My dear Brethren: Grace and peace thru our Beloved Master!
EZEKIEL – Ezekiel was a member of a priestly family, contemporary with Jeremiah, whose sayings and writings undoubtedly had great influence on Ezekiel. And, although he offered much sharp criticism of the Jewish rulers, priests, Levites and false prophets, he did not offer the objectionable predictions that were the substance of Jeremiah's teachings, and he also held out some future hope for the Jewish people. He probably reached manhood in Jerusalem in the environment of the Temple during Jeremiah's ministry. He was carried captive from Judah eight years after Daniel's deportation. Josephus says he was a youth at the time. He was not a child at the time but under the age when Levites assumed their duties and were reckoned in the census as men. He lived with the Jewish exiles on the Chebar, a canal in Babylonia.
His prophetic ministry began in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity on the Chebar. He was then in his thirtieth year (Ezek. 1:1,2). Though an exile in a foreign country, Ezekiel had freedom to utter his prophecies, and was consulted for advice by the elders of the people (chapters 8:1; 14:1; 20:1), although those elders did not follow faithfully the advice he gave them. He takes up brief doctrinal remarks, or suggestive allegories, or short speeches of Jeremiah, and often gives them a literary finish. His prophetic activity seems to have extended over a period of at least 22 years. The time and manner of his death are not recorded.
THE BOOK – The book of Ezekiel is regarded by analysts as more simple in its arrangement than any other of the great prophetical books; and was probably committed to writing late in the prophet's life, not piecemeal, but issued in its complete form at once. The prophecies are pretty much in chronological order, but it is questionable whether any of his prophecies are recorded exactly as he spoke them – not literary, but practical, designed to influence the minds of the people in general. His book is occupied with two great themes: the destruction of the city and nation; and the reconstruction of the people, and their eternal peace – two equal divisions of 24 chapters each.
The first 24 chapters prophesy the destruction of the city and nation; and secondly, the restoration of the people and their eternal peace as the people of the Lord. Over the years the Jews have greatly erred in applying this promise to people as they are today, and not from the overall grand application to "all people" under the beneficent reign of the Christ in the eternal establishment of the Kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray.
The book itself contains little that is historical; rather, a summation of general principles, yet sound in their generalities. Thus, he resembles somewhat Isaiah, but he lacks the breadth of sympathy and the grand glow of emotion that distinguishes the "gentleman" of the Old Testament. Chapter One tells of his vision of Jehovah, who calls and sends him. Then follows his mission to Israel and his inspiration by Jehovah. In subsequent chapters he tells of the restitution of the people, as Jehovah sanctifies them and dwells among them. This thought is given with much greater force and clarity by the Apostle John in Rev. 21:3, Dia.: "I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them – their God." This promise is not exclusively to the Jews, but "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Here we have quite a wide difference of fact to the teaching of present-day Jehovah's Witnesses!
Presently, there are far-off peoples lying in the ends of the earth who have never heard Jehovah's name nor seen His glory. The real "glory of God" is His marvelous character perfectly balanced with Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power; and of this sublime condition God had declared, "My glory will I not give to another." (Isa. 42:8) While He is recorded as "the God of Israel," yet it is thru Israel that "all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Jer. 31:34) As the far-off nations come to and touch Israel, the Lord's glory shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. History as Ezekiel conceives it, whether of Israel or of all nations, is Jehovah's revelation of Himself to all mankind; every movement of it carries this sobering thought: "Ye shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezek. 6:7)
Ezekiel offers a very glowing picture of the future for the Jews, probably not realizing himself that that day would come when God's Kingdom is fully established in the earth, when there "shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4) And He summarizes His thoughts with these words: "I will hide my face from them no more; for I have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. 39:29) The people are all righteous, led by the spirit of the Lord, and knowing that Jehovah is their God. Ezekiel does not explain how salvation is to be attained, for the salvation is realized and enjoyed; it describes the state and life of the people that their redemption is come now. The fact that the prophet details the final blessedness of the people accounts for the supernatural features of the people's condition and are to be understood literally. The Temple, the services, etc., are meant in a real sense, just as the supernatural presence of Jehovah is meant in a literal sense. At that time the desert will be turned into a garden, along with the sweetening of the waters of the dead sea. (Isa. 25:1,2)
Perhaps it is in order here to describe the present condition of the Dead Sea. Its surface is about 1,300 feet below sea level; its waters are about 27% salt; and no creature is able to live in it. A human being cannot sink in that water. In view of all these extreme conditions, we may readily understand why the scoffers are loud in their ridicule of the Bible in general, and especially so concerning the predictions of Ezekiel.
