by Nancy Petrey
It was on August 18, 1995, that God called me to a specific work in His kingdom, that of a “Mizpah” for Israel. It came in the form of a personal prophecy from my husband, who said, “The Lord has told me you are a Mizpah for Israel.” A friend pointed me to the story of the covenant made between Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban. “And Laban said, ‘This heap [of stones] is a witness between you and me this day.’ Therefore its name was called Galeed, also Mizpah, because he said, ‘May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another.” Later I found out that Israel and the Church were indeed “absent one from another,” because the Church had cut off her Jewish roots!
A personal prophecy is not meant to direct your life but to confirm a direction that God is already leading you in. I had already been acting as a witness and a watchman for Israel after being inspired by my first tour there in 1994. Being in Israel gave me the feeling I had gone home, and upon my return I wrote a report entitled, “Back to My Roots.” This was before I even knew there was a Jewish roots movement. Now God was calling me to help the Church to be reconnected to her Jewish roots.
The real beginning point of my Jewish roots journey began back in 1975, when I read Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. The courage she and her family had in hiding Jews from the Nazis in Holland really impacted my life. On a trip to Israel in 1998, with a seven-and-a-half-hour layover in Amsterdam, I was able to visit the Ten Boom watchmaker’s shop where the famous hiding place was located. How dramatic that I could step into the cut-out wall to stand in that hiding place! While in the house I also had the blessing of playing the piano and having others gather around and sing “You are My Hiding Place.”
On my most recent trip to Israel in September-October, 2012, I had another priceless musical experience. My friend and I visited the Jerusalem Prayer Center, which is the former home of Horatio Spafford’s daughter, Bertha Vester. Her piano was in the chapel, and my host in Jerusalem, Roy Kendall, played Spafford’s beautiful hymn, “It is Well with My Soul,” on that piano, as our group sang along. My spirit soared.
Other exciting things have happened to me on my seven trips to Israel, but nothing is more satisfying than seeing my Jewish Messiah in Scripture, as I continue my journey as a Mizpah! I see Yeshua the Messiah closely identified with Israel in the servant passages in Isaiah – “Israel, My Servant” (Isa. 41:8-9; 43:10; 44:1, 21; 45:4; 48:20; and 49:3) and “Yeshua My Servant” (Isa. 42:1; 49:5-6; 50:4-10; 52:13; and 53:11.) The servant roles of both Yeshua and Israel are juxtaposed, however, within these three verses: “… You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified … And now the Lord says, Who formed Me [Yeshua] from the womb to be His Servant [Yeshua], to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him … It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles …” (Isa. 49:3, 5-6).
Never forget that Jesus was born King of the Jews, died King of the Jews, and is coming back to Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, as not only King of the Jews, but King of the whole world!
Although national Israel today does not recognize Yeshua of Nazareth as their long-awaited Messiah, they will soon. Zechariah prophesies, “… they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10), indicating repentance and recognition! It is interesting that the word “whom” in this verse was inserted by the translators, because the Hebrew word, “et,” is not translatable. This little word, “et” looks like this in Hebrew – את, and it is always used between a verb and its object. The two Hebrew letters making up “et” are Aleph (א) and Tav (ת), which are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In Greek they would be Alpha and Omega! Who does that remind you of? The little word “et” gives the identity of the “WHOM,” connecting “Me” (Jesus) and “they” (Israel) in this verse! He is the Aleph and the Tav, the First and the Last! The Hebrew letters form a picture of His sacrifice – Aleph (א), the ox, a sacrificial animal, and Tav (ת), a CROSS in its earliest form! Chew on that a while!
It is satisfying to see a portrait of the Jewish Messiah hidden in the Hebrew alphabet. And knowing that we are grafted in to the Jewish olive tree (Rom. 11:16-24) causes Scripture to really open up to us. Current events in Israel become more personally relevant also. We will not only see Bible prophecy being fulfilled, but we can choose to be involved in it!
Maybe I have whetted your appetite to take a Jewish roots journey. I pray so. What kind of journey are you on now in your walk with the Lord?