By Rev. Gary Cristofaro, Director of Development, Ezra International

Rev. Gary CristofaroAre you trying to make sense of the tumultuous nature of current world events? Frankly, the only way to discover the order in the midst of this incredible chaos is to understand it through the eyes of our Creator. After all, it is HIS-story. Believe it or not there is a common thread connecting today’s financial upheavals, wars, acts of Anti-Semitism, and Islamic terrorism. Moreover, there are some tremendous clues within the prophetic scriptures as to “whom” that thread looks like.

The key to discovering these clues is to recognize the emphasis God has placed on the return of the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. Some of the key passages regarding this last day re-gathering can be found in Jeremiah 16 beginning in verse 14. “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.

These first two verses establish that we are living in that day, the day of the final return. Then the very next verse reveals much about the dichotomous nature of mankind that will exist at that time. Verse 16 says, “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks”. Identifying the “fisherman” and the “hunters”, will shed great light on our polarized society and the events unfolding today.

The Hunters
Firstly, let’s unmask the imagery of the “hunters” of Jeremiah’s prophecy by identifying the two most infamous hunters of scripture. First, Genesis 10:9 identifies Nimrod as a mighty hunter which Rashi and most Torah commentators interpret figuratively. It’s believed that Nimrod ensnared men with his words and incited them to rebel against God. Historian Josephus put it this way:

“Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through His means that they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from their fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power.”{1}

Based on Rashi’s and Josephus’ analysis I believe it would be safe to call Nimrod the father of modern humanism and all forms of tyrannical government ideologies. History has taught us that these tyrannical policies are the antecedents for total dependency on government and most often lead to an economic collapse and even war. Then all too often during these times the Jewish population of the affected nation becomes the scapegoat.

The second time the scripture uses the descriptor of hunter, it is for Esau (Genesis 25:27). Genesis 27:40 says of Esau; by your sword you shall live. Later, Esau married the daughter of Ishmael of whom it was said by the angel of the Lord: He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man and every man’s hand against him. (Genesis 16:12) I believe it would be safe to speculate that the vast majority of Radical Islamic Jihadists are descendants of Esau. I want to be absolutely clear, Islam as a religion does not date itself back to Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Islam was born from the mind of Muhammad in the 7th century CE. Although the adherents of Islam include vast numbers of the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, Islam would not exist for another 2600 years. However, this ancient hatred of the descendants of Esau toward the sons of Jacob (Israel) is well documented in scripture. For example, Amalek was Esau’s grandson and he attacked the children of Israel shortly after their exodus from Egypt. Another of Esau’s descendants was Haman, a despicable character who tried to completely annihilate the Hebrew race. This type of hatred and violent manifestations are not new to the Middle East. Yet Islamic terror related anti-Semitism has now reared its ugly head globally, most recently in Paris and San Bernardino. It was widely reported that San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook was “obsessed with Israel”.

Therefore, the Hunters of Jeremiah 16:16 are here today and they are related by a common spirit of rebellion against The Holy One of Israel and an ancient hatred for His people. The seemingly unrelated events occurring around the world are not-so unrelated after all. The hunters are the cause of financial upheavals, wars, acts of Anti-Semitism, and Islamic terrorism. The scripture foretold 2700 years ago that these events would be the impetus for more and more of God’s children to go home to Israel.

The Fishermen
So why does Jeremiah use the imagery of Fishermen juxtaposed with the hunters? Who are the fishermen? The most famous fishermen in history are the descendants of Jacob who decided to follow the Rabbi from Nazareth. What would a disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) have learned from walking with the Master? Romans 15:8 described Him as a “servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers”. Yeshua himself said; “…as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40)

Ezra International representatives are modern day disciples or fishermen from the nations. Every day they follow Yeshua’s example and they respond to his mandate. Often, they are the first to inform Jewish residents of these foreign nations that they have the right to return to Israel. They serve the poorest of the poor Jewish people; the least of these Yeshua’s brethren and they remind them of the eternal promise their heavenly Father made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Also, I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8)
He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,” When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. (Psalm 105:8-12)

Ezra International donors are part of this Fishermen network. They provide the absolutely vital and crucial support needed to help rescue Jewish people from countries with notoriously anti-Semitic track records. They make it possible to return them to Israel and restore their hope for a better future.

That future is sealed with the promise from a faithful God. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Our Choice Today
Our heavenly Father gives us the choice to be willing participants in His will and work on the earth. Ezekiel also tells us (Vs.36; 20-23) that through the re-gathering of His children from the nations God will sanctify His holy name. If one reads the literal Hebrew translation of the Lord’s prayer it becomes clear that Yeshua’s disciples should desire to do the same. “Our Father in heaven hollowed be your name” is more accurately read “Our Father in heaven, may your name be sanctified”. By participating in the holy work of the Aliyah (the re-gathering) we sanctify His name and His will is accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.

The will of our Father in Heaven is no secret. The final re-gathering of the Jewish people is the most documented prophetic event in all of scripture. Yet still so many Christians today struggle to discern God’s word and its application for today.

Abraham Joshua Heschel shed some light on this issue. “The problem, then, that cries for a solution is not everything or nothing, total disregard or obedience to the law; the problem is authentic or forged, genuine or artificial observance. The problem is not how much but how to observe. The problem is whether we obey or whether we merely play with the word of God.” {2}

“The categories of the Bible are not principles to be comprehended but events to be continued. The life of him who joins the covenant of Abraham continues the life of Abraham. Abraham endures forever. We are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.” {3}

Therefore, as the children of God we only have two choices. In Hebrew they are known as kiddush ha Shem or chillul ha Shem. We can either sanctify or desecrate the name of our God. There really is no middle ground because even our inaction desecrates His holy name. When all is said and done this was the true sin of Esau. He had an opportunity to lead His people in their God given mission to be a light to the nations, to be a representative people of the one true God. By rejecting his birth-right he was really rejecting that awesome responsibility. Jacob, on the other hand embraced his role. The children of Jacob or Israel are a “representative people” and those who are grafted into the covenant made to Abraham have the same privilege.

Being a fisher of men in today’s miraculous final return is another clear and present God given mandate. Thus, says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” (Isaiah 49:22) The conditions on the ground in so many nations around the world call for this decisive and compassionate action immediately. At Ezra International we answer that call every day!

1. (Josephus; Jewish Antiquities 1 Ch. 4:2)
2. (Man’s Quest For God page 101)

Gary Cristofaro is an Ordained Minister with the Assemblies of God and has been a passionate advocate for Israel and the Jewish people for decades. His role with Ezra International is to teach and communicate the message of Aliyah to Christians, often through electronic media. He is also responsible for Ezra’s graphic messaging and on-line footprint.

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