Back in Cairo, I was joined by my colleague Dr. Steven Wunderink who arranged the details of my trip and was a constant source of biblical and historical information. There are over 118 known pyramids in Egypt to date, and we set out early to view the most ancient ones. The step pyramid of Djoser (c. 2700 BC) from the Old Kingdom period resembles the ziggurats of Mesopotamia and is a forerunner of the more famous pyramids of nearby Giza.

Built as a royal tomb, the complex is surrounded by what was a tall wall over 32 feet high and contains numerous architectural structures including a roofed Court of Columns designed from limestone to look like massive plant stems or trees in an endless garden (40 columns over twenty feet high). This was a foretaste of later temples and tombs I would visit that idealized nature with huge columns representing a forest garden of enormous lotus-like columns, nature and water scenes—something like the garden of Eden in Genesis 2.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. 

In the nearby Tomb of Ka-Gmni from the same Old Kingdom period (c. 2340 BC), the walls are completely covered with scenes from this life as an expectation for what would happen in the next.

The detail work from this period required artisans to chip away from the limestone all but the desired images which would stand out in raised relief. Later, in the New Kingdom period, artisans got lazier and carved images into the wall with less detail. Every inch of these tombs was also painted in vivid colors, and some of that paint from over 4,000 years ago is still intact today! Part of the reason that these tombs are so well preserved is that they were built immediately west of the Nile Valley where the bank rises well above where the water would normally reach them. Notice the stark contrast between the lush Nile Valley and the barren desert to the west.

The famous Giza Pyramids (c. 2560–2540 BC) were built a bit later in the Old Kingdom Period. It just overwhelms me to think that they would have been over 500 years old when Abraham visited Egypt! Contrary to the Hollywood film Exodus: Gods & Kings, the Hebrews didn’t build the pyramids. Joseph, Moses, and many other biblical figures would have seen these impressive structures which would have been quite ancient to them as well. Sometimes, Hollywood historiography really sphinx!

In the afternoon, we flew from Cairo to Aswan where we welcomed the sunset over the Nile while sipping pomegranate tea and preparing for what to expect the following day.


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The wall mosaics of Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria portray how Mark had success preaching the gospel among the Jewish community in Alexandria, and the first Jewish believer was a shoemaker. But Mark was later martyred by Roman pagans who dragged his body through the cobblestone streets on Easter Sunday 68 AD, and some of his relics are on display in the crypt. Sadly, on Palm Sunday (April 9, 2017) twin suicide bombings took place here and at St. George’s in nearby Tanta, Egypt—with a total of 45 killed and 126 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility. There is now a strong military presence outside most churches throughout Egypt.

Similarly, there is tight security at the historic synagogues of Egypt (historic because Jews were expelled in the 1950s and their property was sequestered). Only about 50 Jews remain in all of Egypt today, and nearly all are women over 55 years of age. Nevertheless, there are some special holiday services held in Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue for various Jewish communities throughout North Africa. It was also in Alexandria that the famous translation of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint or LXX was translated into Greek by seventy Jewish scholars during the third and second centuries B.C. All of this made for an especially nostalgic experience to stand at the bema of Alexandria’s synagogue and recite the Shema.

Later in the day, I visited the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina which opened in 2002. Alexandria was a center for culture and erudition in the Mediterranean world. And this new library is the recreation of the famed Ancient Library of Alexandria founded by Ptolemy I Soter in the 300s BC. Its interior is modeled after the historic Daughter Library which had niches for storing papyrus scrolls. The exterior resembles a tilted hieroglyphic sun disk with the rising side dressed in Aswan granite that is inscribed with words from 120 different scripts representing the ascent of cultural illumination like the rising of the sun. I burst out with laughter when I finally found the Hebrew inscription—it looked like they chose the word for toothpaste! But maybe it’s some obscure word in Aramaic . . . I’m still researching this one. For those who want to offer a guess, the consonants from right to left are ayin, fey, tzadi, shin, hey. For a bibliophile, all of this was quite fascinating!


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In the prophecy of Ezekiel 30:17, “the young men of Heliopolis (also known as Aven or On) and Bubastis (Pi-beseth or Tel Basta in the eastern Nile Delta) will fall by the sword and the cities themselves will go into captivity.” Ezekiel did not predict the destruction of Luxor in Upper Egypt in the far south, so its temples are still standing today. But the ruins of Heliopolis are underneath modern Cairo, never to be seen again apart from some excavations that have revealed an obelisk and a bust that was first identified as Rameses II then later as Pismatic I. And the utter devastation of Bubastis is unmistakable when observing the massive amounts of quartzite stone column pieces that were once imported from nearly 600 miles in Aswan but are now strewn about like messy mounds of legos. With Heliopolis, Bubastis is in complete ruins though its imposing broken monuments reveal a once magnificent city. Even the seven cobras carved as guardians from granite could not protect it, but they are preserved today as a reminder of the city’s former strength. Speaking of guardians, this archaeological site is so far off the beaten path that most foreigners never visit, and I had to be escorted by a security detail.

“The guy on the far left shadowed me for two days like my personal John Reese (Jim Caviezel from Person of Interest).”


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Greetings friends, my name is Tim Sigler, and I serve as CJFM’s Israel Scholar-in-Residence. Perhaps you’ve read some of my articles in Messianic Perspectives or used our Messianic Jewish Home Calendar. I’ll have the privilege of exploring some biblical and historic sites in Egypt over the next 10 days, and I’d like to invite you to join me on my travels in the footsteps of Moses (though Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph and the rest of the family, the children of Israel as a whole for 430 years, Aaron and Miriam, then much later Elijah, Jeremiah, Joseph & Mary with baby Jesus were here as well, and according to tradition Mark the evangelist brought the Gospel to Alexandria). So Egypt plays a significant role in Bible history and prophecy as a place of bondage and a place of refuge—feel free to pray for me that this trip will be the latter! The key passage for my trip will be the words spoken to Jacob in Genesis 46:3-4a, “So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again . . .” 

 


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MESSIANIC HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST
By Mitch Glaser

"The achievements and witness of Jewish believers during the Holocaust and especially in the Warsaw Ghetto are essentially unknown to most present day Jewish believers. We stand on the shoulders of these heroes of the Holocaust - the Jewish believers of the Warsaw Ghetto - and their story, as much or as little as we know, must be told." Dr. Mitch Glaser uncovers many amazing testimonies of faith from within the Ghetto in his paper, "Heroes of the Holocaust: Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto and Yeshua" [1]. Here are some key gleanings from his research in honor of Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day this week.

On Wednesday night and during the day on Thursday, Israel will have its "Yom haShoah", or "Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah" which means "Memorial Day of the Holocaust and of Heroism". Though the rest of the world had Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, in Israel the date was chosen to be close to the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. After 28 days of bitter fighting as the Jewish prisoners rebelled against the Nazis, the ghetto was eventually destroyed, but the heroism of this event is a tremendously important part of Jewish history. But almost unsung in Jewish history are the stories of the thousands of Jews who believed in Jesus at this time. Stories of courageous gentile believers such as Corrie Ten Boom and Deitrich Bonhoeffer are well known, but on this day that we remember the Holocaust and its heroes, it's time to introduce you to some Jewish believers who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust.

Did you know that there were about a quarter of a million Jewish believers at the time of the Holocaust? And that several thousand of them were trapped to starve and die in the Warsaw Ghetto along with their brethren? [2] Here are some of their stories...

Rachmiel Frydland, a former rabbinical student & Messianic Jewish teacher, is one of the very few Jewish believers who endured the hell of the Warsaw Ghetto and lived to tell the tale:

"I had been a believer for two years when the war broke out. Warsaw shook under more and more bombs. Food became scarce and the electricity and water supply failed. Along with several other young Jewish believers in the Messiah, I went to help defend the city. Because I did not want to use a gun, I was given physical work. Within a month the city was crushed and the triumphant Germans marched in.

I decided to leave the city and seek farm work with friends to the north. With a certificate in hand, given to me by my pastor, I set out across the burning city. Reaching the outskirts, I was stopped by a soldier. "Are you a Jew?" he demanded. Without a word, I handed him my certificate. He looked at it and then spat out: "Yes, but you are still a Jew! " He seized a shovel and slammed it into my back, knocking me into a ditch. There I was ordered to join fellow Jews who were digging graves for dead horses. It was my first taste of Nazi brutality, but actually mild in comparison with what awaited so many others. That night I escaped in the darkness and resumed my journey. My friends received me gladly and fed me, but in a short time the new restrictive laws against Jews forced me to leave. Returning to Warsaw, I discovered that one of my sisters had died of typhus and that a wall had been built around the Jewish section."[3]

Starting in November 1940, almost 500,000 Jews were inhumanely crammed into a small walled area in Warsaw with very little food and sanitation. About 45,000 Jews died the following year due to overcrowding, hard labor, starvation, and disease. "Natural death in the street from hunger, exhaustion, exposure, heart attack, or infectious disease had become the rule."[4] During 1942, most were transported off to death camps, leaving about 60,000 Jews in the ghetto. Charles G. Roland explains in his book cataloging conditions in the Ghetto, that "By 1941, the official ration provided... 184 calories for Jews in the ghetto." Agreeing that it is impossible to survive for any length of time on so little, Roland explains that the Jewish people were able to continue for two years in those conditions through "Provision of food to the poor... by several social welfare agencies, direct smuggling of food by hungry Jews, increased production of food and, most commonly, the purchase on the black market of smuggled food." [5]

Frydland continues: "In late 1944, by hiding in cemeteries, deserted churches, and the homes of fearful friends, I was one of the few surviving Jews in Warsaw outside the ghetto. In that enclosure were 5,000 Jews, the last of Warsaw's original 500,000. By God's enabling, I secretly slipped into the ghetto and was able to speak comfort to a few of the Jewish believers still alive. Other Jewish brethren heard the message and believed in Messiah Jesus. My friends in the ghetto insisted that I leave. They said that if God had preserved me thus far, I would be a witness to the woes they now experienced. At the end of the war, I could tell the story of their suffering. I was probably one of the last to leave the ghetto. It was only shortly afterward that the Germans obliterated the entire Jewish area."

Dr. Ludwig Hirszfeld was another Jewish believer, who had come to faith in his twenties. He reflects in his book, "The Story of a Life", that, "There were many people who were baptized in the Quarter - old and young, sometimes whole families. Some of my students were among them, men and women, and I was often asked to be the godfather. What motives drove them to the baptism? They never received any benefits from it. The change of faith did not entail any change in their legal status. No, they were attracted to it by the appeal of a religion of love. They were attracted by the religion of the nation to which they felt they belonged. They were attracted to the religion to which there was no room, or least there should not be any room, for hate. Jews are so weary of the atmosphere of universal antipathy".

He also wrote; "Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Glory to God in the highest and peace and goodwill to men. Grzybowski Square and Twarda Street disappear. The excited and feverish crowd of the poor also disappears. We are immersed in the coldness and atmosphere of the place of worship. There is a throng of us they are lost in prayers. We can no longer see the killers and the haters - we are in the company of the enraptured. We are united in a sentiment of higher communion..."

"...Why should I love those monstrous men? For no reason. Love is a state of the spirit. Everybody possesses it, but sometimes in a dimmed and muffled state. But, it is as much an instinct as the hunger for life, as the joy of living. Love is a delight as much as rapture amid the starry silence and the transport of joy of the dancing stars. There are no small things here - everything emanates from the spirit. A heavenly music is heard. And in this harmony the soul bends down sobbing in humiliation. And it embraces the world in rapture, it floats in oblivion. Horrible people, horrible things disappear: all resonates with the Great Harmony."

It might seem surprising that there were so many Jewish believers at that time, but there had been a significant surge in attempts to reach the Jewish people with the gospel in Eastern Europe in the preceding decades. Glaser remarks that "Warsaw was actually a hotbed of Messianic activity". The historical book "Sefer Milhamot ha-Getaot" (Book of the Ghetto Wars) by Yitzhak Zuckerman and Mosē Basōq, confirms that there were indeed a great many Jews who believed in Jesus in the Warsaw Ghetto, and some testimonies characterised them very positively, at one point noting that, "Almost all of them were intellectuals".

Though not a believer, Hanna Krall quotes these lines in her Polish short story "Salvation": "When the Germans cleared the church of all the Christian Jews, there was only one Jew left of the church: the crucified Jesus... Jesus came down from the cross and called (to the painting) of his mother: 'Mame, kim...' This means in Yiddish: 'Come Mama.' She (came down and) went to the Umschlagplatz." Krall describes this as one of the numerous, poignant Jewish - Christian anecdotes told in the Ghetto.

It seems fitting to end with some powerful words from Rachmiel Frydland: "From my harrowing experience, I see that men who reject Messiah are capable of bringing hell on earth. But surely God has not abandoned mankind. He has a plan for every person who will trust Him. The Bible, which has guided and sustained me thus far, promises that peace and justice will fill the earth only when the Prince of Peace returns. He is the only hope of mankind, and I know that He will come, because He has proved His great love and His miraculous power to me."

