Yesterday was the day of Pentecost. The Jewish tradition in the day of Pentecost is to eat cheeses and good food and bring some-kind of first fruit. In the Israeli Kibbutzim the celebration is big with music and dancing and baskets of fruit and vegetables are brought and dedicated. One of the customs in Pentecost is an all-night study of Torah and the Word of God in general. We had a nice celebration every year since the 1970’s. This year it was a bit shorter than most years because of the little children. We have several families with toddlers and some with very young babies so we kept the celebration to three hours. We also have every year a cheese cake competition and this year there were five competitors. The prize was a very nice toaster and the sister who won the prize made a cheese cake with apricots from her own garden. There were two lessons presented about Pentecost one by a young leader and the other by me. We also read the whole book of Ruth and it was again a joy to read in one sitting all four chapters of Ruth in public. Things look totally different when you read the whole book in one sitting and in public. You suddenly notice things that you have heard and read many times but never paid sufficient attention to the text. We had almost a house full on the eve of Pentecost and prayer was led in several languages and the reading was also done in Hebrew, English, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and some other languages too. This was a kind of play acting of the Acts 2 scenario but without the miracles of speaking in one language and every foreigner hearing in his own language.
I find it so strange that Christians are so interested in the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost but they don’t celebrate the Feast of Pentecost in any Biblical form. Halleluiah Holy Spirit, but we celebrate Santa and the reindeers rather than give first fruit of our lives to the Lord. “We” put up a tree and decorate it just like Jeremiah chapter 10:1-5. If we believe in the restoration of the New Testament, First Century Church, what ought we to celebrate? Ought we celebrate the same holidays and feasts that the New Testament Disciples of Yeshua celebrated in the New Testament or those holidays that the church in Rome and Constantinople adopted in order to replace Israel and to replace the Biblical Feasts that the early Disciples of Yeshua celebrated according to the Word of God? Please pray and think about this and remember I don’t want to or intend to Judaize anyone, but our faith should be consistent with our declarations. If we want a restored church let us work to restore it. If we are happy with the man-made traditions created in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries let us all become Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox and be happy with it. There are only two roads, one that leads to Rome and one that leads back to the New Testament Church and the center is Jerusalem. You need to pray about this and see where your commitments are stationed, in Rome or in Jerusalem. When you find your answer you should make your commitment and be connected to one of these historical centers Rome or Jerusalem. Ask yourself to which were the Apostles connected and what was their life style reflecting and then make your choice.
We had a meeting with our builders and architect and project manager, and there is major progress, if you can call it that when you are taking the building apart. There is no longer a roof on the building and several of the walls are taken apart. The big and the bad news is that the Orthodox Jews are mounting a campaign against the building. They have gone through the neighborhood and tried to have people sign a petition for an attempt to get a court order to stop the building. They even called and threatened the contractor and warned him not to work with us. It is just a nasty action that is based only on religious prejudice and hate and I don’t believe that the court in Israel will fall into this kind of trap. I have full confidence in the Israeli court system and justice to be based on civil rights and justice based on democracy and equality of all minority groups both racially and religiously. However, you need to pray that God’s people will not act like those who persecuted them in Europe for so many hundreds of years. You need to pray that the legal system in Israel will not sink so low as to allow a small minority to dictate on the basis of discrimination and hate and prevent us from our normal democratic basic human rights. You need to pray that we get the necessary funds to pay for the construction of this building so that we can have a Synagogue for the Disciples of Yeshua in our eternal Capital City of Jerusalem. You need to pray and bless our builders and architects and the shop owners in the neighborhood who refused to sign such a petition against us. We don’t know who signed the petition against us, but we do know that most of our immediate neighbors did not sign such a petition. We all pray with full confidence in the Goodness of God to His children and in the future of Israel and “Tikkun Olam,” the redemption of the whole World. We stand on these truths and we did not compromise on these self-evident values of human rights and we ask you to stand with us until the end.
The issues that we are dealing with and what we represent are not at all religious issues; they are existential for us and for all of Israel. Our live in the Land of Israel are dependent only on God‘s mercy and faithfulness. According to His Words in the Torah if we as a nation don’t learn to be fair and righteous and take care to love each other and even the stranger among us, this land will vomit us out as it has already happened more than one time. We pray that God will have mercy on us and give our leaders, both secular and religious, a clear revelation of the full Torah and how we as a nation and as a state ought to treat each other and love each other encouraging all to do God’s Will, have faith and keep His commandments. This is our prayer for Israel and for all.
We continue to pray for our sick brothers and sisters. Today I am just going to list them by name and ask you to mention these names as you pray for healing, strength, and wellness: Ruby, Liz, Tim Tucker, Shoko, Tomoko, Paulo, Sadako, Udi, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Marcia, Miriam, Anna, Anna-Majia, Sato-Marja, David S., Zvi, Zvi and Sara, Lilian and Eddy, Sarit, Rose, Merav, and for Danah and Noaam.
We ask you to continue to pray for the situation in Syria. The suffering of innocent people there is just totally outrageous, and the dragging of feet by Europe and the West is just beyond understanding. God can act in the ways that He only knows how to act in order to stop this carnage in Syria. Pray!
We have increased the number of people who are receiving the cards for purchasing food by 26 more families. Several of these new families are survivors of the Nazi – Holocaust and others are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. We appreciate your prayers and your support for this very important humanitarian project that blesses the poor of Jerusalem.
The Radio programs are continuing and new programs are being recorded every week. I am still doing the book of Jeremiah on the Radio in Hebrew and those of you who know Hebrew can find these teachings on Netivyah’s web page: www.netivyah.org
I will cut this letter short and wish all of you who pray for us and support the Lord’s work in Israel.
Keep Jerusalem and us in your daily prayer, Please!