the Seder Meal and reading from the Haggadah we were told the
story of the Pesach, the Exodus from Egypt of the Jewish people
nearly 3500 years ago. We were told how we were once slaves in
Pharaoh's Egypt and how the Lord brought us out of Egyptian bondage
and slavery with great signs and wonders on the night of the Pesach.
And how the Lord divided the Red Sea and caused our fathers to
pass over on dry ground. And how the Lord led our fathers to Mt.
Sinai and gave us the Torah, the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
And how He led us 40 years in the wilderness and feed us manna
from heaven. And finally how He gave us the promised land, Eretz
Yisrael, the land that He had promised to give to our fathers
as an inheritance.
Jewish home during the Seder Meal according to Jewish tradition
there is an empty chair placed at the table called Elijah's chair.
And a cup filled with wine is placed in front of the chair and
is called Elijah's cup. Toward the end of the meal the expectation
is that Elijah the prophet would appear and enter the house announcing
the coming of the Messiah...but Elijah never came to my house.
And so my messianic dreams and hopes passed away as I grew older.
Also I should mention here that during my youth I grew up with
the same idea that most Jews had concerning Yeshua, that Yeshua
the Messiah was the God of Christianity and that he had something
to do with the Vatican, the Pope, Mary and Rome but nothing to
do with us.... because we were Jewish... and so I was told that
Jesus wasn't for the Jewish people.
young Jewish boy I followed the Jewish traditions and celebrated
my Bar Mitzvah, when I was 13 years old. That means that when
you become 13, you stand in the synagogue and recite passages
from the Torah and Haftorah (the Law and the Prophets) before
God, your family and friends. The rabbi teaches you; you learn
to read from the Torah and to recite prayers. On that day you
are responsible for keeping the Laws of Moses. On the day of my
Bar Mitzvah the passage to be read was Ezekiel 36:16-38, which
speaks about the Restoration of Israel: "For I will take
you from among the nations; I will gather you from all the countries
and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water
upon you, and you will be clean....I will give you a new heart...You
will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people,
and I will be your God".
day I had a deep encounter with God in the synagogue reading from
the scriptures. As I read the portion of the prophet Ezekiel I
felt the presence of God upon me. But I did not want to follow
Rabbinical Judaism and so I left the synagogue and for the next
13 years I began searching for the meaning and purpose of life.
I couldn't accept the Orthodox Jewish way of life but what else
was there? I wanted to discover for myself what life had to offer
me. During the next 5 years I spent most of my time pursuing athletics
playing basketball, football and baseball. I became a kind of
high school hero and was the most valuable player on my team.After
high school, I began studying sociology in the University and
was exposed to many different humanistic philosophies; i.e. Marx,
Engels, Freud, Darwin....Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and other
well known world philosophers who tried to solve the problems
of mankind and the world but independant of God.
caused me to think about questions that I had never asked before
like who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Does God
exist? Is there a heaven and hell? I was living in the 1960's,
the generation of the Beatles, drugs, and rock and roll and we
were searching for the meaning and purpose of life. I had searched
for the real meaning and purpose of life during those years but
I didn't find it. I came to the conclusion that there was no absolute
truth, that life had no real meaning, that the best you could
do was eat, drink and be happy. I wasn't even sure any more if
God existed. I received my BA degree and took a job as a school
teacher in an inner-city school where the students came from society's
underpriviledged which was for me the reason that I took that
job...I was sort of a social worker. This was also the time of
the Vietnam war, the time when my generation was protesting strongly
against the war, materialism, and the hypocrisy of Western society.
I was a teacher for three and a half years...and during those
years I continued partying and doing what the Bible refers to
about the prodigal son as "wasting his substance with riotous
during that time in my life that God began dealing with me in
a personal way. On Rosh Hashana, the High Holiday I was arrested
for cultivating a field of marajuana and went to prison for three
days. The Jewish feast Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, according
to Jewish tradition is the day that God judges the world and humanity
for the coming year. On that day of all days I was arrested! Well
it was a very traumatic experience for me and because it happened
to me on Rosh Hashana, it caused me to wonder whether or not this
was the hand of God soverignly judging my life...and I had the
strangest feeling that He was!!! And so the event on Rosh Hashana
caused me to begin thinking again about God for the first time
in many years. Was there really a God? How could I be certain
if He existed? I began reading my Jewish prayer book the Siddur
which awakened something deep inside me. As I read the psalms
and prayers, God began to awaken my Jewish soul. I began believing
in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.There was an inner certainty
in my soul and I was slowly becoming conscious of the existence
of the God of Israel. God knew exactly which way to speak to me.
He touched my Jewish heart through the reading of the Word. I
knew the truth was in God's Word and not in the philosophies which
I studied at University.
heart there was a struggle going on between light and darkness,
good and evil, truth and the lie. And as I continued to read from
the Psalms God began to speak to me in a very personal way. I
realized that David spoke about God as if He was a personal God.
He seemed to have a deep personal relationship with God. That
touched me deeply. The next few weeks were very exciting for me
as I began to read the Tenach, Genesis, Exodus....The Psalms and
Proverbs. The Psalms of David were especially precious to me.
