The feast of Purim recalls the time when a beautiful young orphan queen known as Esther saved her people from annihilation in ancient Persia.
Her identity as a Jew was a secret at the time of her accession to the throne as the potential for anti-Semitism was so great that the Bible’s account of her heroics only mentions God in code.
But when her guardian, Morcedai, alerted her to Haman’s genocidal plot against all the Jews in an empire stretching from India to Egypt, he challenged her with these words: “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4.14)
She knew it would be dangerous to approach the king without being summoned but, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego risked the fiery furnace rather than compromise their faith, Esther too bit the bullet, defiantly declaring: “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4.16)
Is it not time for the church to stand up for the Jews as Esther did? The church in Germany were, for the most part, silent as they watched Hitler’s anti-Semitic cancer spread.
Thankfully, para-church organisations like Christian Friends of Israel, representing thousands of individual Christians, have until now played the part of Mordecai in their attempt to alert the church to the dangers.
If you are a believer whose faith stands on the steadfastness of the Word of God, explore this: Tabernacles is a Biblical and historical feast with a profound prophetic purpose. The Feast plays a major part in the outworking of God’s End-Time purposes and so carries considerable ramifications for the Church.
Consider its timing – and specifically the international Christian observance of the Feast in Jerusalem since 1979. Israel’s God is mightily at work in the midst of the earth today. As they so often do, His acts defy complete comprehension. Yet it is clear He wants us to be aware and to participate in what He is doing.
Foretold repeatedly through the prophets of old is God’s intention to gather His dispersed Chosen People from the four corners of the globe and bring them back into their own land. We are living in the middle of the realization of this pledge. To the mortification of the God-rejecting nations, the Jews are being brought back to – and planted in – the land determined by Divine decree to be exclusively theirs.
According to the Bible, hard on the heels of their phenomenal physical reconstitution will come her spiritual rebirth. And it will change the world. God has determined to pour out upon this nation – but only once they are back in the land – the spirit of grace and supplication that will result in the circumcision of their hearts. And so all Israel will be brought into the New Covenant relationship with the Almighty promised in Jeremiah 31:31. Then – and only then – will God set up the Messianic Kingdom on earth.
As His plan unfolds precisely according to the age-old blueprint, Islamic nations, communist nations, secular humanist nations and once Judeo-Christian nations – OUR nations – are rallying against it. The international community has long been working to reverse the physical restoration of the Jews to the biblical heartland of Israel by conjuring up in that very place an Arab state called Palestine. Thereby (whether they believe it or not and realize it or not), the nations are out to forestall and, were it possible, thwart the glorious purposes of God.
When – as Christians from these increasingly hostile and determined nations – we come to Israel to celebrate the Feast, we come to worship the Lord, to proclaim His promises to the people and land of Israel and in faith, with conviction, to do exploits that spiritually support the restoration of Israel.
If you don’t get it, if this strikes you as error – then go, I urge you, into your prayer closet with the One you call Lord. Ask your heavenly Father to reveal His truth on this vital matter. And ask how He would have you respond.
You do NOT want to miss out on something as vital and as exhilarating as coming on tour with us in September – October; visit ww.cmj.org.au for the details
Did you know that the next Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) will be ushered in by a ‘blood moon’ (total lunar eclipse) on September 27th? Not just any blood moon but a super blood moon. This occurs when the moon is at perigee – closer to the earth than at any other time of the year. Given that it will be centred over Israel, it will appear 14% larger than a regular full moon there. There has never been a super blood moon on the Sukkot following a shemitah (Sabbath) year before.
The Bible sets shemitah years to occur every seven years as an economic reset year; debt is eliminated and slaves go free. To give the land a chance to rest. The current shemitah started in October 2014 and goes until 13 September 2015. The last 2 shemitah years – 2001 and 2008 – have seen highly significant financial crises.
The Jewish Talmud (book of interpretation) says: “When the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel. If its face is as red as blood, (it is a sign that) the sword is coming to the world.” In other words, it is a portent of judgement or war in their view.
In Genesis 1:14, we read that God created the sun, moon and the stars not only to give us day and night but also as prophetic signs. During the period from April 2014 to September 2015, there will have been a ‘tetrad’ (four) of these blood moons, each one of them falling on the full moon festivals of Passover or Tabernacles. As stated, however, only the last one will be visible from the Land of Israel. (Heavenly signs are not considered by the prophets to be significant unless they are).
