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Posts tagged ‘Messianic Jew’

Why a Chinese Pastor Follows the God of Israel.


Chinese Christians
Chinese Christians know how to sing and dance, and they do it with all their hearts. (Maoz Israel)

Pastor Paul is one of a multitude of Chinese Christian leaders who has a burning desire to see his nation converted and brought into abundant life in this world and everlasting life in the world to come.

He founded a church in 2003 and then sent his young leaders out to start more churches, and today he has 40 growing churches bringing the gospel to his people—the Chinese!

He also has connected with many other pastors in his area, understanding from God’s Word that our Lord loves unity.

Most of all, he understands that the first and foremost act of obedience to bring forth a harvest in his land is a strong network of prayer.

One day a fellow pastor urged him to go to the All Nations Prayer Convocation in Jerusalem, led by Tom Hess. At first Paul thought, Why go to Jerusalem? I’m working in the harvest field in China, and that’s where my heart is.

But he attended the conference in 2008, and his heart was stirred. However, when he felt God prompting him to come to Jerusalem every year, he said he felt shocked. “I will obey,” he said, “but I don’t know why.”

The Jewish Connection to China

After attending the conference for the next two years, Pastor Paul began to understand that Israel is very important in God’s plan and, indeed, for the salvation of China.

He began to read everything he could find on Israel in the Chinese language. Books like Don Finto’s Your People Shall Be My People: How Israel, the Jews and the Christian Church Will Come together in the Last Days began to open up before him a huge horizon. (You can order Don’s book here.)

Pastor Paul devoured the Bible, now seeing the Jewish connection that runs from Genesis to Revelation. He also heard about Christians in the West giving donations to nonbelieving Jewish organizations, some of whom actually fight against the Messianic Jewish believers. Instead, he felt stirred to help the local body fulfill its purpose in the land.

Pastor Paul explains the spiritual journey he underwent:

“I thought deeply about the new awakening concerning Israel that I saw happening around me among my Chinese fellow Christians.

“I developed a profound desire to go deeper with my understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Most of all, I wanted to connect with the local believers. In 2011, I and my tour were in an Arab hotel in Jerusalem praying and struggling to understand what God was saying to us.

How Can I Bless Israel?

“I knew that I wanted to do something that would enable China to bless Israel. This verse shouted its message to me:

“‘Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!’ (Is. 62:10).

“I felt God was telling me to host a conference in Jerusalem between Chinese pastors and local Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.

“I said, ‘But Lord, I am an unknown pastor. I am not famous or rich. I don’t even know any Messianic Jews in Israel! God, you could use someone from Hong Kong or from Taiwan—some famous father in the faith.’

“But then I said, ‘Lord, I have faith. I will obey, and I know you will open the door.’

“The very next day, I met a Messianic Jewish couple, Noam and Debra, who worked for the believing tour company, Sar El. A further shock—without Debra knowing my struggle with the directive from the Lord, she simply said to me, ‘God will use you to organize a conference here in Jerusalem.’

“I left to catch my plane and entered the airport heading towards my airline check-in counter. As I walked, I happened to glance at a man sitting by the side, looking at his iPhone messages. I recognized him although I didn’t know his name. But I remembered I had met him for two minutes at a prayer meeting some time before in Tel Aviv, hosted by Tom Hess.

“Something leaped in my spirit. I went over and introduced myself, reminding him where we had met. He was Ari Sorko-Ram. He began to tell me his vision for the local body of Messiah. He told me how he had begun studying Chinese a year before.

“I had brought with me an offering of about $2,000 from my churches but hadn’t known what to do with it, because until that day I hadn’t met any Israeli spiritual leaders. I had been feeling sad that I would be taking the offering back to China!

“Now I felt that I was to give Ari that offering. Of course, he was very surprised! As we talked, I told him, ‘I want to organize a conference next year between Chinese pastors and Israeli Messianic leaders.’

‘I Can Help You’

“Ari looked straight at me and said, ‘I can help you. You have met the right person! In fact, I will adopt you! I feel like the Lord has said to me to adopt you.’

“I didn’t know what the word adopt meant, and perplexed, I stopped to look it up in my Chinese-English dictionary!

“Ari continued, ‘I know the Israeli leaders here in the country. I can help you organize a conference.’

“Back in China, I shared with my elders the story. We prayed, and God gave me this plan—to create an alliance of Chinese Christians who will pray for Israel, who will love Israel, who will build a bridge between Christians in China and Israel’s Messianic body, and who will help Israel and China realize their destiny.

“We held three conferences in China last year to bring the knowledge of God’s plan for Israel to our people. I also visited Israel several times and found the Messianic leaders I met excited about such a conference.

