This week’s reading of the Torah is from Exodus 31:11 – 34:35. The reading has many important issues that are relevant to what we need today. One thing that is really interesting to me is the need of absolute equality.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs) half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord’s offering to make atonement for your lives.’” – Exodus 30:11-15

Note from this text that everyone in Israel is to pay only half a shekel. The rich pay half a shekel and the poor pay half a shekel. This money, the half a shekel, is called “ransom,” and “atonement for your lives.”

Everyone in Israel from every tribe is to pay the same half a shekel. I learn from this that, in the ultimate divine view point of all of us, we are equal and our “ransom” and “atonement” is the same. Not that the half a shekel is the atoning power, but the half a shekel is actually a symbol of the one who takes the place for each person in Israel.

This is how the census is supposed to be carried. When King David was tempted and commanded to carry a census of Israel toward the last of his days, David didn’t pay attention to the Torah laws, and commanded Joab his general to go and count the people of Israel. A horrible plague came upon Israel, and 70,000 people died because of the census that David carried without the use of the half a shekel – just plain counting of the people of Israel.

One of the main lessons that I have learned from this text in Exodus 30 is that for God we are all equal – we are all half a shekel’s worth. The price of our “ransom” and our “atonement” is all the same for each one of us, the rich and the poor, the educated and the non-educated. The price of everyone is the same.

This is also true with what God did with Yeshua His son. The same blood, the same suffering, the same death, and the same resurrection, and when He returns, the Messiah will be equally the Messiah and the savior of all, Jews and non-Jews alike. All will enjoy their eternal life for the same price: the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah – Yeshua.

The second thing that I would like to mention from this Torah reading is from Exodus 31:12-17,

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore, the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and son the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”’” – Exodus 31:12-17

In this reading of the commandments connected to the seventh day, the Sabbath is placed in a very special place. The Sabbath, in this case, becomes a sign between the Lord and the people of Israel. This is no longer a commandment that is given for the human body to rest from labor from working for a living, but to rest, and as Isaiah the prophet said:

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 58:13-14

Now, in our text the Sabbath takes the role of a wedding ring. It is a sign that God and Israel have a relationship.

The Sabbath is first a covenantal sign between Israel and the Lord, and second comes the “solemn rest” and “holy to the Lord.” Only in the third place comes the issue of working on the Sabbath, and the fourth important thing here is the confirmation and declaration that the Lord created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh.

These four aspects of the Sabbath are a package deal, but today the emphasis in Israel is the covenantal sign and confirmation of the relationship between the Lord and Israel, and the rest on the Sabbath day is only the inheritance of the ultra-orthodox Jews.

The Jewish genius finds ways to adjust and circumvent the strict Torah ways, and liberalize and enable people to live as much as possible in the modern world. Everyone uses electricity – although the ultra-orthodox Jews don’t turn on the light or use phones and computers – most of the Jews in the world understand that the Sabbath is a type, a symbol, a sign, a confirmation of the relationship between God the Creator and the nation He has chosen to preserve and bring salvation to the whole world.

The salvation for the world is through a faithful son of Israel who is also the faithful Son of God, Yeshua. When Yeshua declares that “the Son of Man” is the Lord of the Sabbath, He declares that He is the master of the Sabbath – the One who ratifies the covenantal aspect of the Sabbath, the One who gives the rest to those who are in covenantal relationship with Him, through their participation in His death, burial and resurrection.

The three bases of the Sabbath were all included in this text from this Torah reading:

  1. The Sabbath is a symbol of a covenantal relationship between the Creator and the nation of Israel.
  2. It is a day of non-work – rest. According to Isaiah, it is a day of concentration on God’s desire, and not like the six days of work, of concentration on our private desires and personal interests.
  3. A monument and remembrance to the Creation of the world and for the Creator of the world.

These make the very basis of the Sabbath day. The question that today we need to ask is the following: Do Christians today need these three elements that the Sabbath provides?

  1. Do Christians today need to know, and to have a symbol of the fact, that they are related and connected, and assured that they have a covenantal relationship with the Lord and Creator of the World?
  2. Do Christians need rest from the burdens of work and the provision for the sustenance of life – physical work? Men are not beasts of burden, and God provided the seventh day of creation for rest. God Himself was an example. God rested on the seventh day after the six days of creation. For this reason, He sanctified the seventh day and made it holy. This was a long long time before Abraham and before there were Hebrews, or Jews, or Israel.
  3. God wanted the Sabbath day, the seventh day, to be a monument for humanity, to remember that this earth that we live in is the planned and engineered work of the Master Creator of all life. Not an accident of an atomic explosion in the vast space. This world was created by God and by an intelligence, not by accident.

Israel needs your prayers. Israel is going towards a national and general election. This is a time of division, manipulation, and polarization of the Israeli population. It seems like the politicians in Israel, from all ends of the political spectrum, are dividing the population and thinking mainly of themselves. Israel as a country is in search for a vision, in search of hope for a better future, in search for a clear faith in the future and place of this nation in the space of this land of Israel.

Please pray for Israel as a nation going through this election. This election is not only for the Prime Minister, and for the political establishment, it is for the very platform on which the nation and the region will be redeemed.

Pray for the leaders of all the political parties that are running for a place in the Parliament, and for power to guide and rule this country. Pray that they don’t shame themselves and expose the ugly side of politics, the selfishness of the shepherds and the shameful condition of the sheep. It seems like selfishness is in need of healing, and without faith in God and in God’s promises to this nation – there will come no healing! Pray that faith will be victorious over religion. People can be extremely religious and have zero faith.

