)
    • Amon was 22 years old when he became king. (2 Kings 21:19)
    • Amon reigned for only two years before being assassinated. (2 Chronicles 33:21, 2 Kings 21:23)
    • Amon “walked in all the ways that his father [Manasseh] had walked, the idols that his father had served and worshipped them.” (2 Kings 21:21)
    • Amon “forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.” (2 Kings 21:22)
    • “The servants of Amon conspired against him and killed the king in his own house.” (2 Kings 21:23)

What was the turning point in Josiah’s life?

  • The Bible tells us that Josiah was about 15 or 16 years old (in the eighth year of his reign) when “he began to seek the God of his father David.” (2 Chronicles 34:2)
  • Josiah was about 19 or 20 years old (in the twelfth year of his reign) when he began “to purge Judah and Jerusalem” of the idols and altars and places of false worship. (2 Chronicles 34:2-7)
  • Josiah was about 26 years old when he directed the High Priest (Hilkiah) to hire workers to clean up and repair the Temple in Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 34:8-13)
    • It was during this process that a lost copy of “the book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” was found in the Temple. (2 Chronicles 34:14)
    • The king asked that the word of the Lord be read to him and it was read to him. (2 Kings 22:8-10)
    • “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded [his servants], ‘Go and inquire of the Lord for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do all that is written concerning us.’” (2 Kings 22:8-10)
    • Hearing the very word of God had a tremendously powerful impact on Josiah. As the king heard the word of God – as it was read to him and as he listened to it carefully – he suddenly understood its import.
    • Josiah understood that certain judgment was coming.
    • Josiah, thus asked his advisors to seek the Lord to find out whether there was any way to turn the ship of state around, as it were, to get back on the right track and to avoid cataclysmic judgment.
    • Josiah’s advisors – including the High Priest – apparently did not know the Lord well enough to seek the word of the Lord directly. So they sought out a true servant of God who was living in Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 34:20-22)

What was the message that the Lord sent to Josiah?

  • The Lord saw Josiah’s anguish over the wrong direction his nation was going in, and in His mercy the Lord sent a message to the king through a prophetess named Huldah. (2 Chronicles 34:22-30)
  • This is the message Josiah received:
      1. Judgment is coming to the nation because the people have turned against the Lord and His word – it is deserved, it is certain, it will come to pass, and nothing can be done to stop it.
        • “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read.” (2 Kings 22:16)
        • “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.” (2 Kings 22:17)
      2.  However, because Josiah’s heart is so tender before the Lord and because when he heard the word of the Lord he humbled himself and repented and sought to obey the Lord, God sovereignly chooses to delay the certain coming judgment until after Josiah passed away.
        • “But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord thus you shall say to him….‘[B]ecause your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,’ declares the Lord.” (2 Kings 22:18-19)
        • “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22:20)

What kind of reforms did Josiah make during time in power?

  • Josiah purged the land of idol worship. (2 Chronicles chapter 34:3-7)
  • Josiah ordered the Temple to be cleaned and repaired (2 Chronicles 34:8-13)
  • Josiah made the reading and studying of the Bible a top priority for the Jewish people. The Scriptures state that he called together “all” the leaders of Jerusalem and Judah and “all the people” of Jerusalem and Judah and personally “read in their hearing all the words of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 34:29-30)
  • Josiah publicly made a covenant before the Lord and all the people “to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes which all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant written in the book [the Bible].” (2 Chronicles 34:31)
  • Josiah led the people to join him in this covenant to serve the Lord with all their heart and soul, “so all the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers” and “throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the Lord God of their fathers.” (2 Chronicles 34:32-33)
  • Beginning when he was about 26, Josiah reinstituted the celebration of the Passover to remind the people of God’s might and mercy, and it had never been celebrated so widely or in such a special manner as during the days of Josiah. (2 Chronicles chapter 35, see especially 35:18)

———————————

“Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord,

‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 

Because your heart was responsive

and you humbled yourself before the Lord 

when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—

that they would become a curse and be laid waste—

and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence,

I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 

Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. 

Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

(2 Kings 22:18-20, NIV)

More to come in Part 3 …

America needs a Josiah. (Part 1)

America needs a Josiah. (Why an ancient Jewish king provides a powerful model for the next American President.)

By Joel C. Rosenberg

August 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Josiah(Washington, D.C.) — As the presidential campaign season heats up, Americans are trying to get to know the many candidates in both parties and determine who would be best to lead America in 2017 and beyond. Who has the right character, vision, and detailed, substantive, serious plans for reform? Who has the wisdom, experience and sound judgment? Who is ready for the enormous and complicated challenges facing this great country?

