“When He seeth the blood the Lord will pass over the door and not suffer the destroyer to smite you.” (Exodus 12:23)
The Passover of The First-Born: A memorial of first rank with the Israelites is the Passover. It celebrates one of the most momentous chapters in their history. It stands at the beginning of their ecclesiastical year, as the Day of Atonement stands near the beginning of their civil year. It is associated with their civil year. It is associated with their national birth. The Scriptures declare that God at that particular time had brought to the throne of Egypt a Pharaoh of indomitable will. The Scriptures declare that whereas other persons might have been in line for the throne, God specially favored this man’s attaining it in order that through his natural stiff-neckedness and obstinacy Divine power might be manifested in one after another of the plagues which his course would make necessary and proper. We read, “For this very purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show forth my power in thee.” (Ex. 9:16) The ten plagues sent upon the Egyptians were manifestations of Divine Justice in opposition to their unjust treatment of God’s Chosen People. The last of these ten stands related to our subject, The Passover.
The edict sent forth was that all of the firstborn of the Egyptians should die, and that the firstborn of the Israelites should not die. And the Chosen People residing in Egypt were directed to take special steps whereby to mark themselves as separate and distinct from the Egyptians. They were to take for each family a lamb without blemish and bring it into the house on the tenth day the first month. They were to cherish it and care for it until the fourteenth, and then slay it. Its blood was to be sprinkled on the outside doorpost and lintels while its flesh was to be roasted in the fire without a bone of it being broken. It was to be eaten in the night of the fourteenth with bitter herbs and with unleavened bread. On the morrow, in the strength of the food, they were to march forth out of Egypt to go to the Land of Promise for an inheritance under the Covenant made with Abraham.
The Destroying Angel Passed Over: The results were as the Lord by the mouth of Moses had foretold. The first-born of the Egyptians died in that night, but the firstborn of the Chosen People were passed over or spared. This notable miracle was memorialized by Divine direction, and every year at the appropriate season a lamb was taken on the tenth day into each of the houses of the Israelites, one for each family or group. All leaven was put away from their dwellings. Everything representing corruption was burned, and unleavened bread alone was eaten with the lamb. The annual celebration of the Passover was for eight days, the first and eight day being high days, or to be especially commemorated. The Passover is not only the oldest Jewish institution, but also the most joyous festival of the Chosen People. It celebrates one of the earliest manifestations of Divine favor toward them, and reminds them of the prophecies which declare that at some future time God will manifest Himself in their favor still more markedly; as it is written, “It shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the North, and from all the lands whither he had driven them.” (Jer. 16:14,15) Again, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the Covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my Covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:31,32) The intimation here again is that this deliverance from Egypt at the Passover time, the most notable event in the past history of the Chosen People, will be cast entirely into the shade when the due time shall come for establishing with Israel the New Covenant - old in respect to Law and the Divine requirements, but new in the sense that it will be based upon better sacrifices and have a better Mediator, able to do for Israel exceedingly better things than Moses, the Mediator of the Sinai Covenant was able to accomplish - noble as he was in his every endeavor to serve the people as their Mediator. It is of the better Mediator and better Covenant which He would accomplish for them that Moses spoke, saying, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me [but greater - antitypical of me]; him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:22,23; Deut. 18:15).
The Meaning and Interpretation: For thirty five centuries God’s Chosen People, obedient to the Divine Direction, have celebrated the memorial “Passover,” seeing merely its outward significance and not for a moment realizing the true significance of the grand fact which they celebrated - that it typified a grand feature of the Divine Program of great value to them and to all mankind. The lamb they slew typified “the Lamb of God,” Jesus, whose death constitutes the Ransom Price for the sins of the whole world. His death was necessary before the promise to Abraham and through him to the Chosen People could possibly have fulfillment. A redemption from sin, to be everlastingly efficacious, must be based upon a better sacrifice than the literal lamb repeated annually. It was not only necessary that Jesus become a man in order to give His life a sacrifice for mankind (Adam and his race), but it was necessary, additionally, that having finished the sacrificing work He should ascend up on High to Jehovah’s right hand, to be the Spiritual Messiah, who in due time will accomplish for the Chosen People all the gracious promises made to them in the Covenant with Abraham, in which they trust, and in harmony with which they will be used of the Lord in conveying His blessings to all nations, peoples and tongues. A sin condemnation was on the world - “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Man’s penalty must be met before this condemnation of death could be fully and forever set aside - before man could be entirely and forever lifted out of death conditions back to eternal life and into harmony with his Creator.
In harmony with Divine arrangement, Jesus first offered himself to Israel as their King. But Israel saw not how He could be their Messiah, because He had neither wealth nor armies nor influential friends; they disdained Him as a deceiver. When He declared Himself the Son of God and their Deliverer, they thought Him an impostor and blasphemer, and worthy of death. After sentencing Him in their own Sanhedrin Court, not having the authority to execute Him themselves, they charged Him with the only crime which the Roman Governor would hear - treason to the Roman Emperor. By threatening Pilate that they would associate him with Jesus in treason, they finally effected the crucifixion of the antitypical Passover Lamb. He was stretched upon the cross much after the manner in which they impaled their Passover lamb for its roasting.
“On The Tenth Day of The First Month”: Additionally, let us note the fact that just at the appropriate time, namely the tenth day of the first month, when the Chosen People were taking up their lambs for the Passover, Jesus presented Himself as the Lamb of God, and was rejected. His presentation was on the exact day and in exactly the manner prescribed by the Prophet Zechariah, “Behold thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass…He shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth.” (Zech. 9:9,10) This was fulfilled to the very letter, as we have already seen. It was fulfilled as the Prophet foretold, on the very day that Israel’s “double” of experiences began. The Chosen People were blinded with self-satisfaction and repudiated the lowly King and refused to accept Him as their Lamb and receive Him into their hearts and homes. Nevertheless, He proceeded to fulfill this wonderful type. As the antitypical Passover Lamb, He died on the fourteenth day, exactly in accord with the type.
The Antitypical Passover Lamb: The Israelites were commanded to celebrate this Passover as the first feature of the Jewish law and as one of their greatest memorials as a nation. As a matter of fact, we find that in some degree the Passover is celebrated by Jews in all parts of the world - even by those who claim to be agnostics and infidels. They have a measure of respect for it as an ancient custom. But is it not strange that, with the bright minds which many of them possess, our Jewish friends have never thought it worthwhile to inquire into the meaning of this celebration? Why was the lamb slain and eaten? Why was its blood sprinkled upon the doorposts and lintels? Because God so commanded, of course, but what reason, motive, object or lesson was there behind the Divine command? Truly a reasonable God gives reasonable commands, and in due time will be willing that His faithful people should understand the significance of every requirement. Why are the Hebrews indifferent to this subject? Why does prejudice hold their minds?
Although Christianity has the answer to this question we regret that the majority of Christians, because of carelessness, are unable to give a reason and ground for any hope in connection with this matter. If the Jew can realize that his Sabbath day is a type or foreshadowing of a coming Epoch of rest and blessing and release from toil, sorrow and death, why can he not see that similarly all the features of the Mosaic law institution were designed by the Lord to be foreshadowings of various blessings, to be bestowed in due time? Why can it not be discerned by all that the Passover lamb typified, represented, the Lamb of God, that its death represented the death of Jesus, the Messiah; and that the sprinkling of its blood symbolizes, represents, the imputation of the merit of the death of Jesus to the entire household of faith, the passed-over class?
Blessed are those whose eyes of faith see that Jesus was indeed “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) - that the cancellation of the world’s sin is effected by the payment of Adam’s penalty - that as the whole world lost the favor of God and came under the Divine sentence of death, with its concomitants of sorrow and pain, it was necessary before the sentence could be removed that a satisfaction of justice should be made; and that therefore, as the Apostle declares, Christ died for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us back to God. Thus He opened up “a new and living way” - a way to life everlasting.
Let us notice also that there were two Passovers. There was a great one, when the whole nation by Divine Power was miraculously delivered by the Lord and led by a sandbar across the channel of the Red Sea especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. That picture, or type, shows the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and Satan of every creature who will ultimately come into accord with the Lord and desire to render Him worship - not an Israelite was left behind.