The above photograph gives you some idea of what will be seen (weather permitting) from Jerusalem on the evening of September 27th. As you can see, it is going to be an amazing spectacle. More than this, however, if the prophets (both Jewish and Christian) are right in their understanding of the times, then has the time come for you to throw caution to the winds, seize the day and make the trip which has been on your bucket list all these years. Can you afford to put it off any longer? Visit <cmj.org.au> for information re this window of opportunity.
If you join our life-changing tour of Israel. Past participants will tell you that being part of the group is life-changing. “It’s the experience of a life-time” says Gaye Forsyth of Geraldton WA.
Featuring visits to: Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Caesarea, Mt Carmel, Haifa, Nazareth, the Galilee, Golan Heights, Beit Shean, Qumran, Dead Sea, Masada, Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Fraser and Martin invite you to come and see the sites and the ‘living stones’ which speak of the ‘Restoration’ of Israel. The primary meaning of restoration in this context is the restoration of Jewish people to their Messiah. A secondary aspect is the return of the Jewish people to a safe homeland after 2000 years of persecution. Both of these perspectives beg the question as to whether the hope of Israel (for Jews) denies the hope of Ishmael (for Arabs). Participants will gain a clear understanding of how these apparently conflicting aspirations can not only be reconciled but even complement one another in the plan & purposes of God for the ‘one new man’ ie. both Jew (Israeli) & Gentile (Arab) alike.
DAY 1: Wedneday, 6th November Depart from your capital city with Thai Airways to Bangkok where we connect with our El Al flight to ISRAEL. Overnight: in flight
DAY 2: Thursday, 7th November ARRIVAL IN THE LAND OF PROMISE We arrive to Israel in the morning and transfer to our hotel in Tel Aviv for rest. In the afternoon, we visit the ancient port of Joppa (now Jaffa), the point from which Jonah tried to escape his calling to warn the people of Nineveh and location of Simon the Tanner’s house. Overnight: Tel Aviv
DAY 3: Friday, 8th November THE HOPE OF RESTORATION We begin our day at Beit Immanuel, where we will hear about CMJ’s ministry to the Jewish people over the past 160 years. Our next stop will be in Tel Aviv at the Diaspora Museum, where we learn about the Jewish people’s historic life in exile and their return to Israel. Travelling north along the Mediterranean coast, we visit the fabulous remains of the Herodian city of Caesarea Maritima, the location from which Paul left the shores of Israel and set sail with the Good News to the Gentile world. We conclude our day at Mount Carmel where we will take in a spectacular view over the North of Israel. Here we will study Elijah’s defeat over the prophets of Baal. Overnight: Haifa
DAY 4: Saturday, 9th November LIGHT TO THE NATIONS – JEWS, GENTILES, AND THE MESSIAH This morning we join in worship at Kehilat HaCarmel one of the largest congregations in Israel. In the afternoon we continue along the route of the ancient Via Maris to Megiddo, one of King Solomon’s chariot cities, and according the Book of Revelation possibly the assembly point for the armies marching to the battle of Armageddon. Overnight: Tiberias
DAY 5: Sunday, 10th November AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE – DAILY LIFE AND RELIGION IN THE TIME OF JESUS
Our day will be spent visiting various sites around the Sea of Galilee as we picture daily life and religion in the first century, and seek to better understand the miracles and teachings of Jesus in His original Jewish context. The day commences at Chorazin, the well-preserved ruins of a Galilean village, where we study village life, Jewish religion, and the Pharisees. Next stop will be the Mount of Beatitudes, traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, where we will consider the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ teachings. Following that we will arrive at Capernaum, where Jesus lived during the majority of His ministry. From here we will go to lovely Tabgha, which commemorates the multiplication of loaves and fish, and where Jesus met the disciples after the resurrection. Later in the afternoon we will visit Kibbutz Ginosar to see the “Jesus Boat”, a Galilean fishing boat from the First Century. From here we will set sail for a boat ride on the Lake to enjoy the views and some worship, prayer and reflective time. Before heading back to our hotel we shall visit tranquil Beit Bracha, a CMJ centre on the shores of Galilee. Overnight: Tiberias
DAY 6: Monday, 11th November NAZARETH – JESUS’ EARLY LIFE The morning will be spent at ancient Nazareth and the Nazareth