Choosing the right leader is not an easy process, but it is vitally important. After all, America is on the wrong track. We are going in the wrong direction. We are in deep trouble as a nation, heading steadily — perhaps rapidly — towards implosion. We’ve murdered 57 million babies. Five Justices on the Supreme Court have decided that the Bible is wrong and they know better what marriage should be. We’re taken on $18 trillion in debt with no end in sight. We are surrendering to Iran and ISIS. Our tax code is corruptingly complex and killing jobs and opportunity. We can’t — or won’t — control our sovereign borders. Our schools are a mess. Violence, drugs and pornography is epidemic. Sadly, the list goes on and on.

So who can get us turned around and heading in the right direction? I’ve been praying about this and studying the Scriptures for many months, asking the Lord for clarity. And here is what I have concluded.

America needs a Josiah.

A President cannot save America from all our troubles, but leadership matters. We need a leader like the one-time King of Judah whom the Bible describes as one of the most humble, strong, wise and impressive leaders of all-time. Last week, at the Word of Life Bible camp in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, I taught a five-day series of messages titled, “Living Like Jeremiah In A Time of Coming Judgment.” It was a survey of the life and times and ministry of the ancient Hebrew prophet Josiah. I’ll post more notes from those messages in the days ahead. But on Day #2, I taught about the first of five kings Jeremiah served under. His name was Josiah and his story, I believe, is one that offers great hope. So I’d like to post these notes first.

I hope you’ll take a moment and read through these notes, and read through the accounts of King Josiah in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. At the end of these notes, you’ll see some of my “final thoughts” about how I believe the life and lessons of Josiah apply to our time and this presidential campaign. I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share with others.

——————————–

“Josiah was eight years old when he became king,

and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years…. 

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord 

and followed completely the ways of his father David,

not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

(2 Kings 22:1-2, NIV)

I deeply respect Joel Rosenberg. He is a prolific writer who speaks boldly and seems to have boundless energy. This piece is lengthy but filled with invaluable information and wisdom, so I’m dividing it into sections with the hope that it will be read and ABSORBED by all who have ears to hear. And I’m praying for a “Josiah” to be elected by the American people in the next election.

Keep watching …

Biblical leadership

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Biblical leadership

by Bill Wilson

 

In recent days, the Lord has repeatedly placed on my heart Exodus 18:21, “Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rules of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” The context of this verse on Biblical leadership is found in the need for Moses to settle disputes among the Israelites. It was taking so much of his time that it was wearing him out. Asked by his father in law Jethro what he was doing, Moses replied, “When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.”

Moses was leading the people through the example of the laws and statutes of God. As he did so, he taught the people about God’s ways as Jethro observed in verse 20: “And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Then Jethro suggested to Moses the representative form of government found in verse 21. But it is not only a representative system, it is a form of leadership that is based on example, efficiency, accountability, and fairness under the law. This very system is the picture of good leadership because it speaks to the character and system of good governance.

Able men are those who are competent to lead. Men who fear God are those who have respect for God and knowledge of his ways because one cannot have respect without some idea of what it is that is respected. Men of truth are those who know and live by the truth. If Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, these leaders must know the Lord in order to know truth. Men who hate covetousness. Covetousness is defined as having or showing a great desire to possess something, typically something belonging to someone else. A government is covetousness when those running it want to take what you have and give it to someone else. The governing body becomes covetous if the men running it are so.

The Hebrew translation of the words for this verse are those that mean competent, God-fearing, honest and incorruptible. These are the qualities of good leaders. This system of government served as the basis for the government of the United States when the Founders framed up the Constitution. The Framers also were consistent in describing the type of leaders that should be elected into this form of government–religious, moral, Christian were words often used by various Founders in their private writings and speeches. If as Christians we accept the word of God as inerrant and infallible, then we should choose leaders who hold the qualities of leadership described by the Bible, and hold them accountable.

Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
Bill Wilson
http://www.dailyjot.com

ISRAEL: “to struggle with the Godly”

This article, sent to me from United With Israel, was such a blessing this morning! I have always wondered about the translation from Hebrew to English of Genesis 32:22-32, and now I understand that there is a discrepancy according to a rabbi who is able to read the passage in Hebrew and understand its literal meaning.

The Scripture describes the night when Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, was all alone in the dark — unusual for a man with such a HUGE extended family — when “a man” wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Surprisingly, Jacob actually won the match! And in addition, he was rewarded with a blessing. “The man” said to Jacob, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but ISRAEL, because you have struggled with God and with man and have overcome” (Gen. 33:28, New International Version).

