By Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ President 

In the March/April edition of our Word From Jerusalem magazine, we saw Israel represented in Revelation 12 as a woman adorned with twelve stars, and the sun and moon. In his vision, the Apostle John saw imagery that only appears one other time in the Bible, in Genesis 37 where Joseph has two dreams.

Painting by Jan van’t Hoff “Joseph tells about his second dream.”

In one dream, he sees his eleven brothers as stars and his father and mother as the sun and moon, all bowing down to him (Genesis 37:10). Earlier, Joseph had a similar dream where his brothers appeared as sheaves of wheat bowing down to his sheaf. 

Many years later, Joseph was suddenly elevated from prison to viceroy under Pharaoh and the dreams come true when his brothers came to buy wheat from him during a famine in Canaan. These dreams not only foretell Joseph’s amazing rise to rulership in Egypt and role as a prototype of the suffering Messiah, but also the broader calling and destiny of the Jewish people. 
Sowing the Word 
Both the sheaves of wheat and the stars, sun and moon represent key aspects of the calling of Israel. Wheat became a central commodity of Joseph’s reign. Under his leadership, Egypt became the world’s primary breadbasket in a time of global starvation. 

The book of Genesis says, “all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.” (Genesis 41:57) In a way, Joseph’s ministry in Egypt foreshadowed the calling God placed upon Israel from the start. 

Many times in the Bible, wheat and the bread it produces depict the very word of God. Deuteronomy 8:3 proclaims man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. In Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet found the word of God and ate it. In Luke 8:11, Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower, saying the seed is God’s word. 

Israel became the nation of the Book, sowing God’s word around the earth. In Romans 3:1-2, Paul declares one of Israel’s main callings was to administer the oracles of God. All the books of the Bible were written by Jews. Psalms 147:19-20 says: “He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation.” That means the main nourishment for our spirit, soul and body came through the Jewish people. 

But there is more! The Jewish people gave the world not only the written word of God, but the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is the living Word of God. Therefore, Jesus declares: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:51) Truly, everything that defines our faith as Christians was given to us by the Jewish people, including a Jewish Messiah. It is exactly as God told Abraham: “… in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) 

But what about the second dream? What do the stars, sun and moon have to do with the Jewish people? In Genesis, we are informed of their very purpose in the Creation story. 
A Light to the Nations 
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens … to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:14-18) 

Much can be said about this passage. Let me highlight two reasons why God placed the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. The main purpose was to “separate the light from the darkness.” The Word of God we received from the Jewish people not only leads us on the way to God and nourishes our soul, it also establishes moral guidelines for humanity. The Ten Commandments represent to this day the moral pillars of most societies. They are more relevant now than ever, as moral boundaries in most Western societies are increasingly blurred.  

The prophet Isaiah warns: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20) 

This moral inversion can be seen today as family values are turned upside down and our God-given genders are under assault. This also can be seen daily as the antisemitic, genocidal Hamas militia is presented as victim, while the brutally attacked nation of Israel is deemed the aggressor. This is happening at the United Nations, and in international courts at The Hague. Radical leftists and even countries like Ireland and Spain fail to discern between good and evil. The God of Israel, Creator of heaven and earth, provided His word as the ultimate guide to separate light and darkness, and it is more necessary than ever that the people of God serve as lights in a darkening world today. 

For Signs and Seasons 
But there is one more function for the heavenly luminaries; they are given for signs and seasons, and to separate days and years. The Hebrew calendar is different from all other calendars throughout history. It starts with the Creation and measures the entirety of human history. Not only that, the Jewish calendar has impacted the whole world. Right in the beginning of Creation, God established a seven-day week and set aside the seventh day to rest from work. This divinely appointed day of rest has made its way into all societies, and is even considered a universal human right. In addition, the Hebrew Bible gives us a sacred calendar with set Jewish holidays, known as the feasts of the Lord (see Leviticus 23). Though changed by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, these God-given festivals have still shaped the holiday calendar in most Christian nations. 

Israel also serves as a signpost for defining the times and seasons of the nations. Jesus says in Luke 21:29 to “Look at the fig tree.” With this little phrase, Jesus indicated that the re-establishment of the Jewish nation back in their ancient homeland would mark a paradigm shift regarding the times and seasons. In the same chapter, Jesus declares the trampling down of Jerusalem by the nations as the “time of the Gentiles,” suggesting the Jewish restoration to Jerusalem would mark its end. Thus, through Israel we know we live in a transition period today. The Gentile age is closing and the Messianic age is approaching. Therefore, many people rightly say the nation of Israel is God’s time clock. 

Thus, we see portrayed within the imagery of Genesis 37 and Revelation 12 the unique and weighty calling of Israel. This also explains why Revelation 12:12 warns: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 

The restoration of Israel in our time is perhaps the greatest sign of the soon coming of the Messiah. To the forces of darkness, the revived nation of Israel represents a powerful signpost their time is running out. It also signals to the Church that we cannot continue with business as usual. God is calling us to a radical dedication to follow the Lamb wherever he leads (Revelation 12:11, 14:4). It is a time of great conflict in the spiritual realm and we are called to intercede for Israel as never before. Yet it also is a time of great exploits (Daniel 11:32ff). The events of October 7 and the recent attack of 350 Iranian missiles and drones are signs of a far greater battle in the heavenlies ahead. 

Let me invite you to join thousands of Christians already taking part in our online prayer calls, and to stand with Israel in very practical ways by supporting our relief aid projects described in this magazine. May God bless you in so doing. 

Main photo: Sheaves of wheats bowing to one sheave of wheat. Generated by Adobe Firefly/Photoshop