When the prophecy is fulfilled, the boundaries of the Holy Land will be changed considerably, with a new disposition of the twelve tribes within it. A life-giving stream will issue from the Temple. The Temple is described in very dark and symbolic terms, with the gates of the Holy City occupying special attention.
MORE ABOUT EZEKIEL
Here we pause to offer further facts about the prophet himself. He was the son of Buzi, of whom nothing further is known. Like so many of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel had a very humble beginning, which would tend to keep him, along with others, in a keen understanding of the condition of the common people, with great sympathy for their problems. The name Ezekiel bears some resemblance to the word to despise, and a rabbinical fancy interprets it of Jeremiah, the despised, making Ezekiel the lineal descendant of this prophet, as he is his child in thought and faith. Ezekiel is styled the priest, and in all probability he was of the family of Zadok. At that time the priests had already attained great influence; they were the aristocracy, standing next to the royal family. It is not certain whether Ezekiel had actually been engaged in priestly duties before his captivity, though it is not unlikely, both from the name priest applied to him and from the vast acquaintance which he shows with the Temple, its dimensions and furniture, and with the sacerdotal rites. Much of the conclusion concerning the prophet is merely sound considered opinion, with absolute proof lacking. The age at which the priests undertook their duties is not clearly stated in the Law; but we have good assurance that Jesus began His ministry at the age of thirty; and it was Jewish custom then to consider the males as reaching manhood when they arrived at thirty years of age. According to Ezek. 24:18, he was married and had a home, to which the elders often came for consultation.
EZEKIEL'S YOUTH – The period at which the prophet's youth was passed was rich in influences that must have powerfully affected him. Though too young to take part in the reform of Josiah – or perhaps to remember it – he grew up in the midst of the changes which it had introduced, and probably learned to estimate previous history from the point of view which it gave him. The tragic events which followed one another closely at this epoch, such as the death of Josiah, the exile of Jehoahaz to Egypt and of Jehoichin to Babylon, made a lasting impression on his mind. The last event formed the chief landmark of his life, and that not solely because his own history was so closely connected with it, and how deeply the fate of the two young princes touched him, and how well he could sympathize with the country's sorrow over it, a sorrow recorded also by Jeremiah, is seen in his elegy on the princes of Israel. He had a fondness for historical study, and no history is to him without a moral; and silently the events of this time were writing principles upon his mind to which in after years he was to give forcible enough expression.
It was not, however, merely the silent teaching of events from which Ezekiel learned. He had a master interpreting events to him to whose influence every page of his prophecies bears witness. Jeremiah, indeed, may not have been Ezekiel's only master; there were other prophets of the time like-minded with him, such as that of Urijah whom Jehoiakim dragged from his hiding-place in Egypt and slew with the sword (Jeremiah 26). And perhaps others of whose names no record has been kept, for it is almost an accident, and only because his fate cast light on the history of Jeremiah in a moment of peril, that the name of Urijah has been preserved. There were also priests who cherished the same aspirations as these prophets, and pursued in their own province the same ends. It is not without significance that Jeremiah no less than Ezekiel was of a priestly family – and that, too, a rural one – for it was not in the capital alone that true religion had its representatives. Like Micah, Urijah was a prophet of the country, being of Kirjath-jearim. And among Ezekiel's predecessors in the priesthood, and also among his contemporaries, there were some who, if they had spoken to the world, would have spoken in the same manner as he did, for the favorable judgment which he passes on the Zadokite priests is not altogether due to mere caste prejudice.
