Judah First
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel

In the book of Romans we find the phrase "to the Jew first" three times: one for the gospel (1:16), one for wrath (2:9) and one for glory (2:10). I believe that this phrase is a continuation from the book of Genesis, in which the tribe of Judah was to "go first". The connection between the "Jew first" of the gospels and "Judah first" in the Torah reveals the consistency of divine order throughout the biblical covenants.

The Messianic covenant came through Isaac instead of Ishmael because Abraham was already married to Sarah. She came first.

The seed then passed through Leah because she was Jacob's first wife, even though Jacob loved Rachel more. The covenant should have gone to Reuven as the firstborn son, but he disqualified himself by sexual perversion (Genesis 35:22). The second son Shimon was disqualified because of murder (Genesis 34:30). Levi lost the kingship lineage because of his cooperation with Shimon, but retained the priesthood as the third born.

The covenant right was then passed on to Judah (Genesis 43:3). He proved himself worthy by being willing to sacrifice himself to save Benjamin (Genesis 44:18). When Jacob travelled to Egypt, the order of Judah's leadership was already set (Genesis 46:28). The order of the encampment of the tribes in the wilderness was again, "Judah first" (Numbers 10:14). When the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan, Judah went up first (Judges 1:2).

The controversy about the priority of the tribe of Judah came to a head when David became king. After the rebellion of Absalom, the northern 10 tribes of Israel accused the tribe of Judah of "stealing" the coronation rights (II Samuel 19:42-44). Judah replied that their priority came from being "closer relatives" to David. Israel responded by saying they were "10 times" larger, and that Judah had dishonored them. But Judah's claim to being "first" was stronger than the Israelites' claim to equality.

The conflict between Judah and Israel foreshadows the conflict between Israel and the Church. Although the huge quantity of people in the international Church has great importance, it does not override the covenant order of Judah coming first. This order will continue into the end times (Zechariah 12:7) to the second coming (Matthew 23:39) and even to the millennial government (Matthew 19:28).

[God's Kingdom is established by covenant. God is faithful to His covenants. Covenants have order; and that order reflects authority structure - whether in marriage (I Timothy 2:13), family, government, Church or Israel.]

Judah First
by , ,

Jaike & Johan
This spring Revive Israel had the pleasure of hosting Johan and Jaike from Holland to lead its second seminar in group dynamics at the Yad Hashmona horse ranch. Johan and Jaike, a husband and wife team, run a thriving horse ranch in Holland with emphasis on therapy for troubled teens.

"Horses have no pre-conceived notions," says Johan, "This makes them the perfect counterpart in developing social skills. A horse will simply do as it is told."

Asher leading a horse
During the seminar each participant is instructed to lead a horse in various maneuvers. The sessions are filmed and later reviewed and critiqued in a group setting. There are also team maneuvers which require the participants to work together to solve problems and develop solutions. These too are filmed and critiqued.

In addition to the staff seminar, Johan and Jaike gave personal "mini" seminars at the ranch to individual families and couples.

The reactions to these sessions were overwhelmingly positive and the Revive Israel leadership was pleased with the results. We look forward to inviting Johan and Jaike back in the future and expanding cooperation for the benefit of the wider Body in the Land.

Judah First
by Anya and Betty, , Revive Israel

Most women have a natural desire to bear children. Val has a passionate vision for motherhood to which she has devoted the past 9 years of her life.

It all started when she was a new mother in Israel and found herself without local family support. Quickly she realized how important it was for mothers to be able to share with each other, both challenges and successes, and pray for one another. No one understands a mother like a mother.

"Mothers need a lot of help and support. All that's going on in body, soul, and spirit during the time of pregnancy, birth, and after - it's immense!" Val says.

In talking to others she understood that she wasn't the only one feeling alone and so decided to start a mothers' fellowship. For the past four years this group has been gathering together once every two weeks for food, Bible study, prayer and sharing. Participation has grown to include many from the greater Jerusalem area, all enjoying a respite from their daily routines.

As the mothers are permitted (and encouraged) to bring their small children, the atmosphere is lively and friendly. Often the noise level only allows for only a short time of study and sharing but that is enough for these mothers to feel renewed and refreshed. Many say it's the depth of personal fellowship that has developed between them which is the most uplifting.

An unexpected result of these gatherings has been the participation of several non-believing mothers - neighbors, friends and acquaintances. These women feel drawn by the genuine friendship, caring and support in the group.

Sonya, a neighbor, is one example. She stopped by after hearing about the meetings and quickly became attached. Sonya shared that she had believed in Yeshua in her home country of France, but her faith had become dry. The meetings provided an opportunity to renew her faith in an environment that her unbelieving husband could accept.

Another neighbor, Efrath, heard the noise in the garden and came to see what was going on. A stay-at-home mom (rare in Israel), she was delighted to find a forum to interact with other mothers while her small children played. She feels comfortable exchanging views and comes regularly to enjoy this time.

Val's vision for motherhood goes beyond the fellowship gatherings. She also has a desire to support women in the birth process as well as nursing and infant care. As the mother of five beautiful children she finds many turning to her for advice and support. She has had the opportunity to be present for the labor and birth process of several friends, an exhilarating experience she hopes to expand.

To Val birth is a miracle, and motherhood is a ministry. To be able to assist and support others in this capacity is the desire of her heart.

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