“In 2012, some 100 Chinese and I came during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), and at our first conference we met with a number of Israeli pastors.

“This year, 150 Chinese leaders interfaced with 80 Messianic Jewish leaders. We prayed, worshipped and gave Israelis opportunity in small groups to share their vision and their work in the land. I was amazed at the connections being made—even though it was through translators!

“Next year, we are planning for somewhere around 100 Israelis and 200 to 300 Chinese pastors and leaders to meet, again during the Sukkot holiday.

“Yes, I am amazed what God has done with an unknown pastor like myself. Through divinely directed encounters, God has begun to build a bridge between the Christians in China and the Messianic Jewish leaders of the land of Israel.”

For the original article, visit maozisrael.org.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Why a Chinese Pastor Follows the God of Israel.


Chinese Christians
Chinese Christians know how to sing and dance, and they do it with all their hearts. (Maoz Israel)

Pastor Paul is one of a multitude of Chinese Christian leaders who has a burning desire to see his nation converted and brought into abundant life in this world and everlasting life in the world to come.

He founded a church in 2003 and then sent his young leaders out to start more churches, and today he has 40 growing churches bringing the gospel to his people—the Chinese!

He also has connected with many other pastors in his area, understanding from God’s Word that our Lord loves unity.

Most of all, he understands that the first and foremost act of obedience to bring forth a harvest in his land is a strong network of prayer.

One day a fellow pastor urged him to go to the All Nations Prayer Convocation in Jerusalem, led by Tom Hess. At first Paul thought, Why go to Jerusalem? I’m working in the harvest field in China, and that’s where my heart is.

But he attended the conference in 2008, and his heart was stirred. However, when he felt God prompting him to come to Jerusalem every year, he said he felt shocked. “I will obey,” he said, “but I don’t know why.”

The Jewish Connection to China

After attending the conference for the next two years, Pastor Paul began to understand that Israel is very important in God’s plan and, indeed, for the salvation of China.

He began to read everything he could find on Israel in the Chinese language. Books like Don Finto’sYour People Shall Be My People: How Israel, the Jews and the Christian Church Will Come together in the Last Days began to open up before him a huge horizon. (You can order Don’s book here.)

Pastor Paul devoured the Bible, now seeing the Jewish connection that runs from Genesis to Revelation. He also heard about Christians in the West giving donations to nonbelieving Jewish organizations, some of whom actually fight against the Messianic Jewish believers. Instead, he felt stirred to help the local body fulfill its purpose in the land.

Pastor Paul explains the spiritual journey he underwent:

“I thought deeply about the new awakening concerning Israel that I saw happening around me among my Chinese fellow Christians.

“I developed a profound desire to go deeper with my understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Most of all, I wanted to connect with the local believers. In 2011, I and my tour were in an Arab hotel in Jerusalem praying and struggling to understand what God was saying to us.

How Can I Bless Israel?

“I knew that I wanted to do something that would enable China to bless Israel. This verse shouted its message to me:

“‘Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!’ (Is. 62:10).

“I felt God was telling me to host a conference in Jerusalem between Chinese pastors and local Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.

“I said, ‘But Lord, I am an unknown pastor. I am not famous or rich. I don’t even know any Messianic Jews in Israel! God, you could use someone from Hong Kong or from Taiwan—some famous father in the faith.’

“But then I said, ‘Lord, I have faith. I will obey, and I know you will open the door.’

“The very next day, I met a Messianic Jewish couple, Noam and Debra, who worked for the believing tour company, Sar El. A further shock—without Debra knowing my struggle with the directive from the Lord, she simply said to me, ‘God will use you to organize a conference here in Jerusalem.’

“I left to catch my plane and entered the airport heading towards my airline check-in counter. As I walked, I happened to glance at a man sitting by the side, looking at his iPhone messages. I recognized him although I didn’t know his name. But I remembered I had met him for two minutes at a prayer meeting some time before in Tel Aviv, hosted by Tom Hess.

“Something leaped in my spirit. I went over and introduced myself, reminding him where we had met. He was Ari Sorko-Ram. He began to tell me his vision for the local body of Messiah. He told me how he had begun studying Chinese a year before.

“I had brought with me an offering of about $2,000 from my churches but hadn’t known what to do with it, because until that day I hadn’t met any Israeli spiritual leaders. I had been feeling sad that I would be taking the offering back to China!

“Now I felt that I was to give Ari that offering. Of course, he was very surprised! As we talked, I told him, ‘I want to organize a conference next year between Chinese pastors and Israeli Messianic leaders.’

