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August 18, 2006


Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem,

“Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it . . . and remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:12-15).

The 10 commandments are given twice in the Bible - in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. And in both cases they are prefixed by “I am the LORD thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Incidentally, “Out of Bondage into Freedom” is the subject of our next Monday night midrash here in my rented Jerusalem apartment.)

In both cases where the 10 commandments are given in the Bible, the 4th commandment, which is “Remember the Sabbath Day”, contains commentary. In Exodus the fourth commandment is followed by, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Why these lengthy commentaries on the 4th commandment? Both of them admonish us to “remember” for two reasons: (1) because He is the Creator (Isn’t that enough qualification?) and (2) because He is the Deliverer --- that’s more than enough!

The Sabbath is very special, even to unbelievers, in this land. It’s a welcome relief to all - and especially this week since many of our boys are home from the war in Lebanon. If one hasn’t been through a war, it is difficult to describe any war, that is. But a war in Israel, this land that is 4,000 years deep in history, it has to be different, especially to those of us who believe Holy Writ!

Although I was not born in Israel, the past weeks of war weighed heavily upon me. Each time I saw the pictures of fallen soldiers, I felt they were my sons! Many of the faces were so young and clean looking. When the reservists were called up, one of them was the son of a very good friend, and I sent out a prayer request to those of you who know him. Guess what? He was to go -- just at the time of the cease fire! The reservists have been coming home ever since.

Why was his life spared and not some of the others? That’s a question no one can answer. I could say it was your prayers but probably they all were being prayed for. I’m reminded of words from a song my late husband, Elmer Josephson, wrote years ago:

 

Today the world is sighing, “Why can we not have peace?

Our men and boys are dying; when will this slaughter cease?”

Our schools and education have failed to show the way.

What then is our salvation to turn our night to day?

 

Through Israel came the Word of God. ‘Tis heaven’s choicest news.

Christ said that our salvation is clearly “of the Jews.”

God’s gathering in His people from every land and clime

To Israel’s ‘land of promise’; this is the great’ end time.

 

O, come now, all ye nations, and bow before the Lord.

We’ll meet in grand Jerusalem, and lay down every sword.

We’ll beat them into plowshares, our spears to pruning hooks,

And bound together by His grace, obey the Book of Books.

 

Chorus:

Christ calls to every nation, “I am this dark world’s light.

I offer free salvation, release from every strife.

Oh, come to me, ye weary. Your burdens now lay down.

Your life need not be dreary, Come wear my victor’s crown.”

 

And what is that victor’s crown? It’s found in three of the four Gospels - quoting the Hebrew Scriptures, and prefixed by the ‘Sh’mah” in Deut. 6:4; Read together in Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28. The two commandments upon which hang all the law and the prophets. (Notice it does not say it extinguishes the law and the prophets.)

Presently in Israel:

You can sense the cease fire is a sigh of relief to everyone, but it is largely over-shadowed by the terms of the UN resolution which are not promising to Israel. Who’s going to bring back the kidnapped soldiers - the incident that sparked this conflict in the first place? And who is going to “disarm the Hizbullah”? NO ONE. The Hizbullah, with finance and help from Iran and Syria, has a vice grip on the Lebanese army and government who are scared to cross them. And many soldiers and men in the government are part of the Hizbullah who have high-jacked the Lebanon we use to know! And I’m sure you, as well as we, anticipate a global conflict before it is settled. (Next letter will be more in the Ezekiel studies.)

A personal word about this rented apartment. It’s on the fifth floor of a six story building, one of six apartment buildings in the complex. It has a special room which is the “safe room.” The walls are thick and the window built to keep out chemicals in the event of a chemical warfare. If the building were bombed, this bedroom cubicle would fall down in whole. It is built to preserve lives sheltered inside it. I hope I never have to use it thus - right now it is the guest bedroom! But if so, maybe I’ll go to heaven in a concrete chariot! - Just kidding!

Thank you for your encouraging messages. I got dozens saying the Ezekiel studies should continue. HOWEVER, if you do not wish to receive any more of these newsletters from Zion, I will not be offended if you inform me so. And if you send me anything, please don’t send attachments. And if my letters show attachments, do not open them. I do NOT send attachments. I love to hear from you and am sorry I cannot personally comment on each one.

Be well. Be encouraged. Be strong in the Lord and in His Word.

                       Love in Him,

                         Chris Josephson