THE TEMPLE OF GOD

Tisha b’Av/9th of Av

The Temple is a:
House of God– a dwelling place for the Father and his family
Throne room – King of Righteousness
Seat of judgment — Judge of Righteousness
Holy Place – glory and worship of God

Dt 12:11-14   the place where YHVH God chooses to make His Name abide.  There you shall bring all [of your offerings].
Josh 18:1; Ex 25:40   the Tabernacle – made according to the Heavenly pattern – set up in Shiloh      (for almost 400 years)

2Sam 7:1-7,11,13   David wants to build YHVH a house; God says that He never spoke a word about that to anyone from the tribes of Israel.  The Son of David (not Solomon nor a son of Solomon, but of Nathan Lk 3:31) will build a house for God’s Name, and His throne will be established forever.
2Sam 24:16-25; 1Kg 3:15   Jerusalem the chosen place for the altar of sacrifice to YHVH

1Kg 5:5; 8:27   Solomon directs Hiram to build a house for the Name of YHVH God; the Shechinah Glory was in that Temple, which cannot contain the fullness of the God of the Universe!

Jer 26:6   YHVH declares through Jeremiah that He will destroy the Temple and Jerusalem

2Kg 25:8-9; Jer 52:12-14   the first Temple – the House of YHVH – burned and destroyed by Babylonians in 586 BC

2Chr 36:22-23   Cyrus, King of Persia, commanded by YHVH God of Heaven to let Israelis return to the Land of Israel and build another House of YHVH in Jerusalem

Hag 2:1-9   new Temple built, not as glorious as the first:  the Shechinah Glory was not there!  Destined to be greater than the first temple and to be filled with the glory of YHVH:  Yeshua was there!

Zech 7:4-7; 9:18-19   no more fasting for believers in Messiah on the 9th of Av (the fifth Hebrew month), or in the month of Tishrei (the seventh month); all of these mentioned fasts(and in the 4th and 10th months) have to do with the destruction of the Temple, and the Babylonian invasion and captivity; Messiah Yeshua has brought days of rejoicing instead of mourning

Mt 24:1-2   Jesus prophesied the destruction of the 2nd  Temple, which occurred in 70 AD

Jn 2:19-22   Jesus Himself the Temple in His own body

Mt 12:6   Jesus greater than the Temple

1Cor 6:19-20   born-again believers are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are to glorify God in our     body and in our spirit; sacrifices of thanksgiving, of praise; our bodies a living sacrifice

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Dan 9:27; Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:3-4; Rev 11:1-2   the antichrist perverting the Temple of God

Ezek 43:4-12; Mal 3:3   millennial Temple in Jerusalem in the Land of Israel, God’s dwelling place in the midst of the children of Israel, Levites offering sacrifices in righteousness

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Rev 21:1-4,22-23   no physical Temple in the new heavens and new Earth, for YHVH God of Hosts and the Lamb are its Temple.  The glory of YHVH God fills His new creation; God will be all in all!

BLOOD OF NEW COVENANT ON JEWISH PEOPLE

14 June 2011

Much ‘blood has been spilled’ over the outcry of the “all the [Israeli Jewish] people”to Pontius Pilate washing his hands wishing to be “innocent of the blood of this just man”:  “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Mt 27:24-25; Acts 5:28; Dt 19:10)

In the sovereignty and wisdom of God, and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this Scripture is full of life and death, for “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. (Pr 18:21) This publicly spoken word by the rulers and the common people had consequences which were not understood or foreseen when rashly uttered. (Acts 5:28)  When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he had no idea really of what he was doing and the dreadful consequences of his action – that in him all future human beings would be starting out in life as sinners and dying!

