This Easter, let’s remember that the Lord is again bringing His people from slavery into freedom

editor - 6 April 2023

Yesterday, the Jewish people began their celebration of Passover (Pesach) with a Seder meal. This evening, Christians of Western traditions will celebrate Maundy Thursday: the evening that Jesus is recorded to have observed a Seder meal, prior to His death the following day, and resurrection three days later.

The Seder meal is focused around the exodus from Egypt. Drinking from cups of wine is central. Of course, Jesus also drank the cups – as a Jewish Rabbi celebrating the Jewish feast of Passover with His Jewish brethren in Jerusalem, according to orthodox Jewish custom.

Photo: Shutterstock

The cups of wine referred then, as they do today, to different aspects of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. As David Nekrutman reminds us in his article this week:

“The earliest record of drinking wine on Passover evening is recorded in the Book of Jubilees (135-105 BCE). As recorded in the Mishnah Pesachim (chapter 10), drinking four cups of wine at mandated segments of the Seder is obligatory for the rabbis. The origin of this rabbinic institution is debated with Rabbi Yocḥanan ben Nappah (180–279 CE) sourcing the tradition to the four expressions of redemption mentioned in Exodus 6:6-7.

Therefore, say to the children of Israel, ‘I am The Eternal, and I will escort (וְהוֹצֵאתִי) you from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save (וְהִצַּלְתִּי) you from their labor, and I will redeem (וְגָאַלְתִּי) you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. and I will take (וְלָקַחְתִּי) you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God…”

But there is also a future dimension to this cup. The Lord promised that there would be, in the last days, an exodus much greater than the exodus from Egypt. The Lord will bring back His people from their dispersion in all the nations since the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, and the destruction of Jerusalem in 135AD. Today, we are witnessing that return from captivity. God is bringing His people home!

David Nekrutman argues that the time has come to celebrate Israel’s restoration in our generation, by drinking a fifth cup. This “would represent the fifth redemptive expression of Exodus 6:8 – ‘And I will bring (וְהֵבֵאתִי) you in unto the land…’”. This will serve as a reminder, that, in 2023, it is now 75 years since the establishment of the State of Israel. Our celebration – as Christians and as Jews – should acknowledge God’s faithfulness to His own promises to restore His people to the land – from the north, the south, the east and the west.

It is when the Jewish people are in the land, that the Lord will make a new covenant with Israel. In Jeremiah 31, the prophet foretells the physical restoration of the Jewish people. “Hear the word of the LORD, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.’ It is in that context that the Lord will do a spiritual work amongst His people.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put My law in their mindsand write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31. See also Isaiah 59).

Referring to Jeremiah 31, Jesus said: “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22).

Israel is therefore a sign to the nations of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. In Isaiah 60:3-5, 15-16 we read:

“Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (…) Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

The Apostle Paul refers to this in Romans 11:25-27, when he speaks of the day when the “full number of the Gentiles has come in”, and “all Israel will be saved” when the Lord “takes away their sins”.

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Therefore, this Pesach/Easter, it is good to remind ourselves that we are witnessing a modern miracle. The Lord is bringing the Jewish people home. The modern Jewish nation of Israel is created by God, not by man or by the United Nations. The Jewish people are far from perfect. But they are the Lord’s children. He is leading them, and He will visit them in the Spirit – and they will confess their sins and turn to their God and creator as their Savior.

So, instead of arrogantly condemning and criticizing Israel, we nations should be humbling ourselves, confessing our own sins, acknowledging the restoration of the Jewish people as a work of God, and praying that the Lord will fulfil all of His purposes with respect to the Jewish people.

Photo: C4I

This brings us to another aspect that we would do well to reflect on this Passover/Easter. The enemy of the God of Israel seeks ever to frustrate God’s purposes and plans. Satan wishes to destroy and disperse the Jewish people and turn them from God. Perhaps that is reflected in the current spirit of animosity within Israel. But it is certainly reflected in the fact that certain nations and worldly leaders outside Israel are trying to destroy the Jewish State of Israel.

By far the most dangerous threat to Israel’s existence is the fanatical Islamist revolutionary regime in Tehran, that repeatedly declares its intention to wipe Israel from the map. Not surprisingly, Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has made containing Iran a chief objective of his administration. He said his new government would focus on three main goals, the first of which would be preventing Iran from “developing an arsenal of atomic weapons that will threaten us and the whole world”.

Speaking on Tuesday at at the traditional Passover toasts with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Defense Forces General Staff Forum, he said: “No debate will prevent us from wielding the sword and shield to defend ourselves and repel any aggression by them in order to ensure the continuity of the Zionist enterprise.”

The Iranian threat is very real and immediate. Iran operates largely through its proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and operatives in Syria. Israel has reportedly carried out several airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria in recent days, and on Monday, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that an unmanned aerial object brought down the previous day after it crossed into Israeli airspace from Syria was most probably of Iranian origin. Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in the past in order to contain Iran’s efforts to establish itself in the region and transfer sophisticated missile technology to its terror proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Alarmingly, Israel’s most important ally the USA is seeking to appease the Ayatollah’s in Tehran. As Caroline Glick has reported this week, in January, the Biden administration began negotiations with the Iranian regime about the possibility of reaching a partial agreement related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It revealed those efforts to Israel, Britain, France and Germany in February. A recent Axios report revealed that President Joe Biden and his team have offered Tehran a deal that would see the U.S. remove some economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for the regime temporarily ceasing some of its nuclear activities. The U.S. and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency assess that Iran is on the brink of becoming a threshold nuclear state. In February, the IAEA said that Iran possessed sufficient quantities of uranium enriched to 60% purity to build a nuclear weapon if that uranium is further processed to 90%, weapons-grade level. Last month, the IAEA reported finding uranium enriched to 84% purity.

So, this Passover/Easter, let us humble ourselves before the Lord, intercede on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, and thank Him for His goodness in fulfilling His promises before our eyes.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Restoring the Fifth Cup at the Seder
David Nekrutman writes: “In my humble opinion, we need to celebrate chag cherut (Festival of Freedom) in a geulah (redemptive) paradigm. It begins with a small adjustment in our Seder celebration – restoring and drinking the fifth cup.”.
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Israel is holding the line on Iran, despite Biden
Caroline Glick reports at JNS: “The U.S. administration is trying to reach an accord that will give Tehran the means to exert hegemonic power in the region.”
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First Pesach in the First Home
At this turbulent time of the new big aliyah when thousands of Jews arrive here for the sake of freedom it is highly important to adhere to the traditions in order to feel the sense of belonging to the great nation.
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Chesed | The Book of RUTH with Johannes Gerloff #12
The Hebrew word “Chesed” is perhaps the most defining word for the character of the Book of Ruth. The question is, how do we translate it appropriately and really comprehensively into our language?


Isaiah 60

The Glory of Zion
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.

Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on My altar, and I will adorn My glorious temple. “Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendor.

“Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations – their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn My sanctuary; and I will glorify the place for My feet. The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

“Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.”

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