‘I Can Help You’

“Ari looked straight at me and said, ‘I can help you. You have met the right person! In fact, I will adopt you! I feel like the Lord has said to me to adopt you.’

“I didn’t know what the word adopt meant, and perplexed, I stopped to look it up in my Chinese-English dictionary!

“Ari continued, ‘I know the Israeli leaders here in the country. I can help you organize a conference.’

“Back in China, I shared with my elders the story. We prayed, and God gave me this plan—to create an alliance of Chinese Christians who will pray for Israel, who will love Israel, who will build a bridge between Christians in China and Israel’s Messianic body, and who will help Israel and China realize their destiny.

“We held three conferences in China last year to bring the knowledge of God’s plan for Israel to our people. I also visited Israel several times and found the Messianic leaders I met excited about such a conference.

“In 2012, some 100 Chinese and I came during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), and at our first conference we met with a number of Israeli pastors.

“This year, 150 Chinese leaders interfaced with 80 Messianic Jewish leaders. We prayed, worshipped and gave Israelis opportunity in small groups to share their vision and their work in the land. I was amazed at the connections being made—even though it was through translators!

“Next year, we are planning for somewhere around 100 Israelis and 200 to 300 Chinese pastors and leaders to meet, again during the Sukkot holiday.

“Yes, I am amazed what God has done with an unknown pastor like myself. Through divinely directed encounters, God has begun to build a bridge between the Christians in China and the Messianic Jewish leaders of the land of Israel.”

For the original article, visit maozisrael.org.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

SHIRA SORKO-RAM AND PASTOR PAUL

Martin Chernoff: The Father of 20th Century Messianic Judaism.


Martin and Yohanna Chernoff
Martin and Yohanna Chernoff

Any student of Israel knows that Theodore Herzl is the father of modern Zionism. His book, The Jewish State, called for the creation of a Jewish homeland as the only safe haven for the Jewish people.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda is considered the father of Modern Hebrew, a dead, unspoken language in 1880, now spoken by over 10 million people.

But equally impressive as the rebirth of the Jewish nation and the language of Hebrew is the rebirth of the Messianic Jew—the Jew who professes faith in Yeshua, and, like the first believers, continues to live as a Jew. There are many men and woman who were influential in the Messianic revival.

Moishe Rosen birthed Jews for Jesus and raised up an army of Jewish emissaries. Joseph Rabinowitz started the First Assembly of the Israelites of the New Covenant in 1885. Our own Ari and Shira pioneered spirit-filled Messianic Judaism in Israel with their first house congregation in 1977 and then by birthing the first Hebrew only spirit-filled congregation in 1995. As far back as 1959, Victor Smadja started Keren Ahava Mishihit in Jerusalem. My spiritual father, Dan Juster has also played a major role in shaping Messianic Jewish expression through the Tikkun Network and the UMJC.

Martin Chernoff

However, if there is one figure who stands out as the father of Modern Messianic Judaism it would have to be Martin Chernoff. His father, Solomon, fled the Russian army in the early 1900s in order to give his family a better life in America. But, after arriving in Amsterdam, he was broke. For three years he worked and saved in order to buy tickets to cross the Atlantic. However, thinking he had arrived in New York, he was shocked to find himself in Argentina!

After another three years, he and his family took a train through South America to New York City. However, when he got off at the last stop he was in Toronto, Canada, missing New York for the third time! This time, Solomon settled his family in Toronto, as there were already 4,000 Russian Jewish immigrants living there, and continued his trade as a tailor.

A Secret to the Grave-Almost

One day Solomon heard a Jewish believer preaching. He sat down to listen and secretly professed faith in Yeshua. He knew this would send shockwaves through his orthodox Jewish family so he decided he would never tell a soul.

Many years later, their son Martin would make a similar decision, embracing Yeshua as His Messiah, but instead of keeping it to himself would seek to bring as many Jewish people as he could to faith in Yeshua. On his deathbed, his father confessed his secret faith to his son.

Assimilation vs. Jewish Identity

Martin and his wife, Yohanna, worked for many years for an organization seeking to bring Jewish people to faith. He was constantly at odds with them, as he began to realize the need for Jewish believers to have their own meetings in a Jewish context. The organization emphasized winning Jewish people to the faith and then funneling them into local churches to be discipled (where they would often lose their Jewish identity).

Martin was told he was not qualified to disciple “Hebrew Christians,” as they were called then, and once, when he immersed several new Jewish believers in water at a conference, the leader of his organization saw red, as he rebuked Martin, telling him again that it was beyond his scope of authority.

“The Jesus Revolution and the Jews’ is the biography that Martin’s wife, Yohanna, wrote.

In the midst of a prayer meeting in 1963, just after the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin had the second of three visions. He saw, in addition to scores of Jewish people coming to faith (as in his first vision) a group of unkept and shabby young people—dressed in rags. He had no idea that the coming years would usher in the hippy phenomenon and that God would use his wife, Yohanna and him to bring many of these young Jewish people to Yeshua.

In addition to ushering in the sexual revolution, psychedelic rock and popularizing LSD usage, the hippie movement revealed a deep spiritual hunger inside that generation. In April 1966, Time Magazine ran the headline: Is God Dead? However, only five years later, after this massive revival, their headline in June 1971 was, The Jesus Revolution.

Scores of young Jewish people came to faith in Cincinnati forming the nucleus of the Chernoff’s home congregation. Thousands more Jews embraced Yeshua all across the U.S. as God raised up a leadership for a new thing he was about to do.

From Hebrew Christianity to Messianic Judaism

In 1970 Martin had his third open vision. “Two electrifying simple words stretched across the sky in the form of a banner.” He saw the words: Messianic Judaism.

This vision would define the rest of Martin’s life and his legacy. The small group of Jewish believers in Cincinnati confessed:

“We are Jewish believers in Yeshua as our Messiah. We have our own destiny in the Lord. We will no longer be assimilated into the church and pretend to be non-Jews. If Yeshua Himself, His followers and the early Jewish believers tenaciously maintained their Jewish lifestyles, why was it right for them, but wrong now? Gentile converts are not expected to forsake their families, culture, holidays and traditions; nor shall we do so.”

No longer would they call themselves Hebrew Christians, but Messianic Jews.

Despite the fact they were seeing dozens of young Jewish people receive Yeshua, the leader of the organization who paid their salary gave them an ultimatum. They either must disband their congregation and hand over the names to the organization (so these Jews could be placed in churches), or leave.

Marty had a major decision to make: Stay with the organization, get paid, disband their congregation and funnel new believers to churches or resign his position, officially birth congregation Beth Messiah, and trust God to provide for their needs. Other than a few isolated cases, there was no example of a self-sustained, independent Messianic Congregation. It was virgin territory.

After a lengthy discussion between the leaders and the congregants, it was decided that disbanding was not an option. Martin would become their rabbi and they would support Yohanna and him. Congregation Beth Messiah was birthed.

National Influence

Soon Martin was elected to be president of the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America. More and more Jewish believers were calling themselves Messianic Jews instead of Hebrew Christians. The moniker Hebrew Christian emphasized that the believer was of Jewish background, whileMessianic Jew, emphasized that the believers continued to live as Jews, after believing in Yeshua.

However, changing the name of the HCAA would not be easy. Many old-timers strongly objected to the new Messianic theme and Jewish identity. They didn’t like the dancing or the singing of Klezmer (Yiddish sounding) songs with Messianic lyrics. The first vote was defeated, but not without controversy. Rather than fighting, Martin wisely put the issue to rest, realizing that it was only a matter of time.

Two years later, the young hippie believers far outnumbered the old guard and the name was changed to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA).

Beth Yeshua in Philadelphia

Eventually the Chernoffs would move to Philadelphia and take over the “Fink Zoo”—a group of young Jewish believers who met in the home of Joe and Debbie Finklestein. They called their new congregation Beth Yeshua.

When I first heard of Messianic Jews in 1984, the orthodox community had declared war on Beth Yeshua and they were fighting for their survival. By 1985, they were calling for a nationwide protest—with the goal of destroying the Messianic Jewish movement. Jews from all over were bussed in to protest and Beth Yeshua was their target. If Beth Yeshua could be toppled, then maybe they could crush the whole movement.

I drove right by Philadelphia during Hurricane Gloria just before this mass demonstration, as my Long Island-based Bible School released us for our own safety.

The folks at Beth Yeshua were hoping that Gloria would ruin the planned protest. However, Pat Robertson rebuked the storm just before it hit his Virginia Beach-based CBN and Gloria headed out to sea. Pat was happy; the Messianics in Philadelphia were dismayed.

However, when Beth Yeshua took their worship team outside in the midst of the anti-Messianic demonstration, the entire protest was diffused. Some protesters ended up actually dancing with the Beth Yeshua congregants. After a short time, leaders called off the protests and fled.

Legacy

So many leaders that lead congregations today were discipled by Martin Chernoff. His legacy lives on in these many men and women, not to mention his own children Joel, David and Hope, all leaders in the Messianic Movement today.

