From a mother in Israel: A personal view of August 2005 events
Greetings in Yeshua from Israel. Thank you for your letters of encouragement. It is heartening to know that people are standing with Israel in these times. It is deeply encouraging to hear that the Lord continues to call believers from many nations to pray and weep for Israel, that she may know the Lord. Thank you for standing with Israel. Thank you for standing with us through your prayers, support and love.
Last week Avner’s letter “THE WORLD HAS ENTERED INTO THE TIME OF DIVIDING UP THE LAND OF ISRAEL” went out. Today I want to communicate with you about what is happening in Israel, and how it relates to what we have all prayed about and considered over many years. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Northern Samaria may soon fade from the center stage of the world’s consciousness. It may even fade from many believers’ awareness around the world. Yet we have all entered into a new season. The world has crossed a line in the sand. Business will not be as usual any more.
By way of background
Avner and I have been married for 26 years and have lived in Israel for much of that time. We are watchmen in this land. I am writing to you from that vantage point – with a sense of grief and yet also with a sense of alertness in my spirit. Part of our calling is to keep Israel before you for the purpose of prayer, and to help you be prepared for things to come.
We have four sons: Daniel (21), David (19), Asaph (15) and Elisha (14). Our two oldest sons serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and have been inside of and next to Gaza for the last three weeks. David has also been in Northern Samaria for the last week. We thank the Lord that neither of them was directly involved in physically removing Jewish citizens from their homes. Yet like most soldiers who have participated in the withdrawal, their hearts have been sobered and torn. We ourselves have grieved and wept with this nation, and having walked through these days with sons who have been directly involved in these events, we have a perspective which is “close at hand.”
I want to open my heart and communicate what I see the Lord doing through all of this. First, let me give you some background about my own life. I was born in 1957. I was raised in a believing family in the USA by non-Jewish parents who love the Word of God and Israel. They taught me in childhood that God loves Israel and He will redeem her. I trusted the Lord for salvation at age seven. I remember very clearly the events of the Six Day War in 1967, and can still recapture the sense of awe I felt at the age of ten (in my own home and in much of the larger Christian community) when Israel regained Jerusalem and much of her ancient homeland.
I knew as a young child that the Lord had called me to join my life to His purposes for Israel. I became a student of Jewish people, Jewish culture and Israel. Through the ministry of Jewish believers in Yeshua, I dedicated my life to the Lord at age 16. I knew that redeemed Israel holds the key of blessing for all nations and I devoted my life to seeing this purpose become reality. As a teenager I devoured the prophetic scriptures related to Israel and read often from the Major and Minor Prophets. I loved Romans 9-11. Those words that I love so much have also become the words of songs I have written, and the basis for my life.
In the early 1970’s, I remember a secular high school teacher saying that by the year 2000 international terrorism would become a major force with which the world would reckon. This has indeed become a reality. Terrorism fueled by jihadi Islam affects the whole world and has hit Israel endlessly over the last century. These attacks have increased over the last decades. Ever since I was a teen, I heard the enemies of Israel say repeatedly that their goal would be to “divide and conquer” the land of Israel. Today, more than ever before, Israel is an ideologically divided nation.
I also knew that Israel would yet face an unprecedented time of trouble that would lead to the salvation of the nation (Jeremiah 30:7, Zechariah 13:8-9).
What are the issues?
The Lord is at work, getting ready to accomplish final redemption both for Israel and for the called-out ones from among the nations. In these last days the Lord is preparing for Himself a bride made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers. He is calling born-again believers in Yeshua to stand with the Jewish people now as well as in times of tribulation to come. Though most of the Jewish people in the world and in Israel are still in unbelief, the remnant of the Jewish nation is destined for salvation (Romans 11:26). The Lord will work through believers in the nations to reach the Jewish people who are being saved. May the Lord give us the grace, love and wisdom to rise to the occasion.