Pray for Daniel, Marcia, and I, we are going to be traveling to Brazil for the 12th annual congress in Belo-Horizonte, Brazil. This is a congress for the restoration of our faith in God and a renewal of our commitment to the whole Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation. We need your prayers to travel safe, stay healthy, and be able to do God’s will, and inspire and encourage our dear brothers from Brazil, from all around South America, and from many other countries that will be represented in this congress.

Pray for our Brazilian brothers, especially Marcelo Guimaraes and his family, and the leadership of the Har Zion Congregation, the Teaching from Zion Ministry, and the leadership of Hesed VeEmet (Grace and Truth) congregation, and the Sar El congregation. Our plan is to participate and teach all these three congregations and ministries. Bless them and bless their leadership.

  1. We need a new van for the ministry, for the “Hamotzi” food distribution program, for the youth group, and for dozens of other uses and ministry needs. Some of you our brothers and sisters have been giving generously for this van, but we are only halfway through to fill this need. I am asking those of you who want to give and haven’t done so yet, to make an effort and give soon.
  2. Pray for the conference in Portugal. I have the program now and the list of speakers who are going to participate in this conference. No one can even imagine how important this conference is going to be and what caliber of speakers has already made the commitment and confirmation of their participation. Anyone who is interested in Israel, in the Anussim victims of the Spanish Inquisition, and in Aliyah to Israel ought to start praying now, and also make a sincere effort to participate in this conference. It will be a real and true opportunity to do spiritual warfare on the highest level. There will also be a prayer tour in four cities where Jews were burned by the “holy office of the Inquisition.” Click here for information on how to join and where to register, including help with flights. Please pray also for the upcoming Netivyah 40th Anniversary Tour in November 2019. This is a planned major celebration and both inspirational and educational experience, and a package of vitamins for the life and faith of all the participants. Click here for more information on the Netivyah 40th Anniversary Tour.
  3. Please remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani in your prayers. He is still not back to himself, but he is well enough to go home from the hospital, and that makes him much happier.
  4. Dr. M. Song, from Korea, and his whole family have been some of the most faithful prayer warriors for Aliyah and for Israel, and for Netivyah. I ask you all to mobilize yourself, your time, your family, and your friends, and lift Dr. M. Song and his family in your prayer. Pray for healing that will come from the Lord, and pray for strength in Dr. Song’s spirit and in his family.
  5. Keep a dear sister in the Lord named Courtney in your prayers.
  6. I am adding two very important prayer requests: Amir the son of Amira – he is a young man, a father and a husband, and a nephew of some of our very close Arab/Palestinian friends. Also pray for the grandmother of Amir, Um Abu-Eid – she is a dear old Arab/Palestinian.
  7. The other family that needs healing is in Sweden – Tertu and Tapio Luca. They are true prayer warriors for Israel and for Netivyah, and they too need healing from serious health issues.
  8. Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better, but still far from being out of the woods.
  9. Please keep praying for Eli, my nephew who, is dealing with a very serious stage 4 cancer, and undergoing chemotherapy.
  10. Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki.
  11. Pray for Patty, Andrea, and Tineke – all are in the Netherlands and need healing from God.
  12. Continue to pray for Julia and Victor, our dear sister and brother in Jerusalem. Both need healing and God’s help. Please add a dear sister that is suffering from prejudice in Switzerland. Her name is Paula and she needs a divine breakthrough.
  13. Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou WenriIan living in China. There is a dear Pastor Isaac in Chenai, India, who has a deep love for the Lord and for Israel. He is sick with kidney problems and needs a dialysis treatment several times per week. Please pray for a medical miracle for Pastor Isaac and pray for his ministry in the Kingdom of God.
  14. I am also asking you to pray for a dear sister in China who is doing so much for the Kingdom of God – her name is Ema! She has a big burden for a big school that needs the Lord to bless it and open up all the avenues of blessing and enable success both in the physical and spiritual realm.
  15. Margareta is a dear woman who is Orthodox Jewish, please keep her in your prayers.
  16. George, Gary, Melanie, and Aharon (Nancy and Don’s son, Sarit, David S., Gabriela, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Yehuda H., Hannah, Gabriela the young, Zvi D. and his dear wife, and Nancy. These are all related to our congregation in Jerusalem and need healing and strength.
  17. These brothers and sisters from around the world who need your prayer and your intercession and healing. Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Marcelo’s parents, Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Yumi, and her father and family.
  18. Please keep dear sister Ruby L., who is in Oklahoma City. Ruby’s situation is very difficult, and she needs the mercy of the Lord for healing, and the help of brothers and sisters for daily basic needs.
  19. Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen. They need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich. These are all people for whom you are praying, but I want you to know that these are also people who pray for Israel and for Netivyah and stand and support both Israel and Netivyah. I want to add a brother from Brazil who is living in Portugal now and is having some serious family problems. His name is Ismael Alves.

I wish all of you, who stand with Israel and who pray for Jerusalem, the best of the Lord’s blessings and the fulfillment of all of His promises to His faithful children. For the Lord is gracious and longsuffering and good to all, but especially to those who have faith and hear His word and do it. Those who hear God and do His will are the ones who are called wise! Those who only hear His word and don’t do it are called foolish! Let us all strive to be wise and never foolish!

Thank you all and know that we in Jerusalem love and appreciate you!