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Good enough for Hitler, but not for Israel

February 28th, 2014

“For the furnaces in Germany we were Jewish. But for Israeli citizenship we’re not?”

These are the words of Renata Kaufman as reported in an article by Shalom Yerushalmi in the February 21st edition of the Israeli newspaper, Maariv.  According to his article, Mrs. Kaufman has been refused citizenship by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, even though she is a Holocaust survivor.

The reason?  She believes in Yeshua (Jesus) as her Messiah and Lord.  Mr. Yerushalmi reports, “When Kaufman decided to make aliyah, she was told by the Jewish Agency that she’s not Jewish—that she’s Messianic and a traitor.”  This, then, is the so-called pluralism I once heard touted by Benjamin Netanyahu at a Walk With Israel event.

Mrs. Kaufman became a believer in Yeshua after the war, but there were a number of Jewish believers during the war who perished.  They perished because they were Jewish.  Hitler had no problem understanding this, so why does Israel’s Ministry of the Interior?

Here is an interesting question:  why is it that you can believe in Buddha, or Vishna or even not believe in anything at all, and still be Jewish; but if you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and have Yeshua as the Messiah you are not?  What if faith in Yeshua is the real Jewish faith?  What if believing in Yeshua is exactly what God wants, and the enemy (Satan) is doing everything he can to keep Jews from believing?  What if?

Please contact us and let us tell you why we believe that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Messiah, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Israel in God’s Hands

February 10th, 2014

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the LORD of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”
(Jeremiah 31:35-36)

There is a great amount of to do, especially among evangelical Christians, regarding the issues of Israel’s borders.  Concern over negotiations that might return Israel to its pre-1967 borders, concern over possible anti-Israel actions by Iran and many other worries lead to a sense that Israel is imperilled.

From a human perspective, of course, all of these concerns would seem valid.  Israel does have many enemies, and their position certainly seems precarious.  From a spiritual perspective, however, I feel these concerns are misplaced.

In this passage from Jeremiah, God promises a perpetual existence for Israel.  Now He is talking about the People of Israel – the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not the State of Israel.  These things should not be confused.

The truth is that God has his watch care over Israel so that they will never disappear from the face of the earth.  We know from Scriptures (e.g. Zechariah 12:10, 13:1; Romans 11:25-26) that one day the Jewish people will come to faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and be saved.

With regard to the State of Israel, they can take or give away nothing that God hasn’t already ordained to be taken or given away.  Israel is in the hands of God, and there is nothing that would make their citizens (whether Jewish or not) safer than the acknowledgment of that fact.

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6), by all means, keeping in mind that the psalmist was talking in the context of piety and devotion as he made pilgrimage to the Temple.  Let us not get all worked up, however, on the issues of politics and geography.  Let us support Israel to the extent that it does right.  Let us not be blind, however to its secular and often ungodly character, especially with reference to its treatment of our brother and sister believers in the Lord Yeshua.

Israel is in God’s hands.  That’s the best place to be.

Feel free to comment or to contact us for more information.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Messiah, Some Words and Thoughts, This, That, The Other Thing, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Days of the Maccabees

December 2nd, 2013

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The week Yeshua (Jesus) was in Jerusalem, prior to his crucifixions, his disciples asked him when he would set up God’s eternal kingdom (Read Matthew 24).  They did not yet understand that he had come, not as the victorious Messiah son of David as promised in passages like Isaiah 9:6-7, but as the Suffering Servant Messiah son of Joseph, as promised in passages like Isaiah 53.

Yeshua warned them that, like the days of Noah, people will not be prepared for its coming (Matthew 24:37).  That is an interesting statement.  After all, Noah was 120 years building the ark, and in that time he surely proclaimed the truth of what God was doing.  The fact is, they just didn’t want to hear it.  The truth is that in the “days of Noah” there were two kinds of people.  God’s people, of whom there were eight, and the people who spurned God and wanted nothing to do with His ways.

This stark contrast is very obvious in the story of Hanukkah.  In those “days of the Maccabees” there were two types of Jews in Israel: Jews like the Maccabees who wanted to follow God, and Jews who wanted to follow the Greek ideals of the empire begun by Alexander the Great.  It was the latter who backed the evil incursions of the Seleucid King, Antiochus Epiphanes, which instigated the Maccabean rebellion and victory that our Hanukkah celebrations commemorate.