References

[1] "Heroes of the Holocaust: Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto and Yeshua" by Dr. Mitch Glaser, President Chosen People Ministries - a presentation to The Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism North America March 5-7, 2012

[2] Peter F. Dembowski calculates that there were 5,000 to 6,000 Jewish believers living in the Ghetto at its height. Peter Dembowski, "Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto: An Epitaph for the Unremembered", University of Notre Dame Press, 2005,p.68

[3] From the personal testiomony of Rachmiel Frydland in the biographies section of www.messianicassociation.org

[4] Charles G. Roland, "Courage Under Siege: Disease, Starvation and Death in the Warsaw Ghetto", New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, ch 6, p.99-104.

[5] Ibid


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Finished the conference in Jerusalem and today we hired an Arab driver to take us to Shechem, Mount Gerazim, and Ramallah in the West Bank. On board are Tim Sigler (Moody Bible Institute), Richard Averbeck (TEDS), Randall Price (Liberty U.), and Jim Sibley (Israel College of the Bible), among others, so we are well guided! Here's the checkpoint between the Israeli controlled area and the Palestinian territory. We noticed that the Israelis were having to check every car that was crossing over from the Palestinian side – but the Palestinians weren't checking the Israeli cars that were coming from the other direction. So it's obvious that no one thinks anyone from Israel is coming across the border to hurt anyone. The Palestinian soldiers don't even bother to check the Israeli cars.


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So-called "Christian" leaders and denominations are partakers in our culture's continuing demise when they approve and even applaud the very sins and perversions that are helping to take us down. It's reminiscient of pre-exilic OT times when Israel's corrupt clergy was coddling and reassuring the nation and telling them that everything was fine – when in fact, the nation was in great peril due to their sinful behavior. In the verses below (from Ezekiel 13), the LORD is speaking to us today just as surely as He was speaking to ancient Israel. He has little patience with religious leaders who fail to warn rebellious people about the consequences of their behavior!

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Here's a significant development, reported by the New York Times. It's been years since Turkey has allowed the US to use its air bases as a staging area for military operations in the Middle East. The US and Turkey announced today that they have reached an agreement that will change the old order of things and take the joint war against ISIS up a notch. As the article below correctly notes, this is a game changer, folks. The Turks, of course, have a vested interest in this because once Syria falls to ISIS, Turkey could be next. ISIS has an insatiable appetite and judging from the geography, it looks like the next entrée on the menu could be roasted Turkey and gravy. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/world/europe/turkey-isis-us-airstrikes-syria.html?_r=0

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Some people are saying we should at least give the new Iran nuke agreement a chance to work. Ordinarily, that might not be a bad approach. But in this instance, there is no room for error because the consequences of Iran's non-compliance could be cataclysmic. Remember: they believe it's okay to lie and deceive as long as it advances their Islamic agenda! http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/israel-isaac-herzog-iran-nuclear-deal/398705/

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THE GIFT OF CULTIVATING GREATNESS A grandson of slaves, a boy was born in 1901 in a rough neighborhood of New Orleans known as the “The Battlefield.” His father abandoned the family when the child was an infant. His mother became a prostitute and the boy and his sister went to live with their grandmother. Early in life he proved to be gifted for music, and with three other kids he sang in the streets of New Orleans. His first gains were the coins that were thrown to them. A Jewish family, the Karnofskys, who had immigrated from Lithuania to the USA, had pity for the 7-year-old boy and brought him into their home. Initially, they gave him “work” around the house and they fed the hungry child. There he remained and slept in this Jewish family's home where, for the first time in his life, he was treated with kindness and tenderness. When he went to bed, Mrs. Karnovsky sang him a Russian lullaby that he would sing with her. Later, he learned to sing and play several Russian and Jewish songs. Over time, this boy became the adopted son of the Karnovskys. They loved him and he loved them. He later said that he identified with this Jewish family because they, too, had experienced the bitter sting of racism and bigotry—much like the black community. The Karnofskys gave him money to buy his first musical instrument, as was the custom in Jewish families. They sincerely admired and encouraged his musical talent. Later, when he became a professional musician and composer, he used these Jewish melodies in compositions, such as St. James Infirmary and Go Down Moses. The little black boy grew up and wrote a book about this Jewish family, who had adopted him in 1907. In memory of this family and until the end of his life, he wore a star of David and said that in this family, he had learned "how to live real life and determination.” You might recognize the little boy’s name: Louis "Satchmo” Armstrong, the greatest jazz trumpeter in the history of modern music. He was a lifelong friend of the Jewish people and proudly spoke fluent Yiddish. When Louis Armstrong died in 1971, his honorary pallbearers included Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson and David Frost. Peggy Lee sang The Lord's Prayer at the services while Al Hibbler sang "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.” More information: https://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/about/faq.htm#LA1

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