Happy Hannuka from Tel Aviv!
Though this season should be a joyous one for both Jews and Christians, to our great sadness, I we must acknowledge that from all appearances, we are heading for war.
Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but in fact war could break out at any time with Syria. We know war is coming and we know that in Israel's distress many of our people will turn to God as I happened in the days of the Bible--if they know where to turn.
HOW WILL THEY KNOW WITHOUT A PREACHER?
However we feel that as of this moment, the message of salvation through Messiah Yeshua is not yet wide-spread enough in our nation for Israelis to know where to look for help when trouble comes. God's message must be far more public in Israel than it is now, so Israelis will again have the opportunity to choose Him.
Therefore we are praying that God will hold back the hand of Israel's enemies for yet a little longer so that the believers in the land will have more time to work so that the body of Messiah worldwide will have time to be in place for their part in the harvest here. So that all who will, may enter in.
The reality is that even though the Bible came through the Jewish people, today there are great gaps of ignorance of the Scripture which keep Israelis from receiving eternal life.
MY PEOPLE PERISH FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
Even when Israelis do receive the Messiah, they sometimes perceive Yeshua as a joyful addition to their belief in God. But they do not grasp that what they have found--the pearl of great price--is the door from death to life for themselves, their families and their friends.
Throughout the years we have met Israelis, especially middle-aged or older people, who come to faith, and yet have very little motivation to see their children or immediate family make the same steps. These people seem to be genuinely saved, but somehow have not grasped the basics. Thankfully, the younger generation seems far more able to come to grips with the full message of the Gospel. This generation will be a generation of evangelists.
VERSES TO PRAY BY
The following are basic truths that the Jewish people must grasp before this nation can fulfill the purpose for which God created it. These are points that our Maoz readers can focus upon in their prayers of intercession that blindness will fall off the eyes of Israel:
1. Traditional Orthodox Judaism teaches that basically every Jew will go to paradise (heaven) when he dies (with possibly a few exceptions) just because he or she was born a Jew. The Jewish people--both religious and non-religious--do not know that there is a heaven and a hell.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan 12:2)
2. The Jewish people don't know that Moses taught that those who turn away from God will have their names erased from the book of life and be separated eternally from God. The LORD replied to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. (Ex 32:33)
3. Jewish people don't know that one day God will judge every evil deed.
Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the LORD Almighty. Not a root or a branch will be left to them. (Mal 4:1)
4. The Jewish people don't know that the Bible teaches that salvation is available only through God. Orthodox Judaism teaches what all other man-initiated religions teach--that man can reach God by his good deeds.
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. (Isa 43:11) All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; . . . our sins sweep us away. (Isa 64:6) (Emphasis mine)
. . .I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will save you from all your uncleanness. . . (Ezek 36:26, 29) (Emphasis mine)
5. Jewish people don't know that Moses taught that atonement for sin is available only through a sacrifice of blood. They are instead taught that atonement (and thus forgiveness) is earned through good deeds.
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. (Lev 17:11)
6. Jewish people don't know the prophet Isaiah promised that the death of God's Lamb would bring Israel a blood sacrifice to cover their sins.
. . .he was led like a lamb to the slaughter. . . Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, . . . because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isa 53:7,10,12) (Emphasis mine)
7. They don't know that on the Day of the Lord when God will judge the whole earth, that Yeshua will redeem every person who trusts in Him. For that reason the Messiah is returning for all who believe in Him.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so I Messiah was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will I appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Heb 9:27-28)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
8. Jewish people don't know that God appeared many times to the patriarchs and to the prophets in the form of a man..
The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. (Gen 18:1)
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. (Gen 32:30)
9. Jewish people do not know that Solomon, son of David, revealed that God Who is One has a Son. Because that is not easy to understand, they deny it as a possible reality.
Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! (Prov 30:4)
10. Jewish people know that they have been chosen. But they don't know what for! They have been chosen to be a nation of evangelists--a light to the nations.
. . .All peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen 12:3)
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. . .Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isa 60:1,3)
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. . . . (Isa 61.6)
11. Jewish people do not know that Yeshua is the revelation of God's love, His willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of His creation.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
12. The Jewish people don't know how much God loves them and is calling them to come back home. They don't know they are away.
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! (Hosea 14:1). Say to him: Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously. .. I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. (Hosea 14:1,2,4)
13. The Jewish people don't know that through the mouths of their prophets God has promised that in the last days He would bring His wayward and lost people back to His land and back to Himself: It's a matter of life and death.
I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.' (Ezek 37:14)
At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, I and they will be my people. (Jer 31:1)
14. The Jewish people don't know what they are missing. But more and more, especially the younger generation, know they are missing something, and are now looking for that missing something among the religions of the world and the New Age movement.
15. The Jewish people don't know that they don't know the Bible.
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. (Hosea 4:6)
16. Jewish people don't know that because of His unfailing love for Jacob, God is putting in place an army of prayers and financial contributors among the nations to support and undergird an army of Jewish pastors, evangelists, and workers who will bring the Good News of salvation through the King of the Jews, so that all Israel can be saved.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. (Isa 49:22)
17. Most Christians don't know that Israel's spiritual resurrection will cause great spiritual awakening throughout the world.
But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Rom 11:12,15) (Emphasis mine)
WHAT ISRAELI BELIEVERS DON’T HAVE
To care for people who are dying, you have to be there with food and medicines. Yesterday CNN reported that U.N. relief forces were trying to bring relief supplies to refugees in Zaire, but were unable to reach the dying refugees because of rebel troops. The U.N. waited helplessly while the refugees didn’t know there was food and medicine a short distance away. You have to be able to be on the scene to bring life.
To bring life to the spiritually dying, you (1) have to be there, (2) they have to know you exist, (3) you have to have spiritual supplies ready for those who need it and want it.
The believers in Israel need the freedom to be public—to be free to advertise in newspapers, on T.V. and radio, place signs on the outside of congregational meeting places and use other forms of advertising to let people know we exist. The religious establishment of Israel has worked hard to keep the Messianic Jews of Israel invisible—so no one would know that we exist.
To use another illustration: To go fishing for quantities of fish you need a net. To go fishing for men—in mass—you need a net. You need workers and materials to enable the lost to be brought in and fed. But even if you have a net, little can be accomplished unless you have a boat to put the fish in.
Throughout the country, believers meet in their private homes. But there are many, many more Israelis who would come if they knew where to go.
Today is a new day. This year a congregation near Tel Aviv purchased their own building for $800,000. Before they moved into it, it was miraculously paid for. At this moment another congregational building is going up in Haifa which will cost even more.
Our own congregation needs the miracle of an open, public place to meet in downtown Tel Aviv. A boat for the ingathering. A barn, if you will, for the harvest. This is a matter of prayer.
However, OUR IMMEDIATE NEED IS BOOKS. Right now we are preparing a variety of books for evangelism and discipleship. Many valuable books from the West can be translated into Hebrew. Others must be produced by Israelis for Israelis.
Think what a difference it would make in the West if there were only a few dozen Gospel titles available in English for all believers. Publishing books in English for all believers. Publishing books in Hebrew is very costly, but essential. It is the only way masses of Israelis can quickly receive the Gospel in depth.
We ask you to partner with us in giving to the Israeli people the possibility to receive salvation and to be discipled through the written word. Books will greatly enhance the efforts of every pastor, believer and congregation in the land.
For the lost sheep of Israel,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram