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A man attacks you with a knife. His intent is to kill you. Somehow you are able to kill him instead. So to be clear, we have two options: 1) Madman with knife murders you (and possibly others) or 2) You kill him.

This is what happened this weekend in Israel. A Jordanian man came across the border into Israel to kill Jews. Security cameras caught the attack on film

Personally, I find footage like that hard to watch. The idea of a Palestinian or in this case, a Jordanian, terrorist plunging upon you with a knife is terrifying. It is a risk Israelis take every day they leave the house. The terrorist is on top of the Israeli, seeking to stab him to death. The Israeli has one option. Fortunately he was carrying a gun and was able to kill his would be killer.

Now I am sure there will be some who was say, “Well, he didn’t have to kill him.” If only you those folks could have switched placed with our victim to show us how its done. A madman is on top of you stabbing you. Your goal is to neutralize him any way possible. There is no time to think, “Okay, where should I shoot him so he will survive.” By that time, the knife may have found its way into the Israelis heart or other vital organ.

But the Jordanians seem to think calling someone a terrorist is fine if it is ISIS or Al Qaeda attacking Muslims, but one of their own, attacking a Jew is not terrorism—actually to Jordan, it would be the unthinkable self-defense that is the real crime.

Jordan on Saturday said an Israeli policeman’s shooting and killing of a Jordanian assailant as he stabbed him repeatedly was “a heinous crime,” and demanded to receive details about the incident from the Israeli government. “The Israeli government, which is the occupying force, bears responsibility for the shooting of a Jordanian citizen in occupied East Jerusalem which led to his martyrdom,” Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani said in a statement. “The government denounces this heinous crime…and has asked Israel to provide full details about it,” he added (timesofisrael.com)

Reading between the lines, he calls Israel an occupying force, seeking to justify the act, calling the terrorist a martyr. Actually Jordan was the illegal occupier of that same territory from 1948 to 1967 (and was not seeking to create a Palestinian state, but make it part of Jordan), when Israel defeated them in the Six Day War. In addition to the area being Biblical Judea and Samaria—part of ancient Israel, it has served as a buffer zone between Israel and her belligerent neighbors, extending the with of the Israel from the indefensible nine miles in some areas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a quick response saying, “It’s time for Jordan to stop playing this double game,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “Just as Israel condemns terror attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn terror attacks in Israel. Terror is terror wherever it is.”

If Jordan wants lasting peace in the region, she needs to warn her citizens against attacking Israelis instead of honoring them as martyrs.

 

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by Moti Cohen

The years go by and Israel is turning 69 already, and she’s the prettiest old lady in our neighborhood. While the countries that surround us are constantly fighting and being destroyed, Israel is at its peak when it comes to development and progress. You can clearly see the hand of God concerning Israel’s progression as a country, all while focusing on building a national home for the Jewish people after 2,000 years of exile.

The story of the cemetery on Trumpledoor Street, in Tel Aviv, tells us of the amazing development process of Tel Aviv as a city, and Israel as a whole. Before Israel was born, most of Tel Aviv’s citizens lived in the Jaffa area. They decided that they should build a Jewish cemetery. While planning the development of the Jewish settlement in the future, they realized they didn’t want the cemetery to take up space where you can build homes, so they decided to build the cemetery a few kilometers away from Jaffa, where the ground was mostly sand.

Over the years, Tel Aviv has grown more and more. Today, the cemetery is located at the heart of a very prestigious neighborhood near the beach area of Tel Aviv. We can see that the first settlers of the city couldn’t imagine how big she would get. Israelis always build cemeteries outside of the city. The only time you find them in the city is when the city simply grew past the cemetery.

Tel Aviv in 1909 when it was founded and Tel Aviv today. (credit to Hananya Naftali)

Nowadays, Tel Aviv has nowhere to grow, space-wise. The cities of Bat Yam, Ramat Gan, Givatayim and Hertzliya surround it, and there is no more vacant land, so what do you do? You start building vertically. Today, in Tel Aviv, there’s a construction momentum of massive high-rises. You can see cranes and construction sites almost anywhere.

We, at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv, believe that there are two types of progression for Israel as a country. You can find them both in Ezekiel 36: 24-29:

“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.”

The first part is where God brings the Jewish nation back to its land in Israel after the long years of exile, which is what we’ve been witnessing in the last several decades. The people of Israel began to return to their land through the first Aliyah (immigration) at the beginning of the last century, when only a few thousand Jews were living in Israel. Move forward to today. Now we have around 6.4 million Jews out of the 8 million people who live here, and the numbers are only increasing.

