A Personal Testimony

(Published in The Vineyard magazine, November 2013)

I was born and raised in a Conservative Jewish American home in which our Jewish identity was accepted, and belief in Jesus Christ was (is) not, at least not for Jews.  I came to terms with my own primary identity as a Jew at the age of 17 during the Six-Day War in 1967 between Israel and the Arab states.  Following my university studies (Political Science), I sought “to make things right” through the secular political system.  My faith was centered in Man.  After marrying a secular Christian woman, I continued my search for Truth, having no expectation that It would be Jesus.  Later on this vain faith was stripped away, and, thankfully, God was there to meet me at this time of crisis.  Through another man’s witness I finally listened to God’s good news concerning the truth of the Bible and Jesus Christ.  By God’s grace, I was prepared to listen and to believe from my heart and with my mind that Jesus is God’s Son and Messiah, that He IS LORD! Continue reading “A Personal Testimony”

A’S DEDICATION – 31 Dec 2011

–We have been in Israel for more than 30 years now, and I have to admit that when we came, I did not expect to be a grandfather – I wasn’t even a father then!  That changed 26 years ago, when our first daughter was born.

–Before coming to faith I thought about the significance of the beginning of a new year.  What is important to us as Jews and new years in general?  Someone is watching over us . . . and  preserving us. (Ps 121:4)  Another year of life.  I thank God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Watcher over Israel, the Preserver of our souls!

–Great joy for us that A, a new soul, has come into our life through R and J, and that God is with them, that their house is under the grace of the New Covenant.  I did not grow up in such a household, but I thank the Lord for His hand upon us and them.  Today J and R want to dedicate A to God in Yeshua’s name as a token of their faith in Him and in His covenant. (Ex 13:2; 1Cor 7:14)

 –I want to share some thoughts which I had during Randi’s first birth, including the birth pains and the birth process, as well as the expectation of parenthood:  Continue reading “A’S DEDICATION – 31 Dec 2011”

R’s and J’s WEDDING – 28 Apr 2010

–Present amongst extended family and friends in the Presence of God.  Even the moon is reflecting as much as it can of the glory of the sun shining upon it this evening!  But, R and J, the radiance shining out from each of you is even greater than that!  Glory to God!

–We are all gathered together here to celebrate a wedding between a man and a woman.  God has sanctified marriage in a way that many will give up much to celebrate with the Bride and Groom.  They do not do this for two people simply deciding to live together, or for a husband and wife who divorce from one another.  A lawful wedding between a man and woman, who have chosen to join themselves together in love, with joy and hope, is holy, and we who have come to know the God who has made weddings and marriage so special,  look forward to the wedding of Messiah with His Bride – all those who love Yeshua for who He truly is.  Continue reading “R’s and J’s WEDDING – 28 Apr 2010”

BEGINNINGS UNTIL HE COMES: E’S BAPTISM – 16 July 2005

1Cor 15:14-19, 29-34   And if Messiah is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. . . .Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all?  Why then are they baptized for the dead?. . .If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”  Do not be deceived; “evil company corrupts good habits”.

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.

Today we have been witnesses to the baptisms of E and of L.  As we read in our passage, our baptism into the death of Messiah Jesus testifies to our faith in the unique truth that Jesus was raised from among the dead, in His body, to everlasting life, and we (if we have died) will also rise from among the dead in our bodies in the day of the first resurrection.  This fact – this point of truth – is so central to the Biblical faith in YHVH God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, that without it, life is futile and there would be no reason to live in the fear of God and to do His will. If everyone who ever lived were to be saved, there would no reason for baptism; if there were no resurrection of the body, but rather some so-called ‘soul travel’ or ‘disembodied spirits’, there would be no meaning to immersion.  Baptism into the New Covenant is unique to the faith in the God who took on flesh and blood and died on the cross for our sins and rose again!  Continue reading “BEGINNINGS UNTIL HE COMES: E’S BAPTISM – 16 July 2005”

CIRCUMCISION: A DEFENSE

Excerpt from a letter from me to a believer in Holland on 11 Jan 1993:

. . .Bless you, Brother, for taking the courage and being sincerely honest in asking why we circumcised our sons.  I have enclosed the content of words I spoke to both unbelievers and to believers who attended the circumcisions in our home.  I have also enclosed the word I spoke at E’s dedication before the congregation and before God.  I trust that these will both answer the question and help to give sufficient understanding that the Holy Spirit will give you peace regarding it.

I, too, struggled with the issue before God before E, our first son, was born.  I did not want to do anything that would compromise the cross or my walk as a Christian.  Prior to the birth and subsequent circumcision, the Lord gave me peace regarding it as a Jew descended in the flesh from the fathers, and as one born again in Christ confirming God’s promises to my people in the flesh.  E and T, as my sons, would be, apart from circumcision, unconnected to Israel and the Jewish people – simply Gentiles from American-born parents, or even within the State of Israel.

Rabbinically, they are not considered Jews since their mother is not Jewish.  My concern is not what the rabbis may approve, but rather what God approves.  As a Jew believing in Jesus, I have not become somehow a gentile (and therefore uncircumcised covenantly speaking) [1Cor 7:17-20]).  Taking the N.T. instructions as a whole on the subject, I have done this as a matter of faith – not regarding salvation, but regarding our identity in this body in the world with my people to whom God gave circumcision as a sign for both relationship and identity (Gen 17:14).

If what is written here together with the enclosed papers still does not help, please feel free to say so.  The main thing is not whether someone is Jewish or Gentile, but rather whether he/she is in Christ Jesus.  Praise God! . . . .

CIRCUMCISION OF T Shimon – 13 Oct 1992

Some of you were with us for E’s circumcision, and it is good to have another occasion to celebrate together the LORD our God, both during this week of Succot (the Feast of Booths, or of Ingathering), and also in remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the circumcising of our second son, T Shimon.  (T’s means ‘dew’, and his middle name, Shimon, is a testimony of our faith that the promised inheritance to Simeon, Jacob’s son and the Tribe of Israel, will be fulfilled:  he will inherit Beer Sheva in the apportionment of the Land of Israel after Yeshua returns to set up His kingdom.  Our prayer is that T will have a better inheritance in Christ by being born-again before the Lord returns.)

The circumcision of the flesh of every male Jew is a symbol both of God’s covenant and also of His ways of fulfilling His promises and purposes for His treasured people Israel.  Succot is a testimony of a people at peace with their God – a people whose heart has been circumcised – whose soul has been afflicted, and then refreshed and revived through God’s gracious atonement for sin – and among whom YHVH is pleased to dwell in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Randi and I are circumcising T as his parents in willing obedience to the LORD and to His honor and glory.  But it will amount to nothing if either we or T should place any confidence in the flesh and unless T should circumcise himself to the only wise God and Savior through personal faith and in a spirit of meekness.

Jacob will know the blessings of the covenant when, as Israel, he becomes a true son of Abraham, being justified through personal faith in God Almighty, Who can raise the dead to life in order to fulfill His Word.  As it is written, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen 21:12; Rom 9:7)  “He (Jesus Christ) shall see His seed and the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.” (Is 53:10-11“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.” (Ps 51:19 Heb.)

E HAIM’S CIRCUMCISION – 28 Dec 1988

Gen 17:1,7,10-14 – Establishment of the covenant by YHVH with Abram (Abraham); identification with and relationship to the people, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
            John 7:22 – The circumcision is not of Moses, but of the fathers.

Deut 10:15-19 – Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Deut 30:1-6 — The LORD will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love YHVH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jer 4:1-4 – Circumcise yourselves to YHVH.

Jer 9:22-25 – Glory in the LORD; there is no difference –in themselves—between the circumcised and uncircumcised.

Rom 2:28 – 3:2 – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly [only]; neither is it circumcision which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart – in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.  What advantage then has the Jew?  Or what profit is there in circumcision?  Much every way:  chiefly, because unto them (us) were committed the oracles of God.

1Cor 7:19 – Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but rather the keeping of the commandments of God.  (E Haim means “stone of life”; our prayer is that he will become a “living stone” — e chaya — through spiritual new birth by repentance and faith in the gospel at an early age.)

Gal 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Philp 3:3 – For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

R’S DEDICATION – 7 Mar 1987

      1.  “Registration” of our children with the government of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Kingdom of God, before the Lord and before you, the local assembly of God, our brothers and sisters.

      2.  Want all honor to go to YHVH God and to His covenant of grace.

      3.  All come into the world with a sinful nature and in need of salvation.  This truth is taught in both the Old and New Testaments.  R (whose name is a ‘white broom bush/tree’ is by nature a sinner!  Have you ever considered that every person who enters the world contributes to the sin and evil of the world?  Parents – mothers and fathers – have a great privilege and responsibility to train up our children to both know their need of salvation and also to know Him who alone is the Savior.  Continue reading “R’S DEDICATION – 7 Mar 1987”

T’S DEDICATION – 14 Sept 1985

–Next week marks four years in Israel:  full and interesting

–Before coming to faith I thought about the significance of Rosh Hashana, beginning of a new year.  What is important to us as Jews and new years in general?  Someone is watching over us and preserving us.  Another year of life.  I thank God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Watcher over Israel, the Preserver of our souls!

–Great joy for us that T, a new soul, has come into our life and that God is with us, that our house is under that grace of the New Covenant.  I did not grow up in such a household, but I thank the Lord for His hand upon us.  Tonight Randi and I want to dedicate T to God in Jesus’ Name as a token of our faith in Him and in His covenant.  Continue reading “T’S DEDICATION – 14 Sept 1985”