It’s not a sin, but…
Recently, Pastor Howard Bass posted a blog here at KNI entitled “False Teachers and Heresies” in which he listed some of the most serious errors being taught and practiced by a tragically large percentage of Believers connected with Israel in this season of history. I’d like to respond to that blog.
First of all, I want to say thank you to Howard for bringing up this topic. Frankly, it’s about time the leadership of the Body of Messiah in Israel started raising awareness and pushing back against these false teachings. I also want to address some of the feedback Howard’s blog generated because he listed “Torah Observance” among the heresies and errors being promoted by many in the Hebrew Roots movement. I think Howard did a pretty good job of explaining what he meant by that, but of course there were some who insisted on missing his point and/or taking offense.
There’ll probably be a similar reaction to this blog, but after three years of blogging here at KNI I’ve learned that there’s really no avoiding it.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify”
In my humble opinion/observation Torah observance is not a sin for Believers in Jesus, but it often leads to a very serious sin, the sin of pride. The spiritual pride and self-righteousness which almost inevitably comes from Believers “keeping Torah” leads to many sorrows, including splits and divisions within denominations, congregations and even families, endless arguments and bickering, cutting off of fellowship, acrimony, bitterness, hurt feelings and damaged people.
In other words, it might be lawful, but it doesn’t edify, it doesn’t build up. Quite the opposite, it destroys relationships, it causes chaos, confusion and disharmony in the Body and it creates divisions and acrimony that help absolutely NO ONE, except the Enemy.
Some people say they feel like they’re drawing closer to Jesus by “keeping Torah” as He did.
However, Jesus kept the Torah perfectly for a very specific reason which has no relevance whatsoever for me and you, unless someone out there feels called to live a perfect life so they’ll be qualified to die as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind like He did. If not, you should ask yourself what good it does to develop a feeling of closeness with Jesus of Nazareth if at the same time you create so much unnecessary, unhelpful and unprofitable distance between yourself and the rest of the Body of Christ. Even a very casual reading of the New Testament, particularly the Book of Acts, will demonstrate that this is not something Jesus would want His followers to do.
Another issue that Howard’s blog raised was those false teachers who say that “Torah observance” is not a salvation issue but it’s still necessary and good.
To that I would respond, if it’s not a salvation issue, what IS it about? What good DOES it do and what fruit DOES it produce?
Again, the fruit it mostly produces is pride, arguments, acrimony and division.
With that in mind, if you’re finding yourself spending more time arguing with Christians about the necessity of “Torah observance” than you do sharing the Gospel among non-Believers, you’ve taken a wrong turn. If you feel like you’ve “been called” to confront wayward pastors and elders of the local churches in your city about the lack of “Torah observance” in their fellowships, than you are making an extra-special error and have actually become an obstacle to the Kingdom instead of a servant of it. If you find yourself shunning fellowship with Christians over this issue and seeking out spiritual communion elsewhere, you are actually in very serious spiritual danger.
Now let me just take a moment to address something that one often hears from the “Torah observant” crowd, that they’re “not judging anyone” but that they’re merely setting an example which they hope others will follow because they hope they can lift their brothers and sisters in the faith up into true obedience, righteousness, etc.
The sheer absurdity, arrogance and dishonesty of this narrative is staggering.
To paraphrase Jesus’ parable from Luke 18, they’re saying to God “Lord, thank you that you’ve made me Torah observant, I keep all the commandments and I eschew paganism, not like that “Christian” guy over there with his wretched Christmas tree and the bacon he eats. Gosh I sure hope he notices me over here with my “Torah observant” lifestyle so he’ll leave all that behind and live righteously like I do. You know what, I better not take a chance, I better hassle him about it endlessly (in a non-judgmental way of course) until he sees the error of his way, repents and starts living like I do so he can be righteous like I am.”
Brothers and sisters, here’s the bottom line.
Jesus’ lifestyle of “Torah observance” is barely mentioned in the Gospels. In my humble opinion, this is for the very excellent reason that it’s just not terribly important. In this respect it’s comparable to His mother Mary, who is also barely mentioned in the Gospels. The way some people turn Jesus’ “Torah observance” into a major theological point is comparable to the way the Roman Catholic Church makes a big deal out of Mary at the expense of what really is important.
What’s that you ask?
The most important thing Jesus ever did was die on the Cross as a sacrificial atonement for the sins of mankind. In the three years prior to that event he preached a Gospel of kindness, humility, faith, love, compassion, forgiveness and community. It is His sacrifice on the Cross that we are to identify with. It is His teachings that we are to incorporate into our daily lives, thoughts and attitudes.
THAT is how you obey the commandment to “be like Him” NOT by trying to do the impossible by being perfectly “Torah observant” like only He could do.
If we fail to do that, any efforts to live a “Torah observant” lifestyle are not only useless and unnecessary, they can and nearly always do become a stumbling block and a curse as we try to be obedient to Jesus’ commands to “feed my sheep” and “love our neighbor as ourselves” and share the Gospel with a lost and dying world and otherwise build His Kingdom.
Aaron is a member of Jerusalem Assembly, House of Redemption.
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Intercessory Prayer (Part 1)
Recently I was sitting with my wife Betty early in the morning, sipping tea, going over the day’s tasks, and praying for our family, ministry, spiritual life, and current events. We realized that this was not only a devotional time, but how we work. It is our “methodology.” We live by intercessory prayer, by praying over each and every thing.
At this stage of my life I am looking to turn over all our “ministry” operations to younger leaders. Thank God, we have amazing teams of gifted and motivated people, serving in almost every area. They are students of the word, covenant friends, “five-fold” ministers, anointed musicians, effective administrators, and talented communicators.
I was wondering if anything was missing. One question came to my heart. Have they really grasped that everything we have pioneered and developed has been done first through intercessory prayer? Have we succeeded in passing that essential value on to them?
In order to “pass on” the baton of intercessory prayer, I thought it would be good to try to summarize some of the essential aspects of prayer in a short article:
- By Faith – Yeshua taught us that when we pray, we need to have faith in God and the faith of God. Prayers backed by faith can move mountains (Mark 11:22-25). Words of faith act like “bull-dozers” to get things done in the spirit. With faith-filled words, nothing is impossible. By the same rule: without faith-filled words, nothing of kingdom value is possible. Much of prayer is simply declaring verses of scriptures out-loud by faith.
- With Yeshua – Yeshua preached and did miracles for 3 to 4 years. He has been interceding in prayer from the throne of God for 2000 years. Apparently, He thinks this is an efficient way to operate, an effective use of His time! He is a full-time intercessor, praying for us at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25). We should not pray by ourselves, but “with Yeshua” in cooperation and partnership.
- With Authority – Although we pray with a humble heart, submitting to the will of God, we also must pray with spiritual authority. Yeshua not only rose from the dead, but ascended into heaven “above all authority” (Ephesians 1:20-22). From that position of authority, He prays. He invites us to be seated with Him there (Ephesians 2:5-7), and to pray with Him from the same perspective and authority.
- In Tongues – Praying in tongues is an amazingly effective tool. Paul said that he prayed in tongues more than anyone else (I Corinthians 14:5, 18). This was not a statement of pride but an exhortation for us to understand how important it is to pray in tongues. Prayer in tongues allows for intercession beyond our limited understanding and ability to express words (Romans 8:26).
- By the Spirit – We pray by the leading of the Holy Spirit, with the Holy Spirit, and actually allow the Spirit of God to pray through us (Romans 8:16, 26; 9:1; 10:1). We pray not only by our own thoughts, but through the Spirit in a dimension beyond our thoughts (I Corinthians 14:2, 13-17; Judah 20). Prayer is a spirit-led activity, that is akin to prophesying, in that we are “moved” by the Spirit (II Peter 1:21).
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, January 3, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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The bible becomes alive in the Land of Israel
They say that the bible comes to life in Israel. There is something truly amazing about reading the stories in the places it actually happened. It was a very special experience for me when I first came here. And now I get to take my children to those sites and tell them the bible stories right where they took place.
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever more.” Psalm 125:2
While it is a blessing to be able to walk in the land of the bible, there is even more. It is the images that are described that become real. Visuals are very powerful. Seeing the Old City of Jerusalem surrounded by mountains is what the writer of Psalm 125 saw. And it is what we can still see today. It gives a visual reminder of the protection of the Lord. I can see the mountains and I am reminded of the faithfulness of the Lord.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1
Most of the deer in Israel live in the dessert. There is very little water and it is very hot. During the dry summer months, you can find deer panting and looking for water. When I see a deer, I can relate to how it feels as my soul pants for God.
“…. See how the flowers of the field grow….” Matthew 6:28
The flowers are suddenly there, after a rainy season. But as the weather heats up, they wither and dry up within a day. All that they are good for now is to be burned. This is a visual that the Lord Jesus used to encourage his disciples not to worry about clothing. For me it became real, when seeing the usually dry hills, suddenly with the most beautiful flowers, only to be gone within days. When flowers that are only there for a day are clothed with such splendor, how can I doubt that He will also care for me?
The bible becomes visual while reading it in the Land of Israel. It is truly amazing and I hope you get to experience it. But, while visuals help, the really ‘coming alive’ is in our hearts, and that can happen anywhere.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, January 8, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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The Lamb of God
PARASHAT BO (COME)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 10:1–13:16
The Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) are full of references that connect to Messiah, and point to His fulfillment of the perfect, unblemished Lamb. In this week’s scripture portion, we find many of these connections, but I want to focus on verses 5 and 6 in Exodus 12:
Your lamb shall be an unblemished (perfect) male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. (between the evening or afternoon)
There are three main points that I would like to highlight from these verses, because they directly point to Messiah Yeshua, and how He fulfilled the prophetic image of the Lamb:
- The “Unblemished Lamb” here in Hebrew is translated as “Seh Tamim.” The Hebrew word “tamim” refers to honesty, simplicity, innocence, completeness, integrity, and without any flaw or defect. You can find a similar description also in Deuteronomy 15:21,But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
Isaiah 53 speaks of a person, which we know is the Messiah, that the LORD would use as a “lamb that is led to the slaughter” and would pay the penalty of sin for all of us:
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.
The disciples also referred to Yeshua in a similar way:
The next day he saw Yeshua coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah.
1 Peter 1:18–19
- Specific instructions on how to keep and slaughter the lamb:The instruction here was to take the lamb on the 10th of the month, and then keep it (or watch over it) until the 14th of the month. For what reason? I believe that it was in order to check or observe it and make sure that there was nothing wrong with it. In Matthew 22:15–33, just a few days before Yeshua gave Himself as the Sacrificed Lamb, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were questioning Yeshua on different issues so as to “check” Him and observe Him.
- The command to slaughter the lamb at twilight (between the evenings):The command here was to “kill it between the evenings” or in other words, in the afternoon. It makes sense then that Matthew recorded the time that Yeshua was on the tree (Cross) in these words,
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
My dear friends, the more we read and learn of the amazing work of our Messiah, the more we will see the perfect fulfillment of every detail!
I leave you with two questions: Do you know Him? Have you received His perfect sacrifice as an atonement for your sin?
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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Investing in Israeli companies via the London Stock Exchange
“Israeli Companies’ continued success is a model for the rest of the world.” – Forbes
This article following on from the Investing In Israel through the London Stock Exchange series. Part 1 Investing in Israel via the LSEG – & 7 Israeli Tech Companies and Part 2 Investing In Israel via the LSEG – Investment and Property Services Companies
Last year it was announced by Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, that bilateral trade between the UK and Israel rose by 25% in 2017 rose to a record £6.9 billion, a trend that analysts predict will continue.
Despite having only around 8 million residents and a land mass slightly larger than the size of Wales, the ‘scale-up nation’ has emerged as a desirable investment destination.
One consensus to the reason behind Israel’s success; a relentlessness dedication to bring fast-growing disruptive technology businesses beyond the boundaries of geography. Western nations trade relatively easily with their neighbors, whilst Israel does not yet have that privilege. With such political challenges with bordering nations, and a relatively small domestic market, Israel’s entrepreneurs are forced to think of commercial success at an international level.
On average the nation invests more than 5% of GDP back into Research & Development initiatives. Private venture capital spending in Israel is also on the top of the world’s list.