God works with individuals and He works with nations. The land of Israel is God’s specific playing field, the arena wherein He deals with Israel. Through the grid of this land, He also deals with nations both near and far. I see events happening on three levels – on an international level, with Israel as a nation, and with individual Israelis.
The International Arena
Worldwide terrorism is causing a dulling of the senses; it is causing love to grow cold (Matthew 24:12). Repeated trauma closes the heart. Self-protection is a natural human survival mechanism. Terrorism is already causing much of the world to distance itself from Israel. It is making the hearts of many nations grow chilly toward Israel. As terrorism increases, nations will make decisions based on what they deem best for themselves. Many nations will find it politically incorrect to stand with Israel, and will call “Zion an outcast, for whom no one cares” (Jeremiah 30:17). Because of terrorism, right now the international community is putting enormous pressure on Israel to shrink her borders. Even though it may make perfect sense to the leaders of the world to determine Israel’s borders according to their own wisdom, God is very clear that He will judge the nations that “have divided up My land” (Joel 3:3; Deuteronomy 32:8-9). This process is leading to the time when God “will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2).
God is not very “politically correct” and He has chosen Israel to fulfill His purposes. Likewise, He is very specific about sin and judgment, salvation and eternal reward. Much of His word speaks specifically about His plans and feelings regarding Israel. He has spoken clearly about how believers are to relate to Israel. He will use the Jewish people and the land of Israel as a dividing line, a plumbline, in the world and in the church. We will have to choose. Yeshua will divide His true followers from the rest of the world, including from the apostate church (Matthew 25:40). He is calling His own children to move in step with both His Holy Spirit and His end-time purposes as outlined in His word – and not to march to the beat of the political drums sounding in the nations in which they live. G.K. Chesterton once said that “the one who marries the spirit of the age will soon find himself a widower.” We are called to an eternal, timeless destiny, and not to join ourselves to the spirit of the age. God is calling the redeemed of the nations to stand with Israel (Isaiah 62:1-7). God wants us to train our senses to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). He wants us to stay alert and passionate toward Him, His people and His purposes. Staying alert and passionate brings rewards.
The Arena of the Land of Israel
Israel is God’s signpost to the whole world. What happens in Israel eventually affects the whole world. Recently a voice in the Israeli media said “all of Israel is Gush Katif” (Gush Katif is the main part of Gaza from which Israeli Jews have just been expelled). In other words, the fate of Gush Katif will become the fate of Israel. We would add, “that what is now the fate of Israel will become the fate of the whole world.” The upheaval and terror that have been Gush Katif’s portion and Israel’s portion are now becoming the world’s portion as well.
Israel, even though she is not fully aware of the fact, is on the front lines in the fight against Islamic terror. Right now Israel is caving in to the relentless pressure. Terrorism against Israel has been rewarded. Terrorist forces in the Islamic and Arab world are crowing gleefully over Israel’s August 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and part of Northern Samaria. They have rightfully concluded that terrorism works and they are now setting their sights on the rest of the land of Israel.
When Jews are forcibly removed from their homes – at any time, for any reason, in any land, by any force – it is a sign, and not a good sign. It is a wake-up call that more trouble is coming – not only to Jews but to others as well. History has repeatedly shown this to be true. How much more should we be alert, since in this case something unprecedented has taken place – Jews have removed Jews from their own land.
There are dynamics in the present-day nation of Israel that are strikingly similar to dynamics in the land of Israel 2,000 years ago. The Jews living in that time were divided about politics, spiritual issues, who should be in authority and what is truth. Even among Yeshua’s twelve disciples a variety of opinions were held. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot represent two extremes – opposing views similar to those held in Israel today. There are also parallels between the international forces pressuring Israel today (on the one hand) and the influence of ancient Rome in the time of Yeshua (on the other). In Israel every stripe of opinion is held regarding how to relate to these external forces, what to do with the land, who should be in authority, and how to continue to exist as a nation. The evacuation of Jews from Gaza has caused a sharpening of these issues in every Israeli heart. God is shaking up His nation in a massive way.
