Covenant Relationships

©May 5, 2012 Revive Israel Ministries

Professor Benzion Netanyahu

Asher Intrater

At the turn of the 1900′s, one of the leading Zionist activists in Eastern Europe was Rabbi Nathan Milikovski. In 1910 his son Benzion was born in Warsaw. The Milikovski family immigrated to Israel in 1920. In his writings Rabbi Milikovski would use the pen name “Netanyahu.” Later Benzion Milikovski would adopt that for his Hebrew family name.

Benzion studied at Hebrew University and became part of the circle of intellectuals surrounding Professor Joseph Klausner. Benzion went on to become a professor of history, his seminal work being a 1,400 page study of the Spanish Inquisition (claiming that the Marranos were not forced conversions but of their own free will). He co-edited the Hebrew Encyclopedia, together with Professor Isaiah Liebowitz.

The father of “Revisionist” Zionism was Zev Jabotinsky.  Jabotinsky had two primary disciples: Menahem Begin, who later became Prime Minister, and Benzion Netanyahu. When Jabotinsky died in 1940, Benzion took his place as the intellectual ideologue of the Revisionist movement. The Netanyahu family moved to the United States and Benzion became a leading voice warning against the upcoming disaster facing the Jews of Europe.

As a “Revisionist,” Benzion believed that all the land of Israel, “on both sides of the Jordan,” belongs to the Jewish people. The partition plan of the United Nations was ratified by vote on November 29, 1947, recognizing the statehood of Israel.  While the ratification was accepted with joy by the overwhelming majority of the Jews in Israel, Benzion stood in opposition.

The Netanyahu family moved back to Israel to be part of the founding of the new state. While Benzion’s first son, Yoni, who later was killed as commander of the famous Israeli commando attack at Entebbe, was born in New York, his second and third sons, Benjamin and Ido, were born in Israel shortly after the family’s return.

During his earlier studies at Hebrew University, Benzion met Zilah, who later became his wife. Zilah’s sister also had a son named Benjamin, and she gave him the nickname, “Bibi.” Zilah decided to do the same and the two both were called “Bibi.”

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, now serving in his second term as Prime Minister of Israel, speaking of his father’s influence on his life, once said, “to understand the son you must get to know the dad.”

Benzion Netanyahu passed away this Monday morning, at the age of 102, clear minded and sharp-tongued to the end!  His funeral in Jerusalem was attended by the top political and military leaders of the country. His sons, Benjamin and Ido, read the “Kaddish” and gave eulogies. President Shimon Peres, in his eulogy, turning to Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “Your father wrote history and you are making history in the same sentiment and legacy.”

Compiled from articles by Dov Eichvald, Itamar Eichner, Shalom Yerushalmi, Eitan Haber, Arik Bender, Eli Bradenstein, Moshe Ronen, Amihai Atheli, Boaz Hendel, Yair Lapid and Sheri Blikov.


Covenant Relationships

Our approach to life and ministry is based on covenantal relationships. God is a God of love. Therefore relationships are of highest priority. Covenant is the framework to build relationships of trust. In fact the Bible itself is a covenant document.

Since we have a covenant with God, our relationships with one another should be based on covenantal-type principles. Two primary principles of covenant are loyalty toward our friends and integrity in our actions. Biblical values of covenant include right attitudes toward authority and order. (These principles are summarized in the book Covenant Relationships.)

Part of covenantal values is to learn to communicate in a way in which our words build trust. We “speak the truth in love” – Ephesians 4:15; making sure that every word “is good for edification” – Ephesians 4:29; without any gossip at all.  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother ” – Matthew 18:15. This type of covenantal dialogue is designed to preserve friendship and protect us from hurting one another.

Our purpose is not to make projects but to build up people. We place a higher value on character than upon charisma. The kingdom of God is a network of friendships. The final goal of discipleship is to be friends. John 15:15 – “No longer do I call you servants… but friends.” People come before projects.

Covenant is to be committed to life-long relationships. We are committed to building those kinds of friendships; therefore we invest much time to developing teamwork relationships in every ministry project. At the end of a lifetime of serving the kingdom of God, we should share the fruit of overlapping circles of friends who will go with us on into eternity.


Origin of the Name “Yeshua”

The Israeli branch of “Jews for Jesus” is running a campaign of newspaper ads this month with a slogan in Hebrew: “Yeshu = Yeshua = Y’shuah.” The name “Yeshu” is the most common name in Hebrew for Jesus, yet it is a terribly derogatory term, meaning “his name be blotted out.” (Although some scholars claim it is merely a transliteration from the Greek Iesous.)

In Numbers 13:16, Joshua’s name was changed from Hoshea to Yehoshua. The name Yehoshua is a combination of the name YHVH (Yehovah) and the word for salvation (Y’shuah). So Joshua’s name meant “Yehovah saves” and was a prophetic foreshadow of the coming Messiah (Matthew 1:21). Yeshua is His name and it means salvation. (It might have been better to translate His name as Joshua instead of Jesus in order to preserve the historical meaning.)

About 700 years after Joshua and 700 years before Yeshua, this same name became shortened from Yehoshua to Yeshua. In the last books of the Hebrew Bible (Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah), the shortened form Yeshua appears 31 times. The name Yeshua was already a popular Hebrew name in Israel centuries before the New Covenant, and therefore there is no reason not to use it today.

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