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Revive Israel Ministries

©14 March 2014 Revive Israel Ministries

Restoration of All Things

By Asher Intrater

There was a significant change in the apostles' understanding of the kingdom of God between Acts chapter one and chapter three - before and after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:6 – "Will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
Yeshua taught His disciples much about the kingdom of God after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).  That vision was based in Israel and extended to the nations.  Apparently the disciples heard the Israel part but missed the International part.  That is why Yeshua told His disciples that they should be witness of Him "from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" – Acts 1:8.

Enlarged Thinking

The expansion in their thoughts was not only concerning people and places, but also time.  They thought it all would take place right away, "at this time."  However Yeshua told them that it was not for them to know the times or seasons (Acts 1:7)In retrospect, it has taken a much longer time than they expected for the message of the kingdom to get all the way around the world and back again to Israel.

When Shimon (Peter) spoke a few weeks later in the Temple courtyards, he phrased his statement about the kingdom in a way which included the expansion of both time and quantity. "…Messiah Yeshua, whom the heavens must receive until the time of the restoration of all things" – Acts 3:21.  He understood that Yeshua will not return until the spiritual foundations for the kingdom of God on the whole earth will be made ready.

Peter's view of the kingdom had enlarged not only from Israel to the nations, but to "all things" - including all things in creation, both in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:16). The plan of the kingdom of God provides full restoration for everything spoken of in the Bible, both past and future.  The Hebrew translation for the word "restoration" is Tikkun.  [For this reason, when Dan Juster, Eitan Shishkoff, Paul Wilbur, Michael Brown and I started a cooperative ministry together in the 1980's, we chose the name Tikkun to express our vision.]

This is a comprehensive definition of the kingdom of God: the restoration of all things. This was the vision of the early apostles. Let's make it ours as well.

Draft Bill Reform

By Tal Robin and Ariel Blumenthal

On Sunday March 2nd, 300,000 ultra-Orthodox men (Haredim) converged on Jerusalem for a prayer meeting/demonstration against the so called “Military Draft Reform” Bill that has been passed by the Knesset.  The issue of whether or not Haredi men should serve in the military, and be integrated into society in general, is a highly divisive and controversial issue in Israeli society today.  In several articles, we will do our best to explain the roots of this serious fissure in our nation, so that we can pray together for the continuing restoration of Israel, both physical and spiritual.

Growing Compromise

At the founding of the State in 1948, a compromise was reached by PM Ben Gurion with a leading Haredi Rabbi: 400 Haredi men, representing the “cream of the crop," could be exempted from national military service and receive government support to continue their rabbinical studies at large, in officially recognized Yeshivas (Orthodox Jewish seminaries). 

Over the years, the number of Haredi men in Yeshivas grew by the thousands, and this “magic number” of 400 was never enforced.  (Plus, there were always enough conscripts for the army, even without Haredi enlistment.)  Today the situation has “snowballed” to ridiculous proportions: close to 15% of males in our society (the Haredi sector) not only do not serve in the military—they refuse almost all “secular” or “modern” education, thus confining themselves to a life of Yeshiva study that they (and their wives)  can only support by some kind of menial job.  What does this mean?  That 15% of working age men in our nation, along with their Yeshivas and their large families (7 children on the average) must be supported by national welfare!

Like a Leech

The fact that Israel is fairly well-off economically is a miracle—and a tribute to a lot of hard work by the remaining 85% of working age men (and many women)!!  But this economic and social situation has become unbearable for the majority of Israelis. 

Two years ago, hundreds of thousands of secular and non-Haredi-religious Israelis (modern Orthodox, “knit kippa”) demonstrated against this situation whereby such a large sector of the population does not serve or work to share the heavy tax burden, while at the same demanding an ever-increasing share of national welfare.  Those demonstrations resulted in two young politicians—one secular, and one modern Orthodox (Lapid and Bennet)—coming to power in the last elections, on promises of passing laws to “share the burden.”  They delivered on their promise, and now laws are in place to very gradually (and sensitively) force Haredim into mainstream education, military service, and taxation. 

How is it that Haredi Jews justify this “parasitic” existence on the State?  We will look at this issue in our next article.

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