Shalom upon you! (Shalom aleichem!)
My apologies for not being able to get this out sooner, since I know that many of you were and have been praying for our day in court yesterday. Also some of you even called, or SMSed, or sent e-mails, and we are very encouraged by such attentive support.
Up to about 30 also met at Ha-MaKoM for worship and intercession during the course of the court session, which went on till about 1:00pm. Once again, the defendants displayed a disrespect for the court and for the entire proceedings by showing up late or not at all. This is the attitude taken by the religious authorities in other cases involving believers in Yeshua here, that the authority of the civil courts are not fully recognized, if at all. (I would say that believers, who find themselves in court over legal matters in any country, need to be careful not to show contempt of court, since we are commanded to submit to the civil authorities, and not to curse our rulers.)
I still stand amazed how little bearing false witness (perjury) seems to carry much weight in court. Maybe I am myself pre-judging, but ‘oaths’ to tell only the truth go unchallenged when lies are clearly stated as if true. Again, I thank God that we have and Advocate in Heaven who intercedes for us! That we have Someone to call upon who is the Righteous Judge of all the Earth, and who is also the only one who forgives sin, that people would fear Him.
God honors human beings, whom He created in His image and likeness. Each one, even those who will be sent away from His presence forever, will stand before Yeshua face-to-face for His righteous judgment. In our present case, the judge has said that the defendants do not even have to show up in court for our next session (April 15), only to be available by telephone! To me, this only strengthens the attitude of belligerent people to disrespect the legal system.
I am very thankful that yesterday’s proceedings ended with us (including me personally) being able to state our position once again, just as we did at the outset of the pre-trial hearings — but this time before the Judge in the courtroom — that we are willing to accept a public apology from the two defendants, rather than ‘demanding’ from the Judge a verdict that he is unable and perhaps unwilling to give. I truly felt the Holy Spirit give me a peace that this is our way of seeking to show His way: “In wrath remember mercy”. Whether or not the sides will be able to come to an agreement that satisfies each of the parties is still uncertain. Should the defendants not appreciate the grace being shown by not judging themselves, our Father in Heaven knows how to deal with wayward children who would be His children, and He knows how to deal with those who are determined not to submit to His holy and righteous ways for true peace.
Here, I want to please ask that any reports you may receive about the case not be taken as ‘official’ until you have heard from me or from our lawyers. If not, there is potential for mistaken analyses, or for misinformation being used as if accurate, and could also be used against us, or be used to suggest that we are not holding ourselves to the standard we would expect from others. In the event any of you have received reports before this one, here is a clarification by our attorney, and if any of you have used previous information, please correct whatever you may have passed on to others or posted on blogs or websites:
“. . . After completion of the closing arguments by the respective attorneys, the court asked whether there was still any possibility of concluding the dispute by agreement. This led to various discussions with the attorneys for the different parties in the lawsuit, during the course of which we, on behalf of the plaintiffs, pointed out that we want a public apology from both of the defendants. The judge encouraged all of the attorneys to try to meet together (but did not order us to do so) to work out language agreeable to all parties, to which the court would give validity as a judgment. In the absence of agreement, each of the parties would submit a proposed text to the court. A further hearing was set for mid-April for the purpose of trying to conclude the matter without the judge rendering a decision. If agreement cannot be reached, he will issue his judgment after that.
There was no “order” to “Rabbi Deri and Yad L’Achim to issue a public apology to the Messianic congregation within 10 days or suffer more court costs”. Nor does the record reflect any warning to “Yad L’Achim against further violence”. . . .
We need to be careful about reporting what took place and what was said in court and stick to what appears in the transcript. The case is not over until it is finally over and [unauthorized] statements . . . can end up hurting us. . . .”
God bless you all, and may He find us faithful and in the faith,
Howard and Randi