Still the teaching and life of Jeremiah was probably the most powerful influence under which the young priest grew up. It would, no doubt, be a mistake to ascribe every idea in Ezekiel which coincides with Jeremiah's teaching to the influence of that prophet. There is a common circle of thoughts and feelings which even the greatest minds share with those of their own age. Striking out some new conceptions, and opening up some lines of advancement which mark an epoch, the chief elements of their faith and life are common with others of their day, and have been inherited from the past. The surprise with which we read Jeremiah might be lessened if the means of comparing him with others were not so narrow as the paucity of writers in the century before the exile causes it to be. At any rate, his influence upon the language and thoughts of Ezekiel can readily be observed. It could hardly have been otherwise. For thirty years before Ezekiel's captivity Jeremiah had been a prophet, speaking in the courts and chambers of the Temple and in the streets of Jerusalem, and having such a history as made him the most prominent figure of the day.
Ezekiel was familiar with Jeremiah's history and had listened to his words from his infancy. Many of his prophecies had circulated in writing for a number of years previous to the captivity of Jehoiachin which Ezekiel shared, and the constant intercourse between Jerusalem and the exiles kept the prophet of the Chebar well informed regarding the course of events at home, and the views which prominent persons there took of them.
However, with all this conjecture, we stress again that "Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21) Thus, the fundamental source of all Old Testament prophecy – as well as of the New Testament – was the Holy Spirit; so we should expect a very strong similarity in all that was written by inspiration of God.
It is clearly stated by Daniel that "I heard, but understood not... the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Dan. 12:8,9) And in the New Testament some of the things written were not understood by those who wrote them; but this is moreso in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. It is generally conceded that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible – all of which is identified by Jesus as "the Law." But Moses lived more than 2500 years after Adam was created, so he could only give us the Genesis account thru inspiration of God. There are seven clear divisions in the Bible: The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms in the Old Testament; and the gospels, the Acts, the epistles and Revelation in the New Testament. And Jesus stated of the Old Testament: "They [the Old Testament Scriptures] are hey which testify of me." (John 5:39)
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON EZEKIEL
When Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem he carried into captivity the young king Jehoiachin, the flower of the population including many priests, Ezekiel among them, as well as a multitude of other citizens, particularly craftsmen. Ezekiel, with a community of other exiles, was settles at Tel-Abib by the river Chebar – not to be identified with the Chabor which falls into the Euphrates near Carchemish, but some stream or canal in Babylonia proper; and five years later he was called to occupy among them the place of a "watchman." How large the community was is not known – nor what kind of place Tel-Abib was – for the reference of the prophet to walls hardly justify the conclusion that it was a walled town.
The community appears to have been left, as was usually the case, to regulate its internal affairs and govern itself according to its own mind. The prophet repeatedly mentions the "elders"; and though he calls them elders of Judah, or Israel, he identifies them with the captivity, of which they must have been the heads and representatives. The lot of the exiles in some cases may have been hard, but there is no evidence that they were harshly treated by their conquerors or suffered want. When the prophet speaks of famine he refers to Canaan; and the phrase "made servants of them" has more a national than an individual reference, like such expressions as "prison houses" in the second part of Isaiah (42:22). The exiles possessed houses, and there is no allusion to persecution from their heathen neighbors.
The picture – if it may be called such – which the prophet gives of the life of the exiles and their circumstances is singularly colorless. His interests were exclusively religious, and any insight which he affords us is into the religious condition of his fellow-captives, from whose mouth he occasionally quotes an expression very suggestive as to their state of mind. His own mind was occupied with the largest conceptions, and the exiles were to his eye representatives of a larger subject. When bidden go to "them of the captivity" he felt sent to the "house of Israel"; and while addressing his fellow exiles he fancies before him the people of Canaan or the nation scattered abroad throughout the world. This identification of the exiles with the people as a whole, and this occupation of the prophet's mind with great national interests, makes it difficult to know how far is his apparent addresses to the exiles he is touching upon their actual practices. Nothing is more likely than that the captives continued the evil courses in which they had grown up at home, so far as this was possible in a foreign land. They certainly shared in the fanaticism or optimism of those left in the country, and heard with incredulity the prophet's predictions of the speedy downfall of the city.