Through the centuries the Jewish people have suffered much because of the irrational hatred toward Yeshua when He walked among us.  The Romans and other Gentiles have taken those words and, still wanting to wash their hands of their own evil part in the crucifixion of this ‘Just Man’, caused horrible suffering to the Jewish people and to the nation Israel because of this blood we have brought on ourselves as being guilty of rejecting the Son of God, and seeing to it that He was put to death on the tree. (Acts 2:22-39)  The ‘curse’ of blood-guiltiness turns into the ‘blessing’ of atonement when any Jewish person or Gentile repents and believes the good news of salvation through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin and sins.

I want to look again at this shout of ‘all the people’ in the light of God’s sovereign grace reigning through His righteousness.  The blood of Jesus will either forever cleanse those who love life that comes through confession of Yeshua as Lord, and believe with our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, or else it will bring eternal condemnation for those who love the fruit of refusing the goodness of the Father to bring us into His household and family.

God has dealt with Israel in a unique way among the nations in that He has cut covenants with her fathers, extending to their descendants, including a chosen king and priesthood; and ultimately, in the fullness of time when Messiah came, God cut a new covenant with the House of Israel and with theHouse of Judah. (Amos 3:1-3; Rom 9:4-5; Jer 31:31; 33:17-25; Gal 4:4-5) The full meaning of these wonderful truths of the Creator and the Redeemer of the Heavens and the Earth will find their full expression only when the Lord Messiah returns to restore the Kingdom to Israel and over all the other nations.  This is crucial in the plan of God in order to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets, so fulfilling all the promises of God concerning all things. (Mt 5:17-19; Rom 15:8-9)  In the cutting of covenants – rather than merely ‘making’ a covenant – the shedding of blood is a vital part of the covenant in which a life has been sacrificed as the binding price of the ‘deal’.  And for our sins to be forgiven there must be the shedding of blood. (Lev 17:11)

At Sinai, the covenant with the Children of Israel from all of the twelve tribes was cut by the blood of oxen offered unto YHVH, God of Israel.  As Moses read the Book of the Covenant to all of the people, they said, “All that YHVH has said we will do, and listen to”.  Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which YHVH has cut with you according to all these words.” (Ex 24:3-8)  With this covenant, YHVH and the People of Israel became forever joined in covenant union.  Israelis and Jewish people may come and go the way of all flesh, but the covenanted nation with the God of the covenant endures forever!  Anti-semitism is first and foremost against YHVH Himself. (cp Acts 9:1-5)

In Lev 16:32-34 and again in chapter 23:28-29, the LORD gives His people the opportunity to have their sins atoned for and removed in order that He might dwell among them as a holy people, justified by faith in the provided sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sinfulness.  This blood of the atonement was given upon the altar for all of the people and for all else that pertained to the whole religious and civil life of the nation.  Any Israeli that did not afflict his soul that day for what God did to grant him life would cut himself off from his people – he would no longer be part of the people because he refused the blood that was shed to provide forgiveness for all his sins he committed under the terms of the covenant made at Sinai, and the covenant cut with those just prior to their entry into the land of Canaan. (Dt 5:1-3)

This means of atonement by the blood on the Day of Atonements was everlasting, and was God’s means until Messiah came to offer Himself as a guilt offering for sinners. (Is 53:10; Heb 9:23; 10:12-14)   At the last Passover supper with His apostles, Yeshua spoke to them about His upcoming betrayal and suffering and death.  The cup of the New Covenant in His blood, shed for all of us, but first of all for the House of Israel and the House of Judah, is our constant reminder that Jesus is the covenant (Is 49:8) which God has cut with His people. (Lk 22:20)  He is the Lamb of God who was slaughtered as an acceptable sacrifice to God, and “His side was pierced with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out”. (Jn 19:34-35)

He is also the Scapegoat who willfully, in His innocence, bore all their/our sins, and is wrongfully blamed for all our woes.