One day while I was sitting in my classroom I began reading Psalm
40:1-4 "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me
and heard my cry. He lifted me out of a horrible pit. out of the
mud and mire. He set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place
to stand. He put a new song in my mouth a song of praise to our
God. Many shall see and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is
the man who makes the Lord his trust".
As I read
this Psalm I began to identify with what David was saying. My
own personal circumstances were like a horrible pit...and it was
as if God was speaking directly to me through His Word. "Shmuel
I am bringing you out of a horrible pit...and I'm going to set
your feet upon a rock and establish your goings...ans put a new
song in your mouth of praise to our God. And then I read the verse
"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust...Trust
in the Lord! Well I didn't really understand what that meant but
I decided I was going to trust God. That day was a turning point
in my life and God showed me that it was time to leave my teaching
profession and that He was calling me to resign and begin trusting
in Him. Not knowing what would happen to me...what I would be
doing or where I would be going I handed in my resignation of
my job that same day...and began trusting God based upon Psalm
40:4 "Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust".
During the following week after resigning from my job and trusting
in the Lord an incredible happening took place that would change
the whole course of my life. I was simply doing some shopping
downtown, just browsing around, and went into a bookshop that
sold paintings. Well a certain painting caught my attention. It
was the famous painting of Leonardo DaVinci called the Last Supper
which portrays Yeshua and His disciples celebrating the Passover.
mentioned that the Passover had been the most important Jewish
feast day for me from my childhood. And also I thought that Yeshua
was the God of the Gentiles, and that he had something to do with
the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope and Mary but that He had nothing
to do with the Jewish people. So why was Yeshua celebrating the
Jewish Pesach I asked myself? So I went home that evening pondering
about Yeshua. What did He have to do with the Pesach? I couldn't
understand it. You see I had never read the New Testament and
I didn't have the slightest idea who this Jesus of Nazareth was...in
fact I grew up thinking that Jesus was a Christian and not a Jew!
And so the following day I decided to find out who this Jesus
was and I found a copy of the New Testament and began to read
from the Gospel according to Matthew. The text I began reading
was Matthew 1:1 and I read"The record of the geneology of
Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"!
The Son of David, the Son of Abraham... Oh my God,Yeshua was a
Jew! I was astonished! I was stunned!
I began to read Mathew's Gospel with great interest. I made a
serious attempt to put aside all my preconceived ideas about who
Yeshua was. When I read about the miraculous birth of Yeshua and
that it was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah "that
a virgin would conceive and bear a Son and he would be called
Immanuel...God with us" ...I saw the connection between the
Old Testament Messianic Prophesies and the New Testament fullfillment.
This awakened my interest even further. As I read the Gospel according
to Matthew I began reading about Yeshua of Nazareth, a Jew who
was preaching in the synagogues and cities and towns in Galilee
the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven or "the good news"
to His people. He was a man of great compassion healing the sick,
who caused the lame to walk and the blind to see, the deaf to
hear...and raised the dead by the power of God. I read about His
teachings and His life and ministry and how multitudes followed
Him throughout the Galilee and many believed that He was the promised
Messiah. I was deeply moved by His life and teaching and ministry.
I came to the place in Matthew where Yeshua and His disciples
celebrated the Last Supper or the Jewish Pesach feast. I remember
wondering why Yeshua had been so removed from our Jewish history?
What was the relationship between Yeshua and the Jewish people?
Well I then read through the events that followed the Pesach,
the New Covenant that He made with His disciples, the betrayal
by Judas His trusted friend, His trial before the High Priest
and before Pontius Pilate and the judgement of crucifixion...death
upon the cross. It was at the Crucifixion of Yeshua that God finally
revealed to me who Yeshua was. As I read the account of the crucifixion
of Yeshua I came to the place where He was crucified and the accusation
that was nailed to the cross above His head which said, "This
is Yeshua, THE KING OF THE JEWS". (MATT.27:37) When I read
those words I was perplexed. Why did they write This is Yeshua,
"THE KING OF THE JEWS", and not this is Yeshua "the
False Messiah", or "the False Prophet" or "the
blasphemer" or any of the accusations that had been brought
against Him? Why THE KING OF THE JEWS ?
and pondered who was this Yeshua of Nazareth? I thought about
1900 years of Christianity and 1900 years of Judaism...and I was
stuggling in my Jewish mind with the paradox of "How could
the God of Christianity be THE KING OF THE JEWS"? As I was
struggling with this paradox, slowly God was lifting the veil
of spiritual blindness over my mind and removing the blindness.
As I was beholding Him nailed to the cross, suffering and bleeding,
dying as the King of the Jews, suddenly in a moment of time I
recognized Him...Yeshua to be the King of the Jews!!! It is written
in one account of the crucifixion that as Yeshua gave up His Spirit
and the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom
and the earth shook and the rocks split and the tombs were opened...it
was as if the veil was torn away from my mind and the earth shook
and the rocks split in my heart and in a moment of time I recognized
Yeshua to be my King!
an emotional moment for me as I was in the process of being born
again. As I continued to read the Gospel I came to my unspeakable
joy to the account of Yeshua's Resurrection from the dead! I knew
nothing about it; it was completely new to me. I read how the
angel of the Lord descended from heaven and said to Mary Magdalene
at the tomb,..."I know that you are looking for Yeshua who
was crucified. He is not here; He has risen from the dead"...I
was so overjoyed that I shouted for joy! He hadn't only died,
but had risen from the dead! I could do nothing else but kneel
down and surrender my whole life to Yeshua. There and then I became
His disciple. Although I had given up on my messianic hopes and
expectations as a teenager, now I had trusted in the Lord and
found Yeshua as my promised Jewish Messiah.
1974 I made aliyah to Eretz Yisrael based on the passage from
Ezekiel 36 that I had read on my Bar Mitzvah day. I lived in Jerusalem
for one and a half years and then moved to Rosh Pinna in the Galilee
where I lived for 5 years pioneering a home/cell group. From there
I lived in Tiberias and helped in establishing the congregation
there where I also spent three years as a fisherman on the Sea
of Galilee. In 1982 I met my wife Pamela and we were married and
moved to Jerusalem in 1985, after living in Maalot for three years,
where we are serving the Lord and are going to live until the
Lord returns. I pastored a Messianic congregation called Brit
Yerushalayim and Chazon Yerushalayim a Messianic Jewish Ministry
while Pamela helped me to follow my calling to minister to the
Jewish people. She became a well known Israeli artist and I helped
Pamela as her business manager. During the past few years I also
became the Pastor/Director of Chazon Yerushalayim, a ministry
team of Israelis with a heart for indigenous Israeli evangelism.
Our motto is "Israelis that share the gospel with other Israelis".
my path in life and why I live and work in Jerusalem...to bring
the gospel to the Jewish people and to pray for the salvation
of Israel. The salvation of Israel is the final phase of the redemption
of the Jewish people. In 1948 out of the ashes of the Holocaust
Israel was established as a State. God brought the Jewish people
back to their land. After nineteen centuries of being scattered
among the nations they came back to their own country and began
the restoration of Israel in their own God-given land. In 1967,
after the Six Day War, God restored the city of Jerusalem to his
people. Yeshua said that Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the
Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Lk. 21:24).
Trampled upon by the Gentiles means that the city is subjected
to Gentile rule. At the same time God began to pour out His Spirit
on many Jews around the world. This was a turning point, the first
clear sign of the lifting of the veil of spiritual blindness that
is blinding the hearts and minds toward yeshua the past 2000 years.
Zechariah 12:10 says"that God will pour upon the house of
David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a spirit of grace and
supplication...and they will look upon the one they have pierced
...and mourn for Him...and grieve bitterly...and He will open
a fountain to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jeerusalem
to cleanse them from sin and impurity"...(Zech. 13:1).
believe that we are living in the time when the spiritual blindness
of the Jewish people is going to be removed. This is the next
and most important phase in God's plan for Israel. During the
next ten years much will change. A new generation of Sabres are
living in the land. The generation of David Ben Gurion, Golda
Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin has passed away and their
place has been taken by Sabres, young Israeli Jews who have grown
up in this country. They are less resistant to the Gospel. The
generation that survived the holocaust and returned to this country
came with deep wounds of unbelief. But their children have grown
up in this country and they see things differently. And this young
generation is going through the same phases of developement as
the youth in other parts of the world. Drug abuse, alternative
music and lifestyle, the search for truth, opposition to war,
these universal youth problems have also happened here in Israel.
So I expect a great harvest over the next ten years!
that Messianic Jews form the bridge between believing Christians
and the Jewish people. This is an important developement in the
history of the Church and Israel. Christians have a special responsibility
to pray for the salvation of Israel and to stand alongside Messianic
Jews. Messianic Jews are the natural branches which are grafted
back into their own olive tree according to Rom.11:24. We have
arrived at an important historical moment in the year 2000. God's
purpose for the last days is the spiritual restoration of Israel,
the final redemtion of the Jewish people. The breaking down of
the wall of partition between Jews and Christians is also the
deepest longing of God's heart that we might become one in Messiah
(Eph.2:14-15) God's plan for Israel is that we will finally become
a kingdom of priests, a holy nation... and a light for the nations.
Only then we will fulfill our Messianic calling and represent
God to the rest of the nations of the earth. Then the Law shall
go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem(Is.2:2-3)
When He returns to Jerusalem and His feet stand upon the Mount
of Olives then we will behold Him and "all Israel shall be
saved" and have full knowledge of who he is. For me Yeshua
isn't just the promised Jewish Messiah, the King of the Jews...He
is the soon coming King, the Son of God, My Lord and Saviour,
My King and Redeemer, My Bridegroom and My God. The nations will
come up every year to Jerusalem to worship the King (Zech.14:16)
.And In that day all Israel shall be saved"(Rom. 11:26).Maranatha!
Come Lord Yeshua!