But that Passover at the Red Sea is not the one we are discussing particularly on this occasion - not the one whose antitype we are about to celebrate. No; the event which we celebrate is the antitype of passing over, or sparing of the firstborn of Israel. Only the firstborn were endangered, though the deliverance of all depended upon the salvation of the firstborn. Applying this in harmony with all the Scriptures, we see that the firstfruits unto God of His creatures, the Church of the firstborn, have been spared during the Gospel Age - being passed over. We see that the remainder of mankind who may desire to enlist and to follow the great antitypical Moses when He shall ultimately lead the people forth from the bondage of sin and death are not now endangered - merely the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
By and by the night will have passed, the glorious morn of deliverance will have come, and The Christ, the antitypical Moses, Head and Body, will lead forth, will deliver all Israel - all the people of God - all who when they shall know will be glad to reverence, honor and obey the will of God. That day of deliverance will be the entire Millennial Age, at the close of which all evil and evil-doers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt will be utterly cut off in the Second Death.
“As Oft As Ye Do This”: The Apostle clearly and positively identifies the Passover Lamb with our Lord Jesus, saying, “Christ our Passover is slain for us: therefore let us keep the feast.” (1 Cor. 5:7,8) He informs us that we all need “the blood of sprinkling,” not upon our houses, but upon our hearts. (Heb. 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2) We are also to eat the unleavened (unfermented, pure) bread of truth, if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the morning of the new dispensation. We also must eat the Lamb, must appropriate Christ, His merit, the value that was in Him, to ourselves. Thus we put on Christ not merely by faith, but more and more to the extent of our ability we put on His character, and are transformed day by day into His glorious image in our hearts.
Our Lord Jesus also fully identified Himself with the Passover Lamb. On the same night that He was betrayed, and just preceding His crucifixion, He gathered His disciples into the upper room, saying, “With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) It was necessary that as Jews that they should celebrate the Passover supper on that night - the saving of the typical firstborn from the typical “prince of this world.” But as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled, our Lord instituted a new Memorial upon the old foundation, saying, “As often as ye do this [celebrate the Memorial of the Passover season - annually] do it in remembrance of me”! (1 Cor. 11:24,25) Your Jewish neighbors, whose eyes of understanding have not been opened will not appreciate the matter in its true antitypical sense, but you who recognize Me as the Lamb of God, who in God’s purpose has been slain from the foundation of the world, who recognize that I am about to give my life as the world’s redemption price, will note this Passover season with peculiar and sacred significance that other cannot appreciate. Henceforth you will not celebrate any longer the type, but memorialize the antitype, for I am about to die as the Lamb of God, and thus to provide the blood of sprinkling for the Church of firstborn, and meat indeed for the entire household of faith.
“This Is My Body Broken For You”: That the Lord’s followers should no longer gather as the Jews had done previously to eat the literal Passover supper of lamb, in commemoration of the deliverance in Egypt our Lord shows by choosing new emblems - “unleavened bread” and “the fruit of the vine” - to represent Him as the Lamb. Thenceforth His followers, in accord with His injunction, celebrated every year His death as their Passover Lamb, until after the Apostles had fallen asleep in death, and a great falling away had confused the faith of nominal Christendom, producing the epoch known as the Dark Ages. Even during the Dark Ages the teaching that Christ was the antitypical Passover Lamb persisted, though the celebration of His death in the Passover Supper that Jesus instituted fell into disuse. It was crowded out by that most terrible blasphemy which has deceived and confused so many millions of Christendom, the Mass, introduced by Roman Catholicism. This in the Scriptures is called “the abomination of desolation,” because of the disastrous influence it has had upon the faith and practice of the Lord’s people. Although Protestants in general have repudiated the Mass, as being wholly contrary to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles, nevertheless the practice of Protestants are largely influenced yet by the terrible error, from which they have only partially escaped.
The Mass Is Not The Eucharist: Many Protestants will innocently ask, Is not the Mass merely the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, under another name? Oh, no: we answer - its wholly different! The Lord’s Supper celebrates the death of Christ accomplished at Calvary. The Mass represents a new sacrifice for sins made every time the Mass is performed. Our Roman Catholic friends believe that when the priest blesses the wafer it becomes the actual body of Christ in his hands, for the very purpose of sacrificing Him afresh. High Mass is a particular sacrifice of Christ for a particular sin of a particular individual. Low Mass is a sacrifice of Christ for the general sins of a congregation. Roman Catholics claim to believe in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary - that it covered the original sin, general sins that are past; but they claim also that daily sins, shortcomings, blemishes of every individual require to be cleansed by fresh sacrifices of Christ from time to time. Thus, from their standpoint, as represented in the Mass, and as practiced by the Roman and Greek Catholics, and High Church Episcopalians, Christ is being sacrificed afresh all the world over every day. This in the Scriptures is called an “abomination” in God’s sight, because it disregards, sets at naught, the fact as stated in the Bible that Christ dieth no more, “that by one sacrifice he hath perfected forever all who come unto the Father through him.” (Rom. 6:9; Heb. 10:14)
It will be readily seen that the repeated sacrifices represented in the Mass would have the effect of nullifying or minimizing the value of the great Sacrifice at Calvary, represented in the Passover and in the Memorial Supper. How could those who had come to look especially to the Mass for the cancellation of their sins be expected to look with as deep concern and as high an appreciation as otherwise back to the antitypical Passover? While, therefore, the celebration of Good Friday has continued, the celebration of the Memorial Supper preceding it fell into disuse long ago.
As for Protestants, repudiating the dogma of the Mass as wholly unscriptural, they have abandoned it and returned to a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Meantime, however, accustomed to the frequency of the Mass, they have considered it merely a matter of expedience how often the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated. Hence we find some celebrating it every four months, some every three months, some every month, and some every Sunday. This general laxity and failure to reach a common ground of conformity is due to two things: (1) Christian people generally have overlooked the fact that our Lord’s death was the antitypical Passover Lamb, and that its celebration is the antitypical Passover; (2) They have misunderstood our Lord’s words, “as oft as ye do this,” to mean, Do this as often as you please, whereas the words really signify, As often as you, my disciples (all of whom are Jews and accustomed to keeping the Passover), celebrated this occasion, do it in remembrance of Me - not in remembrance of the literal lamb and typical deliverance from typical Egypt and its bondage through the passing over of the typical firstborn.
It would be a great blessing, doubtless, to many Christians if they could see this subject in its true light, could lay more weight upon the value of the death of Christ, and join more heartily in its celebration - on its anniversary, instead of at various other times and seasons, irregularly and without special significance. We believe that such a celebration brings special blessings to both heart and head. The nearer we come to the Divine requirements the greater is the measure of our blessing, the more closely are we drawn to our Master and Head.
The Cup Of Joy In The Kingdom: On the occasion of the institution of the Memorial of His death, the Master in His conversation with Apostles, said: “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matt. 26:29) Our Lord was here contrasting two great days - the day of suffering and the day of glory. The Gospel Age has been the day of suffering. The Millennial Age will be the day of glory and is especially spoken of as “the day of Christ.”
The fruit of the vine, the literal cup represents two thoughts. The cup of wine is produced at the cost of the life of the grape. The grape loses its own individuality. The juice is pressed out, and thus the fruit of the vine is made ready for use. The cup of wine - the juice of the grape - represents, however, not only the crushing of the grape, but also the exhilaration that comes as the result. So it is in drinking of this literal cup. To us it symbolizes our Savior’s sufferings and death. But wine also represents joy, gladness, and is thus used in the Scriptures. So in the sense in which the Lord used the words “fruit of the vine” in the text just quoted, it represented the joys of the Kingdom.
The Father marked out for our Lord Jesus in His earthly experience a certain specific course. This course constituted His cup of suffering and death. But the Father promised Him that after He had drunk the cup faithfully, He should be given a different cup, a different experience - glory, honor, and immortality.
At this Memorial season all of the consecrated should manifest their love, loyalty, obedience, faithfulness, by symbolizing the Redeemer’s death.