When Caiaphas, the High Priest responsible that year, said to the religious leaders who were alarmed at so many of the Jewish people beginning to believe in Yeshua, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish”, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle John to write:  “Now this he (Caiaphas) did not say on his own, but being High Priest that year he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (Jn 11:49-52Caiaphas did not realize that he was actually prophesying!  But if God can cause a donkey to speak, he can certainly bring forth truth from a man, even one opposed to or ignorant of His full intentions.  And being High Priest of the Israeli nation that year, the words of Caiaphas had power and authority, and his unintentional sin brought guilt upon the people. (Lev 4:3)

When all Israel accepted God’s covenant at Mt. Sinai with all its holy and righteous commandments, they did not realize what they were really committing to when they said “Amen” to put themselves under the yoke of the Law.  When all the [Jewish] people cried out that the blood of Jesus should be on them and on their children, they did not realize the consequences and power the words from out of their heart and mouths would carry throughout the generations and millennia.

Praise God!  On the cross, our Savior, the Son of Man, called out to His Father – and the Father of Israel (Ex 4:22) – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Praise God!  In His own divine love and wisdom, and in His own faithfulness to His Word, His promises, His covenants – He had His priestly nation ‘sprinkle the blood of the New Covenant’ firstly upon themselves and their descendants! (Lev 16:6; Heb 7:27; Is 52:13-15The atonement has been provided for the whole House of Jacob, and the way was opened for the Gentiles to also be purified and brought near!  The covenants belong to Israel of the flesh (Rom 9:3-5).  Those who repent and believe receive the blessedness of God’s grace and favor.  The day is coming when all Israel – the full remnant from all the tribes who turn from ungodliness – will be saved and enter into the good of the New Covenant cut with them by the One whom they have pierced. (Rom 11:26-27; Zech 12:10-14)  They will afflict their souls and cease from all their own works.  Those who still refuse His provided sacrifice will cut themselves off from their people and His people.  The blood of the Messiah which God promised to His people Israel has been shed for all people and nations everywhere at all times. (1Tim 4:10)  The Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world, and all of God’s covenants are based upon His eternal plan of redemption. (Rom 15:4; Rev 13:8)

Praise God!  His will has been done, is being done, and will be done – on Earth as in Heaven.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

YESHUA/JESUS IS COMING AGAIN! – 14 Oct 2010

This news is not new!  It is also good news for those who love His appearing!  It is the same “old” news!  It remains current news!

There is a wave of deception entering from without and working within the “Church” connected with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven to judge the nations and to establish His righteous reign over Israel and the rest of the world.  Many professing believers/Christians — and some are truly so — are re-defining terms to interpret the Word of God to be saying what He isn’t, or else to not be saying what He is.  The spirit at work in this seeks to de-legitimize both Israel and the gospel in their uniqueness; to make what God calls “new” (as in New Covenant and new creation) only something re-newed or re-cycled; and to weaken doctrinal support not for these only, but also for the hope of the literal and personal return of the same Yeshua/Jesus who ascended in bodily form to sit at the right hand of the Father until the time appointed.

The gospel/good news goes out to “whosoever” from whatever nation and group of people.  God is working to save whosoever repents and believes His good news concerning repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and the free gift of eternal life to all who truly believe.  Any consequential transformation of a society or a culture is only in part and definitely temporary.  Only the return of the Lord to establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth is going to permanently change this situation at a universal level.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is working to bring as many as will to have part in the better resurrection, which is the first resurrection, which is far better than merely entering the Millennial Kingdom in the flesh for those of Israel and of other sheep nations who come through the great tribulation without giving themselves over to the antichrist, and upon whom Yeshua will show mercy and compassion at the end of the age.

To make this as simple as possible:  as long as Satan is the god of this world, then the world is not going to be transformed to a degree satisfactory to YHVH God and His Son; and as long as Israel — His chosen people and nation — remains an enemy of the gospel, then the God of Israel is not going to be satisfied with any lesser transformation.  Both of these conditions will prevail until the coming again of Yeshua, and thank God that the Father has set a time for this!