It is known from Jeremiah (Jer. 29:8) that there were false prophets among the exiles who confirmed them in their delusive hopes; and Ezekiel may be referring to these prophets in such passages as Chapters 13 and 14. But such language as "ye have not gone up into the breach" (13:5), "I sought for a man that should stand in the breach before me for the land" (22:30), shows that it is the circumstances of the nation as a whole and not those of the exiles that occupy the prophet's attention. The same appears from such expressions as those in 14:7: "every one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that layeth his idols on his heart." In one passage (20:32) the people are represented as resolving to adopt the religion of the nations. "We will be as the nations, to serve wood and stone"; and such a spirit might very naturally reveal itself among the exiles surrounded by heathen neighbors.
But probable as this is, the chapter is a review of the nation's history, and the language may be little more than the prophet's interpretations of the spirit shown by the people all thru its history. It is only on rare occasions that Ezekiel draws any distinction between the exiles and those remaining in the land. When he does so he shares the feeling of Jeremiah (Chapters 24, 29) that the flower of the people had been carried into captivity with Jehoiachin, and that the hope of the nation lay in them (11:14-21) But usually the exiles are regarded as the representatives of the house of Israel; the "elders" are the elders of Judah or Israel; and, when addressing them, the prophet desires to speak in the ears of all his countrymen – just as it is the fate of Jerusalem, the history of the nation, and its future destinies, that form the theme of his discourse. The idea that Ezekiel's office was limited to the exiles, among whom he was a sort of pastor, with a cure of souls, is supported by nothing in the Book.
It would be a mistake, however, to press this general bearing of his mission, and his preoccupation with the destinies of the house of Israel as a whole, so far as to infer from it that he had no actual prophetic ministry among the exiles; that he was a writer simply, unused to the life of men – a solitary theorist whose "stuff for removing" (12:4), if he had brought it forth, would have been little more than an "inkhorn"; and that the form of oral address which he gives his words is a mere literary artifice.
It may not be allowable to assume that his operations among the exiles were literally altogether such as he describes them; but, apart from his own representations, several things afford evidence indirectly that he did exercise a ministry of some kind, and of some duration. When commanded to prophecy of the great conflagration which the Lord would kindle in the field of the south, he exclaims, "Ah, Lord God! they say of me, Is he not a speaker of parables?" And in 33:30 he is represented as being the subject of conversation among the people: "The children of thy people talk of thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, saying, Come, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord."
These incidental allusions imply that the prophet had a manner which the people had learned to recognize and to discount, and that they were in the habit of meeting to consult him. The frequent assembling of the elders before him implies the same thing. It is true that those elders were very subordinate figures; they are mentioned and then the discourse passes on to the "house of Israel," or even to the strangers that sojourn in Israel. However, promises of restitution are evidence that Ezekiel was merely writing what God had revealed to him. Also, the actual occurrence of what he had predicted; he had clearly foreseen the downfall of the state, so the Jews could not accuse him of just talking; he had spoken "in the name of the Lord."
And he was then just as emphatic in his predictions of reconstitution of the Kingdom of God on a better basis. But it is well to keep in mind here that what he foresaw was not at all clear to him. His ideas of restitution of Israel were a far gap from what the actual restitution will be – a new arrangement "wherein dwelleth righteousness," with no evil or physical affliction as is promised by the Apostle John in Revelation. His public reproof of the nation in the earlier parts of his book are to be taken literally as applying to that time; but the elevating promises of the future are of much grander viewpoint than Ezekiel himself recognized at that time. Because of the severe opposition of his predictions about the fall of Jerusalem, he had been comparatively silent; but when the city fell he could then speak with the authority and voice of a true prophet. And he frequently warns Israel that "ye shall know that I am Jehovah." (Psa. 83:18)
It is the opinion of some writers that the Apostle John was motivated in much of his style by what Ezekiel had written, although the Apostle has improved on what he learned from Ezekiel. Ezekiel had a wide knowledge of designing and architecture, and an excellent familiarity with foreign lands and their natural and industrial products. Although the ten tribes of Israel had been "lost" for more than a hundred years before Ezekiel's time, yet he forecast the reunion of the twelve tribes in the distant future (37:15-17); and we know this will be an accomplished fact in the near future. Then will be fulfilled the vision of "the dry bones" (Ezek. 37:1-8) and their resurrection, along with a new Temple, partially, if not totally, "made without hands."