(All quotes are taken from Born a Jew, Die a Jew, the biography of Martin Chernoff, written by his wife, Yohanna.)

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

RON CANTOR/MESSIAH’S MANDATE

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

For the original article, visit messiahsmandate.org.

Martin Chernoff: The Father of 20th Century Messianic Judaism.


Martin and Yohanna Chernoff
Martin and Yohanna Chernoff

Any student of Israel knows that Theodore Herzl is the father of modern Zionism. His book, The Jewish State, called for the creation of a Jewish homeland as the only safe haven for the Jewish people.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda is considered the father of Modern Hebrew, a dead, unspoken language in 1880, now spoken by over 10 million people.

But equally impressive as the rebirth of the Jewish nation and the language of Hebrew is the rebirth of the Messianic Jew—the Jew who professes faith in Yeshua, and, like the first believers, continues to live as a Jew. There are many men and woman who were influential in the Messianic revival.

Moishe Rosen birthed Jews for Jesus and raised up an army of Jewish emissaries. Joseph Rabinowitz started the First Assembly of the Israelites of the New Covenant in 1885. Our own Ari and Shira pioneered spirit-filled Messianic Judaism in Israel with their first house congregation in 1977 and then by birthing the first Hebrew only spirit-filled congregation in 1995. As far back as 1959, Victor Smadja started Keren Ahava Mishihit in Jerusalem. My spiritual father, Dan Juster has also played a major role in shaping Messianic Jewish expression through the Tikkun Network and the UMJC.

Martin Chernoff

However, if there is one figure who stands out as the father of Modern Messianic Judaism it would have to be Martin Chernoff. His father, Solomon, fled the Russian army in the early 1900s in order to give his family a better life in America. But, after arriving in Amsterdam, he was broke. For three years he worked and saved in order to buy tickets to cross the Atlantic. However, thinking he had arrived in New York, he was shocked to find himself in Argentina!

After another three years, he and his family took a train through South America to New York City. However, when he got off at the last stop he was in Toronto, Canada, missing New York for the third time! This time, Solomon settled his family in Toronto, as there were already 4,000 Russian Jewish immigrants living there, and continued his trade as a tailor.

A Secret to the Grave-Almost

One day Solomon heard a Jewish believer preaching. He sat down to listen and secretly professed faith in Yeshua. He knew this would send shockwaves through his orthodox Jewish family so he decided he would never tell a soul.

Many years later, their son Martin would make a similar decision, embracing Yeshua as His Messiah, but instead of keeping it to himself would seek to bring as many Jewish people as he could to faith in Yeshua. On his deathbed, his father confessed his secret faith to his son.

Assimilation vs. Jewish Identity

Martin and his wife, Yohanna, worked for many years for an organization seeking to bring Jewish people to faith. He was constantly at odds with them, as he began to realize the need for Jewish believers to have their own meetings in a Jewish context. The organization emphasized winning Jewish people to the faith and then funneling them into local churches to be discipled (where they would often lose their Jewish identity).

Martin was told he was not qualified to disciple “Hebrew Christians,” as they were called then, and once, when he immersed several new Jewish believers in water at a conference, the leader of his organization saw red, as he rebuked Martin, telling him again that it was beyond his scope of authority.

“The Jesus Revolution and the Jews’ is the biography that Martin’s wife, Yohanna, wrote.

In the midst of a prayer meeting in 1963, just after the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin had the second of three visions. He saw, in addition to scores of Jewish people coming to faith (as in his first vision) a group of unkept and shabby young people—dressed in rags. He had no idea that the coming years would usher in the hippy phenomenon and that God would use his wife, Yohanna and him to bring many of these young Jewish people to Yeshua.

In addition to ushering in the sexual revolution, psychedelic rock and popularizing LSD usage, the hippie movement revealed a deep spiritual hunger inside that generation. In April 1966, Time Magazine ran the headline: Is God Dead? However, only five years later, after this massive revival, their headline in June 1971 was, The Jesus Revolution.

Scores of young Jewish people came to faith in Cincinnati forming the nucleus of the Chernoff’s home congregation. Thousands more Jews embraced Yeshua all across the U.S. as God raised up a leadership for a new thing he was about to do.

From Hebrew Christianity to Messianic Judaism

In 1970 Martin had his third open vision. “Two electrifying simple words stretched across the sky in the form of a banner.” He saw the words: Messianic Judaism.

This vision would define the rest of Martin’s life and his legacy. The small group of Jewish believers in Cincinnati confessed:

“We are Jewish believers in Yeshua as our Messiah. We have our own destiny in the Lord. We will no longer be assimilated into the church and pretend to be non-Jews. If Yeshua Himself, His followers and the early Jewish believers tenaciously maintained their Jewish lifestyles, why was it right for them, but wrong now? Gentile converts are not expected to forsake their families, culture, holidays and traditions; nor shall we do so.”

No longer would they call themselves Hebrew Christians, but Messianic Jews.

Despite the fact they were seeing dozens of young Jewish people receive Yeshua, the leader of the organization who paid their salary gave them an ultimatum. They either must disband their congregation and hand over the names to the organization (so these Jews could be placed in churches), or leave.

Marty had a major decision to make: Stay with the organization, get paid, disband their congregation and funnel new believers to churches or resign his position, officially birth congregation Beth Messiah, and trust God to provide for their needs. Other than a few isolated cases, there was no example of a self-sustained, independent Messianic Congregation. It was virgin territory.

After a lengthy discussion between the leaders and the congregants, it was decided that disbanding was not an option. Martin would become their rabbi and they would support Yohanna and him. Congregation Beth Messiah was birthed.

National Influence

Soon Martin was elected to be president of the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America. More and more Jewish believers were calling themselves Messianic Jews instead of Hebrew Christians. The moniker Hebrew Christian emphasized that the believer was of Jewish background, whileMessianic Jew, emphasized that the believers continued to live as Jews, after believing in Yeshua.

However, changing the name of the HCAA would not be easy. Many old-timers strongly objected to the new Messianic theme and Jewish identity. They didn’t like the dancing or the singing of Klezmer (Yiddish sounding) songs with Messianic lyrics. The first vote was defeated, but not without controversy. Rather than fighting, Martin wisely put the issue to rest, realizing that it was only a matter of time.

Two years later, the young hippie believers far outnumbered the old guard and the name was changed to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA).

Beth Yeshua in Philadelphia

Eventually the Chernoffs would move to Philadelphia and take over the “Fink Zoo”—a group of young Jewish believers who met in the home of Joe and Debbie Finklestein. They called their new congregation Beth Yeshua.

When I first heard of Messianic Jews in 1984, the orthodox community had declared war on Beth Yeshua and they were fighting for their survival. By 1985, they were calling for a nationwide protest—with the goal of destroying the Messianic Jewish movement. Jews from all over were bussed in to protest and Beth Yeshua was their target. If Beth Yeshua could be toppled, then maybe they could crush the whole movement.

I drove right by Philadelphia during Hurricane Gloria just before this mass demonstration, as my Long Island-based Bible School released us for our own safety.

The folks at Beth Yeshua were hoping that Gloria would ruin the planned protest. However, Pat Robertson rebuked the storm just before it hit his Virginia Beach-based CBN and Gloria headed out to sea. Pat was happy; the Messianics in Philadelphia were dismayed.

However, when Beth Yeshua took their worship team outside in the midst of the anti-Messianic demonstration, the entire protest was diffused. Some protesters ended up actually dancing with the Beth Yeshua congregants. After a short time, leaders called off the protests and fled.

Legacy

So many leaders that lead congregations today were discipled by Martin Chernoff. His legacy lives on in these many men and women, not to mention his own children Joel, David and Hope, all leaders in the Messianic Movement today.

(All quotes are taken from Born a Jew, Die a Jew, the biography of Martin Chernoff, written by his wife, Yohanna.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

RON CANTOR

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

For the original article, visit messiahsmandate.org.

Discovering a Heart for God’s Chosen People.


Friends of Israel
(Facebook)

First of all, let me let you in on a little secret: I’m not Jewish, nor is any of my family Jewish. I’m an English-Irish-born, small-town American who was raised in the Catholic church and who now calls himself a born-again Christian.

So, why would somebody like me be writing a story extolling the virtues of Jewish culture and history and Messianc Jews? That’s a very good question, and one I would love to address.

About a year ago, I was hired as an editor for Charisma magazine in Lake Mary, Fla. After a career mainly as a sports writer and editor, I was thrilled to finally be serving the Lord at a place where I knew He wanted me to be. I’ve always wanted to use my talents for God, and He finally placed me in this position in His timing, when He was ready. I’m grateful to be here, and it’s a great place to work.

A couple months later, I was put in charge of four different websites for our Charisma brand. Lo and behold, Standing With Israel happened to be one of them. Now, I can honestly say that I haven’t even known very many Jewish people in my lifetime. I had a friend that became a Messianic Jew back in my early college days, and she introduced me, however much on a limited basis, to Judaism through her family.

Jennifer wound up getting married and moving away, and I have not seen her for more than 25 years.