Therefore, it is for true believers not to lose sight of the blessed hope as we go about being light, salt, and a fragrance in the world in the faith, hope, and love that more individuals will have their own heart and minds transformed by that which is the power of God to save:  the gospel.  In God’s Kingdom, every part will be holy in order that all is holy.  It appears that the elect are going to be more and more “hid with Messiah in God”, and not be the most vocal and visible, or high profile, or most popular, or even most ‘influential’.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!

LAWSUIT UPDATE – Final

Today a small representation of leaders of Messianic congregations and other ministries from all sections of the country met together to discuss the lawsuit and its verdict and the ‘what now?’.  The ‘what now?’ is still an open discussion.  In the very short term, unless a very clear Word of the Lord should come to say otherwise, there will be no appeal of the verdict.  We spoke and heard today how the lawsuit was initiated and handled, and how the evidence was presented to the court, and the judge’s decisions during the course of the trial to our side of the case.  Another leader with a legal background was also present, who changed his mind from before coming:  he clearly saw along with everyone else that there is very strong legal basis for filing an appeal.  With that, no-one present — nor any who have communicated with me in the past few days — had a conviction that an appeal is the clear will of God.  Some were uncertain; others were against. 

I want to say that God has given His peace to us regarding the verdict handed down by the judge in our lawsuit against Beer Sheva’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, and against the international anti-Messianic/-Christian organization, Yad L’Achim (Hand to Brothers).  The Lord provided us with the funds required of us to pay the defendants and their lawyers, including the punitive reward they were given for their actions.  Some responded so immediately to donate towards our financial obligation that it can only be seen as a demonstration of God’s direct involvement.  Even some who anticipated the verdict to be as it was have stood with us.  This reminds me of the prophets in Antioch who warned Paul by the Holy Spirit what awaited him in Jerusalem, yet they blessed him when he knew he must go — also by the Holy Spirit.

The verdict was so one-sided and unjust, and the defendants and their lawyers were even rewarded for their involvement in the “serious event” (the judge’s own words) on December 24, 2005, that truly it is liberating to know that the case was not decided on legal grounds, but on religious.  The secular judge, in a civil court, deciding a civil suit for illegal demonstration, trespass onto private “church-owned” property, property damage, personal injuries, ultimately interpreted all the evidence to satisfy the religious precept that “to save a [Jewish] soul in Israel is like saving the whole world” (pikuach nefesh).  This precept allows even the Sabbath to be violated, lies to be told (“the end justifies the means”), harm to be done.  Praise God, He wants to save Jewish souls, and Yeshua/Jesus is the Savior of the world, especially of those who believe!  And we too, as believers in Messiah Yeshua, may use means that seem unacceptable to others, yet we are taught by the Lord Himself and by His apostles to preach the gospel and to act righteously because salvation ultimately belongs to Him, and not to any methods of men or of demons.

Laws restricting proselytizing to minors or by offering material inducements are good and proper, and protect all of us.  Seeking to prohibit all evangelism can serve no-one and no “free” society well.  It is ultimately unenforceable, and can only lead to repression of liberties of speech and conscience.  Should all political parties be banned from trying to gain supporters or members?  Should no one be allowed to present what he considers good reasons for a better economic system?  The irony here in Israel, of course, is that the very good news that is rejected and denied has its roots, stock, branches, flower, and fruit all right here!  And YHVH God is faithful:  untold multitudes of Gentiles have turned to the God of Israel through Jesus Christ, the King of Israel who will be also the King of the Jews, to whom He first came, and to whom He will return when they bless Him who alone truly and fully comes in the name of YHVH.  Then will they realize that the One they have pierced and have been rejecting is the One who has nonetheless really loved them.

We went into this suit in weakness:  we did not present any witnesses who have immigrated since the ‘Beresford Case’ on Dec. 25, 1989 (anyone interested that does not already know can look this up on the internet), so as not to put them in any jeopardy; we did not take to court certain persons who clearly were instrumental in the riot, knowing that they would not testify against the Chief Rabbi or against Yad L’Achim; we strived to respect the Chief Rabbi because he is the Chief Rabbi of the city, despite his total lack of regard either for us or for our self-control.  We acted on the principle that the person or agency in charge is responsible for actions taken by those under their authority:  after bombings, don’t people wait to hear who accepts responsibility for the evil deed?; doesn’t Israel hold Hamas, for example, responsible for rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities?; didn’t the world hold Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister responsible for the recent flotilla incident (even though refusing to hold the guilty persons, organizations, and governments accountable)?; don’t the Scriptures hold the religious and political leaders of the people more accountable than the common people? (Lev 4)

Our lawsuit was never about money:  we were not interested in their money, but we used the monetary claims against them to express the seriousness of what they were doing, according to existing Israeli laws.  We were seeking to uphold the right to assemble together legally without illegal interference.  We were not trying to gain equal rights or recognition for believers within mainstream Judaism, nor expecting that our lawsuit would prevent future attacks.  We did hope that our case might give some of those who now oppose us pause to reconsider the reasons for that, and the means they use to express their hostility.  Despite the judge’s off-the-record comments about the nature of the event — which justified a lawsuit — he himself trivialized it in his verdict by demanding we pay our adversaries the percentage of our claims, even if we did not satisfy him in sufficiently proving their personal liability.  It is a corrupt system in any country when even the police do not bring to justice those whom they have arrested for illegal acts, especially when they were eyewitnesses to it.  We were given no opportunity to reference the same defendants’ cooperation for a similar event on November 28, 1998, even though the judge allowed them to refer to it untruthfully to serve their purpose, accepting their testimony as true.  There are a number of legal and procedural reasons why an appeal of the case could justifiably be made, but the reality of the entire proceedings only confirms that the real nature of our battle is spiritual and not carnal.  Just as wars are a necessary part of life till now, yet never permanently solves the problems nations have towards one another, so, too, are legal battles sometimes necessary, but neither can they win the ultimate victories for righteousness and justice.  Only God’s own righteousness being imputed to those who have come to Him by His way and on His terms can change the heart, mind, and conscience of a person or of a nation.  Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH!  Not in words and prayers only, but in faithfulness and truth.

Israel is not called by God to be a democracy, but a holy people and nation under the rule of the Sovereign YHVH God of Heaven and Earth (Mic 5:2) for a blessing to the whole world.

We have sought to honor the name of our Lord and Messiah, Yeshua, the Son of the living God, whose name is casually cursed and blasphemed here, often without even realizing it.  Just as Israel is continually placed on the defensive by the likes of Hamas, with never even a legitimate defense that is acceptable, so, too, do many of my brethren — the Jewish/Israeli people — relate and react towards those who have repented, and now believe the Word of God spoken through Moses and the Prophets regarding YHVH’s Anointed One.  All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.  Hallelu-Yah!  God bless you in Messiah our righteousness.

No Confidence in the Flesh

Philp 3: 3-11 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in the Messiah Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so. . . .  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah.  Yet indeed I also reckon all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ. . . .

Tomorrow is Pentecost, the 50th day of counting the sheaves of wheat, according to the Law of Moses, which Jesus came to fulfill.  The counting does not begin from the day after His death and burial – or even from the time He descended into the lower parts of the Earth to set free the captives – but rather from the day of His resurrection, from the day after the Sabbath.  We who believe in Jesus as Lord and Messiah are a new creation.  We begin with resurrection life in Messiah and then begin to learn what it is to suffer for His sake, to die with Him to ourselves, to live our lives unto God and His will.

The gospel is not something Jewish, since the Law makes no one righteous, and we can not be justified by the works of the Law.  Neither is the gospel something Greek or gentile, because non-Jews were outside of God’s covenant with Israel, and, according to the Bible, the gentiles worshipped demons and not the one true God.  So we see that the gospel is neither religion nor philosophy, not man’s wisdom or knowledge, not of demons or angels.

If our fellowship with God the Father and His Son Yeshua and with other believers is based upon any of these things esteemed by the world, then this is what Paul calls “having confidence in the flesh”.  Yet Paul claims that to be a true Jew and a true Christian is just the opposite:  “to have no confidence in the flesh”, concerning which he writes that he had more to boast in than others.  Let’s look at his credentials from our passage and consider how they apply to our identity and hope as God’s children.

circumcised on the eighth day

of the race of Israel

of the tribe of Benjamin

a Hebrew of Hebrews

in regard to the Law, a Pharisee

 

as for zeal, persecuting the church

as for legalistic righteousness, blameless

Notice that all of Paul’s “confidence in the flesh” have to do with those things of natural birth, supposed keys to citizenship in God’s Kingdom either through no choice of their own, or either through confidence in choosing the right party.  Everything here takes pride in one’s self, status, giftings, intellect, or else in one’s “team”.

Paul learned that these outward endowments and benefits are not ultimately those which count for eternity, for God is no respecter of persons.  He is after people, like David, who have a heart for Him, whose relationship with Jesus is worth more than whatever else he or she thinks important, who live now with a vision of the everlasting Kingdom of God.  All that is of now, Paul counts as rubbish, and he looks for the glory to come, which is all of God.

Have we learned. . .are we learning. . . to reckon all that makes us feel proud to be but refuse compared to the matchless beauty of the meek and lowly Holy One of Israel?

Let’s close with Paul from v. 12-21 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but one thing:  forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   Let us therefore, as many as be perfect , be thus minded; and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.   Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.   Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk according to the pattern we gave you. . . . For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of the humiliation, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

LAWSUIT update – VERDICT update

Shalom Brothers and Sisters,

A verdict has been handed down by Judge Iddo Ruzin in our lawsuit filed against the Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim.  The judge did exactly what we have been praying and hoping . . . that he would not do!  Judge Ruzin has determined that the two defendants are innocent of any wrong-doing concerning the events before, during, and after 24 Dec 2005, and that we did not produce sufficient evidence to prove any personal liability on their part in our civil suit against them.
Judge Ruzin has ordered that we pay 1000 ILS to each of the defendants, graded percentages of our claims against them for violations of Israeli law, attorneys’ wages for their clients’ defense, and the five appearances in court for the trial, for a total of approximately 155,000 ILS ( ($40,200; 32,900 Euros; or GBP 27,800).  This miscarriage of justice is a sad commentary on the state of affairs, and should be seen, too, as a wake-up call to all who care for truth and righteousness.

We express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for your encouragements, prayers, praises to God, and financial contributions throughout this lawsuit to date.  We believe, with many of you, that we were led by the Lord to enter into this lawsuit, and we have sought to honor the name of Yeshua.  We believe that at least in this latter regard, we were successful:  even the judge in his decision referred to the Lord as “Yeshua”, and not by the acronym commonly used by many in this land.  We understood from the outset that there was a risk involved in taking these particular defendants to court for what we still know they are liable.

If we decide to file an appeal of this decision, we will do so only after consultation with other Messianic leaders from around Israel, just as we did before going to trial.

We always believed, and still believe and accept, that the verdict is from the Lord, and it is for us to discern what He is saying to us through it.

Glory to the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel.

Lawsuit Update – 24 May 2010

We are still waiting for the Judge’s verdict in our lawsuit. The customary 30 days have passed, but he is under no legal obligation to have given it during that time. The times are in the Lord’s control, and so we trust Him for making the best use of this time to bring forth the verdict He wants, and the consequences of it. Please continue to pray for Judge Iddo Ruzin, who is understandably under much pressure.

Lawsuit Update – 17 May 2010

We are still waiting for Judge Iddo Ruzin to deliver his verdict on our case.  It is possible that he has already decided and posted it in the mail, or it may be that he is still deliberating on it.  In any case, we hope to receive his decision in the coming days.

This may be a good time to say plainly that we have not gone into this suit as a civil liberties issue, nor on the basis of Israel being a democratic country.  There are many who would deny that Israel is a full democracy, nor do we want to defend the right of ‘sinners’ to parade themselves as a ‘basic civil right or liberty’.  It is no sin to be born Jewish or Arab or black; it is not a sin to be Israeli, Korean, or Mexican; it is a sin for any person to break God’s holy and righteous laws, and the laws of a society which have been enacted to protect the general welfare of its citizens, residents, strangers, and aliens.  We know that it is the righteousness of God to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  For the Jewish people as a whole, that is the unforgivable sin!

Democracy has served certain countries well; it is not suited for  others.  The Word of God tells us to pray for all in authority who rule over us; He does not differentiate between forms of government in this commandment for believers in Messiah Yeshua.  God’s government, though, is not a democracy, however much freedom He gives to those under His rule and authority.  God’s government is a KINGDOM, with the Lord Messiah as the KING, which Yeshua has come to restore…and will restore at the appointed time the Father has set for His coming again.

Interestingly, Laodicea means “rule by/of the people”, or, “democracy”!  It’s inherent and fatal flaw — it’s ‘original sin’ — ultimately brings forth compromise and indifference to truth and moral absolutes, and places God OUTSIDE its borders.  Democracy ultimately insists on rule by, for, of the PEOPLE (whatever that may mean) — not by, for, of YHVH GOD.  In this generation, we see the foundations of civil society broken up; ungodly people ‘lording over’ the people; unrighteousness increasing rampantly:  all this on so-called grounds of ‘basic human rights’ and ‘free and democratic elections’, no matter how many do NOT vote, or how ignorant the voters, or how many empty political promises are made, or how corrupt the system.  The enemy of righteousness and peace takes advantage of this falling away (apostasy) when discernment is at a low level, and when the means to hold the flood back are greatly weakened or lacking altogether.

This generation prides itself on its great knowledge and technological brilliance.  Man’s view of itself and his achievements are not quite the way the God of Heaven and Earth assesses reality.  (Look again at the letter of Jesus to His church in Laodicea.)  In the book of Daniel, the image of King Nebuchadnezer’s dream depicts the historic Gentile kingdoms, qualitatively descending  in value from the head down to the feet, until the Kingdom which shall not pass away knocks the whole thing down from underneath.  In God’s estimation, this last non-cohesive clay-mixed-with-iron kingdom of our generation before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory to re-establish the Kingdom of God in this world is the LEAST, the POOREST in quality and value!

We did not go to court to perpetuate or to affirm or to take over a world system which is against YHVH and against His Anointed One!  We went to battle for the honor of the name of the Lord Yeshua and of those who believe in Him in connection with the legitimate right for us to lawfully assemble together to worship together on privately owned property — all in accord with the existing laws of the State of Israel, whatever kind of nation it is deemed to be — against those who have disregarded these laws, acted illegally to hinder us from doing so, and then publicly belittled both the event and us who believe.  What we were doing is legal; what they did is not.  Had they done what they did against us against Muslims at a mosque, rather than being in a beit mishpat (court of justice), they would have found themselves in a beit kevurot (a graveyard).  Had what they did against us been done against Jewish people in a synagogue anywhere else in the world — especially the western, Christianized world — there would have have been public outcries by the victims, and a reasonable expectation, even insistence, that religious and political leaders denounce such anti-semitic incitement, acts, and violence.  But here, in Beer Sheva — the City of the Fathers —  and throughout Israel, there has been a virtual news cover-up and no visible intervention by public officials to express their regret over the infringement of our ‘rights’ of religious freedom.

