Archives For Israel

More and more Israeli believers are having an impact on all aspects of society. Last month, to my surprise, I was asked to interview Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister for GOD TV. The largest tour company in Israel is owned by a Messianic Jew. I just got an email from a Messianic friend who is working inside one of Israel’s larger political parties. And a few years ago, musician Shai Sol told the entire country that Yeshua is the Messiah when she appeared on the television show, The Next Star, a reality singing competition.

Last week, another Messianic Jew appeared on that same show and wowed the judges. Tslil Goldman is a very quiet, humble young lady. In fact, she turned the show down initially.Though she has a voice like an angel, she only wanted God’s will.

During the pre-audition interview, they were asked what it means to be a Messianic Jew. Her father Yariv gently, but boldly stated, “It means Jews who believe both in the Tenakh (the Hebrew scriptures) and that the Messiah that we, as a nation, long for—He has already arrived—Yeshua, from the New Testament.”

The Goldman family has been in our congregation for several years. And Tslil told us she was not really interested in trying out. The show’s producers contacted her last year, but she said ‘no’ because it didn’t feel right, as if God might not want her there.

They called her again this year, so she started wondering if maybe God was opening a door. She knows that God has called her to music and worship. As she prayed, she didn’t receive a clear ‘no’ or ‘yes’ from God, so she decided to go to the audition and simply put it in the Lord’s hands.

But once she was accepted to the auditions, she started questioning things; as the reality (no pun intended) of being on the show hit her, she was tempted to back out.

A lady from the program called Tslil to interview her (as they do with every participant). She and Tslil ended up talking about Yeshua for about an hour and a half. The lady kept asking more and more questions about Messianic Judaism, and said that “everything made sense” to her and “that’s what she was looking for” all her life. She actually said she believed, but never met anyone else who does, too.

Michael Elady, who works with us here at Messiah’s Mandate, was there to encourage Tslil and even wore a T-shirt from a local media outreach ministry, One for Israel.

After the conversation, a sense of relief came upon Tslil, and she thought, “Wow, God is already using me in this TV program. It feels right.” After Tslil’s audition aired, a ton of people contacted her about her faith, interested in these Messianic Jews on TV. This was a very different response than what Shai Sol received just a few years earlier. She was mocked online and attacked in the streets of Ashdod. Of course, Ashdod is a very religious city that has a history of persecuting Messianic Jews.

Tslil went out on stage before some of Israel’s most successful singers and, probably, more than a million viewers. Every judge chose her and much of the public, also. This show uses a combination of both the judges having a vote and viewers at home. Israel pushed her over the top, even before the last judge voted!

Now the competition begins. But Tslil’s focus is not on winning fame and fortune, but spreading the name of Yeshua. Keep her protected in your prayers.

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As we get closer to the next Christ at the Checkpoint conference, a conference dedicated to convincing people that Israel is an illegitimate, oppressive and unbiblical nation, it is important to take a fresh look at their claims, that the New Testament changes the land promises to Israel. Dr. Gary Burge, a proponent of Fulfillment Theology (just like Replacement Theology—the Jews have been replaced by Church), believes:

“the Holy Land is now the whole world and is no longer the privilege of an ethnic few [Jews]. In a word, the New Testament is globalizing the blessing of Abraham; earlier it had been tribal and local, now it is global and universal.” (From COCP 2014)

Proponents of Fulfillment Theology teach that all of the Old Testament promises to Israel are fulfilled in Yeshua (hence the name, Fulfillment Theology). Classical Replacement Theology teaches the Church has replaced Israel, whereas now they are saying it is Yeshua who takes Israel’s promise.

This time around it is not the Church that replaces Israel and takes over all her promises in scripture but in fact Jesus. He fulfills in His life and redemptive work all the promises that God ever made to the Jews; even the promise that Canaan would be the everlasting possession of the Jewish people! (Malcolm Hedding)

Burge teaches that when God spoke of Abraham’s seed, it was only a singular seed promised to Yeshua and not to all of Abraham’s physical descendants through Isaac.

The problem with Burge’s approach is that he doesn’t deal with passages that completely contradict his theory.

1, In Genesis 13 we find this passage:

“All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Gen. 13:15-17)

Notice a few words: offspring, forever, and the phrase: dust of the earth.

First, it is true that offspring in Hebrew is seed or zerah, which is always in the singular form, even when used in plural. But the very next verse says that his seed, that inherits the land of Israel, will be “like the dust of the earth,” meaning a whole lot of people. It seems that Burge bases his supposition on one verse, Gen. 3:16, that I deal with in depth, here.

Secondly, this promise of land to Abraham’s descendants is forever—not just until the Messiah comes. The Hebrew is ad olam and it absolutely means “forever”.

2, In Burge’s book, Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology, he was criticized for failing to deal with key end-times passages that place the Jewish people in their own land at the coming of the Lord. Ezekiel speaks of the dry bones coming to life. Who are these dry bones that come to life? The Lord tells Ezekiel, in v. 11, “These bones are the people of Israel.

