A member of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua opens the Word of God to an ultra-Orthodox seeker.
Moses was dressed as expected of an ultra-Orthodox Jew. His pants and jacket were black, with a tzitzit (fringes) that came out right under his shirt. He had a black beard and the iconic brimmed hat. We immediately started talking about the Gospel. He seemed truly opened to hear why I, a Jewish person, a native-born Israeli, with a very Jewish last name—Cohen, believe in Yeshua.
A friend of mine had previously witnessed to Moses, but being a new immigrant, his Hebrew limited his ability to share the Scriptures. So he asked me if I would go with him to meet Moses. Of course! We met with him for two hours and I want to tell you about it.
WHAT DO THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT THE MESSIAH?
I shared my testimony with him and then we opened the Bible (which contained both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament), and we started discussing all the prophecies about the Messiah.
We agreed the Messiah must be Jewish. We also agreed He must come from the tribe of Judah, specifically, the line of David. I told Moses, “Yeshua is both from the tribe of Judah and the line of David.”
I explained all the tribes became mixed up after the 70AD destruction of the Temple, making it impossible to trace the lineage of a Jew today to his or her tribe.
That’s why the dynasty of Yeshua, as it’s written in the New Testament, also serves as the only historical document we have today about someone who claims to be the Messiah, while being both from the tribe of Judah and the line of David.
We agreed the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem, which, today is a completely Arab city—Israelis, by law, can’t even visit—so we know that no Jewish babies can be born there.
In the end, we looked at the prophecy from Daniel 9, which tells us that the Messiah must come before the destruction of the second temple (before 70 AD), and that He “shall be cut off” (Daniel 9:26).
MESSIAH HAD TO BE CUT OFF—KILLED
“What does it mean: ‘… an anointed one shall be cut off?’” asked Moses. Well, being “cut off”, according to the Torah (Five Books of Moses), is a death penalty which forever separates one from God.
That’s exactly the idea I tried to explain to Moses. According to the Torah, we all deserve to be “cut off” because we have all sinned against God. The Torah says that only a blood sacrifice can grant us forgiveness of sins before God (Lev. 17:11).
And that’s exactly what Yeshua did for the nation of Israel and the world. All the animal sacrifices that we see in the Torah are a shadow and an example of the real thing.
The ‘real thing’ is Yeshua; He is the perfect sacrifice. He’s the only Person in history who lived in this world without sinning, even once. He is the only One who was able to fulfill the law completely in all the years of His life, making Him the flawless sacrifice for our sins, without blemish or defect, just as the law demands.
And that’s not all. The strongest power of sin is death and being “cut off” from God. Yeshua rose from the dead, beating death. Only a Messiah who has Himself overcome death can give us, His followers, eternal life and victory over death.
During the conversation, Moses told me he’d already been to Uman, Ukraine, a few times to visit the grave of his favorite Rabbi—Nachman of Breslov, and that he believes that going there gives power and happiness to those who believe in the Rabbi.
THE BIG DIFFERENCE
At the end of our talk I told Moses that I also want to go to the grave of my Rabbi in Jerusalem, but there’s only one problem.
Moses asked me: “What’s the problem?” I told him that Yeshua’s grave in Jerusalem is empty. There’s not even a real grave there, only an empty space, because Yeshua rose from the dead! His body isn’t there!
Moses looked at me, astonished, saying: “You’re telling me that there’s an empty grave in Jerusalem which Yeshua rose from?” I said to him: “I don’t know if that’s His real grave. Archeologically speaking, it’s a grave from Yeshua’s time, but what’s important is that there is no grave in remembrance of Him because Yeshua came back to life!”
We looked at verses in the New Testament regarding Yeshua’s resurrection. Moses thought about it for a few seconds and said: “If what you’re telling me is the truth, then no further evidence is needed. If Yeshua’s grave is empty and he really rose from the dead, that’s proof enough that He is the Messiah.”
