- Hollywood and the Last Days
- One in Yeshua
- The Voice of the Shofar
- Download December Newsletter as a PDF
When the circumstances of life become more threatening and precarious – we humans begin longing for a way to control what is going on around us. We start looking for answers. There is a feeling that we are approaching the “end-times,” “the last-days” and we want to know what precisely will happen and when.
A Movie Genre
An example of increasing interest in these matters can be found in the movie industry. Before the 1950’s, there were only four feature-length movies made that could be classified as apocalyptic. Since then, the number of “last-days” movies has steadily increased, to an average of 5 every year. Even the titles of the movies reflect this intense fascination: The End of the World, The Day After, Armageddon, End of Days, Doomsday etc.
Though this would seem to be a relatively new phenomenon, largely represented by movie makers, the truth is that long before people began making movies, they were foretelling “The End.” Throughout the centuries, there is an extremely long list of failed predictions by diverse peoples due to speculation, misinterpretation and wishful thinking. Bible-believers are guilty of the same weaknesses. Pride is often the root that causes “believers” to claim that they have had hidden Bible mysteries revealed to them. In the face of such claims we need to be able to recognize what Yeshua said about these predictions and the limitations He has placed on us and our understanding.
There have been many societal uprisings and panics as a result of apocalyptic predictions. Here are a few examples out of a list of over 300:
The Essene sect of Jewish ascetics saw the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66–70 as the final end-time battle before the arrival of the Messiah. In parallel, Simon bar Kochba had coins minted declaring the arrival of the redemption of Zion at the same time.
The Millennium Apocalypse on January 1, 1000, at the end of the Christian Millennium. Various Christian clerics predicted the end of the world on this date, including Pope Sylvester II. Riots occurred in Europe, and pilgrims headed east to Jerusalem.
Following the failure of the January 1, 1000 prediction, some theorists proposed that the end would occur 1000 years after Jesus’ death (1033 C.E.), instead of his birth.
Pope Innocent III predicted that the world would end on 1284 C.E., 666 years after the rise of Islam.
Martin Luther predicted the end of the world would occur no later than 1600.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God told members of his church that the Rapture was to take place in 1936, and that only they would be saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed the date three more times.
Minister William M. Branham predicted the Rapture would occur no later than 1977.
Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapel predicted the generation of 1948 would be the last generation, and that the world would end by 1981. Smith admitted that he “could be wrong” but continued to say in the same sentence that his prediction was “a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”
Both well-known people and religious denominations, both aberrant groups and legitimate teachers, have predicted the coming end. Among them: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, Pat Robertson, Lester Sumrall, Hal Lindsey, Edgar C. Whisenant and his “88 Reasons,” Harold Camping, Y2K, etc.
When are the Last Days Coming?
What are we to learn from all this? Well, the Bible does tell us that there is a time period called the “last days.” We are even told when it begins. On the day of Shavuot, fifty days after Messiah’s death and resurrection Peter stood in the Temple and said, “…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…’ ” (Acts 2; 16, 17). He goes on to say that what was happening that day in the Temple was the manifestation of Joel’s word. So we already know from Peter’s words that we have been living in the “last days” for the last 2000 years.
I believe that Matthew 24 is the key passage that tells us what to expect. As the disciples were admiring the Temple, Yeshua spoke of its coming destruction. Astonished, they asked when this would occur. What would be the sign of His return and the culmination of the age? The answer to the first part can be found in the following verses in that same chapter. Those verses predominately point to the time of the Jewish revolt against Rome in 68-72 C.E. and the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 C.E. and the resulting worldwide exile and dispersion of the Jews from Israel.
The Focal Point
We are clearly told that our focal point in the last days should be Yeshua: “At many times and in various ways, God spoke long ago to the Fathers through the prophets. At the end of days, He has spoken to us via a Son whom He appointed heir of all things, and also through whom He made the worlds. He is the radiance of His glory, the very image of His nature; upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
This a time of conflict because the proclamation of the Kingdom of God with Yeshua on the throne is at odds with the kingdom of this world with Satan ruling. So we can expect difficult times, false messiahs, false prophets, persecution, extreme moral depravity, plagues, earthquakes (II Timothy 3).
Even without these prophetic scriptures, we know that we live in challenging times. So through it all, what kind of people should we be? That’s the key. We are encouraged to continue in the faith. We must “endure hardship as good soldiers of Messiah…and pursue justice, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2: 3, 22). It is interesting to note that exhortations to do right far outnumber the passages pointing to signs of the end.
So where does us leave us regarding the last days? There are many signs of things to come. Shmita years, blood moons, natural disasters and wars all over the globe. Yet in spite of our desire to be in control and to know it all, we cannot. It is up to us be a witness for Yeshua and to be ready for His return at any time.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (II Timothy 4:1-2).