The following observation of two Old Testament prophets is made by one capable writer: "The difference between Isaiah's knowledge of God and that of Ezekiel, and consequently the greater detail of the latter in chapter one compared with Isaiah six, is very prettily expressed by Abarbanel, who says that Ezekiel was a villager who saw the Divine Majesty but rarely and therefore minutely described it, while Isaiah dwelt in the capital and was familiar with the great King."
Foregoing we stressed that both those prophets spoke by inspiration of God; but God always allowed His mouthpieces to be "themselves" while speaking the Truth. This is also true of the New Testament, where St. Paul's superior education and mentality overshadow some of his fellow Apostles who were "ignorant and unlearned men." (Acts 4:13)
Nothing is known of Ezekiel after 570 BC; but tradition asserts that he met his death in Babylonia at the hands of a prince of his people whom he had upbraided for his idolatrous practices.
GENERALITIES – Ezekiel's general doctrine of God does not differ materially from that of other prophets of the same age, such as Jeremiah and Isaiah, though the character of his mind caused him to bring some Divine attributes into more prominence than others; and his education as a priest leads him to a way of thinking or at least to the use of a kind of phraseology not observed in other prophets.
His conception of Jehovah appears in "the visions of God" which he describes. These visions were all alike, and they reveal his general impression of that which Jehovah is. The fourfold nature of the cherubim, of their faces and wings and of the wheels, all forming a chariot moving in every direction alike, and with the velocity suggested by the wings and wheels, symbolizes the omnipresence of Jehovah, while the eyes of which the whole was full are a token of His omniscience. The throne above the firmament on which He sat indicates that He is king in heaven, God over all, omnipotent. The Divine being Himself appeared as of human form, while His nature was light, of such brightness that fire fitly represented Him only from the loins downward; from the loins upwards the effulgence was something purer and more dazzling, and He was surrounded by a brightness like that of the rainbow in the day of rain. This "glory," which contains Himself within it, is that which is manifested to men.
At the sight of His glory the prophet fell upon his face, but it is not Jehovah's will that His servants should be overborne by His Majesty (Job 9:32-35; 13:21); and He says to the prophet "stand upon thy feet that I may speak with thee." (Ezek. 2:1) He is the living God – "a likeness as the appearance of a man" (1:26) – "A mighty hand and a stretched out arm." These representations in Ezekiel mean neither more nor less than they do in other prophetical writings; all taken together they express the idea of a living personality possessing all the powers of personal being. The Lord brings Himself near and dwells by His spirit in men's hearts – even tabernacling in a visible form among them forever, so that the name of the new Jerusalem to all generations is, "The Lord is there." The prophet says he ate the roll which the Lord had given him, "and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness." (Ezek. 3:3) The same joy in God's service – even amidst persecutions – was felt by Jeremiah: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; they were the joy and rejoicing of my heart." (Jer. 15:16)
The prophet states that God is Lord over all; and the self-exaltation of peoples or their rulers in any place is an offence against the majesty of Him who is alone exalted. The moral forces are also subject to Him, as well as the physical. Indeed, the prophet represents God as the Author of all that occurs, whether on the stage of history or in the minds of men. The laws given to the people were "good" – statutes of life; but the people neglected and disobeyed them. But, "I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezek. 38:23)
THE PEOPLE – The Book contains much condemnation of the people, but we shall offer just passing comment: He asserts that Jerusalem has outbid Samaria in wickedness, and that both peoples have been more perverse than the heathen. The degeneracy had infected all classes and persons; and it was in vain to look for a "man" in the streets of Jerusalem. "I sought for a man among them to stand in the gap before me for the land, but I found none." (Ezek. 22:30)
However, Ezekiel saw a future for Israel, especially in Ezekiel 36:24-38, of which we shall quote brief excerpts, but we first offer the opinion of one brilliant commentator as introduction: "This remarkable passage has no parallel in the Old Testament, and reads like a fragment of a Pauline epistle. The doctrine of the spirit of God receives fuller development in it than anywhere else in the Old Testament."
"I will take you from among the heathen, saith the Lord, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land... A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh... And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the corn, and increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree... Then ye shall remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities... Then will I also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and the ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it," (Ezek. 36:24-36)
The above prophecy is now being fulfilled in this our own day; and believing Jew and Gentile alike may take strong assurance from those promises that the Jews are now in goodly Canaan land to stay there. No more will they be the "wandering Jew"; and all the uproar about them being pushed of out Israel is nothing more than just loud talk; and time will eventually prove it so. It is with much pleasure and strong assurance of faith that we present this paper on the Prophet Ezekiel.