Village where we contemplate closely Jesus’ home life, town and early ministry. After a free afternoon, we conclude our day with a visit to the Galilee Experience, where we will take in a multimedia overview of the history of the Galilee region. Overnight: Tiberias
DAY 7: Tuesday, 12th November NORTHERN ISRAEL – “WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM?” Today we explore the magnificent Golan Heights, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. We will seek to understand what the Jewish people of 2,000 years ago expected of the Messiah, and how that was fulfilled in Jesus. In the morning we will visit a reconstructed Talmudic village at Katzrin, where we will take another close look at life in New Testament times and the use of everyday imagery in Scripture. Next we will travel along the lower slopes of Mount Hermon – Israel’s highest mountain, the most likely site of the Transfiguration. Our next stop is Caesarea Philippi, in the region where Peter made his famous confession that Jesus is the Messiah. Along the way we will pass Druze Villages before coming to Mt. Bental, a lookout spot near the border with Syria and the area of the road to Damascus where the Apostle Paul met the Lord. Our final stop is the Dan Nature Reserve, where we see the incredible archaeological remains of the OT city of Dan, including the city gate from the time of Abraham, and consider ancient Israel’s apostasy. We will also enjoy a pleasant walk by a stream and discuss the meaning of “living water” in the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ teaching. Overnight: Tiberias
DAY 8: Wednesday, 13th November THE JORDAN VALLEY – “IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF IT” Today we leave the Galilee and journey south down the spectacular Syrian African Rift Valley to the Dead Sea in the arid Judean wilderness. We will study the cultural tensions that existed at the time of Jesus, both between Greco-Roman culture and Jewish culture (and later the early church), and also between the Jewish religious establishment of the day and various spiritual reformers. At the Jordan River, we will discuss the ministry of John the Baptist and his relationship with Jesus. If the group wants to do baptisms, we may visit a baptismal site on the Jordan River. Our next stop is the Biblical city of Beit Shean to examine the visually impressive excavations of its Roman-Byzantine period when it was one the ten Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. From here we continue down the Jordan Valley to the arid Judean Wilderness, stopping to visit Qumran, likely the home of the Essenes, a First Century Jewish sect which may have influenced early Christianity, and the site of the most exciting archaeological discovery ever made in Israel – the Dead Sea Scrolls. We will stop for an overlook of Ein Gedi, where David hid from Saul, before arriving at our resort hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. We will finish our day by enjoying a float in its therapeutic mineral rich waters. Overnight: Dead Sea
DAY 9: Thursday, 14th November THE JUDEAN DESERT – SEEKING REFUGE IN THE WILDERNESS DAY Our theme today is the wilderness and what it signified to the ancient Israelites. We begin our day at Masada, Herod the Great’s magnificent fortress palace in the desert, and the last stand of the Zealots, a Jewish revolutionary group at the time of Jesus. We continue our journey into the southern desert region called the Negev in the Bible (a name it still carries today) and on toBeerSheva, site of Abraham’s well and the famous and victorious charge of the Light Horse. We will meet with local Messianic leaders, Howard and Randi Bass, before making our final ascent to Jerusalem – the City of the Great King. Overnight: Jerusalem
DAY 10: Friday, 15th November COMMUNION AT THE GARDEN TOMB This morning we will be given a tour of the site known as the Garden Tomb situated outside the Damascus Gate on the northern side of the old City of Jerusalem where Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection are wonderfully illustrated. We will cullminate this visit in a time of sharing as we celebrate communion together. Our afternoon is free for shopping and/or rest. Overnight: Jerusalem
DAY 11: Saturday, 16th November IN THE STEPS OF JESUS – CRUCIFIXION, DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION Today we focus on sites related to the Biblical passages concerning Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. Our goal is to understand why He was crucified, how He was buried, and what it meant to the Jewish people of the first century that He was raised from the dead. We begin our day with a panoramic overlook of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the site of Jesus’ ascension to heaven and His future second coming. After viewing a tomb from the time of Jesus, we will walk down the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane. Next we cross the Kidron Valley and enter the old City through Stephen’s Gate, stopping to examine the remains of the Pool of Bethesda. We will conclude our afternoon with a visit to the Austrian Hospice where we can take in a wonderful rooftop overview of the Old City. Overnight: Jerusalem