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come…” (Mark 13:32-33)
One in Yeshua
T he Autumn rains have come, and green shoots are beginning to poke through the newly softened earth. Yet the tensions that fill our little country make the ground feel dry and scorched with volatile hatred. Knife stabbings and bullets rend bodies and spirits, creating division and fear.
All the while politicians are trying to convey messages of “peace and security” as they seek for solutions to the seemingly neverending conflict between the Jewish and Arab peoples. But we cannot pin our hopes on the words of men, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ Then sudden destruction comes upon them…” (I Thessalonians 5:4).
Normal Israeli citizens also speak of peace. Many desire to coexist in mutual respect and good neighborliness. Having lived for 42 years in a city made up of both Jewish and Arab citizens, I have seen both the positive dynamics of mutual cooperation, and the negative dynamics of mutual disillusionment. Tension exists whether we like it or not. The sea may at times have a calm-looking surface, but always there are strong undercurrents. Our Enemy knows how to “stir the pot,” bringing fearful despair to this land – indeed to every land, for man’s sin has given him authority around the globe.
We all tend to label people by their ethnicity, gender, nation of birth and outward appearance – often forgetting that we are all created in the image of God. Only when we internalize this truth; only when man understands that the Anointed King is Yeshua; only when we invite ONE IN YESHUA Him into our heart and are rescued from our sinful life, then we will see peace. Then the one who dwells in human hearts will unite His bride. Without theology and without hypocritical masks, we will be able to have compassion on our fellow man, our brother and sister. I am looking to Him, to the Master, to bring true peace between our two peoples. If Yeshua can make peace in His “backyard,” here in the land of Israel, then peace will also blossom forth among all peoples of the earth.
The first man brought sin. The last will bring peace. With Yeshua I have peace on the inside, and then through Yeshua I will also have peace with my brother. That is why God said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How can I love my fellow man if I do not yet love myself?
I will be able to love myself when my beloved Yeshua dwells in me, and through Him I will be able to view those around me with eyes of love. As true followers of the Messiah let us stop badmouthing and blaming our brothers. Let us bless and pray for those different from us, even our enemies.
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The Voice of the Shofar
Torah Art Ministry
At first, it may appear that God made a mistake in giving too much talent to Jews scattered all over the world. And it may seem that He didn’t take into account His own promise to bring them all back to Israel, because there are a large number of artists and musicians living in Israel proportionate to the small population.
The Holy Scriptures say that God never makes mistakes, which means that He did exactly what He intended to do. In ancient times, when the people of Israel were building the Tabernacle in the desert, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, He needed many talented Israelites. Today, those who are able to create beautiful things, to do wonderful works demonstrating the glory of God, can be greatly used by the Holy Spirit to touch many people’s hearts in a very special way—not only in Israel, but all over the world.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:12, 15)
Ephraim Kalish and his wife Ivetta are among the creative artists that God has brought back to Israel. Ephraim has recently produced a new movie called The Voice of the Shofar. The movie tells about the shofar, the most ancient musical instrument mentioned in the Bible. This simple instrument was chosen by God Himself. The voice of the shofar sounds throughout the Bible, from the book of Genesis to Revelation. What can we hear in its voice? Why did the psalmist write, “Blessed are the people, who know the voice of the Shofar,” (Psalm 89:15) and what is the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets – Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year?
“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:24). Why did the Creator choose the shofar to proclaim His will from heaven? Why did He not choose other musical instruments that make more harmonious sounds than that of the shofar?
All these questions are answered in the film The Voice of the Shofar. A few well known stories are analyzed: the sacrifice of Isaac, the destruction of Jericho’s walls, the Torah-giving on the Mount Sinai and the meaning of the year of Jubilee. They are presented from different points of view and in each one, the symbolic meaning of the shofar is explained. In addition, the prophetic meaning of God’s commandment to blow the shofar is explored in depth.
Amos 3:6-8 says “If a trumpet [shofar] is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”
Through the stories presented in the film, three ancient Hebrew words for horn are
examined from the original Hebrew text of the Bible: keren, yovel and shofar. Each name reveals a specific character and specific purpose for this musical instrument. Ephraim Kalish: “The understanding and revelations came to me from our Heavenly Father. This film would not be what it is without the awesome music composed especially for this project by Daniel Kruglov, an Israeli composer and friend of mine. I give special thanks to Moshe Morrison, my old friend and a man I greatly admire! It was he, with his amazing voice, who produced the English narration in spite of many difficulties.” Movie Link for The Voice of the Shofar