Since then, I’ll admit that my exposure to the Jewish faith has been severely limited. Of course, I knew about the Jewish holy days of Yom Kippur and the season of Hanukkah. Most of what I knew was gained through movies like The Jazz Singer (the later edition with Neil Diamond) and the comedyKeeping the Faith with Ben Stiller and Edward Norton. Somehow, I didn’t believe that last one was very indicative of the Jewish faith, but it was a funny movie nonetheless.

Now I am familiar with Shavuot, Tu B’Av, Yom HasShoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, and the celebrations that go along with them.

When I took over our Standing With Israel site for charismamag.com, my perspective on Israel began to change drastically. At first I knew it was going to be very awkward trying to land aggregate partners for the site and perhaps getting people to write for us. As it turned out, I was right.

Eventually, however, through emails and phone calls, I began to get comfortable with the site and with the Jewish and Messianic Jewish audience that we serve. In fact, I’ve not only begun to learn more about the Jewish culture and the tremendous courage of the Jewish people, but I have also began to fashion some tremendous friendships with both Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews.

Jonathan Feldstein, the director of Heart to Heart, has become one of those friends. He is an Orthodox Jew who writes a weekly column for us, and our friendship was cemented when he came to the Orlando area in May and we had lunch. That was a bit awkward because we didn’t have any places with kosher food within a 20-mile radius, but Jonathan eased the tension by going to a restaurant with me and ordering a fruit salad-type dish. (Lesson No. 1 for me in my cultural diversity!)

Jonathan and I talked candidly about each other’s culture and about life in general. It resulted in an invitation to come to Israel in January. More on that in a minute.

And then there’s Chaim Goldberg, a Messianic Jew who is the director of media for Maoz Israel’s website. Chaim also writes a weekly column for us. I’ve spoken with him on the phone (directly from Israel!) and we’ve emailed back and forth. Not only is Chaim a talented writer that puts out great blog posts, but he’s a good person, from what I’ve gotten to know about him.

He and I have become friends without meeting, but I hope to meet him someday. He’s got a real heart for God and a heart for winning souls, so I know he’s a blessing to his audience.

I also have had the privilege of speaking and dealing with author Grant Berry, who cheerleads the Messianic movement and is a monthly columnist for us. I have yet to met Messiah’s Mandate’s Ron Cantor, but we too have become friends through Facebook, and I love the heart he has for both the Jewish and Christian communities.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to be referring to Jesus as Yeshua from now on. I still hold true to my Christian beliefs and proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and that He died for me on the cross. I try to live every day by Romans 5:17, which says, “For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.”

But I know that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and we should never—ever—take that for granted. Genesis 12:3 says, in God’s words to Abram, “I will bless those who bless you [the nation of Israel], and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

It has always amazed me how Israelis have stayed so calm in the face of so much hatred toward them. They are well aware of the fact that there are probably thousands of missiles pointed at them from every direction, but from what I’ve been told, Israelis refuse to live their lives in fear. Jonathan told me they just go about their lives because they don’t want to give credence to the enemy and allow them to impact their lives like that. I applaud Israelis for that.

We as Christians know (and should believe) that God will protect His people from such harm, and we should be in prayer for the people of Israel daily.

As I said before, Jonathan has invited me to come to Israel in January. I would love to be able to visit the Holy Land, for sure, and to take in the warmth and hearth of the hearts of the people of Israel, as well as see all of the history. I would love to see the birthplace of my Savior, too.

I’m not certain I’ll have the time or finances to go there, however. Raising a family in America these days—as it is everywhere—is very challenging financially. Jonathan says it will take about $700, so I’ll have to do some heavy-duty lobbying with my wife.

For now, I’ll stay connected with Israel and its people through my work with Standing With Israel.

We are always looking for fresh perspectives from people who live in Israel, so if you have an interesting story to tell, please write to me at shawn.akers@charismamedia.com. I would love to hear from you.

God bless, and Shabbat Shalom!.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.


Shawn A. Akers is an associate editor with Charisma Media in Lake Mary, Fla., U.S.A.

Messianic Jews: ‘The Most Hated People on Earth’.


Maoz Israel's Chaim Goldberg
Maoz Israel’s Chaim Goldberg (Photo courtesy of Chaim Goldberg)

A few years ago, I was asked to produce a short-film for the Negev Tourism Office. Specifically, they wanted me to help them make a video advertisement promoting all the sites and attractions in the Israeli desert.

Why did they come to me? Because I’m a Messianic Jew, and they wanted the video to target Christian tourists around the world. They needed someone who spoke “Christianese,” who would know how to market what they were selling to a specific audience.