The Arena of the Jewish Heart
The events of the last two weeks have torn the nation and the hearts of many in the nation. Here is one example of thousands: Moshe Karadi, Israel Police Commissioner, spoke of how hard it was on his officers to fulfill their task. “If you asked the police, maybe half would support the settlers, but we don’t ask them. Our government has decided and we will do this task …” (NYTimes, August 18, 2005). One significant result of these traumatic events (which has characterized nearly every section of Israeli society) is tears. Both religious and secular Israelis, the political left and right, settlers, soldiers and police, Messianic Jewish believers and the man on the street, those against and those in favor of the withdrawal, have wept. God often uses tragedy and events which mystify and stun us to get to deep issues in our hearts. These events have been tragic for the settlers in Gaza. They have also caused distress for those who were required to carry out the expulsion, and the result has often been tears. Tears are often evidence of the softening of the heart and can provide an opening for more of the Holy Spirit’s activity. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
Right now the nation is still in shock from what has happened and is struggling to regroup. We do not even get a chance to catch our breath, for in the last week mortars and rockets have continued to fall in the far north, the southern port of Eilat and the western Negev, and Jews have been stabbed and murdered in Jerusalem and Hebron. Today a suicide bomber seriously wounded two in Beersheva. Israelis are used to constant trauma and stress. They know how to quickly bring daily life back to some semblance of normalcy. But it remains to be seen what the long-term effects of the events of August 2005 will be on the nation and on individuals. Meir Indor, director of the Terror Victims Association spoke of the Gaza withdrawal causing “aftershock here that will become a tsunami” (Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2005). Through the pain, God is certainly working to draw Israel’s attention to Himself.
God desires truth in the innermost being (Psalm 51:6). He has promised that Yeshua, the Son of David, will rule and reign over the nation of Israel as their King. He has promised that Yeshua will rule and reign in the hearts of individual Jewish people. He has promised to take from them a heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). He has promised that all Israel will know Him (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
How should believers pray?
The prophet Joel declares, “Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say ‘spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make your inheritance a reproach’” (Joel 2:17). Paul says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). The Lord is calling believers to stand in the gap for Israel’s salvation, both physically and spiritually. Pray that Jewish hearts will be soft and open to the pursuit and persuasion of the Lover of Israel.
What are we doing?
For the last eight years we have lived in Omer, a town a few kilometers outside of modern Beersheva and adjacent to biblical Beersheva (dwelling place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). The Lord called us to help birth a community of worship and intercession, creative arts and prophetic activity. In the last few years the Lord has expanded this community by sending a number of wonderful friends. We hold worship and prayer gatherings three times a week. One of our primary purposes is to call out to God on behalf of Israel, to stand in the place of repentance for Israel’s sin and to ask the Lord to reveal Himself to Israel. By God’s grace we are preparing a net of safety for those who will be saved.
The Lord has sent a number of worshippers and musicians to our area and we are enjoying the resulting synergy. Pray that the Lord’s anointing will be sweet and irresistible and that the stream will turn into a river of life for many.
Avner and I are also involved in caring for and helping a number of believers in our area. We continue to lead worship around the country. We share the hope of Yeshua’s redemption and His soon return with Israelis around us. Our home continues to be a place of hospitality and ministry to many from Israel and the nations. By God’s grace we continue to raise our sons for Him. We and some of those gathering with us are living by faith. We continue to seek the Lord’s provision to supply for and expand this ministry.
Once again, we want you to know how much you mean to us. Thanks for standing with us financially and in prayer.
In Messiah Yeshua’s love,
Rachel Boskey (for Avner, Daniel, David, Asaph and Elisha)
Donations can be sent to:
FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES
NASHVILLE TN 37212-1971 USA
Donations can also be made on-line (by PayPal) through: