Julian and Aria, twin babies born too soon premature 21 weeks gestation

Children, not choices.

Jennings Paige Photography
Published on May 15, 2016

Julian and Aria were conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the fall of 2014. We found a surrogate, who was successful on our first attempt. We soon discovered we were blessed with twins! One baby boy, who we named Julian Griffin Ashker, and one baby girl, who we named Aria Paige Ashker. Unfortunately, something caused our surrogate to go into labor at 21 weeks. Although she went to the hospital immediately, she was already in full labor. Less than 3 short hours later, our babies came into the world. They were too young to survive outside the womb, although they did live, and move, for a short while after birth. They died in loving arms. They were so loved, and so wanted. We will never forget our angel twins. We love our babies to the moon and back, forever and a day

135 – The Jewish Prophet Zechariah (1)

David And Rebecca Jewish Wedding. The video of this Jewish wedding shows Jews, of whom are descendants of the people being described and discussed in this study of the Jewish Prophet Zechariah. Because of the length and importance of the book of Zechariah, this prophecy will be discussed, chapter by chapter.

Introduction

Jews have a great respect for the writings of Jewish prophets. Anyone having any kind of relationship with a Jew should also have a basic understanding of the things which are important to Jews.

Information has been added after, “Israel is Israel.”

The book of Zechariah was written in its earliest chapters at about 520 B.C. The prophet finds himself in Jerusalem, among other Jews, some of whom are returning to their home after having been taken captive to Babylon in 586 B.C. There are other Jews in this group, who are younger, that were born in Babylon during the exile of the Jews; for them, a new life begins in Jerusalem, with them seeing for the first time in their life, the remains of the Temple that King Solomon had built in 959 B.C., and had been destroyed in 586 B.C. by Babylonians, who are also known as gentiles (non-Jews). It is now 520 B.C. Zechariah is one of the younger Jews, being of a Levitical priestly family line of descent. Reconstruction of the Temple had begun in 535 B.C., but was halted in 530 B.C. Zechariah’s prophecy is about a Jewish prophet having a message to give to other Jews about Jewish matters. The message dealt specifically with the completion of the Temple and the need for Jews to get serious about their relationship with God. The prophecy of Zechariah relates specifically to the nation of Israel, and is not directed to the Church. There are situations that will develop, as a result of this prophecy, that relate to gentiles (non-Jewish nations) and the church, but only as they are collateral to Israel. As you read through Zechariah, and other Jewish prophetic books, it is important to remember that, “the Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel.”

Information has been added to this paragraph.

Nothing can be taken from the Jewish prophetic books that will justify a thought that any of the scriptures of the prophets can be taken to be other than factual. There is nothing in any of the Jewish prophetic writings that can justify a spiritual or allegorical representation of the things that are being presented as being literal fact; the prophecies actually relate to the Jews and their place in the end times. The first five verses of Zechariah 1 clearly identify the characters of the prophecy as being Jewish. Whenever the word, “kingdom,” is used by the Old Testament Jewish prophets, it represents earthly, physical Israel, in the boundaries that have been provided by God through the Patriarchs, and is an area that is much greater in size than that which is recognized by the world today. Whenever the word, “millennium,” is used, it represents the thousand year duration of the physical, earthly kingdom. An eternal state follows the thousand years of the millennium. In the eternal state there will be a new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem. Verses of the Old Testament and New Testament agree on the literal fact of the eternal state. (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-2).

The southern kingdom of Israel, which consisted of two tribes of Israel, was attacked by the forces of the Babylonian World Empire in 586 B.C. The Jews of the southern Kingdom were taken captive to Babylon, and have not returned to their covenant land, with the prominence with which Jews believe to be theirs in their covenant land, as was promised to them by the Patriarchs. The Jews have been given even greater eternal and spiritual promises, as have been spoken by God through the Jewish prophets. Zechariah speaks very clearly, and strongly, of the facts of Israel’s return to their promised land. Of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah have provided a clearly defined timeline of events that relate to the eschatology that believers in Christ find fulfilled in the New Testament.

The prophecy of Zechariah will take you from 520 B.C., the time of the prophecy, to the time that Zechariah sees the Jews in their covenant land of Israel, and Jerusalem. There, the Jews will be delivered from the never-ending attacks of gentile nations. That time is known as the millennium, which means one thousand years. Other Jewish prophecies point to the same time in the future. Many Christians also understand that same time-line occurrence, and will be discussed in future articles.

Looking through the lens of time, as provided by Zehariah, is an exciting experience. I encourage you to stay with me throughout the journey. The following is a peak into the millennium, from the Jewish Prophet Micah. “He,” is the Messiah, who will rule the entire world during the millennium, and thereafter.

Micah 4:3 English Standard Version (ESV)

3 He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;

This study of Zechariah will use the English Standard Version for its text. The following link explains the ESV. https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/English-Standard-Version-ESV-Bible/

Zechariah Chapter 1
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=zech+1&version=ESV

Zechariah’s Call To Repentance

1:1-6 The Warning To Repent. The opening 6 verses provide an introduction to the entire prophecy in which the prophet calls upon the people to repent and never again repeat the past sins of their fathers.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=zech+1%3A1-6&version=ESV

Zechariah’s Eight Night Visions

1:7-17 The First Vision: The Rider On The Red Horse. This is the first of 8 night visions which Zechariah saw in a single night. It summarized all the other 7 by giving the general theme, leaving the details to the other visions. Reassuring words are provided to the exiles by revealing God’s purpose for the future of His chosen people. Dreams happen during sleep. Visions occur during awake times.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=zech+1%3A7-17&version=ESV

1:8 “a man riding on a red horse!” This is the first vision revealing God’s plan for Jerusalem, which begins with the sight of “a man riding on a red horse.” The man is identified as the Angel of the Lord (vs 11). The other riders report to Him, indicating His authority over them. Because of the strength of horses, they became symbols of war. Red is often the symbol of blood, hence judgment (Isaiah 63:1–4; Revelation 6:3.)

1:8 “red, sorrel, and white horses.” These other horses had riders as well. The colors may speak of the work of the riders: red speaking of bloodshed and judgment (Isaiah. 63:1-2), white speaking of victory (Revelation 19:11), and sorrel or a brownish color might be a combination of the others. A similar picture is found in Revelation 6:1–8. These horses are about to gain a victorious judgment. Since they are messengers of vengeance, they most likely represent angels, so frequently employed as God’s instruments of judgment.

1:11 “the angel of the Lord.” the Angel of the Lord is frequently identified with the pre-incarnate Lord Himself (Exodus 3:2-4). In verse 13, this Angel is called Lord, and is the divine commander-in-chief of this angelic army.

1:11 “all the earth remains at rest.” In contrast to the difficulties facing the exiles, without temple or city walls, the heathen nations were superficially at rest, occupied with their own selfish interests (verse 15). This was generally the condition in the second year of Darius. The contrast makes the situation of Israel all the more distressing, and the hope for the fulfillment of Haggai 2:7 (“I will shake all the nations”) 2:22 (“I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms”) to be more intense.

1:12 “these seventy years.” The Angel of the Lord interceded to God the Father on behalf of Israel, pleading for the withdrawal of God’s chastening hand. The “seventy years” refers to God’s words to Jeremiah concerning the length of Judah’s Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10).

1:15 “I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease.” Moved by His great love for His people, the Lord acted in anger (1:2) against the nations which mistreated His people.

1:15 “they furthered the disaster.” Although they were God’s instrument of judgment against Israel, they had exceeded His instructions in handing out punishment. They did not understand that God’s intention was to punish Israel, for a period of time, but then show compassion (Isaiah 54:7-8).

1:16 “my house shall be built in it.” The Temple (My house) was finished in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:15).

1:16 “the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem” “A line was used to measure before destruction or construction (in this case, construction).

1:16, 17 Not only would the temple be rebuilt, which at that time had only a foundation (Haggai 2:18), but the city itself would again expand due to the prosperity (Isaiah 40:9-10). The wall was completed 75 years later. God would again comfort Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:1-2; 51:3,12), and would again choose it as the place of His earthly throne (Psalm 132:13). This will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom of Messiah (Revelation 20). Given the fact that the returning Jews lost sight of their priorities (Haggai 1:1–12), this message reaffirmed God’s plan. It should be noted that the millennial kingdom will provide the presence of God in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 48:35), a glorious temple (Ezekiel 40–48), a rebuilt Jerusalem (Jeremiah 31:38–40), the nations punished (Matthew 25:31–46), the prosperity of Judah’s cities (Isaiah 60:4–9), the blessedness of the people (Zechariah 9:17), and the comfort of Zion (Isaiah 14:1). The millennium will be an actual 1,000 year time when Israel is living in peace in their covenant land. There will be a physical temple located in Jerusalem during the time of the millennium, and will be placed there by God. There will also be a temple that will be built in Jerusalem, during a seven-year time of tribulation and great tribulation, prior to the beginning of the millennium. The tribulation temple will be a counterfeit temple that will have its construction sanctioned by the anti-christ.

1:18-20 The Second Vision: The Four Horns And The Four Craftsmen. The second of 8 night visions adds details to the judgment of the nations that persecuted God’s Israel, building upon His promise to comfort His people (1:13, 17).
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=zech+1%3A18-20&version=ESV

1:18 “four horns.” The power of the Gentile nations that afflicted and scattered Israel (vs 19,21).

1:18 “four horns.” Horns were symbols of power and pride; a nation, or the head of that nation, (Daniel 7:21, 24; 8:3; Revelation 17:12); referring either to Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and Medo-Persia or perhaps, more likely, to the 4 world empires of Daniel 2, 7: Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, all of which oppressed Israel.

1:19 “scattered Israel.” The horns, the kingdoms, that scattered Israel.

1:20 “Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.” Those peoples and nations that God used to overthrow the enemies of Israel. In respect to Genesis 12:3, this vision reinforces the warning and promises of Genesis 12:3.

1:20 “craftsmen.” The word is literally the term for stone workers, metal workers, and wood workers, those who shape material with hammers and chisels. These “hammers” represent the nations which overthrow the 4 horns (verse 18). As with the 4 beasts of Daniel 7, each empire is overthrown by the subsequent one, the last being replaced by Messiah’s kingdom (Daniel 2:44; 7:9–14, 21, 22). Babylon was hammered in a night attack by the Medo-Persians (539 B.C.). With the victory of Alexander over Darius in 333 B.C. at Issus, the Greeks hammered the Medo-Persian “horn.” In the second century B.C., the Roman hammer fell and, one by one the nations fell (Israel in 63 B.C.). The Roman Empire, to be revived in the last days, according to Daniel, will be hammered by the returning Messiah (Daniel 2:34, 35, 45).

1:21 “horns.” Horns were symbols of strength.

1:21 “terrify them.” Contrast verse 11 (“at rest and in peace”) and 15 (“feel secure”).

1:15 “nations that feel secure.” A security that will be completely undone; those nations went too far with the punishment. God was angry with Israel and used the Assyrians (Isaiah 10:5) and Babylonians (Isaiah 47:6; Jeremiah 25:9) to punish her, but they went too far by trying to destroy Israel as a people (2 Kings 10:11).

Consider the Hebrew names for “Lord” and “LORD” in Zechariah Chapter 1. http://biblehub.com/lexicon/zechariah/1-1.htm

“My lord, אֲדֹנִ֑י a·do·ni 113 lord (Zechariah 1:9) (Adonai)

of the LORD יְהוָ֗ה Yah·weh 3068 the proper name of the God of Israel (All other verses) (YHWH/Yahweh)

The following video shows Christians, of whom have a love for the nation of Israel and Jews everywhere.

Paul Wilbur – Shalom Jerusalem

Thanks for reading this article. Please follow my Equipping blog; its purpose is to provoke thought. https://equippingblog.wordpress.com/

134 – Israel 586 B.C. – 445 B.C.

This article has been a very difficult one for me to compose and publish. As I watched the different videos that showed the inhumanity of Germany and the Nazis toward the Jews, it affected me in a way that I had not expected. My question to myself was, ‘how could a “so-called” Christian nation be so terrible to a group of people, the Jews, solely because of ethnicity’? I have watched videos on the trials and hangings of World War II German soldiers. Some of the soldiers were young men, and some were old men; it made no sense to me. Unfortunately, even in our world today, there is a desire to exterminate Jews, solely because “Jews are Jews.” It is easy for anyone who sees the opening video to understand the severity of the atrocities that came upon the Jews, at the hands of the followers of Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s.

My father knew a man who was in Berlin, Germany during the 1930s. He mentioned how Hitler had an amazingly mind captivating effect on the people of Germany who went to hear “the Fuhrer” speak. I remember a program that said that as Hitler was rising to his political fame, that he won one election by one vote. Can anyone imagine how greatly different the world would be today if that one winning vote had been changed to Hitler’s opposing candidate?

In the 1920s, Mussolini’s “black shirts” helped to push him to political power in Italy. At the same time, Hitler’s “brown shirts” helped him in his rise to power in Germany. I am very concerned about the “black hoodies” that are seen so often in media news reports in America today.

The Great Depression of America which began in 1929 had a world-wide effect. The Jews of Germany had fared better financially than had most German citizens. Because of the prosperity of the Jews, and for other reasons of ethnic prejudice, they were targeted by the Nazis for extermination, which led to the murders of more than six million Jewish men, women and children. Yes! The Holocaust was real.

In order for anyone to have a proper understanding of the people of Israel, and Jews throughout the world, it is very important to understand that the Jews are a religious people. Without that understanding, there can be no intimate knowledge of the nation of Israel, or of Jews who reside throughout the world. Jews have a deep respect for parents and their elders. Jews also have a great respect for God’s Word. They have a belief that, from Moses through the last prophet, God gave them the ways of life and culture that were designed to make them a holy and righteous people.

History shows that Jews have fared well in life. The “Israelites” have always believed that they are “God’s chosen people” (Deuteronomy 7:6), with such a promise for the coming of the Messiah through the Jewish bloodline, and for a special place of blessing for Jews during the coming Kingdom of God, also known as the Millennium. Jews also believe that by being the chosen people of God, there will be harsh punishment for people who treat them poorly (Zechariah 2:8).

Jews are very particular in their keeping of the “feasts of the Lord.” They believe that they are to keep the “feasts of God,” forever (Leviticus 23:31, 37, 41) (i.e., Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, etc.)

Jews believe in the authority of the prophet, priest and King. The prophet represents God to the people. The priest represents the people to God. The King is God, and is over all of His creation.

There were three Jewish prophets during the time that Jews of Judea were taken captive to Babylon.

Jeremiah lived in Jerusalem and Egypt. He lived from 640-570 B.C.

Ezekiel was also taken captive to Babylon (597 B.C.). He lived from 623-570 B.C.

Daniel was also taken captive to Babylon (605 B.C.). He lived from 620-533 B.C.

Going back to 722 B.C., Shalmanezer, King of Assyria, captured Samaria (the northern ten tribes of Israel) and carried those tribes of Israel away into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-6). The Jews of Jerusalem/Judah were taken into exile to Babylon, beginning in 605 B.C. until 586 B.C. Their return to Jerusalem began in 536 B.C, after King Cyrus of Persia had issued an edict, allowing the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. The return was in three stages of events through 445 B.C. The temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was finished in 443 B.C. Jeremiah wrote in 607 B.C., that the time was soon coming for the Jews to spend 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:11). He also wrote of that same captivity in 599 B.C. (Jeremiah 29:10). In 538 B.C., Daniel discovered those writings of Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2).

From 722 B.C., until 445 B.C., the Jews were subservient to other world empires. Those powers were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia. The empires of Greece and Rome would follow in ruling over Israel.

The following video shows a group of Christians who have a love for Israel.

Thanks for being a friend. Please follow my Equipping blog.
https://equippingblog.wordpress.com/