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Posts tagged ‘Messianic Jewish Alliance of America’

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.

Bringing a Blessing From the Land of Israel.


Ron Cantor
Ron Cantor (Messiah’s Mandate)

In 2009, in a hotel room in Lagos, Nigeria, I had a revelation. I was on my way home to Tel Aviv from a mass outreach campaign. I had the rare privilege of being able to attend as an observer Reinhard Bonnke’s team ministering in Mubi, Nigeria.

I wasn’t even sure why I had gone, but I knew the Lord had led me on this journey. On the last day, one of the local leaders invited me to return and hold a mass outreach campaign.  I was initially excited, but sitting in my hotel room I had no peace.

Confused, I asked the Lord: “I have been praying about Africa for a year and now a great door has opened. Why don’t I have peace?”

Immediately, He put in my spirit, “Ron, if you come back here by yourself, you will be a blessing to Nigeria, but it won’t touch Israel. However, if you come back with a team of Israelis and let them minister, it will not only bless Nigeria, but Israel as well.”

From that word, we birthed the Isaiah 2 Initiative. Isaiah speaks of the word going forth from Zion to the nations. Maoz was involved from the very beginning. We gathered a team of on-fire Israelis and made two trips to Nigeria, reaching tens of thousands with the gospel, and one trip to Ukraine, where several hundred Jews professed faith in Yeshua.

America Too?

However, when Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram asked me to lead a team of Israelis to America, I didn’t initially see it as part of the Isaiah 2 Initiative. I guess because I am a native of the U.S. and in light of the prosperity in America, I was blinded to the fact that God speaks of the gospel going forth from Israel “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)—including America!

There is a special anointing on Israeli evangelists and worship teams when they go forth from Zion equipped with the message of Yeshua. The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) has been holding the Messiah Conference for 40 years. Last summer, we partnered with them to bring 40 Israelis to the conference. The goals were clear:

  • Allow Israeli believers to meet Jewish believers from other nations
  • Allow Messianic Jews and Christians from the U.S. to experience Israeli Messianic life through these young people
  • Use this time to mentor young Israelis into leadership (we can already see fruit from this!)

So blessed was the MJAA leadership by our participation and the opportunity for American Messianic Jews and Christians to meet Israeli believers that they invited us to return again this summer.

While we knew it would be a challenge to raise the funds, we felt this was part of our calling—not only to reach Israel, but the nations from Israel! And, praise God, this year’s impact was even more powerful.

Israel Night

The third day of the conference was Israel Night, a night focused on what God is doing in the Holy Land. Our worship team led in worship, and then I shared a message called “The First Messianics.”

The anointing was palpable, and I noticed the incredible spiritual energy in the auditorium. As I blew the shofar at the end, I asked them to shout to the Lord, as in the days of Joshua. As they did, the Holy Spirit fell and many were healed and set free. Then at least two-thirds of the 1,300 people gathered came forward for prayer.

Many shared with our team members how the Lord touched them that evening. You can watch the entire evening’s ministry, including the Band from the Land, here.

To be clear, this great move of God had little to do with me or our team, but more with God’s desire to highlight His work in Israel. We were just so honored to be His vehicles!

Our worship team, the Band from the Land, was so well received that they were asked to minister again on Friday night—something that rarely happens.

As a bonus, we did our weekly podcast live from the cultural center. We started with about five people and ended up, after 45 minutes, with a full house. We took questions from the audience on life in Israel. It was lots of fun!

Pray with us as we continue to take teams of young Israeli worship leaders and evangelists to carry God’s word from Zion to the nations—even America!

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.

Messianic Church Growth Mirrors Rise of Charismatic Movement.


 

Messianic congregations are on the rise in the United States and Canada.

According to ChristianSourceLists.com, there are 272 Messianic churches in the US and 12 in Canada—and that figure does not include small house church fellowships.

Given that there were only a handful of congregations in North America distinctively identified as Jewish Messianic congregations 50 years ago, this is a notable rise.

Of the total number of Messianic congregations in the US today, nearly half are in five states: Florida (28); New York (26); California (26); Pennsylvania (20); and Texas (20). And the three cities boast the most Messianic worship centers are Manhattan (12), Miami (10), and Philadelphia (8).

The term “Messianic Judaism” means acceptance of Jesus Christ as being the Messiah (“Yeshua Ha’Mashiach”) and the second person of the Trinity.

Although the term “Messianic Judaism” can be traced back to the late 19th century, where it was used in the evangelical magazine “Our Hope,” it did not gain prominence until the early 1970s.

In fact, the initial growth of this movement seems to parallel the charismatic movement of the 1970s, with the vast majority of the Messianic congregations themselves being charismatic in their theological orientation.

By 2003 the number of Jewish Messianic congregations had grown to about 150.

Today the Messianic movement is a global phenomenon, with most estimates placing the number in excess of 400 Messianic congregations worldwide.

By Bill Koen.

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