Zechariah speaks of the Lord returning to Jerusalem to fight for Israel in chapter 14. (Just a note, if all the Old Testament promises to Israel were fulfilled in Yeshua two thousand years ago, what do you do with all the end-times prophecies?) Zechariah 12 talks about all nations coming against Jerusalem. We can see that happening in our lifetime, yet Burge teaches that there is no future Jerusalem.

3, Even if you discount every Old Testament verse that points to Jews in Israel, in the end times (of which there are a plethora), by coming up with some crazy idea that God was secretly referring to something else, we see Yeshua Himself warning end-time believers that when the anti-Christ takes over the Temple (2 Thes. 2:3-4), “let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Judea is in Israel.

Yeshua seems to think that there will be an Israel when He returns. And how can the anti-Christ desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:26), if there is no Jerusalem? According to this verse, he destroys the city. What city? Without a doubt, Jerusalem, as Zechariah 14:1-2 confirms. The two witnesses of Revelation 11, prophecy in the same city, “where also their Lord was crucified” (v.8), a clear reference to Jerusalem. And Revelation 16:16 speaks of the armies of the world gathering in the valley of Har Megiddo (Armageddon), smack dab in the middle of Israel.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the idea that the promises of the land of Israel to the people of Israel were fulfilled on the cross, goes against God’s clear promise to Abraham and his seed, plural (stars of the sky, etc.). It ignores all the Old Covenant prophecies of the Messiah returning Israel and contradicts the New Testament’s clear claim that there is an Israel in the end times.

Beyond that, it goes against our common sense. God said that He would bring the Jewish people back to their own land in the end times. If he did not mean that specifically, then how in the world could the Jewish people, who wandered for 2,000 years, remain a people and even come back to their own land and create one of the most prosperous countries on earth, in the midst of her mortal enemies? Do you think we are stupid?

The fact is that the theology coming out of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference is not sound at all, but manipulates Scripture to get a desired outcome: Israel is not a fulfillment of prophecy. This conference is a political conference disguised as a theological one.

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By Moti Cohen, Associate Pastor, Tiferet Yeshua Tel Aviv

The good news is that Yeshua’s gospel is spreading in Tel Aviv. The better news is that there are people who accept the gospel, give their lives to Yeshua, are willing to go through water and Spirit baptism, and dedicate their lives to the Lord!

The Witness of an old Friend

Leah* came to Tiferet Yeshua about three months ago, and she was immersed this week at the Yafo beach. She came together with Miriam, one of our members. When I asked Leah what drew her to the congregation, she said that a few months prior, she met Miriam on the street. Leah and Miriam had known each other for many years, but they hadn’t seen each other in a few years. The reunion with Miriam left a strong impression on Leah. Leah remembered that Miriam had a pretty rough life, and that she had been through more than her fair share of trials. She always saw Miriam as a sad woman who was just trying to survive.

At their reunion, to Leah’s surprise, Miriam was just full of joy. Leah saw a transformed woman. Miriam immediately shared her faith in Yeshua with Leah, and told her how He changed her life completely.

Moroccan Israelis

Born 60 years ago in Tel Aviv, Leah’s family left Morocco a few years after Israel’s independence. Moroccan Jews are one of the larger immigrant communities in Israel. She had a very traditional, Jewish family (a family that observes the Jewish holidays and customs, but not to a religious extent). At a very young age, she was already divorced with two children. She had to raise them completely alone. In addition, she was a chronic cigarette smoker, and she was dealing with unceasing coughing and a hole in her lung.

Leah would occasionally come to our congregation’s gatherings in Tel Aviv and she received a lot of love from our congregation members. She saw that her new friends had faith and values that “provoked her to jealousy” and caused her to reexamine the meaning of life. Of course, the teachings in the congregation about destructiveness of sin, forgiveness of such sins, the love of God, repentance and freedom, caused Leah to ask questions.

Miriam was a great help to Leah, as they met several times each week. She taught her about the Lord from the scriptures and watched movies about Yeshua with her. Finally, it all came together for Leah and Miriam prayed with her to surrender her life to Yeshua.

She could be my mother

I was very excited to hear Leah’s testimony. This is a Jewish woman who came from a Sephardic background (Jews who come from Arab countries like Iraq and Yemen), who surrendered to Yeshua. This gave me a lot of hope for my own family. There’s a barrier of blindness subduing the Sephardic ethnic groups. They were exiled to Muslim countries from Spain in the 15th century. They were exiled for not converting to political Catholicism—thus, the false representation of Yeshua left them closed to His true purpose.

When a 60-year-old woman like Leah surrenders her life to Yeshua, it feels as if my own mother is surrendering to Yeshua. Miriam’s testimony gave hope to a lot of people who pray constantly  for their families. The kind of hope that says even older people from the Jewish Sephardic groups are capable of accepting the gospel and giving their lives to Yeshua.