Our battle is not carnal, but spiritual, and will not be won by any arm of the flesh, but only by the Arm of the LORD of Hosts!  We are salt and light in the world, and are to impact it for righteousness sake, for the gospel’s sake, for the Kingdom of God’s sake, for the name of Yeshua’s sake.  If, as a result of our lawsuit, it helps to strengthen the freedoms we do enjoy under the form of government we do have, praise the Lord.  It may also result to serve further efforts to restrict our liberties as believers in Yeshua here in Israel, as was done against Daniel in Babylon, and against Mordecai and the Jews in Persia.  In the world there is tribulation, but praise God, Yeshua has overcome the world!  Harassment and persecution will not end yet as a result of our lawsuit, but more people may come to realize the love of the truth, and call upon the Name of the only One who can deliver and save.

Lawsuit Update – 18 Apr 2010

Shalom to all.  This evening Israel commemorates Memorial Day for all those who have been killed during the years of wars and rumors of wars.  It is a true statement that we must fight for liberty and peace.  Tuesday is Israel’s Independence Day, and God is working to sanctify His name amongst His people whom He will cleanse from all their ungodliness  and uncleanness.  We praise and worship our great God and Savior that He has paid the greatest price and won the war, and gives His peace to those who believe it!

Here is a more detailed report of where things stand in our lawsuit against those who still do not believe:

In accordance with the instructions of Judge Iddo Ruzin, the three sides to the lawsuit prepared drafts of a proposed compromise and submitted them to the court.  At that time, we, Nichalim BaNegev [Streams in the Negev – the registered, non-profit society that provides legal coverage for Kehilat Nachalat Yeshua/Yeshua’s Inheritance Congregation, and me, as plaintiffs, along with  Beer Sheva’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yehuda Deri, and the anti-Messianic organization, Yad L’Achim/Hand to the Brothers, as defendants, faced the judge for the final time.  Our lawyers, Marvin Kramer and Kevork Nalbandian, have faithfully represented us throughout the more than four years since we first decided to file a civil suit against those defendants for the illegal demonstration, trespass and violence against us on 24 December 2005 (which was the second time that the same two parties have worked together and were involved in a massive demonstration against our congregation).

When we appeared in court, the Judge submitted his own version of a proposed compromise, and submitted it to us for review.  None of the parties was willing to accept the compromise as drafted by the Judge.  Despite efforts to reword and revise the language, we were not able to reach agreement.  We said that a public apology for the event getting out of control would be acceptable, since they publicly lied and ridiculed us in the media.  We did not even insist that they accept ‘guilt’ in order to apologize, but rather that they would express remorse and apologize for their actions, which resulted in a riot which got out of control.  The defendants were not willing to apologize, and it became very clear that there was no regret or remorse from either of them.  From the tone and content of their words in open court, we realized that we could not accept the court’s proposed compromise, as in our opinion, it contained untrue statements, and our faith would not allow us to say that wrong was right, or agree to compromise on a fundamental premise, namely, a public apology.

There were other aspects of the proposal that we also could not agree with, such as a request by one of the defendants for an order directing that any compromise reached would not be allowed to be publicized.  At the end of the hearing, Judge Ruzin said that he would prepare his decision and send it to the attorneys in the mail.  We hope to receive it within 30 days.

Throughout the course of the lawsuit, we felt not only the burden of representing ourselves, but also recognized that we were taking a stand for the believing community as a whole here.  Our decision to risk accepting the judge’s verdict over a meaningless ‘compromise’ was done in the belief that this lawsuit is approved by the Lord with His blessing.   The fact that so many of you have stood with us — not only in prayer, but also in appearances in court, in coming to Beer Sheva to worship and to intercede, to give financial contributions towards the cost of the case — has greatly encouraged us that this is not our personal issue or battle, but God’s!  We know that the outcome is in His hands, and we continue to pray that His righteousness will prevail.

We all thank you all very much, and praise God for this opportunity to work together towards accomplishing His purposes at this time.

Howard and Randi