As always, we suggest reading of the chapter on the Passover in Volume Six of the Scripture Studies. The proper date of the Memorial this year is the 14th day of April after 6 p.m. We here at 2501 Morningside Drive, Mount Dora, Florida invite all in the vicinity who are of this mind to join us at 7 p.m. on that date.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20,21)
“BISHOP ACCUSED OF VIOLATING CHURCH TEACHING: CHICAGO - A group of United Methodist clergy and lay people have accused Chicago Bishop Joseph Sprague of violating church teaching on salvation and the virgin birth of Jesus.
“The complaint, filed January 7 with Bishop Bruce Ough, head of the College of Bishops for the North Central Jurisdiction, starts a complex church discipline process that carries a range of punishments and could force Sprague from ministry. Sprague declined to comment, saying the complaint process is supposed to be confidential.
“The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht of Greenville, Wis., spokesman for the 28 people who signed the complaint, said Sprague denied the virgin birth of Jesus and rejected church teaching that Christ is the only way to salvation. The statements allegedly came in a speech last year and in his writings.
“The group says Sprague’s comments violated the Methodist’s Book of Discipline prohibition against disseminating teaching contrary to church doctrine.”
(The Associated Press, January 18, 2003)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
God’s Supervision of the Nations
“The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Dan. 4:17)
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” (Rom. 13:1,2)
QUESTION: Should we understand from the above Scriptures that God guides the affairs of nations, and chooses their rulers?
ANSWER: These Scriptures are in harmony with other statements of Scripture. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, after he had been seven years insane, lying amongst the beasts of the field, his reason returned to him and he extolled the God of heaven, acknowledging that God setteth up those whom he will and putteth down those whom he will. We understand that God’s dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar was prophetic.
In the case of Israel God had very particular oversight of their affairs, and dealt with their rulers. David was anointed when he was a youth, to be king in due time instead of Saul. So with several others of their kings the Lord had them anointed in advance. It might be said of Israel, that whoever sat upon the throne was there as the Lord’s representative. We remember also that on one occasion the Prophet of God was sent to anoint one of the kings of Syria and to give him a prophecy respecting himself, that he should take the throne.
Looking back, we see that in the case of Pharaoh, the perverse king of Egypt, God declared, “For this very purpose I raised thee up, that I might show forth my power in thee.” God did not approve of Pharaoh, but used him to show forth His own glory. God also used King Cyrus of Persia as a servant to perform His bidding.
God’s Supervision of Current Events
All of these recorded instances show a vital interest on God’s part as to who shall come forward and who shall be retarded when matters would affect His own plan. We are not to understand that these different kings [rulers] represented God’s choice as respects their loyalty to Him, but that these were the ones through whom the Divine Plan in operation could be signally manifested and outworked. And so it is today. The Lord knew which of the men running for the office of President of the United States would be the most suitable - the one who would most fully cooperate in the carrying out of the very conditions which He is pleased to permit to come to pass.
The Lord guides in the affairs of nations now, only in so far as such oversight will promote the fulfillment of His own purposes. When the monarchs of various countries declare themselves “King by the grace of God,” we do not agree to the thought they have in mind in making such claim. They are expressing the thought which has prevailed throughout Christendom for centuries - that they reign as representatives of the Kingdom of God, and by His special favor. And like-wise the Catholic church: When the pope claims that he is the head of the church of Christ, claims that he is Christ’s Vicegerent, he thus claims that Christ has set up His Kingdom, and that the pope reigns in His stead.
Overrule To Outworking of God’s Plan
After the Papal power waned in Europe, and the Protestants came into power, the Protestant rulers claimed the same right that the Catholics had claimed - to rule as the Lord’s special representatives. And it is from this standpoint that kings [rulers] maintain that they reign “by the grace of God,” that the Kingdom of God is set up, and that they are reigning in God’s kingdoms. We do not understand this to be the right thought, but that in God’s providence He permits these to occupy the thrones of the world for the time being. We understand that God does exercise a supervisory oversight in respect to them - not that He has authorized them to represent Him, or that He is responsible for their deeds and acts, but that He is so controlling matters as to cause them to outwork His own arrangements.
God will not convert a king [ruler] in order to do this; He will not make him a saint. But He can allow or hinder events without interfering with the free will of any individual, and without becoming responsible for his government.