Over the years I’ve become aware that there are MANY different interpretations of this passage. To this day, none of them had made clear sense to me. Especially when a meaning is given for the word ISRAEL. The New King James Version says that it literally means “Prince with God.” The 2011 New International Version says “it probably means he struggles with God.”  The Message says within the scripture text “Israel (God-Wrestler).” Is it any wonder that non-believers have trouble with so-called “contradictions” like this one? Even I have to admit that something here doesn’t seem quite right!

So today I am feeling thankful for an explanation that makes sense to me. Here, for your consideration, is the article by Rabbi Ari Enkin …

The Eternal Wrestling Match: ISRAEL is Born!

This week’s Torah portion is “Vayishlach” (Genesis 32:4 – 36:43). In it, we read one of the most mysterious, if not outright mystical, episodes in the book of Genesis: Jacob’s all-night wrestling match with a strange “man.”

Let’s take a look at the text:

And Jacob was alone, and a man wrestled with him until the crack of dawn. When the man saw that he could not defeat Jacob, he grabbed him by his thigh and dislocated his leg. The man said, “Let me go for dawn has come!” And Jacob said: “I will not release you until you bless me.” So he said to him, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” And he said, “No longer will your name be Jacob, but rather Israel, for you have struggled with both the Godly as well as with man, and you prevailed.” (Genesis 32:25-28)

Our sages teach us that this was no ordinary “man,” but rather, it was an angel! Esau’s guardian angel to be exact. [Note: Jacob was preparing to meet his brother Esaua after many years of conflict between the twin brothers. — PY] It was a long and difficult night, but in the end, Jacob ultimately prevailed, as he held his opponent hostage until he ransomed himself with a blessing. What was that blessing that he received? A new name. “ISRAEL”. YISRA-EL means “to struggle with the Godly.”

This mysterious wrestling match has many interpretations. Among them is that the wrestling match that Jacob had to endure with this angel represents the same wrestling match we all go through on a daily –I mean hourly- basis: the wrestling match with our ‘YETZER HARA’ — our EVIL INCLINATION. You know, that little voice inside of you that tells you not to do the right thing, or that urges you to forgo an opportunity to perform some mitzvah or act of kindness. You got it….That’s the yetzer hara.

rabbi

The story is told of a rabbi who noticed that one of the students in his learning group had been absent for several days. This was the same student who hadn’t missed a single day in years! Getting worried, the rabbi went to the young man’s home to inquire on his welfare. When the rabbi arrived at the home and met his student he asked the student why he was absent. “What’s wrong? It must be serious for you to be missing several days after a perfect attendance for many years?!”

The boy was hesitant to reveal the reason he had been absent, simply telling the rabbi that he wouldn’t understand the reason even if he told him. The rabbi begged him to reveal the secret and promised that he would try to understand the boy’s perspective. Finally, the boy blurted out the reason why he had been absent: “Soccer Finals!!!”

The rabbi listened to the boy praise the virtues of the soccer finals. “I’m sure that this game of soccer must be quite exciting. Tell me,” he asked, “How do you play soccer? What’s the object? “Well,” began the student filled with enthusiasm, “there are eleven players, and the object is to kick a ball into the other team’s net!”

“Oh! Is that all?” asked the rabbi. “So just go there, kick the ball in the goal, and then get back to the class!” The boy laughed. “You don’t understand! The opposing team also has eleven players and a goal-keeper, and their job is to stop our team from getting the ball into their goal!”

soccer

“Tell me…These other players on the other team, are they there all day and night?” “Of course not Rabbi, they go home after the game!”

So the rabbi had an idea. “Why don’t you sneak into the stadium in the evening and kick the ball into the goal when no one is there to stop you?! Then you can win and return to learning Torah!” The boy threw his hands up in frustration. “Rabbi! You don’t understand. It’s of no real value to kick a ball into an empty net if there is no one trying to stop you!”

“Aha!” said the rabbi. “Now think a moment and listen to what you just said! It is no trick to come to learn Torah only when there is nothing trying to hold you back! It is when the urge to skip is so overpowering, when the yetzer hara is “blocking the goal”— that’s when you can score real points! Come tomorrow and you can’t imagine how much your Torah learning will be worth!”

The next day, the boy indeed arrived for the class. Said the rabbi: “You have no idea what kind of “huge goal” you just scored against the yetzer hara!”

And so it is with us. We all have a “little man” inside of us trying to hold us back from doing the right thing. Whether he is trying to convince us to miss a Torah class, not to give some money to charity, or even not to help a stranded motorist change his flat tire, that little man “wrestles” and “wrestles” with us trying to get its way. We have to be like Jacob, always fighting back and never giving up. You can and will be victorious. And when you are…it is the greatest blessing that you could hope to acquire for yourself!

11/15/13