The name Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word meaning ‘dedication.’  It is a fitting name, since the festival encapsulates the dedication and faithfulness of God’s people in the face of great persecution, as well as the dedication of God to His faithful people.

Are we not living in “days of the Maccabees” now?  Do not the words of the Apostle Paul, quoted in the passage above, ring true with regard to the world we live in today?  We live in a very pagan world, where the idea of a God who created and loves is unpopular and often denigrated.  His expectations are spurned and ignored.

Like those days, God’s people are called to be perseverant in their dedication and faithfulness to Him.  Why?  We do so because he continues to be dedicated and faithful to His followers.   Time and again He has shown his faithfulness, just as He did for the Maccabees and their followers – the followers of God.

No greater evidence is there than His faithfulness on the Cross.  He promised a deliverer in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and He provided that deliver as we see evidenced in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  That deliver is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Don’t take my word for it.  Read the Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah and see if it is not so.  We would be happy to send you both.  Just contact us; we would also be happy to answer any of your questions.

Hag Hanukkah Sameach!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Serving God, The Bible | No Comments »

Who really cares?

January 21st, 2013

Now that the winter hostilities against Israel seem to have died down and a cease-fire put in place, at least for the time being, life for the rest of us goes back to normal.  The world keeps spinning and the media is on to the next thing.  

But what’s going on behind the scenes? I’m not talking about Israel’s enemies stirring up trouble so dependably … No, this is about Israel’s friends who don’t stop what they’re doing either.  

As a Christian tuned in to this subject for 20 years, I’ve seen so many doing so much. But it’s occurred to me recently that, being in different social circles, you might not even know they’re there.      

We’ve heard of those righteous Gentiles doing what any decent human would do to defend other humans … but do we realize how unrecognized they probably were while their lives and stresses were happening? And on that same note, how many other heroes are doing big things we don’t even know about now?

These are your friends defending Israel online or off: dedicated bloggers, teachers, writers and tweeters. People living regular lives to all appearances but at the same time using their free time to stand up for truth.   

I wish I could introduce you to Betty-Lou or to Gail, just two of my many friends hard at work in this arena. Betty-Lou is relentless, getting the other side of the story out there one email after another … while Gail teaches workshops and teaches others to teach workshops on the subject. Warriors, both of them.  

Then there are high-visibility friends like best-selling author Joel Rosenberg who wrote about 9/11 before it happened; Mitch Glaser of Chosen People Ministries putting the truth out there with passion; Dean Bye at Return Ministries working to enable Jews making aliyah; … or our own Daniel Muller here at New Covenant Forum, bridging the gap between our two faiths.  

There are too many to be listing all, but they’re out there. Watching Israel’s back and caring about her people worldwide.  

So today, no matter how quiet things seem – and how loud the silence gets – I wanted you to know you have friends.

Contributed by Shari Menzel, a Gentile believer in Jesus with a great heart for the Jewish people.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Israel, Jews and Christianity, Shari Menzel, This, That, The Other Thing, Zionism and Israel | 1 Comment »

Anti-Missionaries Miss the Point

January 18th, 2013

There is a lawsuit in the Israeli courts against the Israel Army Radio, filed by the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim.  Apparently, the IAR refused to air a Yad L’Achim sponsored commercial telling people not to be deceived into believing in Jesus.  IAR did not air this because it felt it was considered controversial by the general public, and that it was offensive to some.

This is how a Yad L’Achim spokeman represented their position:

Christian mission is based on deceit. Its emissaries do not present themselves as Christian but as Messianic Jews, who represent a Judaism that believes in Jesus as the Messiah. Those ‘Messianic Jews’ hide their connection to a sub-stream of Protestant Christianity. Some of the leaders of the Messianic congregations have been ordained, some are Gentiles, and some are converted Jews.” Though their behavior is Jewish, “their theology is Christian.

Yad L’Achim’s lawyer used the persecution card, saying:

All through the exile Jews were forced – sometimes through torture – to convert to Christianity. Other Jews, including entire communities, forfeited their lives by refusing to convert. How can it not be permitted, in the State of Israel, to air an ad that warns against missionary activity?

In other words, since Jews were forced to convert to Christianity in a time gone by, people should not be given the chance to voluntarily hear the Gospel now.  For more about that, see our recent article, “Is the New Testament Anti-Semetic?”