Time to get wet!

One day, Leah came to me at the beginning of our weekly meeting and told me that she had a dream. In the dream, she saw herself being immersed in water, and through that dream, she realized that it was her time to go through this action of faith.

We took some time to study the foundations of the faith together and the meaning of water immersion. This week, several of us in the congregation arrived at Jaffa beach. This is the same beach where many Jews were most likely immersed in Acts, chapter nine. Leah grew up in Yafo, and it was very symbolic that she specifically chose to be immersed there and make her declaration of faith. Leah wore white Moroccan clothing, and she was completely filled with happiness and joy—something that had escaped her for so many years. We asked that as she was immersed in water, so would she also be immersed in the Holy Spirit.

Leah went into the water and came out glowing. When I looked at her face and her eyes, I saw a woman who was filled with love for God. We rejoiced, worshiped and thanked God for this moment!

Please continue to pray for Leah, that she would have the strength and power from above to completely stop smoking and receive complete healing for her lungs. Furthermore, dear friends, keep our families in your prayers. So that not only us, but also our entire households would come to believe in the Messiah of Israel. Amen.

*Leah is not her real name

Israel’s mandate to exist comes from heaven, as communicated to Abraham, Joshua, Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others. But Israel also has a legal right to exist. In 1917 Great Britain, before she had defeated the Turks in WWI, sent a note from Lord Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign minister, to Lord Walter Rothschild, the leader of the British Jewish community. He promised that if Great Britain won the war, they would seek to create a Jewish Homeland in the very place of her ancient homeland.

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

After the victory, Great Britain was given ‘Palestine’ in 1920 at the San Remo Conference by the League of Nations (soon to be United Nations). The San Remo Conference adopted the Balfour Declaration as part of Britain’s ‘Mandate over Palestine’. In other words, the only legal body (under heaven of course) that could authorize the establishment of a Jewish country, did so.
Here, I share a short teaching on GOD TV’s Facebook page about the Balfour Declaration.

This week the Israeli Judo team traveled to hostile territory in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is considered to be more modern and moderate than other Arab nations, but make no mistake—there is rabid anti-Semitism.

No Flag

The Israeli team was told if it came to compete, they could not display the Israeli flag on their uniforms. No other nations were told this.

  • Not Russia, who assists Syria in killing innocent women and children and is illegally in Ukriane.
  • Not North Korea, who threatens the world with nuclear war.
  • Not Syria who has killed over 500,000 of its citizens since 2011.
  • Not Cuba, Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Instead, the Israelis would be forced to display the flag of the IJA, which I hoped was the Israeli Judo Association, but it is not. It stands for International Judo Association.

No Passage

Then the team had to wait seven hours at the airport over Turkey’s refusal to allow the Israelis to get their UAE visas in Istanbul. By the time the issue was resolved, the flight had left. However, the Israelis were not about to give up. It is not who we are. They made alternative arrangements to get them in Jordan.

No Anthem

On Thursday, the world No. 1 in Judo’s 66kg category, Tal Flicker, defeated Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan for the gold medal. In every other case the national anthem of the winner’s country is played. But Tal is Israeli. So instead, they played the anthem of the International Judo Association. The Israeli flag was also not raised, instead the flag of the International Judo Association rose behind the Jewish champion (and all other Israeli medalists this week).

Tal retaliated by singing the words of Hatikvah (The Hope), Israel’s national anthem.

Flicker said later that he made up his mind to sing his own Hatikvah on the podium from, ‘the moment that I won the gold. Israel is my country, and I’m proud to be Israeli. The anthem that they played of the world federation was just background noise, I was singing Hatikvah from my heart. I’m proud of my country. The whole world knows that we’re from Israel, knows who we represent. The fact that they hid our flag, it’s just a [badge] on our flag.’” —TimesofIsrael.com

No Hand Shake

A day earlier, after Israeli Tohar Butbul defeated his Arab opponent from the host country, the UAE, he too was snubbed. It is traditional after a match to shake hands. But the defeated Rashad Almashjari refused to touch the Jewish hand that was extended towards him, and instead fled the scene. Butbul went on to take bronze by defeating the recent Olympic champion.

Against the Rules

It should be noted that the IJA has strict rules against such behavior.

IJF Code of Ethics (clause 2): ‘There shall be no discrimination between the participants on the basis of race, gender, ethnic origin, religion… or other grounds’

Of course, the western world routinely backs down in the face of Arab temper tantrums. The Times of Israel reported that the IJA warned the Arab organizers not to discriminate against the Israelis.

A letter from the IJF to the president of the UAE Judo Federation said “all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, shall be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception.”

We can only wait and see if there will be any discipline against the UAE. I am not holding my breath. Feel free to tweet the IJA, and express your concerns: @IntJudoFed

 

 

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