While God is bringing the people of Israel back to their land, we are now witnessing the fulfillment of the second part of these verses. He gives “a new heart, and a new spirit” to the Jewish people, which we can see happening in the congregations of the Messianic Jews.

In Tel Aviv, there are several Messianic congregations, and hundreds of Jewish families who’ve accepted the Messiah Yeshua into their hearts.

We, at Tiferet Yeshua, believe that just as Tel Aviv used to be an empty land filled with sand and is now one of the most developed cities in the world, we will also see it happen spiritually. As of now, there are a few hundred Messianic families living in Tel Aviv and the cities that surround it. Some are families who’ve only recently surrendered to Yeshua. Slowly but surely, we will see thousands of families who follow the King of the Jews.

In the beginning, God brings His people back to His land and builds cities. Inside those cities, He then founds the local Messianic body, which is built out of congregations and home groups, which He now uses to share the gospel with all the Jewish people.

We have received a word from God, that we must focus on three main things:

  • Loving God
  • Loving one another
  • Loving Tel Aviv

We believe that our Independence Day here in Tel Aviv is also a symbol of the spiritual independence our city is going to experience in the future. This independence is freedom from every idol and spirit that comes against the truth of God. It is truth that says that God will give us a new heart and a new spirit; truth that says that יהוה (Yahweh) is God and we will be His people, a free country in our land.

Moti Cohen is an associate pastor at Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv. He lives with his wife Anna and four children in Bat Yam, a growing suburb of Tel Aviv.

Part 1

When I turned the page (actually, I clicked to go to the next chapter), I found something interesting in chapter 36. There are these two guys, Bezalel and Oholiab, and they are super gifted in craftsmanship and engraving. It says that the Spirit of God had anointed them for this task.

That is not the big deal. The big deal is that Moses takes all the money—all the gold and silver—and he gives to these guys and their team. They are tasked with building a tabernacle.

‘Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.’ (Ex. 36:2-3)

Several years ago, I met a pastor who pledged to support our congregation. I never saw a penny. However, he communicated to me as if we were buds. Now I am friends with many people who don’t support us financially, but it was weird—it was as if he thought he was supporting us. Money is a touchy subject, so I just continued in relationship with him and never said anything.

After more than a year, I received a message from this pastor. He was so apologetic. Apparently, someone was stealing money. He thought they were supporting us, while a staff member was siphoning off cash. Since then, he has been one of our biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

My point is that in the midst of this great move of God, these men, Bezalel and Oholiab, were completely trusted with the funds. How do we know that they weren’t stealing from the kitty? Maybe good ole Oholiab stuck a few gold coins in his tunic every day. We know he didn’t nor did the other because of what we read next.

‘And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.’

According to Exodus 38:24, they gave about one metric ton of gold. That alone—forget the silver, bronze and other elements—would be worth $40,000,000 today!

Now, that is biblical giving and accountability.

  1. The people gave with such zeal and joyfulness that Moses had to give an order for them to stop giving.
  2. And the men receiving the funds were so honest in the fear of the Lord, that instead of giving into the temptation to let the people keep giving, they told Moses about the problem of “over-giving.”

The New Testament equivalent of this can be seen in the book of Acts. In the Hebrew scriptures, God uses elements from the earth to build His Tabernacle and then His Temple. Both times the glory of God comes:

‘Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. (Ex. 40:34-35)

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.’ (1 Kings 8:10-11)

This, too, came after supernatural giving:

‘King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.’ (1 Kings 8:5)

Wow! What I would give to be able to have experienced that. But we see the same thing in the New Covenant. This time God doesn’t need gold and silver, but he builds His house with people. In Acts 2, we see the Holy Spirit fall on the 120 in a similar fashion in Jerusalem, causing a revival that would shake the Roman Empire!

And one of the first hallmarks of this revival is… sacrificial giving.

‘They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…’ (Acts 2:45-46)

‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ (Acts 4:34-35)

The first thing that jumps out at me is similar to what we see in the time of Moses. There was no IRS. No one was checking up on them to make sure the money was spent right. In fact, when two of them in the chapter five lied about how much money they received for a property they sold, they died! The fear of the Lord in the midst of revival caused the people to live in integrity when it came to funds.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in accountability. We are a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and have received their highest rating. Accountability has saved many from giving into temptation. What I am saying is that in the absence of the ECFA, the people were honest.

We can’t get away from it. Revival and supernatural, generous giving go hand in hand. We see it when the tabernacle is dedicated, when the temple is dedicated and when the New Covenant community is birthed and commissioned.

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This week Christianity Today published an article by two rabbis claiming the Last Supper was no Passover Seder. Here are the facts!

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Three Reasons we Give

Revival, Giving and the Tabernacle

This week’s Torah reading starts in Exodus 35. The tabernacle, which will become the central meeting and worship site for the Israelites, is going to be built. There is excitement. They have seen the miracles of God—the plagues, the Red Sea, and now Moses coming down from the mountain, shining from the glory of God. He brings them the Ten Commandments.

Moses speaks:

“Take from among you an offering for Adonai. Whoever has a willing heart, let him bring Adonai’s offering: gold, silver and bronze…” (Ex. 35:5 TLV)

The people respond enthusiastically.

“Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit was willing came and brought Adonai’s offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting and for all its service as well as for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women, everyone whose heart compelled him, and brought nose rings, earrings, signet rings, bracelets, and all kinds of golden jewels—everyone who brought a wave offering of gold to Adonai.” (Ex. 35:21-22)

We live in a day and age where we are reluctant to respond to such calls. And rightly so. There is so much corruption in ministries today that people are afraid that their gifts are not going to enrich the kingdom, but enrich some would-be king.

Not long ago, a media pastor asked people to buy him a luxurious jet—for the Kingdom. A few years ago he may have gotten his plane. But one of the beautiful things about social media is that it has given the regular guy a voice. And regular guys all over the internet said, “WHAT? Why in the world do you need a $65,000,000 jet?” Donors were encouraged to give at least $300 a piece towards the luxury jet, but the social media backlash was so intense, they abandoned the project (only to take it up again later).

By and large, believers want to be generous. But they don’t want to be abused. They want to give to the Kingdom of God. But they also want to make sure their giving is going to result in genuine fruit.

In Exodus 35, the people gave freely and liberally. Why? Three Reasons:

Generosity is a fruit of revival

By revival, I mean a visitation by the presence of God. In His presence, it is hard to be selfish. I saw this when I served in Pensacola at the historic Brownsville Revival. Not only did people give, but also they sacrificed in ways they would not have before the move of God, in order to be there. People quit good jobs and took lower paying ones to be in the revival. People moved from beautiful cities to the deep south, so they could go four nights a week to revival meetings. They were so hungry for God, and generous giving was a fruit of that hunger.

They trusted Moses

Because of the lack of accountability, the abuse of funds given by hardworking people and the lavish lifestyles that some in ministry live, many believers do not trust their leaders. Even though the vast majority of leaders in local congregations are accountable and want to do the will of God, we often only hear about the $65,000,000 jets.

The Israelites were a fickle bunch—my ancestors. One moment Moses was a hero; the next, they are talking about killing him. But at that special moment—after the golden calf incident and after Moses had gone back up on Sinai and came down glowing with the tablets—they knew Yahweh was their deliverer. And they gave. They knew that God was doing something special in the earth through them. And “everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit was willing came” and gave cheerfully.

We give to Local Projects

I made a mistake a few years back. We built a beautiful Coffee House at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. I didn’t want to be a burden on our people, so I raised all the funds outside the congregation. As a result, even though the project was a great success and we now have regular outreach concerts, the people did not own it initially. I never gave them the chance to. It was Ron’s project. Once it was built, they loved it, but I didn’t give them the chance to be part of the building.

People love to invest in their home congregation—especially if it is the consequence of growth. We are getting ready to embark on a $200,000 renovation so we can double our capacity from 150 to 300, and begin to livestream our meetings in Hebrew to the whole country—and Israelis around the world. Many in our congregation are barely surviving financially, but they will want to give to this. Yes, most of the funds will come from outside of Israel, but they will be a part of it—whether in giving or some other way. They will own it.

The people were excited to give to their tabernacle. This would be akin to their local congregation—except it would be mobile. They lived in a very religious world. They had to learn the hard way that there would no idols, no marking of their bodies in worship, or prostitution and no boiling of kids in their mother’s milk. There would be no child sacrifice. They were eager to worship their God, but they were steeped in pagan traditions. Now, with Moses’ guidance, they would give of their most precious possessions to see a beautiful tabernacle arise.

Take some time and read Exodus 35. It will encourage you.

Part 2

To read more about Tiferet Yeshua enlarging our congregation, click here.