(Reprint No. 329, November 1982)
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Yes, I enjoy very much the newsletters, especially the May-June 1996, No. 475, and I do want to be on the mailing list.
I'm very sorry to be so far behind in letting you know. I read to Vicki Kostiw in the Westland Convalescent Center. Sister Ruth Cunningham and I visit her. God be with you. Sister ------- (MICHIGAN)
Epiphany Bible Students:
Thank you for the material you send me. Are there many Bible Students in your area? Do you have a class?
I wish it were possible to meet with you.
Christian love, ------- (VIRGINIA)
As always it is a pleasure to hear from you. I am afraid that I do not receive David Horowitz's bulletins. I do get your papers and have noticed how much space is devoted to Israel. As yet I have not visited Emek ha Shalom. If I get a chance to do so I will certainly bring them your regards.
Our Susie, 28, who has been holding down two jobs, special education in a Jerusalem hospital, and secretary to a Jerusalem lawyer in the afternoons, has decided to go back to school to further her background in special education and enhance her status in her field. She will have all she can do to support herself with a part time job, and we have agreed to help her with the tuition. She is a good girl and hard working...
Carol, 25, is between jobs again and will be moving in with us until she finds something. She has been struggling to keep her weight down, even as Susie struggles to keep some meat on her bones. She too needs to find a husband. Andrea and I have been waiting patiently, watching our friends marrying off their children and become grandparents. Our days of joy will come when it is meant to come. Meanwhile we do pray for our children.
Dina, 18, has graduated high school and will be filling her national service obligation (in lieu of military service) at Kibbutz Migdal Oz, not very far from Kiryat Arba. She will be living there and helping on the Kibbutz. We are happy that she will be close to home.
Avi, 15, is already taller than me! He is a very brilliant young man and loves to play computer games. Largely as a result of his fascination with computers, his English is impeccable. He is an excellent student and always makes us proud.
Rachel, 12, our "baby," is already a young lady. She will be entering the junior high school of Kiryat Arba this year. It is hard to believe how fast time passes. I cannot remember when my children became adults. They are certainly a joy to us.
Andrea and I both are just recovering from a similar back problem. Something to do with spinal discs shifting due to age. We both couldn't bend down and had difficulty walking for several days. The orthopedist assured us that it was a typical problem which only rest could cure. We had to take off a week of work and just rest in bed. Thank G-d we seem to have pretty much gotten over that now. The technician who took my X-rays in Kiryat Arba, was murdered two days later, along with his wife and father, as he drove home near the Bet Shemesh area late at night. He was such a nice young man. It is no wonder why Andrea refuses to drive at night any more. I don't know if the daylight makes things any safer, but the helplessness of not being able to see your surroundings at night only enhances the fear. Strangely, Andrea will not agree to have me carry my pistol any more. She is even more afraid that I will shoot someone and go to jail!
We still travel to Jerusalem an average of once a week. If we have a wedding to attend we either find a friend to put us up for the night, or splurge on a hotel. If neither option is open we just don't go. In any event we try to live as normal a life as we can...
I think you are correct in your assessment of Netanyahu. No one is perfect, but he is certainly much better than was Peres. We just must stay strong in our faith and continue with our lives as best we can.
Thanks again for keeping in touch. I pray for your continued good health and strength, and treasure your friendship.
With Blessings from Hebron, --------------- (ISRAEL)
Dear Sister Hoefle:
Thank you for your letter. My health has improved greatly, thank G-d! We have received your materials (2 Divine Plan books, David Horowitz's book and the Overland Monthly). We greatly appreciate these items and wish to request, at your approval of course, twelve additional copies of the Divine Plan book, as well as one additional copy of the Overland Monthly book, for which we will send you full payment within ten days of receiving them.
MAY THE BLESSING OF AVRAHAM COME ON THE GENTILES THROUGH MESSIAH – GAL. 3:14.
Yours in the L-rd's Service, ------- (TENNESSEE)