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On a recent visit to Bulgaria, I was astounded to find that during the Second World War the entire Jewish population was protected by the Bulgarians from being shipped to Germany for extermination, as Hitler demanded.
Although the story is not that simple, and it is a fact that the Jews of Bulgaria suffered privations and mistreatment, the reality is that the Bulgarian government refused to ship the Jews to Germany.
Prominent in that resistance was the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, Stephan I, whose outcry against the deportation, tipped the scales.
Another amazing fact is, that most of the Bulgarian Jews immigrated to Israel en-mass, after WWII. The communist regime allowed them to leave, for a price, and from 1948 to 1952 and even beyond that time, almost 45,000 Jews made Aliya. Many settled in Jaffa and till this day there is a large Bulgarian Jewish population there. It is of personal interest to us because our son-in-law is Bulgarian from his father’s side.
You can read more about this here: The Jews of Bulgaria.
But, I was just as astounded, to hear the young Jewish guide, who guided us on the ‘Jewish Tour,’ plead with us to fight for equality, goodness, and decency in the world. He believed in the goodness of Man and passionately challenged us to change the world so Jews can live everywhere in peace!
I approached him after he finished his speech and urged him to make Aliyah!
With anti-Semitism and neo-Nazi ideology on the rise, the Jews of the world can ill afford to entrain such thinking as the ‘goodness of Man’, and hope for some bright future for the families of the earth where mankind lives in peace and security and happiness. All indications are to the contrary.
Only God is Good, and only God can save this earth and the human race, from destroying itself.
We thank God, therefore, For His Word. It is the only Hope for Man and the only Hope for Israel. We thank God for His promises, for His Word is unchangeable and cannot return to Him void. It must be fulfilled to the letter!
Psalm 126 (Please read it) speaks in the first part of the Act of God to bring His people back, and the second part is a great encouragement not to let up in prayer…those who sow in tears shall reap with joy!
- We prayed for the Lord to break the strongholds that are keeping the Jewish people from making Aliya
- We prayed for the Lord to make the Jewish people in the diaspora uncomfortable in their spirit regarding the rise of anti-Semitism
- We prayed for the rest of the Jews in Bulgaria to make Aliya (including that young Man who guided us).
- We prayed for the Good Shepherd to seek out the lost sheep of Israel
- We prayed for the fulfillment of the promises from a covenantal perspective
We prayed for the salvation of the Jewish people
Jer. 31:9 They shall come with weeping, And with supplications, I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.
The return of the Jewish people home to the Land has a spiritual aspect to it, that of salvation. The weeping and supplications in this verse, indicate repentance and a broken heart. This will only come with the revelation of Yeshua to His people.
Zechariah 12:10 is intimately tied with this repentance as you can read.
Eventually, it will be apparent that the Return to Him and the Return to the Land, are but two aspects of His work with His people. Both will be completed by the grace and power and intervention of the Lord.
- We prayed for brokenness and repentance to flood the Jewish people
- We prayed and pleaded for the Lord to reveal Himself to our nation
- We prayed for this outpouring of the Holy Spirit and asked for help to persist in it, even though we have not seen even a small could in the heavens yet. (1Kings 18:43-45)
- We prayed that the Lord would cut through the Lie, so many believe in, i.e., that good works will get them to heaven. (One political party put out a video of a Rabbi, already dead, that promised that anyone who would vote for them, would go to heaven!)
- We prayed that just as Adam knew he was naked, so would we as a people come to the shocking reality that we have no covering for our nakedness as a people (sin=nakedness)
We prayed for the Body of Messiah in the Land
Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Two more quotes:
“The reason Paul insisted on the centrality of the cross in polemical terms was that the Corinthian Christians wanted to pass over it altogether. This tendency persists in the American church today. H. Richard Niebuhr put it unforgettably in The Kingdom of God in America: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” When this happens, we may have religiosity, we may have uplift, we may have spirituality, but we do not have Christianity.
“Taking up the cross, as Jesus himself called us to do, means a total reorientation of the self toward the way of Christ. Long before he knew his own destiny, Dietrich Bonhoeffer memorably wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”’” (1)
While some of you, reading this may feel these quotes are too strong. Personally, I think that these things need a constant emphasis lest we stray away from true Christianity. It is a very foolish thing ( unintelligent, foolish, dull-witted) to abandon, or leave behind the cross as the center of our communion with the crucified one, as the light on our path, as the source of our understanding and walk with Him.
- We prayed for the Body to experience a visitation from God in this way: The Revelation of Yeshua the Crucified and Resurrected Messiah.
- We prayed for a genuine revival where conviction brings God’s people back to Himself as the sole object of their love and affections.
- We prayed for a great victory for God in the lives of His people here in the Land.
- We prayed for good, in-depth, and balanced teaching in the Body - 1Cor. 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness
May you experience a real revival in your soul and spirit as you pray these things for us. Thank you for standing with us for the full counsel of God to be fulfilled.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
1. Rutledge, Fleming. The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (p. 65, 44). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle Edition.