To our dear friends and partners, let’s pray for Moses that the Lord will give him a powerful revelation of Yeshua’s death for our sins, His resurrection and His conquering death. And that Yeshua did all that out of great love for Moses, for Israel and for the entire world. One day, we know that Orthodox Israelis who are looking and waiting for the Messiah “will look upon Him whom they pierced.” This is the beginning!
A new believer struggles to enter the River Jordan as other believers pray for her deliverance. She enters the water and experiences a powerful release from evil spirits.
About three months ago, R came to Tiferet Yeshua Congregation for the first time. She was very excited to be part of a gathering that included Jews who love Yeshua the Messiah. Turns out that R was already considering faith in Yeshua during the last few weeks before she came.
She started to look for believers online, and she found herself scrolling through the Jews for Jesus website. Through a sister in our congregation who volunteers at Jews for Jesus, she came to our weekly gathering and prayed to give her life to the Lord.
R had led a very rough life, and had sought relief by going to rabbis who dealt in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). However, she only grew worse as she felt attacked by evil spirits who gave her nightmares and thoughts of death until she feared she was going to die.
Moreover, the cost of appointments with rabbis and medical doctors put her in serious financial debt.
When R came to the congregation, she was immediately plugged in to our Foundation of Faith course, where we share tools with new believers to help them understand the foundational Biblical truths during a month of discipleship.
She kept talking in New Age terms, and we quickly saw she needed to renounce the lies she had been fed and receive spiritual release.
Before her immersion, the Lord showed me that something very powerful was going to happen to R as she followed in obedience to her Messiah. We drove to the Jordan River and during our trip, we prayed and worshiped the Lord.
When we approached the river, R felt a force that held her feet, trying to keep her from entering the water. Those who came with us stood by praying for her. Every step she took felt very heavy and she gripped the banister to proceed. But the minute we announced that this immersion is in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, R went into the river.
As she came out of the water, a big spiritual battle commenced. R started screaming and her body began to writhe. We understood that God was setting her free from demonic power and He was also immersing her in His Holy Spirit! While we were all praying, she continued to scream and command the evil spirits to leave her.
She felt that God was cleansing her from the inside, purifying and sanctifying her. At a certain point, she felt release and began praying in a language of the Holy Spirit. She heard the voice of God clearly saying, “My daughter, you have come back to me!”
On a typical night, Israeli soldiers assist seven wounded Syrians who received immediate treatment and then were transferred to a hospital in Galilee.
Some 500,000 Syrians have been killed in Syria’s six-year-old civil war. This power struggle between Muslim fiefdoms has created 10,000,000 Syrian refugees.
Yet, it is the country on Syrian’s southern border—her mortal enemy, Israel—that has done more for the refugees and for those wounded in attacks, than Arab countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates put together.
ISRAEL’S SECRET FIELD HOSPITAL
Imagine this scenario. A wounded Israeli needs medical attention. He doesn’t have time to get to an Israeli hospital, but there is a hospital just over the Syrian border. So, he pleads with the Syrians to let him in. Would they let him in? How would they treat him? Would they charge him for treatment? Or would they simply shoot him?
Of course, this is a nonsensical postulation. It would never happen, but if it did, more than likely the Israeli would either be turned away, kidnapped or killed.
But on the Israeli side, up in the Golan Heights, Israel has established a field hospital to treat Syrians. Israel is known to have treated over 3,500 wounded Syrians at both this field hospital and in other Israeli hospitals, saving many of their lives.
In one case, the Israeli Defense Forces went into Syria, just over the border, to evacuate eight wounded Syrians. Under heavy fire, Israeli soldiers (our sons and daughters) risked their lives to save members of an enemy state. This is unheard of. But it doesn’t surprise me. Despite the image the media spreads of an imperialist, apartheid state—this is the real Israel.
