Dear Family at The Bridge,
Thank you all so much for your support and prayers during the Pillar Cloud operation (Pillar of Defense). So many of you sent encouraging notes to my email, and I haven't yet had a chance to respond, but I greatly appreciated ever single one! As a family, our focus in the last week has been recovering from the surreal events that took place during the conflict. It has been a sweet time, receiving encouragement from and ministering to our Israeli community as we've all processed the events together. It made for an especially unique Thanksgiving this year.
The sudden cease-fire agreement felt a little like "whip-lash" as we were all being prepared for a ground invasion. The extreme circumstances, anxiety about what to do if sirens sounded while I was out of the house, and wondering whether or not Devin was going to be called up to serve, all while trying to keep as much a sense of "normal" as possible for Aviel's (ah-vee-el) sake, were incredibly exhausting. I am not alone in feeling tired! As a nation, we have all been coming down from a tremendous amount of adrenaline. My prayer for us has been that the Lord would minister rest to our hearts, similar to how Jesus was ministered to after His time of testing in Matt 4:11. Please join me in this prayer for Israelis through the Holiday season. We begin Hanukkah celebrations Dec 8th.
This event was personally "shaking" for me. It has awakened my heart to the reality that we are living in the last days. The formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948 is the greatest prophetic fulfillment of this truth, but one that most in my generation often take for granted. As a political state, Israel has existed longer than most of our lives, so its easy to forget how miraculous its formation was 64 years ago, and how necessary Israel is in the Lord's plan to bring glory to His name.
In Matthew 23: 37-38 , after offering a rather stern rebuke to the Pharisees, Jesus says,
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (NASB)
In order for us to see Him again, the Jewish people must cry out "Baruch Haba B'shem Adonai," (Hebrew of the above heart cry) in Jerusalem. This means Israel had to first be reestablished as the Jewish homeland, and Jerusalem had to be given back to their hands of the Jewish people, which took place during the Six Day War in 1967.
Yet, the bible is clear that at the end of the age, all of the nations will rage against Israel, Jerusalem in particular, as a precursor to Jesus' return. See Zechariah 14: 1-4
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. (NASB)
If you've read any headlines, this is happening - has been for years now - but there has been an increase in the last week. The recent UN vote, upgraded the status of the Palestinians to a "Non-member Observer State" with 138 votes in favor and only 9 votes opposed. This has been an interesting follow up to the military operation, and very telling as to where the hearts of the nations are in regards to Israel and the Jewish people.
As part of the agreement, the Palestinian Authority asked that East Jerusalem be made its capital. To give some geographic and biblical understanding of what this means, The Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Kidron Valley, The Garden Tomb and the skull rock where we believe Jesus was crucified, are all within the area defined as East Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is the physical location from which Jesus ascended in to Heaven in Acts 1, and it is the physical location his feet will touch down upon His return according to Zech 14 as noted above. As we wage this war, against principalities in heavenly places (Eph 6: 12), isn't just like the enemy to want to bind this location up with a spirit of Islam - a spirit that denies that God has a son, and that Jesus is Messiah? And in doing so, in dividing the land of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem with this denial, is making agreement with the spirit of the anti-christ as explained in 1 John 1:4:
And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (NASB)
As a body of believers in Israel, we are saddened by this vote, but not surprised. We know according to His word that these events are coming, but we also know according to His word that Jesus wins!
The calling to live in Israel is not an always an easy one. When I struggle with homesickness, I often walk to a location where I can see the Mount of Olives to remind me of Jesus' return, and why He has me here: to further the truth of Yeshua as Messiah in His covenant land. Please pray for us to have an effective ministry here in the Land. It is the yearning of my heart to see the Jewish people come to know their Messiah, and to see the Lord's fire fall in this place. Continue to pray for the small body of believers in Israel to people of prayer, grace, and endurance. We are serving on the spiritual front-lines of these events and need support from the church world wide!
Let the reality of His imminent return embolden your personal ministries. Be ready! I'd also like to invite you all to visit our family blog where we share photos and stories of our adventures in Israel, and to sign up for our email newsletter that Devin sends out about twice a month. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love, Blessings, and SHALOM!
Callie (Narron) Mitchell
Note for The Bridge Part 1
For His Name's Sake A break down of Ezekiel 36
Redemptive Space Tina's story of leaving Nisanit, now part of Gaza.
Sirens and Oil Flasks Lessons from the first sirens.
War Drills, Hamas, and Stuff A little bit about the Hamas Charter