Whom He Foreknew
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
Twice in the book of Romans Paul (Saul) uses the term "foreknew". Both times it refers to the destiny that God has - first for an individual, and second for a nation.
"Whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
God has a destiny, a pre-designed plan, for every individual. That destiny has a uniform element, in that everyone is to be conformed to the image of Yeshua (Jesus), the perfect model of man made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). That destiny also has a unique element in which every individual is different. God designed His plan for each individual according to each one's own personality and character. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He designed His plan for each of us before we were even born. He already knew us; He "foreknew" us. He designed His plan for us on the basis of that foreknowledge.
Predestination is not arbitrary, but determined by God's foreknowledge. Foreknowledge precedes predestination.
The second instance of foreknowledge refers to the nation of Israel - not a person but a people.
"God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew." (Romans 11:2)
It is beyond our comprehension how God can know a person before he is born. How much more so an entire people group! God knew the history of Israel before it happened.
Israel is a "chosen" people. Part of that "chosen-ness" comes from the history of ancient Israel; part from the birth of Yeshua; and part from the mission of the early apostles. Yet there is another part of Israel's chosen position: it has to do with things that have not yet happened. God already knows about events in Israel's future that have not yet come to pass. On the basis of His foreknowledge of future events, God chose the people of Israel. He "foreknew" them.
Those events will be "much more" than all the previous events (Romans 11:12). There will be a revival as in the book of Acts, but much greater (Acts 2:17). There will be a miraculous military victory like those of ancient Israel, but much greater (Zechariah 14:2-5). There will be a kingdom like Solomon's, but much greater (Micah 4:1-8). All believers in Yeshua can be "grafted in" to that destiny (Romans 11:17), become members of "Israel's commonwealth" (Ephesians 2:12), and "partners" in the same promises (Ephesians 3:6).
Whom He Foreknew
by Betty Intrater, , Revive Ministries
Last month the women at Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Yeshua) Congregation in Jerusalem joined together for a fellowship brunch. TK, a master chef from the congregation, provided us with French toast, crème brulee and omelets to order while we focused on getting to know one another in a deeper way.
Afterwards we gathered together for a short exhortation. Betty shared on the ability to adapt to any situation as Paul taught in Philippians 4:11, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances".
No situation is perfect; each has pros and cons; the Lord gives us grace to find our place whatever the circumstances, if we rely on Him.
We then heard testimonies from two women with very different backgrounds, about how their life journey brought them to Israel.
Miriam was born and raised in Ukraine. During the Communist regime there was no religion. She knew her background was Jewish but had no knowledge of Judaism. The Ukrainian economy was very poor. Most families had only one child; two children were rare; a dog or pet was unheard of! When Miriam's father lost his job, she often lacked appropriate clothing to attend school. Some winters the family survived on a diet of potatoes.
As the Iron Curtain fell, Ukraine gained independence and a religious awakening occurred. Representatives from the Jewish Agency came, and at age 18 Miriam boldly answered their call to immigrate to Israel, seeking a better life.
Shortly after her immigration, Miriam's mother called with the news that she had come to know Yeshua. Miriam was skeptical and uninterested until presented with a dangerous health situation, a tumor in her leg. Her mother offered to pray with her new believing friends. Shortly thereafter Miriam woke up with a sensation of heat in her leg and discovered the tumor had disappeared! She immediately turned her heart to Yeshua in joy and thanksgiving.
It hasn't been easy for Miriam to live alone in Israel, far from her family. In spite of the challenges, Yeshua gives her strength and the ability to be content, as she daily experiences His grace in her life.
|Ahavat Yeshua women's brunch|
Upon arrival in Israel, the family was placed in a transition village of prefabricated shacks with one outhouse to several families. She and her sister, both teenagers, were left alone with their sickly mother to provide for the family and adapt to the new country.
Within a year a family friend came with a proposal for young Merav:
"Marry me and I'll offer you a better life in America."
With a seemingly bleak future before her in Israel and encouragement from her family, Merav agreed. Shortly after arriving in America the "better life" quickly turned into a nightmare. Merav's husband mercilessly abused her and finally, almost killed her. Concerned friends helped her to flee and find a life of her own. A second marriage some years later didn't provide a much brighter situation. Soon after the birth of their child, this husband left, never to be heard from again.
Merav, now a single mother and desperately unhappy, was invited by some friends to a church meeting. The members asked if there was anything she needed prayer for.
"Why would I possibly need prayer?" Merav asked herself.
However, she agreed to receive prayer, and within moments fell to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit. Instantly changed, the hope, peace and happiness missing for so many years flooded her life and remain with her today. A third marriage to a dear believing man healed the deep pain and hurt of Merav's past.
We were all touched by these two testimonies and look forward to the next women's gathering at Ahavat Yeshua Congregation.
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