Yeshua transfers authority from rabbis to apostles
The "seat of Moses" from ancient synagogue of Chorazin (Photo: Efi Barak/Wikimedia Commons)
One of the responses I received, from my warning concerning the new Sanhedrin and the building of the third temple, was that we have to obey the rabbis as they have God-given authority over the Jewish people. This is not the first time I have heard this. It is based on Matthew 23. Yeshua tells the people:
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Matt. 23:2-3)
The idea is that, even in unbelief, they “sit in Moses’ seat” and therefore should be obeyed. The term “Moses’ seat” seems to indicate the place of authority that Moses held in the community. As you will recall, Moses was judge over the people. He would “sit” (hence, Moses’ seat) all day and judge disputes:
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. (Ex. 18:13)
The word (kathizó) that refers to these Jewish leaders “seating themselves in Moses’s seat” in Matthew 23:2 is also used 1 Corinthians 6:4 and means “appointing judges.” In many cases, the idea of sitting on a seat orthronewas allegorical to having authority(1 Kings 1:35, 46; 2 Kings 15:12; Psalms 132:12).
The job became too much for Moses and he, in response to the advice from his father-in-law Jethro, appointed other men to assist. This group in Yeshua’s day was known as the Sanhedrin. The very word, Sanhedrin, means “sitting together,” as in a judging council. In every synagogue, there was a seat called “Moses’ seat” where one of these authoritative teachers would function.
So, yes, Yeshua recognized their authority to sit in judgment. Of course, he also called them out during the rest of the chapter, using the harshest rhetoric in all the gospels. It was time for a change!
Changing of the Guard
It appears, however, the New Testament lays out a new system of authority. He takes it from the Sanhedrin and gives it to His apostles. It is no wonder that the first few chapters of Acts reveal a power struggle between the Pharisees and the Jewish apostles. To be clear, the apostles were merely fulfilling the words of Yeshua in preaching His kingdom. The Sanhedrin responded with violence against them. There was a war in the spirit.
There are at least four places where Yeshua affirms this authority transfer.
Binding and Losing
In Matthew 16, He gives His disciples the keys of the kingdom and begins to reveal what Paul calls the mystery of the ecclesia, the One New Man.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ecclesia, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beloosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19)
He speaks of this new thing he will build—the congregation of Yeshua followers—starting with Peter and his disciples. Unbeknownst to them, it will expand to include the nations.
Many have attributed “binding and loosing” to casting out demons, when in fact, He was referring to the authority of the upper and lower houses of the Sanhedrin. These were legal terms referring to interpreting Jewish law. Yeshua uses the word “keys”—which clearly symbolizes authority.
We see this authority first exercised in a ‘binding way’ in Acts 1, when they add Matthias to their number. Then again, many years later in Acts 15, when the apostles decide that Gentiles can enter the Kingdom without becoming Jewish.
When Yeshua spoke of binding and loosing, He wasn’t talking about spiritual warfare. The people to whom He spoke understood that He was talking about what was consistent with Torah and what wasn’t. This matter of binding and loosing wasn’t unique to Yeshua. It was entirely familiar to them all because it was how the rabbis would sanction something or ban it according to the teachings in Torah. —Lonnie Lane
Only Two are Needed
Then, in Matthew 18, he mentions it again and adds something:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt. 18:18-20)
Under Jewish law, you needed ten men of Bar Mitzvah age to have a religious meeting. This is called a minyan. I can remember during my years of religious training, that the men would often recruit a couple of us for the afternoon prayers because they did not have the required ten men. We were thrilled to get out of class!
But here Yeshua says, “No, if just a couple of you gather in my name, I am there.”
Taken and Given
In Matthew 21, Yeshua explained how the Sanhedrin had abused their authority and rejected the prophets. Their final act would be to reject the Son.
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (Matt. 21:43)
This passage has been wrongly usedto promote replacement theology. But he never says he was taking the authority away from Israel, but merely the religious leaders. Hence, the passage continues with this: “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.” (v. 45) It doesn’t say they knew he was talking about all Israel or the Jewish people, but merely, “the chief priests and the Pharisees.”