Israeli Arab social worker Fares Issa (Issa is Arabic for Jesus) at one hospital describes the horror of the Syrian war:
“They have war trauma, a trauma similar to what Holocaust survivors have. They store things, they don’t place their faith in anyone,” Issa says.
“If they ask you to bring them a pen, they can remind you to bring it a hundred times in ten minutes until you actually bring it. They’ll say ‘bring the pen, don’t forget it.’ It’s a type of trauma. If you live in a war, you are always worrying that you will be forgotten.
“If you bring them one of something, they want two. Everything: food, clothes, hygiene articles. They want to save it, because they think it won’t be available tomorrow. Sometimes they hide food in the drawer,” he adds. (www.jpost.com)
Some of the cases have left a deep impression on Issa. A year ago two children were admitted to the hospital, one of whom had lost both his legs from shelling.
“The child who lost his legs, a 12-year-old, was screaming in the trauma room, ‘Don’t treat me, because we don’t have money to pay for the hospital.’ I tried to calm him down,” Issa says. “He said they don’t have money. But you want to give them life, life for a child who has lost his legs.”
The field hospital has been closed, but Israel’s heart has not. The military decided it would instead do emergency treatments in military ambulances while they are on their way to a hospital in Galilee. The IDF Northern Command said the closing of the field hospital was done to increase efficiency, and that the field hospital can be re-opened at any time.
Of course, the Syrians, who have been taught since youth that Israel is a bloodthirsty, evil nation, were shocked to see the compassion. One surgeon said:
“They say that before they came, they thought we were the Great Satan, the enemies, and looked for the tails between our legs.”
A rebel fighter remarked that Syrian president Bashar Assad “didn’t take care of us. Here, in Israel, we are being taken care of. Bashar doesn’t care about us, whereas Israel does. Bashar fires shells at us. He doesn’t care about us at all.”
ANOTHER WOUNDED SYRIAN EXPRESSED HIS SHOCK
“They taught us about the Zionist enemy, the Zionist oppressor. But when we saw the Zionists, [we realized] they were nothing like what we’d been told. They’re human beings just like us, human, and even more than that.”
After 40 days in an Israeli hospital and many surgeries later, another 25-year-old said he could see into Syria from his hospital window. In his long list of enemies of the Syrian people—Assad, Russia, Iran, [Yemenite] Houthis, Hezbollah, Afghanistan—he no longer includes Israel. (www.independent.co.uk)
The Times of Israel reported that although there was a shortage of funds for the hospitals taking care of the Syrians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he instructed his government to even find ways to treat Syrians wounded in Aleppo, just “as we’ve done with thousands of Syrian civilians.” (www.timesofisrael.com)
MEET TAXI DRIVER MOTI
Well, Moti is actually an Israeli/American businessman who drove his taxi around New York, donating tips to Syrian refugees and educating his passengers. He actually owns several businesses, but has set them aside to help the refugees. He has entered into Syria more than 10 times with life-saving aid. Each time he saves a life, he is putting his life at risk in a country where children grow up believing Israelis want to harm them.
He just took a pita bread maker into Syria that will feed 50,000 people. He recently spoke of his work in Syria with the Jewish Week. When asked where would the Syrians that he helped be without his aid, his answer was “dead.”
Jewish Week: You’ve spent six years and millions of your own dollars to save the lives of Arab citizens from their Syrian government. You have worked with opposition groups within Syria; lobbied the Israeli and U.S. governments for the establishment of a safe zone in southern Syria on the Israeli border; asked the Israeli government to admit Syrian refugees for treatment at Israeli hospitals; provided Syrians with SIM cards to document atrocities on their cellphones; sent a ton of kosher food for Syrians’ celebration of an Islamic holiday; collected medical equipment for a field hospital in Syria; and helped deliver nerve gas antidote to doctors in Idlib, a city in northwest Syria. Why do you do all this?