I remember arriving at the bus station in Beersheva to meet the crew I’d be working with on the film. Someone from the tourism office was there to pick me up, and I was a bit surprised to see they sent an orthodox woman. I could tell by the way she was dressed that she was religious.

She couldn’t have been more welcoming, and she was so excited to take me around to all of the historical sites that would be featured in the video.

After a couple hours in the car together, visiting everything from Abraham’s well to various war memorials, we had become chatty and seemed to be enjoying one another’s company.

I got up the courage to ask her how she felt about this project we were working on, and specifically how she felt about working with a Jew who believed in Yeshua.

Her answer rings in my ear to this day.

“Chaim,” she said, “some Israelis hate the religious. Some hate the secular. But everyone hates you.”

The Most Hated People on Earth

My friend and colleague Ron Cantor has a book called Messianic Jews: The Most Hated People on Earth. The title has always amused me. But here I was, experiencing just that.

This woman was being very honest with me, telling me how people really feel.

Just this week, former Israel Defense Forces Chief Gabi Ashkenazi gave a rare interview, where he was asked what the greatest threat to Israel is. His response: “Internal divisions over Judaism.”

I guarantee you, he wasn’t thinking of Messianic Jews. He was thinking of the ultra-orthodox versus the more “secular,” or mainstream, Israeli Jews.

But as polarized as those two sides are, there is nothing that unites them quicker than their mutual disdain for Jews who believe in Jesus. To both groups, Messianic Jews are considered missionaries (a very dirty word in Israel), trying to destroy Judaism and force Jews to abandon their faith and become Christians. We are the new Hitler, but instead of sending them to gas chambers, we’re trying to steal their souls.

You think I’m exaggerating?

The chief rabbi of the city of Ashdod staged a rally outside a Messianic Jewish congregation in 2010 and said those exact words. “Hitlers!” he called us. I should know—I was there, and I was nearly attacked by the angry crowd. Were it not for the police officer who escorted me away, the footage I shot of the inflammatory rally would never have been shown on Israeli national television.

“Leave Us Alone!”

Modern-day Israel sprang to life after the darkest period in our people’s history. The Holocaust was a human catastrophe unparalleled in its horror. The Jewish people had been driven from their homes by the Nazis. And now, at the end of it all, they finally had a home of their own—their biblical, historical homeland, no less. They were safe in Israel. They could finally rebuild the Jewish nation after two millennia in exile.

Most Jews just want to be left alone. They’ve been fighting Arabs, literally, since the day of Israel’s declared independence. Wars and intifadas and terrorism never cease. The last thing Israeli Jews want to deal with are fellow Israeli Jews trying to convince them that Yeshua (the perceived “Christian God”) is actually their Jewish Messiah.

They just want to be left alone, in peace.

Thus, the conflict for Messianic Jews. We are compelled, and in fact commanded, to share our faith in love. And yet we know our friends and family here in Israel are so loathe to hear such “Good News.”

Pray for Us

Moving to Israel has been the greatest challenge of my life. It means being thousands of miles away from my loved ones; trying to adjust to a new culture and learn a new language; trying to navigate new government bureaucracies, from the driver’s license office to the tax authority; trying to make new friends and fit in with a new community; trying to find a good job with my limited Hebrew; trying to survive the summer heat of the Middle East; and trying not to give in to fear when war and terrorism rage around you.

The list of challenges are endless.

But the greatest challenge by far has been realizing what an alien I am among my own people—realizing how much ignorance there is about the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments; realizing how much hostility there is to the very mention of the name Yeshua; realizing how ostracized I am, even in the midst of the most ostracized group on earth … the Jews.

When looking at it through the eyes of men, we, the Messianic Jews, are in fact the most hated people on earth. The anti-Semites hate us for being Jewish. The Jews hate us for preaching an unfamiliar form of Judaism.

But when looking at it through the eyes of God, we are actually quite the opposite. We are, in fact, the most loved and blessed people on earth. We are twice chosen—chosen to be a part of the special tribe known as the Jews, whom God set apart for a special relationship, and chosen again to have our eyes opened to the truth of God’s salvation in the form of Yeshua.

While so many stumble around in blindness and darkness and angst, we have our fulfillment, we have our forgiveness and we have our Yeshua!

So don’t feel sorry for us, we Israeli Messianic Jews. But please, do join us in prayer.

We need you stand with us as we persevere to share the gospel with the miraculously reborn nation of Israel. That is God’s heart. That is our collective privilege. And so we carry on …

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.


Chaim Goldberg is the director of media for Maoz Israel and writes a weekly column for Charisma Media’s Standing With Israel website.

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