A popular American pastor is encouraging churches around the world to show solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people by reading the Shema – the command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” – at services July 28.
It’s the weekend when Jews around the world read that Scripture, explains Mark Biltz, the pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Sumner, Washington, which has a large global following through the live-streaming of his teaching on the Jewish roots of Christianity.
Biltz got the idea after considering the convergence of events in 2018, including the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state, and recalling an American pastor who asked churches everywhere to read from the Quran one Sunday to show their solidarity with Islam.
“So I would like to promote that, this year, Christians would stand with Israel and the Jewish people, showing our solidarity with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel by reading the Shema the very same weekend the Jewish people are,” he said.
Come see the miracle of Israel this fall with Joseph Farah. Visit Sodom and Gomorrah, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Petra – and, of course, the new U.S. Embassy in the eternal capital. Don’t miss the 70th anniversary celebration.
Biltz pointed out that the weekend is also the weekend after the 9th of Av, on the Jewish calendar, which begins the readings in every synagogue from Isaiah 40 declaring it is the time for the nations to comfort Jerusalem and to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Further, he said an interview with WND, on the 15th of Av, Jews celebrate a holiday akin to Valentine’s day – “it’s all about God’s love for his people” – called Tu B’Av. On the day Tu B’Av is celebrated this year, Biltz emphasized, the entire Middle East will witness a total blood red moon, the longest total eclipse of the century.
“It’s like God’s celestial valentine, telling Israel, as this year ends before Rosh Hashanah, how much he loves them and he’s in covenant with them,” said Biltz, the bestselling author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” and “God’s Day Timer: The Believer’s Guide to Divine Appointments.”
He sees the act of taking only a couple of minutes from a Sunday service to read the greatest commandment, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, as a “prophetic seed being planted,” pointing to the prophecy of Zephaniah 3:9.
In that verse, Biltz said, “God declares he will have everyone serve him with one consent, with ‘one shoulder.'”
The timing this year also is significant, Biltz said, with the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel and the historic move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Biltz sees a “page turning” this year in biblical prophecy.
Many Bible scholars believe Jesus, as recounted in Matthew 24:34, prophesied that the generation alive when the Jewish people are reconstituted as a nation would see the Second Coming of Christ.
He sees different definitions of the key term “generation” in the Bible. For Noah, it was 120 years; for Abraham, 100; in the Psalms, 70; and then there’s the “jubilee generation” of 50.
“This last year,” he said, “fulfilled everyone of those.”
It was 120 years since the Zionist Congress organized by Theodor Herzl, which led to the Jews returning to the Promised Land after two millennia. One hundred years ago, the Balfour Declaration announced support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people.” It was 70 years ago that the state of Israel was established and 50 years ago that Jerusalem returned to the Jewish state.
“This past year we have fulfilled every single possible generation,” said Biltz, “and so now we are about to enter a whole new era.”