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Faith in the Coming of the Messiah Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

“And without faith it is impossible to please G-d, for he who comes to G-d must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

While ‘faith’ has often been translated, ‘belief’, the Hebrew word ‘emunah’ reveals much more. The 19th Century Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch said ‘emunah’ is that which creates our reality, our very existence and when ‘faith’ is reduced to ‘belief’ only, it becomes removed from practical day-to-day life. We simply believe so that we can get into the next world. It is diminished to an abstract notion.

Faith is not abstract, but is, rather, an action word, meant to mold our worldview. It is about seeing everything from the worldview of G-d – through the paradigm of the Word of G-d. It’s what we do in the world and the way that we view the world. The founders of Judaism, all had the kind of faith that led them to do extraordinary exploits in their faith journey. 

“Judaism is about faith as a journey. It begins with the journey of Abraham and Sarah, leaving behind their ‘land, birthplace and father’s house’ and travelling to an unknown destination, ‘the land I will show you’… it was Abraham who began the Jewish journey, Isaac who was willing to be sacrificed, Joseph who saved his family in the years of famine, Moses who led the people out of Egypt and gave it its laws. It was Joshua who took the people into the Promised Land, David who became its greatest king, Solomon who built the Temple, and the prophets through the ages who became the voice of G-d.” (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks)

Faith is an elusive pursuit that gradually leads one to an existence beyond the normal physical level. It is intangible, yet has a strong foundation with solid building blocks. Those building blocks are gleaned from the Word of G-d. Deep, resilient faith is attained by diligently seeking to know G-d through study and prayer, which in turn leads to spiritual insight and divine vision. Ultimately, a faith that gives one the courage to live with uncertainty in this life due to the certainty of G-d’s Word emerges. 

The writer of Hebrews tells us that each of the great men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11:17-38, had no certainty that the promises G-d made to them would ever be fulfilled in their lifetimes. 

“These all died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Those who say such things declare plainly that they are looking for a homeland… they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one…” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

While Joseph was in prison in Egypt, he may have felt that the dreams he had concerning his becoming a ruler were cut short. He must have spent a lot of time in prayer and drew close to G-d during that time. As a result, he was able to interpret the dreams of his fellow prisoners and eventually those of Pharaoh himself. Joseph was able to discern that his time spent in prison had a divine purpose. 

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Joseph’s great faith in G-d was revealed when he reassured his brothers of his love for them in spite of their betrayal. It proved that Joseph had a deep resilient faith that saw beyond his prison cell and even beyond his life in Egypt. Joseph never allowed bitterness or thoughts of revenge to take root in his life. He lived an existence beyond the normal physical level.

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but G-d meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

So many promises have been made by G-d concerning the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel that have not yet been fulfilled. The reason many Jews believe that these promises will come to pass is their ‘faith’. They have been willing to act on the promises of G-d in a way that demonstrates an active ‘faith’. 

For instance, many Jews remained in the region of former Israel and others immigrated back to the region over the many centuries of exile, knowing that the Prophets spoke about Israel being redeemed and the people living in peace and safety in the Land. And, both the prophet Daniel and the apostle John wrote about the Temple that would exist at the coming [return] of the Messiah. They had resilient faith, believing G-d’s Word. 

Today, returning Jews build settlements in the Land promised to them by covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, acting on G-d’s promise to restore the land to them. Proceeding upon biblical directions, Israelis have constructed the items necessary to rebuild the Temple of G-d, raised a Red Heifer and the sacrificial lambs, trained the priesthood, and assembled the Sanhedrin, all in preparation for the fulfillment of G-d’s promises. In fact the Sanhedrin have contacted two world leaders (President-elect Trump and Vladimir Putin) to aid them in gaining authority to build the Temple on the Temple Mount that will be shared with the Muslims. 

As believers in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we should join in their active faith and pray into reality this Temple that will herald the coming Messiah. In the words of Pauline Rose

“When the Holy Spirit allows our inner eye to see the kingdom of Messiah, then this vision is reality to us, just as the promised land was for Moses…Vision and faith lead us on the way to the kingdom; prayer, however, opens the eyes of the blind and saves the people from ruin.” (The Siege of Jerusalem, p202)

We must link our prayers with those of the Jewish people in extending ourselves beyond the physical realm into the objective spiritual reality that is revealed in G-d’s Word. 

Traditional Prayer for the State of Israel

Our Father in Heaven, Rock & Redeemer of Israel,

Bless the State of Israel, the first flowering of our redemption.

Shield it with Your loving kindness, envelop it in Your peace. 

And bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors,

And grace them with Your good counsel.

Strengthen the hands of those who defend our Holy Land! 

Deliver them
and crown their effort with triumph. 

Bless our land with peace, Oh G-d, and its inhabitants with lasting joy. 

And let us say amen!

 

1. The Siege of Jerusalem, Compiled by Boaz Michael, Vine of David Publishing, Third Edition 2016, p202

2. http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/a-prayer-for-the-state-of-israel-that-will-take-your-breath-away/?  Netanel Hershtik

 

 

 
 
 
 
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