We may assume that this supervision of Divine Power is for the ultimate interest of mankind. We remember that there is a prince of darkness, who is seeking to do violence to humanity. Our thought is that the Divine Power hinders or restrains, so that the worst things cannot come to pass until His due time, and He overrules to bring those into power who will have the disposition to do what He purposes to permit when His due time has arrived. However, since the Lord does not explain to us just how He does this, it would be wise for us not to be too emphatic in our statements.
(By Pastor Russell, Reprint 5466,5467, May 15, 1914)
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Emily and All,
We do want to send our warm greetings to you from Galilee once again. Hope this finds you feeling better, Emily. How wonderfully we have been created, and only with problems in our bodies do we realize how much all works together without our thinking about it, commanding it to happen, and even without a computer programming it. Even the small member of our body the eye has so many facets that just do their task daily for years. So we do pray that you are doing better in all ways, Emily!
Since we last wrote our dear Sister Eva Merrill left us all having enriched all the lives she touched. We know she is missed in Arizona so much, but she was so faithful and loving to us with her letters, prayers and love. I am sure you also miss her encouragement as well.
Well we are rejoicing here in Israel with the first rains last week after a long, hot and very dry summer. Those first rains are always so special as they wash off the dust, and the air has such a wonderful smell! We hear you also are in need of rains there in Florida, as is so many areas of the U.S.A. What a strange weather year it has been with droughts in the U.S. as some parts of Europe were drowning in floods. We do pray for another rainy winter here to again help our water shortage.
They have said for sometime that the next war in this area will be over water! So the makings for such are now set-up on the northern border of Israel as the Lebanese (urged on by the Hisbullah) have started pumping water from one of the sources for the water of the Sea of Galilee. They know Israel has trouble reacting just now as the U.S. does not want a third front to emerge along with the Palestinian problem and the Iraq problem. Hisbullah is pushing, pushing Israel like a big bully just wanting to pick a fight. How long can Israel not react to this provocation in the north? Water is too precious in this area to lose it.
Then we have the Arafat comedy of trying to look “democratic” with his new council lined with pro-Iraq and other terrorists now “in suits and ties” for the world media to applaud. If it was not so tragic it would be laughable. Sadly most of the world, especially Europe, swallow it all and tip their hats to Arafat “pulling another rabbit out of his hat” or Kaffia in his case.
The bombings are still a daily threat and the last one was on the bus that would take us from Tiberias to TelAviv. This has been about the sixth bombing on this bus line which also goes through an Arab area (just south of where Emek ha Shalom was). So we try to avoid this direct bus route, but that means a longer way if we need to go to TelAviv. It is easier not to travel much these days. We did make the effort over Succoth to go to Jerusalem for the gathering there by the Christian Embassy of Christians from many different nations to support Israel and bring comfort in these difficult days. Some 3,000 came, and also participated in the Jerusalem March despite the threat of a terrorist attack. The security was very tight this year, and thankfully there were no attacks. So these Christian tourists were about the only ones in the last months (some also came to stay in our Bed/Breakfast rooms as well), and now the hotels stand sadly empty again.
The economic situation for the average Israeli is getting harder and harder. If the husband or wife or both are not out of work, the shekels they get each month buy less and less. You can watch the prices rise almost weekly of food, clothing, etc. Now there are strikes, but where will the money come from as the government has a heavy load of expenses brought on by this two year intifata that the poor Palestinian people are losing more from than we. It does mean that people see the “Peace Process,” the “Oslo Accords,” this plan or that one are not the answer. We pray they cry out to their only source of help - their God!
Now we have all dusted off our gas masks again awaiting what the next moves of the U.S. and England will be against Iraq. There is not fear here about it all, but an expectation that Israel will not have a picnic if this all goes forward. There is no “war front” for Israel these days, as we all feel we are on the frontlines of the madness of terror.
It seems other parts of the world are getting a taste of that terror spawned by Islam. Australians see even a vacation in Bali is not safe, and Russians see an evening at the theatre can mean life or death due to terror. So Israel knows too well and lives with day by day.
So a time to keep our eyes above to see there is a hope and a plan that transcends all this crazy madness! How do those without that hope and without God manage to keep going?
Keep Israel in your prayers as we have new elections. Please take care and give love to all.
Love, Lev and Hava Bausch (ISRAEL)