Winston Churchill said “let our advanced worrying become advanced thinking and planning”
A UK government issued White Paper identified Israel as a trade priority for post-Brexit Britain because of the potential synergies between Israel’s high levels of innovation and British strengths in design, business growth and finance, as well as the UK’s own high-technology, scientific and institutional strengths.
There are now at least 337 Israeli tech companies operating in the UK. Figures from the British Embassy in Israel show a 33% growth in the value of their investments in the year following the UK’s EU membership referendum result. While the increase was only from £114m to £152m, the number of new investors has been sustained, and their investments climbed in value to £298m in the year to June 2018. This also resulted in a 12.8 per cent increase in jobs created in the UK.
“I would have preferred that there hadn’t been this complication called Brexit, but I’m sure we’ll overcome anything thrown at us,” Asher Bennett, Israeli Founder of Tevva Motors
LISTED COMPANIES ON THE LSEG
In 2018 €8.4 billion in Israeli stocks was traded on London Stock Exchange
Market Capitalisation, values taken on the 9th of January 2019, and vary from day to day, so should be taken as approximates. Share trading available from Hargreaves Lansdown.
1 – PLAYTECH PLC | Gambling | Market Cap $b 1.6
2 – PLUS500 LTD | Investment Services | Market Cap $b 1.703
3 – 888 HOLDINGS PLC | Gambling | Market Cap $m 652
4 – PPHE HOTEL GROUP LD | Hotels | Market Cap $m 719.7
5 – SUMMIT GERMANY LIMITED | Real Estate Holdings | Market Cap $m 517
6 – SAFECHARGE INTERNATIONAL GROUP LTD | Financial Administration | Market Cap $m 414
7 – XLMEDIA PLC | Media Agency | Market Capital $m 164.6
8 – TAPTICA INTERNATIONAL LTD | Media Agency | Market Cap $m 130.
9 – TELIT COMMUNICATIONS PLC | Telecommunications Equipment | Market Cap $m 160
“Israeli companies have a total Combined Market Cap of $17.9 billion“Justine Zwerling – Head of Primary Markets Israel – LSEG
10- BCRE BRACK CAPITAL REAL EST INV NV | Real Estate Holding & Development | Market Cap $m 159
11 – KAPE TECHNOLOGIES (formerly Crossrider PLC) | Software | Market Cap $m 142
12 – BATM ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS LD | Market Cap $m 191.7
13 – AFI DEVELOPMENT PLC | Telecommunications Equipment| Market Cap $m 199.5
14 – LIVERMORE INVESTMENTS GROUP LD | Specialists Finance | $m 71.68
15- MATOMY MEDIA GROUP LTD | Media Agencies | Market Cap $m 7.21.
16 – AMIAD WATER SYSTEMS LD | Industry Machinery | Market Cap $m 49.86
17 – B.S.D CROWN LTD | Internet | Market Cap $m 22.4
18 – ALBERT TECHNOLOGIES LTD | Software | Market Cap $m 19.9
Despite its small stature, the developed market is a tech and healthcare powerhouse. A powerhouse that is growing by leaps and bounds. For investors, Israel, the often ignored nation could be one of the brightest spots on the map. – Forbes
19 -TECHFINANCIALS INC | Software | Market Cap $m 4.24
20 – ETHERNITY NETWORKS LD | Telecomms Equipment | Market Cap $m 12
21 – SHEFA YAMIM (A.T.M.) LTD | Diamonds & Gemstones | Market Cap $m 8
22 – MTI WIRELESS EDGE | Telecomms Equipment | Market Cap $m 13.7
23 – SIMIGON LD MTI | Software | Market Cap $m 6.35
24- BAGIR GROUP LTD | Market Cap $m 4.7
25 – STARCOM PLC | Software | Market Cap $m 4.6
26 – PLAZA CENTERS N.V. | Real Estate Holding & Development | Market Cap $m 2
This article originally appeared on Linkedin and is reposted with permission.
Jon is a digital project manager who consults for small start ups in London. Through Israelinvestment.org he stewards a small community of Christians in the UK who encourage each other to invest in ethical businesses in Israel.