Next, in Matthew 28, he tells the soon-to-be Jewish apostles:
“All authorityin heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Yeshua says He has all authority. That means he can take it from whom he wants and give it to whomever He wants. He takes it from the Sanhedrin and gives it to the disciples. Part of that authority was to teach and interpret Scripture. Even as the Catholic church for centuries told everyday believers that they had no business reading the Bible on their own (you need an approved priest to tell you what it means), the Jewish people were (and are) overly reliant on the rabbis to tell them what the Scriptures say. If I had a nickel for every time a Jewish person said to me, “If Jesus were the Messiah, my rabbi would believe,” I would…well, I would have a lot of nickels!
Take some time to read Ephesians 3. Paul reveals the mystery “which was not made known to people in other generations” (v. 5)that God was doing something new, creating One New Man made up of Jews and Gentiles, that would shake the world. A new authority structure would be needed.
And this is why Yeshua spent three and a half years training the disciples. These Jewish men did more in a few years than the rabbis had done since Moses! Even their enemies recognized this.
“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also!” (Acts 17:6)
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, October 27, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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The culmination of the ages
Having recently celebrated the fall feasts, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Sukkoth, we reflect on the deep meaning and significance of these Holidays in the light of the New Covenant Age in which we now live.
Yeshua initiated the New Covenant in His blood at the Last Passover when He offered to His disciples the third cup of wine, the cup of Redemption. We also see that the culmination of the New Covenant Age will be signified by the final trumpet blast, which is symbolized in Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets. So we can understand that Passover and Yom Teruah appear to be giving us a symbolic image of the beginning and culmination of this age, however there are verses which indicate something much larger and more significant than just this age.
Hebrews 9:24 – 28 states, ‘For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise the Messiah would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Yeshua was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.’
So we see that Yeshua’s appearance once for all, his death and resurrection and conclusive victory over sin and death, and finally the coming atonement through judgment is the culmination of the ages. This culmination which has already taken place in the incarnation of Yeshua will be brought to a final conclusion when he returns, not to deal with sin a second time, but to bring a full manifestation of the salvation which belongs to those who wait for Him. This term ‘the culmination of the ages’ also indicates the consummation of every other age which has gone before. We live now in an unprecedented age, having been made Sons and Daughters of the Living God with His Law written on our brand new hearts of flesh. We are new creations, whose source is the abundance and overflow of God’s Holy Spirit which has been poured out on all flesh. Heaven and Earth have been reconciled back to the Father through Yeshua, even though we have not seen the fulness of this transformation with our eyes. Old things have passed away, behold ALL things have been made new. This is the New Age in which we now live, thanks to Yeshua. So may we look forward to the joyous day when He returns and our salvation is made complete and in keeping with the prophetic progression of God’s appointed times, we will one day enter the Sabbath Age in the New Heaven and New Earth when Yeshua tabernacles with us, as symbolized by Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles.
Chad is the Senior Pastor of King of Kings Community Jerusalem. He and his family made aliyah in July of 2014. Chad was the Senior Leader of Brit Hadasha Messianic Jewish Synagogue in Memphis, prior to their move. Chad began in full time ministry in 1999 in Gaithersburg, MD. The Holland family enjoys being involved in discipleship, small groups, marriage counseling, hospitality and leadership training.
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The intriguing and inspirational first intercessory prayer in Scripture
ARTICLE SUMMARY: Abraham’s intriguing ministry of intercession, unlocked and unpacked, can invigorate your own intercessory prayer life. The traditionally read Torah portion for this week, Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24), shows us why.
The first intercessory prayer recorded in Scripture is found in this week’s Parasha. There Abraham extends hospitality to three traveling strangers, one of which is probably the Lord Himself. (Genesis 18:1-19:1) Accompanied by two angels and taking human form, YHVH encounters the patriarch and talks openly with him.
God describes Abraham in this passage as the chosen inheritor of His covenant. The Bible identifies him elsewhere as God’s “friend” (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). In ancient times, a friend was not a facebook name of an individual you might never actually meet. A friend was someone known in real time and space, loved, enjoyed, admired and trusted. If friends entered into covenant, the friendship was taken to even more intimate, unshakeable levels. To be a covenant friend of the Creator of the Universe, therefore, dazzles the mind!
Because Abraham was God’s friend, the unprecedented unfolds. In Genesis 18, God convenes His heavenly council at Abraham’s tent. YHVH reveals to His friend that He is ready to judge the persistent evil of nearby Sodom and Gomorrah. First, however, He will “go down and see” (Genesis 18:21) if the situation there is as bad as He has heard. Of course, God knows every detail of everything taking place in those cities. Rabbinic and Christian scholars generally interpret verse 21 to mean He is deliberately revealing His extreme justice to the heavenly council, Abraham, Sodom, Gomorrah, and us.
But I think there is even more. In verses 17-21, YHVH seems to surreptitiously invite Abraham to speak into the council of heaven as a human intercessor. He extends a cloaked opportunity for him to intervene on behalf of humanity. For Abraham is not only God’s friend; he is a righteous human being. As such, he has authority to mediate on men’s behalf.
Recall that God instructed mankind to subdue the earth. (Genesis 1:28) For this task He gave us authority which, amazingly, He will not usurp or take back. He did graciously enable authority lost at the Fall to be restored, through the Cross and Resurrection, to Messiah Yeshua and those redeemed in Him. Therefore, redeemed mankind has “legal standing” to intercede concerning human affairs. Nonhuman, celestial beings, though sinless, do not possess this same authority.
I suspect Abraham intuitively senses God’s unspoken invitation to prayer. And so an exchange follows with which you are familiar. First the patriarch asks if Sodom might be spared for the sake of 50 who are righteous. Then he asks for 40; then 30, 20 and finally, 10. Perhaps Abraham perceives that withholding judgment for less than 10 would actually be unjust. Perhaps that is why he doesn’t request it.
Perhaps too, Abraham is a bit hesitant to stand in the gap between heaven and earth for the first time. Should he proceed like a lawyer before a judge, formally stating his case? Should he plead for mercy? Weep? Negotiate? Or speak matter of factly but heart to heart? Personally, I think the dialogue probably involved aspects of all the above. But fundamentally, the intercession of Abraham was a conversation between intimate, covenant friends.
I believe the Creator King was pleased with the patriarch’s “nerve” or “meek chutzpah” in this exchange. I also believe this first recorded intercessory prayer beautifully illustrates God’s pleasure in our bold but humble willingness to stand in the gap today for righteousness’ sake.
To varying degrees, every believer is called to the ministry of intercessory prayer. In it, there are times you may be tempted to grow weary in the well doing-ness of it all. There may be times you struggle to make time to pray, don’t feel God’s presence, wonder how effective your prayers are, or simply get tired. This week, I hope you’ll be encouraged in the ministry of intercession.
Remember that you stand in the gap as an intercessor because you are first and fundamentally, God’s beloved, covenant friend. The Almighty and Loving I AM is pleased to converse with you. Because He is pleased with you, He invites you to intercede for His kingdom glory. So today, let Him strengthen you in prayer with His joy. Be invigorated in the high calling of intercession. Never forget that by the surrendered exercise of your authority in Messiah, God is moving heaven and earth. For if you ask of Him anything, according to His will your prayer is answered. (1 John 5:14, comma intentionally relocated.)
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, October 27, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.
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The Path of the Righteous Seed
God showed me years ago another major Scripture Revelation to show these same Truths about our Lord Yeshua coming from two families of David and Aaron. It’s the Path of the Righteous Seed!
Yeshua, my King of Righteousness, is the Author and Perfector of the Righteous Seed!
The Righteous Seed mainly ran through the two Hebrew tribes of Judah and Levi, and through two families, that of David and the line of kings and Aaron and the line of priests; … the two families which God had chosen. Jeremiah 33:24 It was in both the character and behavior of men and women.
You can find this Truth about the Righteous Seed by looking up in the entire bible where the words righteous, righteousness, and right appear, but referring to a specific person. Here is that study.
This Righteous Seed was first placed by God into Eve; It was the Seed of Genesis 3:15, or the Seed of woman. This Righteous Seed would travel from Eve to Miriam.
This Righteous Seed was then seen in Abel, Adam & Eve’s son. “… the blood of righteous Abel.” Matthew 23:35 & Hebrews 11:4
Then ‘this Righteous Seed’ showed up in Noah, in Genesis 7:1 (Ezekiel 14:14) “Come with all your house into the Ark, for I see you righteous before Me in this generation.”
Then this Righteous Seed appeared in Abram, “He (Abram) believed in the LORD, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6 & Romans 4:9
This was after Melchi Zedek (my King of Righteousness), Priest of God Most High, blessed Abram and his Seed. Genesis 14:18.
This Seed ran to Judah to Amminadab and son Nahshon to David; and also to Amminadab’s daughter, Elisheva who married Aaron, Exodus 6:23, she bore him four sons. God would later use Aaron and his four sons to form the Aaronic priesthood in the Sinai.
This Righteous Seed was seen in Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson.
“Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My Covenant of Peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him a Covenant of an Everlasting Priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ ” Numbers 25:11-13
“… it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Psalm 106:30, 31
This Righteous Seed would run from Phinehas on to priest Zadok.
We next see this Righteous Seed in king David.
“You are a priest forever after the Order of Melchi-Zedek.” Psalm 110:4 and also read Psalm 17:15 “… that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” 1st Kings 11:31, 36
Nevertheless for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 1st Kings 15:4, 5
The following are kings of the tribe of Judah who followed David’s example, in doing what was right before the LORD …
Asa (1st Kings 15:11, 14; 2nd Chronicles 14:2); Jehoshaphat (1st Kings 22:41, 43; 2nd Chronicles 17:3); Hezekiah (2nd Kings 18:1, 3; 2nd Chronicles 29:1, 2; 31:20); Josiah (2nd Kings 22:1, 2; 2nd Chronicles 34:1, 2);
We also find this ‘Righteous Seed’ in Noah, in Daniel, and also in Job. Job 1:1; Job 42:7; & Ezekiel 14:14
This Righteous Seed was in high priest Zadok (‘righteous’), and in his descendants, in high priest Yehoshua. Zechariah 3:1-8 and Zechaiah 6:11-13; Ezekiel 40:46; 43:18,19; 44:15,16, 23, 24; 45:3,4; 48:10,11
The Seed was in priest and prophet Zechariah, son of Berechiah. 2nd Chronicles 24:20-22; Zechariah 1:1; Matthew 23:35
This Righteous Seed appeared in the Opening Scene of the New Covenant, in both priest Zechariah, the mystery Zadok high priest, and his wife Elisheva of Aaron, in Luke 1:5, 6. ‘And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the LORD blameless.”
This Righteous Seed was also seen in their son Yochanan, who was both prophet & the mystery Zadokite high priest. “Yochanan came to you ‘in the way of righteousness!” Matthew 21:32
This Righteous Seed from Eve, this ‘Seed of woman,’ was passed on to Miriam through her parents who had intermarried, (from her father of David’s family and mother from Zadok of Aaron) and placed in the womb of the virgin Miriam.
God said in Hebrews 10:6, A Body you have prepared for Me; Hebrew’s author was quoting from Psalm 40:5 of the Septuagint. Yeshua’s earthly Body was to come from this Seed from Eve, fulfillment of king’s from David and high priest’s from Zadok, plus what God, the Holy Spirit would contribute.
For the King and Great High Priest of Heaven, Yeshua, Melchi Zedek, my King of Righteousness, was coming to earth to redeem mankind & the earth from all sin, and a Body had been prepared for Him through the virgin.
This Seed in Miriam was then overshadowed by the Holy Spirit; and thus the Great Miracle, Yeshua, begotten at conception, in the womb of the virgin Miriam.
This Righteous Seed + what God did, begot Yeshua the Son of Man & the Son of God, the Aleph & the Tav!
“…to bring in Everlasting Righteousness!” Daniel 9:24
Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a King will Reign in Righteousness!
The LORD our Righteousness! Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16
The Branch (Tzemach) of Righteousness! Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 33:15
But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with Healing in His Wings! Malachi 4:2
Yeshua is the fulfillment of all Righteousness!
RIchard has served the Lord full-time from Jerusalem since 1998, having made Aliyah to Israel in 1995. He been a writer for the Lord Yeshua since 1982. All of his books, including the newest one, ‘King Priest Yeshua from the Seed of David and Aaron’, along with other writings are free to read and download from his website.
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The seven–fold ministry
In Acts 1, there were only “Apostles” as ministers. Let’s call them the Apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14). They were twelve.
In Acts 6, as the congregation grew, there was a need for more ministers. These were called “deacons.” They were seven. This was the second stage. Many of them were Greek speaking.
In Acts 8, because of persecution, dispersion of the Jerusalem community, and the spread of the gospel message, there emerged a new ministry called “evangelist.” The first evangelist was Philip, who was previously ordained as a deacon (Acts 21:8). He went to Samaria.
By Acts 11, the congregations had multiplied to the point that leaders were needed in the new congregations. They took a name from the leaders of ancient Israel who were called “elders.” They called the new congregational leaders “elders;” first mentioned in Acts 11:30. Within a few years, this became the standard practice to ordain elders in EVERY congregation (Acts 14:23). By Acts 15 (verse 2), the local congregational elders and the inter-congregational apostles had formed an extended leadership body.
In Acts 13, when the congregation in Antioch grew, there developed additional types of leaders, along with the elders and apostles. These were called “prophets and teachers” (Acts 13:1). The name “prophets” was taken from the ancient Israelite prophets, but they represented a new stage of prophecy–part of the normal leadership of the New Covenant congregations. Until that time, the teaching ministry had been done by the Apostles (Acts 2:42), but now biblical teaching was multiplied and extended to other congregational leaders.
By Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas were well into their mission, sent out by the congregation at Antioch to preach the gospel and teach the scriptures. They were among the prophets and teachers at Antioch. But when they began to multiply congregations, and appoint elders in those congregations, they became “apostles” themselves (Acts 14:14). Paul and Barnabas were obviously not part of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Paul and Barnabas represented a new stage of multiplication and extension of the original apostolic ministry. Many other apostles were to follow (even “Andronicus and Junia” of Romans 16:7). Some were even “super” apostles, like Apollos (I Corinthians 3:3-6) and James (I Corinthians 15:7). There were so many new apostles, that many of them were fake. The early community of faith had to discern what was true and what was not (Revelation 2:2).
This new stage of normative, apostolic leaders increased until it became an accepted part of the gifts and functions within a New Covenant congregation (I Corinthians 12:28-29).
The fullness of the multiplication of the original “Apostles” may be found in Ephesians 4:11, where there are “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.” The original Apostles did all five of those functions. But now the apostolic role is refracted into five different roles, sometimes called the “five-fold” ministry. These five roles are gifts of the Holy Spirit given by Yeshua to the community of faith after His ascension (Ephesians 4:7-10).
The Apostles did all of the five types of ministries, but today these functions are fulfilled by five different ministers. It was a logical and necessary development of multiplication and diversification. Interestingly enough, the word “pastor” (poimen in Greek) as a ministry role is mentioned only ONE time (!) in the New Covenant – here in Ephesians 4. There is no such thing as a pastor that is not in teamwork with apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers.
It is ironic that the role of pastor is not explicitly found in the book of Acts, whereas apostles were plentiful; and yet today, many think there is no longer a need for apostles, but every senior leader of a congregation should simply be called “pastor.” Many senior congregational leaders are actually more teachers or apostles than they are pastors.
It would seem that the role of pastor, developed out of the role of the elder, is a type of lead-elder in the local congregation.
Let’s summarize the development and multiplication of the Apostles’ unique ministry into the multi-faceted functions of the New Covenant ecclesia.
- Acts 1 – Twelve Apostles
- Acts 6 – Seven Deacons
- Acts 8 – Evangelists
- Acts 11 – Elders
- Acts 13 – Prophets, Teachers
- Acts 14 – New apostles
- Ephesians 4 – Pastors.
Therefore, it might be more accurate to say the “seven-fold” ministry. The one role of original Apostles actually became seven roles, cooperating together. In chronological order they were: deacon, evangelist, elder, prophet, teacher, apostle, pastor. That is the full spectrum of servant leadership for the community of faith. All of us together, as the “saints” of God, continue on as the extension of the original apostolic commission.
Together we reflect the wondrous nature of our Messiah Yeshua, who Himself is the chief Apostle and Shepherd of our souls (Hebrews 3:1; I Peter 2:25).
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, October 24, 2018, 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.