Moti: Because I’m a Jew. As a Jew, we swear “Never again”—not to Jews, and not to others as well. The Syrians are my next-door neighbors. (www.jewishweek.timesofisrael.com)
Here is an Israeli—a Jew putting his life on hold to serve ‘the enemy.’ He is a kind of Oscar Schindler in reverse.
100 TONS OF SECRET LOVE FROM JEWS
An Israeli group has collected 100 tons of supplies for Syrian refugees. Winter coats, boots, warm clothing, sleeping bags and more will be donated for those Syrians fleeing civil war. But there is one catch. All clothing tags with Hebrew or any other reference to Israel had to be removed. In addition, the goods will be delivered via a third party so the recipient will never know it was their mortal enemy, Israel, that is helping them in their most difficult moment.
“I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for,” the international collaborations director said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold last winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy country,’ overwhelmed me.”
Whenever Israel does something like this, there are those who scoff, saying, “You are just doing this for the PR.” And yet, here there is no PR. I want those Syrian refugees who have been breastfed lies about the character of Israelis since birth, to know the truth about us. But even as they are wearing Israeli jackets and Israeli boots, they will still assume we hate them. (www.israel21c.org)
“THROUGH YOU, THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE BLESSED”
God said to Abraham that His seed would be a blessing to the world (Gen. 12:3). This has come true—even towards our enemies. While the donors were happy to give anonymously, I want the world to see what a great country we live in. So I don’t apologize for asking you to be sure to share this information with your friends!
Ron Cantor is founder of Messiah’s Mandate and elder of Congregation Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. He and his wife Elana live in Tel Aviv. www.messiahsmandate.org.
Since 1999 young Israeli travelers, often immediately following army service, have enjoyed a warm welcome and generous hospitality in Chiburim homes.
Chiburim (“connections” in Hebrew), is the name of an international hosting network for Israeli travelers that currently operates in 23 countries, linking Christian hosts who love Israel with Israeli travelers.
The founder of Chiburim himself travelled with Israeli friends along the same routes young Israelis do today. Yaron explained in an interview with KNI [Kehila News Israel] that his experiences as a backpacker helped him understand the need for hospitality.
As he traveled, a plan began to form with the concept of hosting Israelis in Christian homes around the world. After sharing with leaders in his congregation, he was encouraged to establish such a network for the benefit of Israelis, who sometimes feel vulnerable and disoriented while traveling the world after an intense three years in the army.
“To date, some 30,000 Israeli travelers have stayed multiple days, sometimes weeks, with multiple hosts,” Yaron explained. “They particularly appreciate that someone friendly and somewhere safe is waiting for them and the uniqueness of Chiburim is that they always provide the host’s contact details for free.”
Indeed, travelers have expressed that sentiment. “We truly appreciate the approach of Chiburim in not charging money from Israeli travelers to contact hosts.” The guests value the fact that neither the Chiburim network nor the hosts are seeking to make profit from them.
For many the atmosphere of warmth and hospitality can be truly touching since so many around the world would not welcome Israelis.
“Maybe it’s thanks to the heavenly environment around, maybe it’s thanks to you, maybe all of us together and for sure thanks to God!” one backpacker told his hosts.
Similarly, hosts also benefit from the rich cultural experience. “Hosting is a great way to learn about Israel and its people,” one family reported. “It has given us a better understanding of the Old Testament and at the same time, made many new friends.”
Another host said, “The God of Israel has placed a real love of Israel and its people in our hearts. As far as we are concerned, it is very much a two-way street. Yes, we do offer them a place to stay and maybe food or whatever, but in return we have been blessed in many ways.”
Other families have felt that they are fulfilling a Biblical mandate to love and bless Israel and be blessed in return, according to Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.”
Currently hosts are located in Austria, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Argentina, U.S.A., Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Poland, Fiji, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, France, Canada, Switzerland and Thailand.
Yaron invites believers from anywhere, with suitable accommodations, to find out more about hosting by accessing the Chiburim.com website.