In the end, all of Yad L’Achim’s rhetoric points to one thing: anti-missionaries don’t get the point.  They don’t understand what Christianity is all about, and how those Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) view their faith in him.

For us, faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith.  It is the continuation of the work of God that was begun in Genesis and which will find its final fulfillment in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  This continuity is clearly visible with a simple reading of the whole of Scriptures. 

Both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah are wrapped up in the history, the culture and the religious beliefs  of the Jewish people.  It represents God’s dealings with them and, through them, with every nation of the world.  To say that faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith is to say also that faith in Yeshua is the biblical Jewish faith (as opposed to the faith of the rabbis, or rabbinic Judaism).

That is what Jews and Gentiles who put their faith in Yeshua believe.  Whether we call ourselves Christians, or Believers in Jesus, or Messianics – that is our belief.  As Israel is ostensibly a pluralistic country, those who believe should have a right to express that belief, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).  Yad L’Achim, Jews for Judaism and organizations like them want to keep that message from you.  You can heed their voice or no.

If you would like a chance to hear the message, why not contact us.  We would be happy to send you the Scriptures so you can consider these things for yourself.  If you have any questions, we would be happy to help you out – and by all means ask your rabbi too, or even Yad L’Achim if you wish.

As one follower of Yeshua put it:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17; quoting at the end from Habakkuk 2:4)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

 

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, The Bible | No Comments »

The Branch, the King and the Priest

January 11th, 2013

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘ And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. “And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
(Zechariah 6:9-15)

God is painting here a prophetic picture through the prophet Zechariah, who ministered to Israel during the return from Babylonian captivity of some of the exiles.  He takes the High Priest Yehoshua (Joshua; in Ezra he is referred to as Yeshua, the same Hebrew name as Jesus), and he tells us that he is a symbol of something to come.  This High Priest is symbolized as the Branch (also in Zechariah 3:8), a messianic symbol that we find as early as Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah writing in the 8th Century B.C.E.

And this branch according to our passage, shall be a priest on the throne.  There’s a problem though!  According to the Mosaic Covenant, The High Priest was of the tribe of Levi (the first High Priest Aaron being of that tribe), and the king and the Messiah from the tribe of Judah.  So how is this possible?  Only if the Messiah were not of the Priesthood of Aaron; only if he was not a priest within the context of the covenant made on Mount Sinai, is this possible.

The prophetic symbolism used here of the High Priest Yeshua in the time of Zechariah some 2,400 years ago, is fulfilled  by the High Priest Yeshua, who lived, ministered, died and was then resurrected some 2,000 years ago.  He is the fulfillment of God’s messianic promise of an eternal throne for David, and an eternal priesthood.

That is why King David writes prophetically that:

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
(Psalms 110:1-4)

That’s why the writer of the book of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) called Hebrews can say:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 6:19-20)

The writer goes on to explain this in Hebrews 7:1-10.

Once again we can see that the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) only makes sense in light of the Good News that Yeshua was Messiah in fulfillment of it, as illuminated in the B’rit Hadashah.  Faith in Yeshua is the continuation of the faith in God expressed to the nation of Israel in the Tanakh.  Won’t you be a part of the faithful?

Please contact us if you want to know more, or if you would like a copy of the B’rit Hadashah.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, The Bible, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

HAPPY 64TH YOM HaATZMA’UT

April 26th, 2012

New Covenant Forum prays for the peace of Jerusalem as commanded by the Lord in Psalm 122:6.

May the Lord bless Israel with continued national independence,
                and may he bless the Jewish people with spiritual independence found in Messiah,
                        Yeshua

YESHUA=GOD SAVES = EMMANUEL = GOD WITH US

 

Posted in Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish holidays, Zionism and Israel | No Comments »

What’s in a Name?

December 28th, 2011

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

The name Immanuel means, “God (is) with us.”  It points to the Messiah, who would be God in our midst.

It’s been pointed out to me many times that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) name is not Immanuel, so therefore Yeshua is not the Messiah.  This is an interesting argument, but is misguided.

The Hebrew expression of Isaiah 7:14 simply says of the young woman that she call him Immanuel.  His actual name is Yeshua (meaning, “God saves”), which is indicative of his purpose, while the name Immanuel is indicative of his manifestation in fulfilling that purpose.

