Encountering Yeshua in a Time of War by Sandra Teplinsky

We are eternally thankful for our friends in the nations who continue standing with Israel, especially those persevering in prayer for us. In gratitude, I want to share with you a story of a recent encounter I experienced with our magnificent Lord and King — not as a Bible teaching, but a personal testimony to inspire faith and hope in God’s covenant love. I pray you’ll be blessed.

Many weeks ago, during a time of prayer and meditation on Scriptures applicable to the Israel-Hamas War, I was reminded of a certain pattern of kingdom warfare that has reoccurred for millennia. Just before God ushers in His next phase of human redemption, it seems that murderous satanic fury is unleashed on earth. This can be seen throughout biblical and post-biblical history; for example, the slaughter of Jewish babies in Egypt before the exodus and in Judea before Yeshua’s birth, the Holocaust massacre of Jews before Israel was re-established as a nation, the Six Day War before Jerusalem was restored to Israel, and more.

With this recurring pattern in mind, and in view of Israel’s ongoing battle against not just Hamas or Hezbollah, but skyrocketing anti-Semitism, I asked the Lord, “Does this mind boggling display of satanic rage against the Jews signal that God is about to usher in a new phase of redemption history?

Having studied the Bible for 50 years, I have at least a decent, general understanding of Scripture, including prophetic passages about Israel. I know the end of the story is full of glory but the road there may be gory. I know intellectually that global shakings of the past several years can be seen as birth pains leading to an end times spiritual harvest preceding Yeshua’s return. But I needed more than mere intellectual knowledge.

Bible based wisdom is critically important in these last days. Still, nothing compares to an intimate, heart to heart encounter with Yeshua. And so, given the grievous devastation of the war and dangerous escalation of anti-Semitism worldwide, I needed Him to speak directly and personally to me. I needed Him to meet me and give vision with fresh faith. I was in a “grab onto the horns of the altar” frame of mind and heart. Maybe a little like the prophet Habakkuk:

“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:1)

Sensing God’s strong presence, I immediately thought of the growing movement here in Israel to rebuild the temple. The movement’s goal is to restore the ancient practice of animal sacrifice in pursuit of forgiveness of sin. A significant step in this direction was recently taken by the successful breeding of red heifers, or female cows. (Ashes of ritually slaughtered red heifers are required in animal sacrifices according to Numbers 19:1-6.) Besides the red heifer, other signs point to construction of a third temple in the not too distant future.

(As an aside, if you are a Bible believing Christian, you know the ceremonial laws for forgiveness of sins were all fulfilled in the atonement of Messiah Yeshua [Galatians 2:15-16, 21; 3:10-13; Hebrews 10:3-4, 11; 7:27; 9:12-15]. Very few Jewish people, however, currently acknowledge this liberating truth. Sometimes, Christians intentionally do not tell them about it. They forget it was specifically to the Jewish people that Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” [John 14:6].

A temple built for the worship of YHVH in Spirit and Truth will be glorious! However, a temple that reinforces the mistaken traditional Jewish belief there is a way to the Father which deliberately excludes His Son, will be grievous. Unfortunately, well-meaning Christians who proactively support re-institution of the sacrificial system of atonement actually communicate to us Jews that they agree, directly or indirectly, with our people’s rejection of Yeshua as Messiah.)

Still in prayer, I saw that over time, the present war will help pave way not only for the building by men of a third temple, but for the building by God of HIS temple. As men build one temple in Israel, He will build another. His temple will be comprised of living stones, Jewish and Arab Israeli followers of Jesus, bound together in love. His delight in building His temple, a mature and perfected body of believers, far exceeds His grieving over a future, intrinsically anti-Messiah temple. His joy bubbled over onto me in that moment of intimate encounter.

As I rejoiced with the Lord, despair about war melted away. For the joy set before Him, our King endured the Cross. For the joy set before Him—and us—we can and will endure, too.

There’s still more.

Through this tragic war our merciful King is beckoning Israel to surrender to Him as never before in our regathered statehood. Could it be, I asked, that from this surrender, an end times harvest in this land would be of such magnitude as to pave way for the next phase of redemption history? Would that next phase of redemption REALLY prepare for the climactic second coming of Messiah? In this personal and intimate encounter with the Lord, I believe He said, almost laughing with delight, “Yes! 

A bit later I remembered that Revelation 7 and 14 both refer to an end times remnant in Israel of 144,000. To be sure, the book of Revelation contains an extraordinary amount of metaphor and symbolism. Even those who interpret the Bible according to a straightforward, literary-historical-grammatical hermeneutic, acknowledge that large portions of Revelation are to be interpreted symbolically.

Bearing in mind that in Scripture the number 12 often represents governing authority, and that 12 multiplied by 12 equals 144, Revelation’s 144,000 may refer to a symbolic number representing the perfected fullness of an Israeli remnant with governmental authority similar, perhaps, to that of the original twelve apostles. But it may also refer to a literal, or approximately literal, 144,000. I think many of you already know this.

In any event, is it too much for us to believe and start contending, even now, for 144,000 Israeli followers of Yeshua in these last days? I think not!

The number of Messianic Jewish believers in Israel today totals approximately 35,000, about one fourth of 144,000. Some say that worldwide, 1 million Jews believe in and follow Yeshua. (As always, the definition of “Jewish” is questionable.)

Continuing in prayer, I asked, “How long must it be before that 144,000 come to eternal life in You as Lord of lords?”

Isaiah 6:11-13 instantly came to mind. There the prophet asks, “…’How long, Lord’? And He answered, ‘Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth [symbolizing resilience and life] and oak [symbolizing strength and stability] leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land’.”

I must state straightaway that I did not understand this to mean God was going to require or cause extensive devastation in Israel and another exile of our people. (Personally, I hope for an expansion of our land borders and increase in aliyah.)

I did understand Isaiah 6:11-13 to mean that God is and will be present, and in control of, the duration of inevitable wars and future devastations, including the captivity of hostages or a partial, temporary exile. At such times, His loving presence will offer great comfort and hope, similar to what I felt in that brief, divine exchange. Because of that intimate exchange, my understanding shifted from merely intellectual to experiential (in the spirit). With new fervor, I prayed this comfort and hope would wrap around all His covenant people in tough times ahead.

For reasons we cannot fully understand, devastations sometimes occur due to the fallen nature of this world. But God is in control and a very present help in times of trouble. He can and will work matters for good as we lovingly surrender to Him, pray and obey. His presence will be with those who fear Him—and His sweet, strengthening presence changes everything. Through shaking and suffering, and the prayers of the saints, He will draw multiplied thousands to Himself. The glory of God will far surpass the gory of evil.

When the prophet Habakkuk lamented to God and asked about the evil of His day, God assured him justice was forthcoming. Devastation, God said, lay ahead. But the prophet had personally encountered and heard from God and this was enough for him to patiently and joyfully persevere.

My time of prayer and meditation with the Lord was admittedly subjective. I already intellectually knew the relevant Scriptures.The difference was His intimate presence, offering deep shalom.  And so I choose to believe He met me and showed me what I need to know at this time.

What I believe I heard from God is encouragement enough for me (at least for now) to patiently and joyfully contend for a spectacular end times harvest that will bless all nations and usher in a glorious future. Beginning today.

I pray you’re encouraged, too.