Entering 2018 From Jerusalem

The Prophetic Clock

Maybe, some of my readers remember my post from the previous New Year: ENTERING 2017 FROM JERUSALEM. I wrote about the “prophecy” of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel (Hebrew name is Yehudah Hachassid – Judah the Pious) and numerous English-speaking websites that “prophesied” the coming of Messiah in 2017. I showed that we had no proof that there had been such a prophecy, and therefore we have every reason to be cautious about these speculations. I then wrote: “Having said that, I have to admit that I completely understand these feelings about 2017, and also tend to see it as a year of prophetic significance. We all know that God’s prophetic clock is attached to Israel and Jerusalem. The first official act by a Gentile nation that gave the Jews legal right to the Holy Land, was the Balfour Declaration, and it happened in 1917. Then, 50 years later, in 1967, after the Six-Days War, Jerusalem was recaptured, reunited and declared to be the eternal undivided capital of the State of Israel. 50 years after 1967, entering year 2017 – and entering it from Jerusalem – I can’t help but foretaste the significance of this year for my country and my city,  for Israel and for Jerusalem,  – and for the whole world”.

The closer the New Year drew, the more concerned I became, as I thought  about my New Year post and the fact that, in spite of my predictions, nothing significant about Israel or Jerusalem had happened in 2017. There is God’s timing, though, and one cannot overlook it. All of a sudden – or it felt like all of a sudden – on December 6th, we heard Trump’s declaration about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel! I know there are controversial opinions about that, and I am not going to enter political debates here—and trust me, it is very controversial here on the ground as well, because it’s Israel, first of all, who pays the price for Trump’s boldness—but as I was waited to hear Trump’s declaration, the FOX news commentator said: “We are waiting for President Trump to come and to change history!” It was probably at that moment that I realized that this “change of history” was happening in 2017! I do believe that it sheds additional light on President Trump’s move: it seems to be a prophetic event, especially because it happened in a full correspondence with God’s prophetic clock: 1917-1967-2017[1]. The hand of the clock has advanced yet again.

 

God meant it for Good

Doesn’t it mean that, as we approach the New Year, we have all the more reason to listen to what God is saying to us?  I happen to believe that weekly Torah portions are divinely ordained, and that God speaks to His people – and to each one of us personally – through these portions of Scripture – Parashot Shavua. The transition from one year to another becomes even more significant when we realize that the Torah Portion for December 30th – the final Shabbat of 2017 – is Vayechi, the last portion of the book of Genesis. Can you imagine? We  enter this New Year after we have finished the book of Genesis: truly opening, not just a new page, but opening a new book in our lives.

There are many things we can say about Vayechi (as about every Torah portion). For example, the deep and prophetic blessings of Jacob to his sons are in this portion, and of course, a lot can be said about these blessings. However, I wanted to point out something that was of particular encouragement for me – and I hope it will be an encouragement for you also. Toward the very end of the book – like a seal on the story of Joseph, on the book of Genesis, and also on this about- to- end  year of our lives – Joseph says to his brothers: “God meant it for good”. Aren’t these amazing words for a New Year? Both in the Bible and in our lives, God always carries out His plan through people: not only through people’s strengths and faith, but also through their weaknesses and mistakes. It’s a wonderful feeling: when one can look back at the year that is about to end, see all the mistakes and misdeeds that each one of us has experienced this year, and trust that the Lord can work out His good, even from our mistakes: God meant it for good.

Like Ephraim and Menashe

There is a very interesting scene in this Portion that explains one of the quandaries of Jewish customs. During every Shabbat celebration on Friday evening, Jewish fathers bless their children with the priestly blessing.[2] The introductory line of this blessing depends on whether the child is a boy or girl.

For girls, the introductory line is:

May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

For boys, the introductory line is:

May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe! 

Why do Jewish fathers bless their sons by the names of Joseph’s sons? Why are the sons of Joseph chosen for this blessing rather than the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

We know that two sons were born to Joseph in Egypt. First of all, let us try to understand the original Hebrew meaning of their names. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. The name Menashe (Manasseh) is derived from the Hebrew root נָשָׁה : “to cause to forget”. Joseph wanted to forget all the suffering and affliction that he went through. That’s why he called his son Menashe. The name of the second he called Ephraim. The name Ephraim is derived from the root פָּרָה  – “to make fruitful”. Evidently Joseph was able to forget his suffering and move on:  to become fruitful and productive in the foreign land.

Before his death, Jacob chooses his two grandchildren for the blessings across the ages: he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’[3] The Jewish Rabbis see a powerful message in this blessing. When we say to our sons: “May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe,” we wish them to be always spiritually connected to their people and their God, regardless of where they live and grow. Moreover, Ephraim and Menashe are the first brothers in the Torah whose relationship is not marked by jealousy and rivalry – a powerful testimony to the peace in Joseph’s heart and Joseph’s house.  I believe this is God’s message to us for this New Year: He wants us to have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes, and to be always attuned to the God of Israel, no matter how powerful and tempting our “Egyptian” surroundings might be.

 

[1] It was also on December 8, 1947 that the UN called for the establishment of a Jewish State in the land of Israel, almost exactly 70 years before Trump’s declaration – 70 being another significant biblical number.

 

[2] Num. 6:24-26

[3] Gen.48:20

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

You might also be interested in:

You Shall Dwell In booths…

By Julia Blum

Leviticus 16 And The Day Of...

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (19 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Deborah

    Thank you for this! It is very enlightening!

  2. Mandla

    Blessings upon you Prof Julia.
    You work blesses me always and is very informative.
    Shalom

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Mandla for your kind words Blessings and Happy New Year to you! !

  3. Cleide Souza

    Shana Tova Chaverim of eteachergroup…and toda Raba for all studies bíblical for us

  4. Deborah

    Happy New Year!! May Yahweh continue to bless you richly!! May His shalom be within your walls and His prosperity within your gates!!!

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Deborah , Happy New Year to you and yours!

  5. Angelika Walter

    Happy New Year, Julia. I am inclined to believe that God did indeed bring Donald Trump to his position for such a time as this. Even though I don´t agree with other things Donald Trump says or does, this decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem is the right decision. I see God´s hand in it and God will work it out for good according to his promise. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and the place where Yeshua will reign. God bless Israel!

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Angelika, I am always glad to get support from you, I know your inquiring mind and your love for God. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  6. Janis Moller

    Yes Jerusalem will become a cup of trembling but the Ruach revealed to me that the year 2018 will be the year of the Menorah….we have to light is afresh with our faith and trust in Yahweh. 2018 will be a prophetic year again…the shemitah of 2017…restoration to the Land and now comes the new beginning…2018….together we will stand and overcome by our prayers.

  7. Dorothy Healy

    A very interesting post Julia! It begs the question: “Did God bring Donald Trump to his position for such a time as this?”
    Soon after the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the British drove the Ottoman Turks out of Jerusalem, after they had occupied it for 400 years – this also happened in early December. Your footnote reminds us that the UN called for the establishment of a Jewish State on December 8, 1947. Trump’s declaration was on December 6. As you say, one cannot overlook God’s timing. How ironic that a UN Resolution, also in December, attempted to overturn Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, after the same body called for the establishment for a Jewish State in 1947. Jerusalem has indeed become a stumbling block.

    We serve an amazing God, who is eternal and lives outside of time, and yet he set the times and seasons, and the prophetic timeline with precision, and He will have His way with regards Jerusalem – for the praise and glory of His Name, and the wonderment of all the earth. Let’s see what 2018 will bring – and yes, may peace be upon our hearts and homes.

  8. Kate Hawkins

    Awesome!
    Blessings Julia. That is SOOO encouraging on both a worldly & very personal level. l identify so much with Joseph and am so ready for MY Manasseh & Ephraim …
    I will continue to press in & look up trusting & resting in ABBA Father.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Kate! Great to hear from you. I am so glad it touched you. Blessings and Happy New Year!

  9. Felix Twum Antwi

    The scripture says like this:- For the sake of my brethren and companions, I Will now say , “Peace be within you” . Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good. PS. 122:8-9
    Trust me Julia, I am not a Jew but I so much have Israel and the city of Jerusalem at heart that I even organized a peace walk to commemorate the UN declaration in 1947. The walk took off from a popular square called “La Montangola” somewhere in the heart of the city of Bologna here in Italy at 9am in May 2007, with a banner written “Let’s Stand With Israel, it was massive with the police guarded left and right front and back while we were singing and praising God on some major streets of the city. Till date the event is hold every year, just that the headline is changed by some church elders to Jesus March.
    Well; I am writing to encourage you that what you put out here for us to read is inspiring, encouraging and enlightening, should I dare to say it also gives strength to the weak? ” And let the weak say I am strong “!

    A prosperous and a happy new year!
    Shalom.

    1. Julia Blum

      It’s wonderful to hear about your love for Israel , Felix! I wish I could see this march. Maybe one day…

  10. Nick

    Amen Julia! I believe the “70 nations” are taking note of Israel little by little, now more than ever before. (In more ways than one). Thanks, Nick

  11. Wayne Dixon

    Wow!

  12. James Crumpton

    I so enjoy your posts. Thank you! Shalom!

  13. Gay Ford

    Oh, may our G-do OPen All our eyes ( inner eyes, our hearts) to HIS Truth! May we know as well as Understand our History that started in the Old Covenant to Understand the New Covenant! If we do Not Know our History we are Destined to Repeat it! Thank G-d for giving you such a keen mind to understand and share these Wonderful Truths! I love every Post! Again Thank You for the Depth Of Revealing These To Us! Gay Ford

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much, James and Gay! I am so touched and blessed by your words! Happy new Year!