Prayer Letter for November 2021

Isaiah 62 Prayer Campaign

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Isaiah 62 Prayer Letter - November 2021

Dear prayer partners,

This verse from Isaiah has been the leading mandate for our ministry from the beginning in 1980. It is good to know that it also is one of key Scriptures in rabbinic tradition. It is read in synagogues every year in the month of Av, and it is closely connected to the idea of God consoling His people after a great tragedy. In fact, the rabbis say that the destruction of the Temple and the ensuing exile of the Jewish people, which are commemorated on the 9th of Av, go hand in hand with redemption. Isaiah’s promise of a coming Messiah in 11:1 (“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots”) follows immediately after the destruction described in chapter 10, which ends with the words: “He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.” (Isaiah 10:34). So, the comfort of Isaiah 40 already contains the concept of the Messiah. When we explain the motivation for our ministry, the connection is not lost on Jews who know the Scriptures.

The topic of “comfort” is important also in the New Testament, as Paul speaks of it in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”

God the Father – Av – is called “the Father of Mercies and God of all comfort.” This is the same concept as in Isaiah 40. God comforts in times of trouble. Tribulation and comfort go hand in hand. And here we learn an important truth: the source of this consolation is the suffering of Christ. We can be comforted because Christ suffered for us.

The same holds for the people of Israel. When they suffered throughout history, Yeshua suffered with them. And they can be comforted today because the Messiah is also the source of comfort, even if they do not know it. This truth will be revealed to them one day and we, by comforting Israel, pave the way.

So, it turns out that comforting Israel is more than just some humanitarian effort. It is deeply spiritual. We can find an interesting hint in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. The translation of Isaiah 40:1 – “comfort My people, says your God” is “parakaleite ton laon mou”. The word for “comfort” has the same root as the word “Parakletos”, the “Comforter”, which is used in the New Testament for the Holy Spirit.

It follows that such acts of comfort are Divine activity, and they are inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Parakletos is the one doing the comforting. It is more than mere human effort. When God says in Isaiah 40 “comfort ye My people”, it means that God gave us as Gentile believers the ministry of comfort, which is a core characteristic of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we cannot comfort Israel outside the Holy Spirit.

Let us look at the characteristics of the Parakletos in the New Testament. Jesus said in John 14:16-17:

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper [Parakletos], that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

And in John 16:7-10 He says:

“It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Parakletos] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

If comforting Israel is the work of the Holy Spirit, we can learn from the above characteristics something about the nature of the ministry of comfort to Israel. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, and the world does not know Him. The presence of the Holy Spirit brings judgement to the ruler of this world.

When we comfort Israel, we inevitably clash with the spirit of this world. It is a battle for truth. It is no coincidence that the enemies of Israel have been using lies: they deny the existence of the Jewish Temples and the facts of Jewish history; they falsely claim that the Jews are colonialists and racists; they sparked many conflicts by falsely claiming that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger, etc.

In fact, the history of antisemitism is a history of lies about the Jews: the blood libels, the poisoning of wells, the desecration of the host, the global conspiracy… lies, lies, lies.

Antisemites are drinking from the poisoned wells of the devil, who is the liar and the father of lies. He wants to kill and destroy, and his spirit is manifested in the very charter of Hamas, for instance, which calls for Israel’s destruction. The same spirit has been leading the regime in Iran, which has made the destruction of Israel their number one priority. It bears comparison to the irrational policies of the Nazis. They prioritized the killing of Jews over their military efforts. In 1944, when it was becoming evident that they would lose the war, they increased their extermination efforts. Trains with Jews to Auschwitz had priority over military transports. As the Allies landed in Normandy, the Nazis killed over 400,000 Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz within six weeks.

The result is always the same, it causes suffering of their own people and ultimately destruction. The only reason Palestinians still have no state is that destroying the Jewish state has always been more important for their leaders than building their own.

By comforting Israel, we in contrast evoke God’s attributes of mercy. He is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. And He will restore His people with all His heart and all His soul, as declared in Jeremiah 32:36-42:

“Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel… ‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ “For thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.’”

God, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, has given to us the ministry of comfort towards Israel. He has given us His Comforter, who dwells within us and guides us. The world does not know Him and cannot accept Him, but He is stronger, and He brings judgement over the ruler of this world. There will be conflict and suffering but God will also comfort us so that we may comfort Israel. Let us continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to do His work in our hearts, and in the hearts of the Jewish people.

Mojmir Kallus
Vice President – International Affairs
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

PS: Our first day of prayer for the Isaiah 62 Prayer Campaign this month will be on Wednesday, 3 November 2021. That same day, we also will be hosting our online Global Prayer Gathering, at 4:00 PM (Israel time). Please join us there at on.icej.org/ICEJGlobalPrayer

And let us hear from you about your needs and how God has answered your prayers! Send a short email to prayer@icej.org to let us know you are praying and fasting with us.

 

The next day of prayer and fasting in our Isaiah 62 Global Prayer Campaign will be

Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

Please join us!

 

 

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