December 29, 2016

Joseph and Mary knew who Jesus was, but that knowledge didn't make them think they were above the Mosaic Law. Under that Law there were certain requirements a woman was to do after giving birth, and Mary was not exempt from following those requirements. When a woman gave birth to a male child, she was considered unclean …

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December 29, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 As 2016 draws it's last breath, we wish to take the time here to thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. We also want to encourage each of you to walk closer to the Lord in 2017. This is essential for dark and trying times as we have never experienced will be upon us.

Many have demonstrated the mindset that since Donald Trump won the election, everything is okay. Breath a sigh of relief, all is well. But, let me suggest to you that all is not well. At the very best, God Almighty has given this nation a reprieve. How long that will last is something we cannot know. But, the prayers of the righteous have been answered and we must use this time to prepare spiritually and physically for great challenges ahead. We also encourage you to pray for all those who are lost, the prodigals, and for our brethren across the globe. 

 We are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The events the nations took against the Apple of God's Eye during the last week is a wake-up call. Psalm 122 urges us to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," or more literally, to ask about shalom for Jerusalem. What does that mean? Is it talking about the need to pray for the city itself-for the dirt and the stones, or for spiritual salvation, as true peace starts within? Or, a bit of both? The Bible says the following about this significant city and some suggestions about how we can pray today:

The very name "Jerusalem" comes from the Hebrew root word for shalom, the word for peace, which you can hear a bit better when the Hebrew say, "Yerushalayim." Interestingly, the very to pay is from the very same root word, leShalem. A payment or transaction in return for goods given restores peace between the two parties, making things right. Shalem in Hebrew also means, "complete," and shalom, as we have said, means peace. So, you can see that the root word behind the name of God's chosen city is rich with meaning, especially for us who believe that Jesus (Yeshua) paid for our sins, in order to restore peace between us and Him, and He did all of this in Jerusalem.

So, this explains the "Shalem/Salem' bit," but what about the "jeru"/"Yeru" at the beginning? Interesting fact: the very mountain that God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son uponb was Mount Moriah, none other than the very place where Solomon built the temple, and Nehemiah built the second temple. Yes, Abraham took his son Isaac up to where Jerusalem stands today. Isaac climbed that same mountain, carrying the wood on his back that would be for his own sacrificial death, if the Lord had not stopped Abraham and provided a ram as a substitute to die in his place. And here, it is suggested, is where the "yeru" comes in. In Genesis 22, the Hebrew word "to see" appears several times. And it is just after Hagar refers to God as the one who sees. Genesis 14:18 says, "And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh; as it is said to this day: 'In the mount where the LORD is seen.'" However, many translations would say, "the LORD who provides", and certainly Jehovah Jireh is usually thought to mean "God my provider." The context certainly lends itself to understanding the word "see" here as referring to provision. In verse 8 we see the same thing, the verb "will see" is translated as "will provide": Isaac asks his father where the animal for the sacrifice is, and Abraham tells his son, "God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son"...Perhaps it means something like, "God will see to it." But all these words are from the root word "to see", "yireh". Even Mount Moriah comes from the same root.


So, the name "Jerusalem" means something like, 'God will see to/provide complete and paid-for peace.' God sees all that is happening in Jerusalem these days. There is much sin abounding on both sides of the dispute, and it grieves God. We know that God has plans for Jerusalem and that Yeshua will return to the Mount of Olives. He will come back ro rule and reign as a conquering king, not as a suffering servant this time. He will put all things right. Political and supernatural peace will come when he returns, but until then, we need to contend for peace in prayer - the peace with God that has been paid for by the Messiah. The city is important to God, but not as important as the people:

"Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her." Ezekiel 5:5.

As far as God is concerned, Jerusalem is the center of the world. The word Jerusalem occurs 881 times in the Bible; 667 times in the Old Testament (or Tenach) and 144 times in the New Testament. God Himself refers to it and to no other place as "My City" (Isaiah 45:13), the city He has chosen for his dwelling place. It is not so much the building nor the city which have top priority in his heart, but the holiness of his people and his relationship with them. 

Pray for the salvation of the people. When our minds are trusting God fully, our hearts will be at peace (Isaiah 26:3). This needs to be our prayer for all Hebrew and of Arabic descent, the politicians and officials, the workers adn ordinary people; for everyone. That God would draw them to himself, and lead them in the journey of walking by faith, trusting him, and experiencing the peace that comes only through Jesus Christ (Yeshua). 

Have a blessed and happy 2017. May you be blessed in unusual and unexpected ways that can only be attributed to our Heavenly Father.

 Be wary, watchful, and always in prayer.

Watch! Pray! Occupy!

Previously published newsletters can be accessed at: http://straitandnarrowministry.com/resources/newsletter-archive/