Keep your eyes on the prize

My Yiddish-speaking parents were communists. They believed that socialist revolution held the key to a better world, and they poured their lives out in support of what they called ‘the progressive movement.’ 

They loved music. My dad used to be a cantor in the U.S. Army and as a youngster he sang in Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt’s children’s choir in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem. Records were always playing in our house – ‘progressive music’ by the Weavers, the Almanac Singers, Paul Robeson, the Alexandrov Ensemble of the Red Army Chorus, etc.

One of my favorite songs was a powerful banjo-strummed tune by Pete Seeger called ‘Hold On.’ At that time I had no idea that this civil rights tune had its origins in an African-American spiritual titled ‘The Gospel Plow.’  The chorus still echoes in my mind, “Hold on, hold on! Keep your hand on that plow, hold on! Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on!”

Evidently Bruce Springsteen was similarly touched by this song, because in March 2005 he included it on his ‘We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions.’

 

Shimon was holding on

Every Christmas, the story of baby Yeshua in Herod’s Temple is recounted by believers. Yeshua’s mother Miriam (Mary) and his adopted father Yosef (Joseph), both descendants of the House of David, brought the suckling Messiah up to the Mountain of YHVH in Jerusalem to dedicate Him according to Moses’ commandment in Exodus 13:2. Unbeknown to them,

“there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Shimon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. And he came by the Spirit into the Temple. And when the parents brought in the child Yeshua, to carry out for Him the custom of the Torah, then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now, YHVH, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace according to Your [prophetic] word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples – a light for revelation for the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32).

Though the cruelty of Roman oppression weighed heavily on all Jews in Judea, Shimon did not yield to the pressures of this difficult situation. He believed God’s prophetic word given to him by revelation, that he would not pass from this earth until he saw the coming Messiah who had been prophesied in Isaiah 49:6. Shimon held on until he witnessed with his own eyes this amazing Firstborn Son (Hebrews 1:6) of YHVH’s firstborn people (Exodus 4:22), born to Jewish parents and circumcised on the eighth day.

The Jewish author of the Epistle to the Hebrews adds his ‘Ohmayn!” to Shimon’s example: “We who have taken refuge have strong encouragement to hold firmly to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

 

Jerusalem is holding on

The prophet Isaiah encourages the Jewish people to hold on, to hold the line, to hold the fort – because another prophetic birth is soon coming – their own! The day is fast approaching when the remnant of Israel will receive the spirit of favor and intercessory supplications, and fall to our knees as did Joseph’s brothers, recognizing and submitting our hearts to Messiah Yeshua as David’s Greater Son (Psalm 110; Matthew 22:41-46):
 

·         Before she was in labor, she delivered. Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be given birth all at once? As soon as Zion was in labor, she also delivered her sons. Shall I bring to the point of birth but not give delivery? says YHVH. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb? says your God (Isaiah 66:7-9)

We will not yield to the pressures of this difficult situation, but will hold on to God’s redemptive promises for the Jewish people. In days soon to come our nation will experience this profound spiritual rebirth, as Ezekiel agrees:
 

·         Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the entire house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them, ‘This is what YHVH GOD says: Behold, I am going to open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am YHVH, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, YHVH, have spoken and done it, declares YHVH’” (Ezekiel 37:11-14)

 

Explosions of Light

Yeshua is not only the Light of the world (John 8:12). He also promises to shine His glory in a special way on the Jewish people at a time when the entire planet will be in gross darkness. This is one of the most powerful prophetic promises spoken over the sons and daughters of Jacob:
 

·         Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples. But YHVH will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:1-3)

 

Hold on! Hold Out! Hold Fast!

During the American Civil War, the Battle of Allatoona Pass was fought in Bartow County, Georgia, on October 5, 1864. On the day before the battle, the Union General William Tecumseh Sherman sent two messages by signal flag to urge the besieged garrison at Allatoona to hold out. They read as follows:
 

·         “Sherman is moving in force. Hold Out!”

·         “General Sherman says Hold Fast. We are coming.”

The Christian hymn writer Philip Paul Bliss was touched by this event, and composed the famous hymn “Hold the fort, for I am coming.”
 

·         See the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on

Mighty men around us falling, courage almost gone!

Fierce and long the battle rages, but our help is near,

Onward comes our great Commander! Cheer, my comrades, cheer!

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still.

Wave the answer back to heaven: “By Thy grace we will!”

 

Jewish lessons about holding on from the days of Nazi Germany

To the average German in the mid-1930’s, it seemed that the Fatherland was rebounding manfully from the WWI swamps of economic, cultural and military despondency. The West was benignly looking the other way as Hitler re-armed in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Teutonic threats and political machinations were swallowing up neighboring Austria and Sudetenland. Nazi totalitarianism had become a matter of course.

The whittling away and eventual abandonment of civil rights for political opponents of the Third Reich and for despised racial groups (especially the Jews) was a small price to pay, many thought, for Germany to become the dominant European and world superpower. For most Germans the ‘risk-benefit’ trade-off made perfect sense.  Only communists and Jews could possibly object, they said, and these were already classified as dangerous ‘enemies of the state.’ The termites of totalitarianism had eaten away at Germany’s former commitment to classic Western democratic values. Yet the speed at which democratic foundations had collapsed in Germany was still astonishing to many.

Yet European and American Jewry in that day were hesitant to raise a ruckus. Many community leaders rebuked watchmen raising the alarm. These leaders warned that drawing attention to German anti-Semitism would only make it worse for Jewish people everywhere. The leadership’s fear of being labeled ‘troublemakers’ or marginal served the Nazis well as they plotted the murder of world Jewry –  euphemistically labeled the Endlösung der Judenfrage, ‘the final solution of the Jewish question.’

After the termination of WWII and the uncovering of the horrific murder of six million Jewish men, women and children, Jewish communities worldwide resolved to ‘Never Again’ be silent. soft-spoken or apologetic while Jews were being massacred with impunity and brutality. This aggressive and pro-active approach on the part of the Jewish community defending the Jewish state or opposing Soviet persecution of its Jewish citizens continues to be seen in our day.

We are witnessing parallels between the crushing of democratic rights of German citizens in Nazi days and some developments today. There are also parallels in how quickly the masses have accepted that certain groups in society are to be feared, condemned and treated as pariahs – undeserving of constitutionally ratified protections. The risk-to-benefit ratio used by some in our day to downplay, cover up, ignore or even justify physical damages from hastily approved and improperly vetted government mandated medical treatments – these behaviors find surprising and dangerous parallels to the atmosphere in Germany of the 1930’s. The cold-heartedness which tolerates and even approves of such policies underscores the spiritual climate in which we live.

There are those today who are uncomfortable discussing the reality of such historical parallels, who shy away from even considering such historical comparisons. “It will all blow over soon, and it’s really not that bad. The alternatives could be much worse,” some say. But now is the time to stand firm and to shine God’s light into dark places, to lift up the floor tiles and see what uncleanness might be concealed below.  “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13).

 

How should we then pray?

 

·         Pray for God’s wisdom, discernment, provision and divine strategies to guide us in the very challenging days ahead

·         Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth


Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.

In Messiah Yeshua,

Avner Boskey

Donations can be sent to:

FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES
BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN 37212-1971 USA

Donations can also be made on-line (PayPal or credit card) through: www.davidstent.org

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