No doubt Yeshua’s mother, Miriam (Mary), did call him Immanuel.  After all, the angel Gabriel told her she would be made pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, that her son would be the Son of God and that he will have an eternal reign over the throne of his father David (Luke 1:26-35).

It is not surprising then that, though his name was Yeshua, she might have also called him by Immanuel.  Certainly his disciples recognized this Messianic title (Matthew 1:23).  Indeed, for centuries Yeshua has been called Immanuel by those who believe in Him (see our article, Ransoming Israel).

And so, in regard to the name Immanuel, prophecy has been fulfilled in the coming of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Contact us to know more about Him.

Check out the sequel article, “What’s In Another Name?

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach | No Comments »

Ransomed Israel

December 27th, 2011

Of the many hymns sung at the time of the celebration of the Messiah’s birth (i.e. Christmas), “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel,” is probably the one most steeped in the Jewish origins of the faith.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, [Isaiah 7:14]
And ransom captive Israel, [Isaiah 53:10]
That mourns in lonely exile here [Psalm 118:25-27]
Until the Son of God appear. [Isaiah 9:6]
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel! [Malachi 3:1]

This hymn is a translation from one used early on in Christian worship, possible as early as the 8th Century and no later than the 12th Century.  There is no question that the church of the Middle Ages recognized the Jewish origins of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), just as the early church fathers did before them.

The truth is that Christianity – faith in Yeshua and his sacrifice on the cross – has as its origin in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures), and not Pagan beliefs as some would mischievously claim.  Indeed, the earliest Jewish believers – and the first believers in Yeshua were almost all Jewish – were more likely to be traditional Jews than Hellenistic ones.

The difference between them and their brethren who denied Yeshua was that they accepted what the Tanakh predicted about Him, and they put their faith in Him.

As a Jew (or Gentile), you are invited to do the same, and to accept as your Saviour and Lord the one who ransomed captive Israel as God promised through Moses and the Prophets.  He came to ransom you personally, if you put your faith in Him.

Contact us, and we can help you understand the truth about Yeshua.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Here is the rest of the hymn:

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Daniel Muller, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Christianity, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Salvation, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Minority Report

November 21st, 2011

When I began working at New Covenant Forum, I was horrified at the thought of being seen in my “Jesus Loves You” t-shirt by the first person who knew me from my bike store. To my surprise, after many outreaches, I never met one person. Before long I began to be disappointed that it had not happened.

I was sitting behind the desk of our ‘Products Of Israel’ booth at the CNE, when I looked up to see an observant Jewish customer from my bike store. He looked at me twice over before knowing for sure it was me and then he greeted me.

He seemed puzzled to see me at the Products of Israel booth. When I stood up to greet him, he saw my “Jesus Loves You” t-shirt  and his puzzled look turned to confusion. After talking a bit, disbelief came over him as he realised we were Jews who confessed that Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Messiah of Israel.

He made his certainty that this was not true very clear, and asked why I was doing this. I went on to share my heartfelt conviction that Yeshua was Messiah and  that I closed my bike store to serve him.

All the time his wife was trying to get him to stop talking to me and move on. She wanted no part of the discussion or for him to continue it, yet his previous interactions with me at the bike store made him want to pursue the conversation.

In short time she won over and they moved on, and I had encountered my first customer. I prayed for him and the seed I had just planted.

About three weeks later I was in the York Farmers Market, when this same man showed up. He came right up to me and told me he was very bothered by having seen me at the CNE. When I asked him why, he told me that what I was doing was wrong.  Again, I asked him why?  He said that what I believed was not true; it was not what others believed.

I pointed out that there were very many Jewish people in the world who had come to know Yeshua as their Messiah, the promised One of Israel. They worship in churches and Messianic congregations all over the world, including in Israel.

He insisted that most Jews  in Israel and around the world do not believe this, so I am wrong.  In response I pointed out that many more people in the world do not believe in the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob than do believe in Him, though we did. Does this make us both wrong? Does this mean God does not exist? “Of course not,” he responded.

Being in the majority does not make one right, any more than being in the minority makes one wrong. God, after all, is a majority of one.

Do you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the living God of Israel?  Do you believe in the God of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).

At New Covenant Forum, we do not just believe it.  We do all we can to live it. Feel free to contact us, so we can share with you how you can receive the minority report about Yeshua.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Evangelism, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

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