Day 12: Sunday, 17th November JERUSALEM IN THE TIME OF JESUS This morning we will join in worship at Christ Church. After a light lunch we will be treated to a tour of the Heritage Centre including Conrad Schick’s impressive model of the Temple Mount. The remainder of the afternoon is free. Early evening we have the option to participate in the worship service at King of Kings, a local Mess anic congregation. Overnight: Jerusalem
We begin our day with a visit to the Knesset, the legislative branch of Israel’s government. From there we visit the nearby Israel Museum to view a model of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus as well as the Shrine of the Book which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the afternoon we will visit Yad VaShem, the Israel Memorial Museum to the Holocaust. Here we examine the spiritual and theological roots of the most notorious genocide in history and the connection between the Church, Jesus and the Jewish people prior to and during this period of time. There we will also visit the children’s memorial and discuss the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Christian relations today. Overnight: Jerusalem
DAY 14: Tuesday, 19th November BETHLEHEM AND JERICHO Today we travel south from Jerusalem to Herodion, the excavated site of one of King Herod’s “escape” palaces as well as his burial site. We continue on to Bethlehem, where we will visit the Church of the Nativity, which marks the probable site of the birth of Jesus, the “Shepherd’s Fields” where the angels heralded the advent of Messiah, and Rachel’s Tomb. This afternoon we will make a visit to Jericho, the oldest and lowest city on earth, where will witness the work of ‘Seeds of Hope’ a ministry among the Arab youth under the guidance of Palestian Taysir Abu Saada – an ex Muslim and Fatah fighter who once served under Yasser Arafat, but is now a committed Christian whose ministry is reconciliation of Jews & Arabs. Overnight: Jerusalem
DAY 15: Wednesday, 20th November TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH On this final day in Jerusalem, we will spend time in the Jewish Quarter of the old city to learn about Jerusalem in the Second Temple era. After a visit to the Western Wall place of prayer, Judaism’s most holy site, we will take a trip to the subterranean Western Wall Tunnels to walk at what was street level in the time of Jesus. We will also visit the Temple Institute for an in-depth presentation on the role of the Temple in Jesus’ time. We then say farewell to Jerusalem and descend through the mountains of Judea to the airport on the coastal plain to catch our return flight home. Overnight: In flight
DAY 17: Friday, 22nd November Arrival back in Australia
TOTAL PACKAGE PRICE TO ISRAEL: AUD AUD $5, 890.00* per person twin share Single supplement: AUD $1, 395.00 * Price is based on minimum of 20 full paying participants. Subject to change. Conditions apply PRICE INCLUDES: • Return economy class airfares with all taxes and fuel surcharges (subject to change) • Accommodation – Half-board (breakfast & dinner) in en-suite shared twin rooms, taxes & portage. • Transportation – Bus and driver for touring and group transfers to and from airport. • Guide – Licensed Christian/Messianic guide. • Tips – Driver, Guide, Hotels. • Entrance fees – Historical sites, museums, parks, etc. • Study Materials. PRICE EXCLUDES: Travel insurance (mandatory); guest speakers; lunches & snacks;
individual activities on free days; individual transfers to/from the airport apart from the main group; wheelchairs; personal discretionary spending.
Single Supplement: This is the additional cost for a single room.
WHAT TO DO NEXT: 1. Obtain a booking form from Olive Tree Travel or from Rev Fraser Harding or Martin Weatherston 2. To Secure your place, a deposit of $350 per person is required by 30 April 2013. EARLY PAYMENT GUARANTEE: To avoid an imminent price increase, it is imperative that we receive your deposit by 30 April in order to lock in the current price of $5890 (subject to minimum passenger number requirements) 3. Final balance will be due by 15th September 2013 Steven Green Olive Tree Travel Suite 1, level 1 230 Balaclava Road, North Caulfield VIC 3161 T: +61 3 8488 9696 or 1300 55 08 30 M: 0413 016 772 email@example.com www.olivetreetravel.com.au WHO TO CONTACT: Rev Fraser Harding Director Good News for Israel 0418 762 402 firstname.lastname@example.org www.goodnewsforisrael.com Martin Weatherston Director CMJ Australia 0417 172 205 email@example.com www.shoresh.org.au Proud Member of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism