his post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

Maybe it’s time for some new glasses

Eric Tokajer

Feb 18, 2017

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Many years ago, I watched a movie entitled My Cousin Vinny, which stared Joe Pesci as a lawyer from New York who was defending his nephew who was being tried for murder in Alabama. During the trial, Pesci’s character was cross-examining a witness, an older lady who was wearing very thick glasses. As a part of the questioning, Pesci asked the witness how her sight was and she responded that with her glasses on her vision was pretty good. Pesci then took a tape measure and walked about 75 feet from the witness and asked the witness to tell him how many fingers he was holding up. After providing an incorrect answer, Pesci walked up to the witness and said, “Maybe it’s time for some new glasses.”

I was thinking about this scene while I was listening to some American prophecy preachers proclaiming their interpretation of the events, which are described in the eschatological books of the Bible. Each preacher shared their thoughts on what would be coming upon the earth and the events that would lead up to the “Tribulation” and the “Return of Messiah,” known by many as the “Rapture.” The more I listened to those men, the more I began to realize that for the American body of believers, “maybe it’s time for some new glasses.”

Why, you may ask? Each of these men who were considered experts in the fields of prophecy had based their entire eschatological foundation upon the Scriptures as they relate to the United States of America. They failed completely to even consider that every book of the Bible and every event that takes place in those books are written only from the viewpoint of the nation Israel. Israel is the center of all Biblical text and of the understanding of all Biblical text. If you shift the focus from Israel and the Middle East to any other location or nation you will always come to errant conclusions about the fulfillment of the prophetic statements found on the pages of the Scriptures.

One clear example is found when considering those who proclaim that the Body of Messiah will be removed from the earth before the beginning of the Tribulation. This is a popular position for American theologians. I would ask those teachers to please try preaching that position to the believers in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Egypt who are daily being martyred because of their unwavering faith in Yeshua as their Messiah. It would be impossible to convince those of such a great testimony that what they were going through was not to be considered the Tribulation simply because they don’t live within the geographical coordinates known as the United States of America.

When one reads the Bible and takes its words out of the context of the geographical boundaries of the Promised Land and its surrounding neighbors, the distortion is even greater than the distortion caused by the incorrect eyeglass prescription worn by the witness in the movie.

It is only when the worldwide body of Messiah decides that it is time to get a “new pair of glasses,” which will allow them to view the Bible within the context of the Bible itself, that we will begin to understand and see the signs of the times.






Eric Tokajer

Eric Tokajer


Rabbi Eric Tokajer is the Publisher of The Messianic Times, an international Messianic Jewish newspaper, which includes news from the worldwide Messianic community, Israeli current events and analysis, opinion pieces, book and music and film reviews, informative articles and a directory of Messianic Jewish congregations.






Do we believe in “three gods” as the rabbis claim?

One For Israel Staff 

Feb 5, 2017

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There’s a rumor going around that the New Testament supposedly teaches a belief in three gods.

To begin with, it’s important to understand that this false rumor does not exist by accident. It is based on deliberate brainwashing that has been promoted for 2,000 years, and its purpose is to present the New Testament as pagan. For example, see the false statement of Rabbi Daniel Ballas on the “hidabroot” website, where he claims that believers in Jesus believes there are three different gods: “According to their belief, the creator of the entire universe is nothing but three gods.”

But no, we absolutely do not believe in three gods!

God is ONE, as the Prophet Isaiah said: “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”

Now check this quote out:

“The mystery in the word YHWH: there are three steps, each existing by itself; nevertheless they are One, and are so united that one cannot be separated from the other. The same Holy and Ancient One, appears as three heads within one, and He is the head elevated three times. The Ancient Holy One, described as three and also the other lights, which are delegated from His source are included in the three.”

Sounds like a Christian quote?

Well, it’s NOT….

This is a quote from the most prestigious book in rabbinical mysticism – straight out of the Jewish book of The Zohar.

But wait, there is more….

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

Did you notice that God’s name appears three consecutive times? The Jewish Zohar explains that the expression “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one”, is actually three who are one:

“Only through faith, in the vision of the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one,  yet it consists of three elements: Fire, air and water.”

The truth is, that the Jewish book of The Zohar goes in great depth into the subject it calls “Haraz de Shlosha” – “The Mystery of the Three”, about the nature of One God with three dimensions\persons. The Zohar refers to God as to three heads, three spirits, three ways of appearance, three names, and three shades of interpretations that describe the divine nature.

It would be interesting to know if Rabbi Daniel Ballas intends to blame the Jewish book of The Zohar as being a “Pagan Christian” book?

We cannot, and probably should not place God in a lab in an attempt to understand exactly who or what He is. He said in the past: “I am who I am.” And through Isaiah, He said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

If, as human beings, we were able to fully understand God with our human minds, then we probably would not fear Him. We cannot worship a god that our mind is able to fully contain. While we can never fully understand God, it is still possible to find many clues throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) that testify to His character.

To begin with, God is not made of matter, He is abstract. Yet, he can manifest Himself in material forms, whether it’s in the form of a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire, or as the Angel of God, or in the form of the Messiah. The Hebrew Scriptures describe God as One who sits up above, and at the same time, in the Temple. At the same time, He fills the prophets with His Spirit; and all of this, while His Glory fills the entire universe. Can you see how complex God is in the forms  and places in which He manifests?

In Isaiah 48:16, God says:

“Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there;
And now the Lord God has sent me, and His Spirit.”

Is God saying that YHWH sent Him together with His Spirit?

Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Does God speak of Himself in plural form?

We can go on and on, and spend long hours quoting more verses throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the writings of the Jewish sages and of course from the New Testament, that indicate that One God manifests Himself in three different persons. But you already got the idea.

God, who loves the humanity which He created, appeared to us in different persons. One of the forms in which God showed Himself to us, is in the form of the Messiah. He took on flesh, and demonstrated His love for us by suffering with us and for us. He sacrificed His own life on the cross so He could take our sins upon Himself, not so we worship Him out of fear of legalistic religious compulsion, but because we are grateful for His love and for what He has done for us.

This article originally appeared on One for Israel and is reposted with permission.




One For Israel Staff


ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.








This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

A new dawn for Israel and Bible translation

Institute for Biblical Languages & Translation 

Jan 30, 2017

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“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ” – Zech. 8:23

69 years after the creation of Israel, we are now at crossroads in the history of the Messianic body and its impact on the global Church. It is almost impossible to fathom that just a few decades ago, the number of believers in the land could be counted on a few hands, and now this number has multiplied several times over, with thousands, if not tens of thousands of believers living in Israel today.

Not only this, but a higher percentage of these believers today more than any point in history are growing up with a native knowledge of Hebrew, studying and learning the Hebrew Bible at school, at home and in their congregations from a young age.

It may come as a surprise to find out that of the world’s 7,000+ languages, only 8% of these have a full Bible, (Tanakh & New Testament), and of the languages that have a New Testament, 1,188 have no Tanakh and no active work to translate one!

This is a startling figure, as we think of the depth of understanding of God, the culture of discipleship that was cultivated through the nation of Israel, the prophets, the Psalms, the rich moral and spiritual lessons from the forefathers, the Exodus, and the Kings and Israel’s eventual exile.

Today, for the first time in history, hundreds of believing young people are graduating from schools, colleges and the army with a secret treasure in their pocket that could transform the Global Missions Movement. It is not one they have earned by any special merit, or necessarily one that they have fought for (although in the case of the children of Olim, the opposite might be the case!)

However they have received it, this treasure is one for which new believers the world over are crying out, one for which they are desperate and starved. It comes in the form of their language. For whatever reason, God chose for His Word to be passed to us through the medium of the Hebrew language. And today, the Messianic Body in Israel naturally has the closest access. My 8-year old son, through no special work of his own, has a more natural feel of the language of the Hebrew Bible than some of the best Biblical scholars outside Israel!

This may not have come by choice, and it certainly may not be deserved, but neither was any of our election, calling or salvation. Yeshua said of the faithful servant:

Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? […] Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:42,48

There is real global Bible poverty in existence, entire peoples and nations starving for the Living Bread, while believers in the West are over-satiated with more Bible versions than we can count. This is no less of an injustice than the physical poverty that we see.

We are over-filled with the Word, while over 4,000 language groups merely have scraps.

It is time for a change, and the Messianic Body in Israel can be at the center of this. With some training, Hebrew speakers, young and old, can commit to the task of serving with the language they have in their back pocket. They can take this language and serve on the mission field as language consultants.  They can teach translators the intricate nuances that are contained in the text. With native Hebrew speakers on a language project, the work of translation that currently takes 12-14 years can be reduced dramatically, accelerated by the presence of a living reference book!!

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem
. Isaiah 2:3

God’s Word is clear that the word will go out from Zion. This may have happened once already, but it is time for this to happen again.

A new day is dawning for the Messianic Body in Israel. This is a day when we are called to serve the nations as well as those within our midst, a day when we are called to participate in the Great Commission in ways that we may never have imagined:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:18

Translation agencies around the world would willingly receive a new influx of passionate Hebrew experts, ready to bring their ‘five loaves and two fish’, ready to see that multiplied to feed thousands upon thousands.

Are we ready to answer the call?

If you want more information on how you can be trained to serve in the area of Bible Translation or Biblical Hebrew Teaching, please visit http://iblt.ac, and sign up to receive further info.

To support the movement by sponsoring students or through a one-off or regular donation, visit http://4220foundation.com/give





Institute for Biblical Languages & Translation

Institute for Biblical Languages & Translation


The Institute for Biblical Languages & Translation (IBLT) is a program of 4.2.20 Foundation. IBLT supports and resources existing Bible translation initiatives as a learning and research center, training mother-tongue translators in biblical Hebrew and native Hebrew speakers as translation consultants. The Institute is working strategically to accelerate the training process without loss of quality, drawing from both the expertise of premier institutions and programs and the unique context and culture of the Holy Land.








This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

What did Yeshua look like?

Howard Bass 

Jan 30, 2017

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Cover of TIME magazine on August 15, 1988.

God was manifested in the flesh, and great is this mystery! When you imagine and think of what Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ looked like as a man, what images come to your mind? Most of us have seen many different paintings and drawings of Messiah done by many artists throughout much of the history of the last two thousand years. There have been many actors who have played the part of Jesus in plays and movies. We see Jesus dressed in various styles of clothing; His skin color in varying shades of darkness or lightness. His hair is nearly always thin and straight – but maybe it was black, thick and curly — and a length that most people would consider “long”. His eyes are sometimes black, sometimes blue. We would probably picture Yeshua as being physically strong, but not muscular: He walked a lot of miles (kilometers and furlongs), and He had the strength of the Son of God to pull up Peter from deep water while He Himself was standing on the water!

What does the Word of God have to tell us about the appearance of Yeshua of Nazareth when He was here the first time as a flesh and blood Man? Not too much, really. Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah, born of a Jewish mother in Israel, situated on the western edge of Asia in the Middle East of today. The apostles and writers of the New Testament accounts say virtually nothing about His physical appearance – whether of Himself or compared to anyone else. (They speak much about His excellent and perfect moral character and conduct!) As the son of David, was He ruddy and good-looking, like David (1Sam 16:12), or like the “beloved” in the Song of Songs (5:10)? Yeshua probably had a beard. The prophet Isaiah tells us that “He has no form or comeliness, and when we see Him, no beauty that we should desire Him.” (53:2)

Jesus, being the perfect Lamb of God who alone sacrificed Himself for our sins, would have been without blemish or defect, both physically and spiritually (Lev 1:10; 21:17-23; 1Sam 16:7; Heb 4:15). In that Jesus pleased God His Father in all things because He loved Him (Jn 8:29), we can be sure that He did not tattoo His body or style His hair in strange ways like the heathen do (Lev 19:27-28; 21:5). Yeshua would not have intentionally balded Himself. For YHVH God has called His people to be holy, because He is holy.

Speaking of hair, is there anything in the Bible which sheds light on the length of Messiah’s hair? As mentioned above, when people are asked to describe Jesus, almost always one of the first things they say is that he had long hair.  But did He?  Nazarites had long hair when they were under the vow (Num 6:1-5), but Yeshua was not a Nazarite (nazir נזיר) in the legal sense.  Yeshua drank wine and grape juice (Lk 7:34; Mk 14:23-25).  Yeshua is the Nazarene (netzer  נצר) (Mt 2:23), the chosen Son of David who is greater than David’s son (Is 11:1; Lk 20:41-44). The Holy Spirit – the same Spirit of God who conceived Yeshua in Mary’s womb and with Whom He was filled the whole rest of His birth and life, and Who rested upon Him at His baptism – inspired the Apostle Paul to write in his letter to the Corinthian believers (1Cor 11:14) that long hair on a man is a dishonor to him. Surely the Holy Spirit is not going to be calling long hair on a man dishonorable if the Lord Jesus Himself had long hair!

In addition, the Old Testament tells us by the same inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the priests of YHVH God are not to shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long and disheveled, but to keep their hair well-trimmed (Ezek 44:20; Lev 21:5). Yeshua came to fulfill the Word of God His Father. He did not come to annul but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and this will be fully accomplished during the Millennial Kingdom of God on the Earth when Israel – as a people and nation – comes into the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34) at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We, who have already entered the New Covenant by faith through the blood of Messiah, and have already received the gift of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins by God, are all priests chosen and sanctified unto the Lord. In so far as it is possible with us, we are to make choices which please our Father in Heaven, who has shown such love for us, and not take advantage of His grace to look like, dress like, behave like those who do not know Him and Yeshua whom He sent. This is true for males and females. All things may be lawful for us, but not always helpful or worthwhile (1Cor 6:12-13; 10:23-24). Our concern should be: how will my example bring honor to God our Father, to Jesus our Lord and Savior, and to the Holy Spirit.

Yeshua/Jesus is the Son of Man (Ben-HaAdam) (Lk 21:36). What did He look like when He was here?  No one today really knows for sure, but the clues which have been revealed to us through the Bible do help us to clarify certain points. Although Yeshua came as the Seed of Abraham and of David – an Israeli Jew – He is also “Everyman”. He knows and understands every person – male and female of every status and color – from any tribe and ethnic group, and every person from any place at any time can relate to Him as the One who is theirs and they are His (Gal 4:4-7).

This same Yeshua – now seated and described in glory at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (Hagvurah) in the Heavens (Rev 1:12-18; 5:5-6) – still today either inspires or antagonizes millions of people. Who is Jesus/Yeshua to you (atah)? What does He look like to you? (Ps 45:1-4).

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, July 31, 2005, and reposted with permission.





Howard Bass


Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.






The rabbis claim that Jesus was a false prophet who incited the people of Israel and lead them astray into idolatry. They base this on what is written in Deuteronomy 18:20: “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.” This verse says that a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods should be put to death, and that such prophet is considered a false prophet. Rabbi Menashe Yisrael, while referring to this verse, claims that Jesus, “Deteriorated to idolatry, bewitched, incited and caused Israel to sin.”

The early rabbinical literature painted a picture in which the disciples of Jesus worshiped three different gods, and therefore today, they accuse Jesus, his disciples, and us, of believing in three gods. But anyone who will read the New Testament for themselves will come to the conclusion that the truth is quite the opposite, as we explain here.

Jesus and his disciples always pointed to the God of Israel, to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and commanded them to worship Him and only Him. Jesus always pointed everyone to his heavenly Father, to the God of Israel; through the miracles he performed, in the things he said, and in the way he lived. He lived, died and rose from the dead in order to glorify God, and he did so as a Jew. He didn’t cause anyone to worship idols; on the contrary, He turned all who followed him towards God. Many gentiles who were worshiping other gods and pagan practices came to believe in the one God of Israel. And today, thanks to Jesus, the God of Israel is known in thousands of languages and dialects throughout the world.

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 15 and in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5, Jesus performed signs and wonders before the people of Israel; he healed the lame, the crippled, the blind, the mute and did many other miracles. When the people saw the mute speaking, the lame walking and blind seeing, they all were filled with awe and began to sing and praise… who? The God of Israel. Why? Because they linked Jesus and the miracles they saw him do to the God of Israel. Also the things that Jesus taught when he spoke to the people always glorified the God of Israel.

Below are a few examples:

Jesus said: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16) or

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:44-45) or

Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:9-10)

Isn’t it ironic that today, this Jewish prayer is considered as the Catholics’ prayer!? The Kingdom and the desire of his heavenly Father were central in Jesus’ life and work. He always paved the way to the God of Israel, and not to some foreign pagan idol. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6) Jesus turned anyone who came to him, to his heavenly Father, to the God of Israel. The Messiah is the way to get to our heavenly Father. Thanks to Jesus, gentiles, former idolaters and many pagans forsook their idols and began worshiping the God of Israel! This fact, that suddenly thousands of gentiles who are not Jews, are worshiping the God of Israel, is proof that Jesus is indeed the Messiah; The Old Testament prophesies that one of the main roles of the Messiah was to bring faith in the God of Israel to all the nations. And that is exactly what Jesus did.

The rabbis might forbid reading the New Testament, or even having one in your house, but those who dare to check it out for themselves find that the New Testament does not suggest worshiping several gods, or indeed any form of idolatry. Neither does it seek to invent a new religion. As the people of Israel, who live in the daily reality, sometimes we can be so focused on ourselves and on what the rabbis say that we forget the promise that God Himself gave to our father Abraham in the book of Genesis: The promise that the Messiah would come through his seed and would be a blessing to all the nations of the world – to all the peoples, and not only the Jewish people.

In Genesis 12:3, God says to Abraham “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God’s vision was always to reach all nations, not just one people. Today, the more religious you are, the more distant you get from the gentiles, but God chose the people of Israel, so that through them he could reach the rest of the nations. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has now reached all the nations, thanks to Jesus the Messiah.

See for example Pliny, Governor of Bithynia in minor Asia during the first century. Pliny wrote to Emperor Trajan that he was executing a huge number of men, women and children who were no longer willing to bow to Trajan’s statues, since according to him, they now believed in the God of Israel… because of Jesus. When you read the things that Jesus’ Jewish disciples said, as documented in the New Testament, you see the exact same message: Through Jesus the Messiah, both Jews and Gentiles can nurture a close relationship with the God of Israel. Did you know that in the New Testament, there are more than 1,200 references to the God of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? The point is clear: Jesus the Messiah turned ALL people to worship the God of Israel.

Think about it, Jesus was the only prophet who walked the earth who efficiently fulfilled his role to bring people closer to the God of Israel. Thanks to him, millions of Gentiles love the God of Israel, serve and worship him, and all that, in the name of Jesus – the Jewish Messiah. The problem is that the rabbis prefer to keep the power in their hands; they love the control and the right to tell everyone what to do and how to live, even if it means that they need to conceal the Messiah from you, under the pretense that he is a false prophet.



What is the real obstacle to a two-state solution?

Joyclynn Potter 

Jan 17, 2017

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Parts of the Israeli security wall near Beit Jala, outside Jerusalem (Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

On Dec. 23, Samantha Power, the erstwhile United State ambassador to the United Nations, abstained from voting on Security Council Resolution 2334. That single abstention allowed the resolution to pass 14-0 and marked a shocking and unprecedented departure from longstanding United States policy toward Israel.

Resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, calling them a “flagrant violation under international law,” asserted that the settlements have no “legal validity,” and labeled them “a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution.” The resolution also called on Israel to cease all settlement activity.

The United States has a long history of vetoing any U.N. Security Council resolutions against Israel that attempt to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or that jeopardize Israeli security. The U.S. has consistently maintained that a successful two-state solution must be negotiated directly between Israel and a future Palestinian state. That is why the decision to abstain from voting on Resolution 2334 – rather than blocking it with a veto – came as a devastating blow to Israel and is widely viewed as a punitive parting shot by President Barack Obama against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In her remarks to the United Nations following the vote, Power explained that the Obama Administration’s decision to allow Resolution 2334 to pass was directly related to Netanyahu’s commitment to Israel’s settlements. She also indicated that the decision to abstain from blocking the resolution stemmed from Obama’s disapproval of controversial settlement legislation currently being considered by Israel’s parliament.

The Knesset – Israel’s parliament – gave preliminary approval on the controversial Regulation Bill that would retroactively legalize 2,000 – 3,000 unauthorized settlements built on private Palestinian land. This legislation includes an offer of monetary compensation or alternative land parcels to Palestinian landowners, and stipulates that the settlements must have been built unknowingly on private land.

The bill – which has so far passed every preliminary reading in the Knesset – faces heavy opposition both within and outside Israel. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit warned that the legislation will almost certainly be challenged in Israeli Supreme Court if it is ratified, and called it a breach of Israeli and international law. Other critics have argued that it would amount to a formal annexation of the West Bank, eliminating any possible two-state solution with Palestinians and leaving the creation of a bi-national state (Jewish and Palestinian) the only option.

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have all strongly criticized the bill since its introduction, and the possibility of an International Criminal Court investigation of war crimes now looms as perhaps the greatest threat to Israeli lawmakers if they pass it. Netanyahu and other politicians worry that passage of the Regulation Bill will provoke the ICC, causing it to pursue the prosecution of Israeli officials. What’s more, the U.S. decision to allow Resolution 2334 to pass implies a new, harsher U.S. stance against Israel and may give momentum to the push for an ICC investigation.

Early in December, Netanyahu asked legislators to postpone a final vote on the Regulation until later this month. His concern seemed to stem primarily from a desire to see a transition of United States presidents before his government makes controversial policy changes, rather than from disapproval of legalizing additional settlements.

This is prudent, as President-Elect Donald Trump’s upcoming administration is expected to repair and strengthen U.S.-Israeli relations that have weakened considerably under Obama. Trump had attempted to prevent the U.N. Security Council from voting on Resolution 2334, successfully convincing Egypt to postpone the initial vote. Nonetheless, four other countries serving as temporary members of the Security Council were able to bring the resolution to a vote.

Trump appears set to not only strengthen the U.S. alliance with Israel, but to soften the United States’ stance against Israel’s settlement policy. Historically, all administrations since President Reagan’s have labeled the Israeli settlements a “major obstacle to peace,” but have stopped short of joining other leading members of the international community in deeming them illegal. However, one of Trump’s advisors recently indicated that the president-elect does not agree with the assessment that Israeli settlements impede the peace process.

Trump’s reasoning is not completely implausible. Long before Israeli settlements were established in the West Bank – indeed, before there was a State of Israel – Palestinian and other Arab leaders refused a 1937 British partition plan that would have created a large Arab state and a very small – likely indefensible – Jewish one. Although it was not to their advantage, the Jews accepted the deal. Ten years later, they also accepted the United Nation’s partition plan for the creation of two states; however, the Palestinians rejected that plan, as well. Thus, many have argued that a two-state solution proved unattainable before any settlements were established, and that the only real obstacle to peace has been – and remains – Palestinian unwillingness to recognize and accept a Jewish State.

This article originally appeared on Philos Project, January 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.




Joyclynn Potter


Joyclynn Potter is a high school teacher at Harvest Christian Academy in Baker City, Ore. Her goal as a teacher is to equip students with a solid, biblical worldview and a proactive civic awareness. Joyclynn is a prolific reader and a book reviewer for Bethany House Publishers. She has been published in The Journal of Religion. Joyclynn earned her MA (summa cum laude) in International Relations from Salve Regina University in 2007. She and her husband have three children and numerous foster children. Prior to starting a family, Joyclynn spent six years in overseas missions in Asia, Africa and Europe.




This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

Did Yeshua make Peter the pope?

One For Israel Staff 

Jan 23, 2017

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“But who do you say I am?” Yeshua asked.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven!”

Peter was hot off the marks in every regard. Hot-headed and tempestuous, quick and eager to believe. He was the first to jump out of the boat and walk on water at Yeshua’s invitation, the first to believe it was even possible, and the first to hit the nail on the head regarding Yeshua’s true identity. He was a passionate man of faith, but a picture of steady, solid stability? Not so much.

Just as the Angel called little Gideon “Mighty Warrior” as he cowered, hiding in a winepress, Yeshua calls Peter his rock – the most unstable and volatile disciple of them all! He was enthusiastic and quicker than the others to believe and to nail his colors to the mast, but he was also fiery and impulsive. But Yeshua calls him into his identity as a strong leader, just as Gideon was called into his.

“And I also tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My community; and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it.”

This verse has caused much consternation and controversy about whether or not Yeshua was establishing a papacy here – clearly Peter was foundational in the early church, but what did Yeshua mean exactly? And there are also some other important peculiarities in this verse that get overlooked, but we’ll get into those later.

First, let’s deal with this rock business. 

The verse contains a word play, since the name Peter means rock. Yeshua basically said, “Simon, from now on you are called Rock, and on this rock I will build my church”. In Greek the words are slightly different since the word for Peter is the masculine word for rock (Petros) and the second time it’s mentioned is feminine (Petra) but essentially it’s the same thing. Yeshua was most likely speaking Aramaic, which has no distinction, so he would probably have said, “You are Kephas, and on this Kephas I will build my community / church”. The arguments about whether it is or isn’t the same word seem futile – Yeshua was making a deliberate word play to draw this parallel. But what was his point?

A rabbi shared a helpful picture with me about what Jewish thought is like when it comes to reading the Scriptures. “It’s a bit like Wikipedia”, he explained. Each concept is hyperlinked so you can click on it and it will whisk you off into that world – each word, each concept, each place name has a host of associations that are connected within the Scriptures. Getting to know your way around that interconnected web is a very Jewish approach to Bible study. Take the words “thorns” or “lamb” or anything really, and then look sideways, scanning the Scriptures for other instances that give meaning to that concept in the light of how it appears elsewhere.

Let’s scan forwards to see what Peter had understood Yeshua to be saying, as he passes on the message to the rest of the church.

He says,

“As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”” 1 Peter 2:4-6

A stone, rejected by men? Where else is that in the Bible? It’s in Psalm 118, one of the Messianic Psalms that Peter and the disciples would have sung with Yeshua after the Passover meal, on the evening he was arrested. It goes like this:

I give You thanks, because You have answered me and have become my salvation (Yeshua).
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.
It is from Adonai: it is marvelous in our eyes!
This is the day that Adonai has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Hoshia-na! Please, Adonai, save now! We beseech You, Adonai, prosper us!
Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai— Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Adonai.
We bless you from the House of Adonai.

Yes, Peter is referencing the cornerstone that the builders rejected, the Messiah, Yeshua. He says, “Come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious in God’s sight”… and then he encourages the church members that we are all like living stones too, being joined together to make a spiritual house.

Then we can think of the disciples, again, shortly before Yeshua’s death, marveling at the huge stones of the temple. Yeshua assured his disciples that despite the magnitude of the temple, every stone would be torn down (Luke 21) and in John he claims that he will raise it up in three days. What is he talking about? He is outlining God’s plan to make us, his people, into his temple. We become those stones. Some spiritual stones were key in the foundations of this new building, and Peter certainly played a very important part as the early church was being established, but each part does its work to build up the whole.

Peter didn’t think that there was only one stone that made up the body of God’s temple, but many. If there was one particular stone that was special here, it was Yeshua.

Just as he clocked Yeshua’s identity before the others, again Peter understands the identity of THE Stone, and also the stones that the rest of us are. He is using a different Greek word here – lithos – but he uses the same word to describe Yeshua, the cornerstone prophesied of in the Jewish Scriptures.

Yeshua himself draws the link:

Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.” (Matthew 21:42-4)

And again, we will scan across the scriptures to another place where this idea is mentioned: Jesus here is referring to Daniel 2, which speaks of the coming Kingdom of God. King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, which Daniel interprets, giving a clue about the coming Messiah:

“You looked, O king, and behold, there before you stood a huge statue—an enormous and dazzling image, whose appearance was awesome. The head of that statue was of pure gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet partly iron and partly clay. While you were watching, a stone was cut out, but not by hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from summer threshing-floors that the wind blows away. Not a trace of them could be found. Then the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Dan 2:31-35) …

“Now in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will this kingdom be left to another people. It will crush and bring to an end all of these kingdoms. But it will endure forever. For just as you saw a stone cut out of a mountain, yet not by hands, crush the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold, the great God has made known to the king what will happen in the future. Now the dream is certain, and its interpretation is trustworthy.” (v44-45)

Yeshua identifies himself with that stone that smashes and crushes everything else. He is mightier than every other kingdom, power and authority. This is the Kingdom of God that Yeshua inaugurated on earth when he came in the flesh. This is the Kingdom that now lives in us.

This is the stone that Jesus is referring to. It is no mere pebble or small stone, but is huge and mighty. And Peter says we are like this living stone, we are all his priests.

The pattern of the Tabernacle

Before the temple made of stone was the tabernacle that was carried around the desert with the people of Israel. A close study of the tabernacle and all its accoutrements also yields some very helpful understanding. The tabernacle is a pattern of salvation, with each part representing God’s salvation plan, as the author of Hebrew describes in detail. One interesting aspect of the tabernacle construction is the boards that form the walls of the tabernacle. They are made of wood, covered in gold, and rest in silver sockets which secure them to the ground. This is a picture of believers: the wood is our mortal state – unglamorous and corruptible, but we are covered in gold, which represents the holiness and purity of God. The silver speaks of redemption, and we rest in our redemption through Yeshua, no longer rooted and connected to the world but yet still in it. The boards are linked together with bars, creating unity, and walls, much like the walls of Nehemiah which are often likened to the people of God, and our need to breach the gaps and strive to build unity so that we are not so susceptible to attack from the enemy. The idea of God’s people joined together to be the house of God is not new!

The Biblical pattern, if you follow it through, is that the tabernacle, the temple, and now our lives as the dwelling place of God, are all representing us, his people. God’s intent was always to dwell in and among his people, as he says in Exodus, and declares with great joy in Zechariah 2 – “I’m on my way! I’m coming to live among you!” Yeshua’s incarnation was part of this pattern of God living among his people. With his death and resurrection, the need for the temple ceased, and today he lives in us.

And now for those other interesting peculiarities

Blessed are you, Simon Son of Jonah…
Son of Jonah? A scan back to the story of Jonah reminds us that he was unusual in that he was sent to take the word God to Gentiles. Peter would also be called by God to Cornelius and his household in Acts 10, after an altogether horrifying revelation about bacon on a rooftop in Jaffa. Neither Jonah nor Peter were thrilled with the job, but both were sent to repentant Gentiles, to minister to them and bring the Good News.

The Gates of Sheol will not prevail against it…
Most of the time we breeze through this phrase, thinking it means that whatever Satan tries to do against the church will not succeed. But wait. Take a closer look. It says the gates of hell, or sheol, will not prevail. Have you ever heard of gates attacking anyone? Gates are not for attack, they are for defense! Yeshua is saying that the enemy will not be able to stop the relentless advance of the Kingdom of God and the power of the gospel. When we come against the kingdom of darkness with the liberating truth of Yeshua, we can break down the doors and set the prisoners free, and he will not be able to stop it. His efforts to protect his territory and keep people captive will ultimately fail.

And lastly, let’s look at the word for hell, sheol. Jon Levenson summarises this shady concept brilliantly, when he says that sheol describes “the powerful and malignant forces that negate life and deprive it of meaning”[1]. All of the enemy’s desire to negate life and deprive it of meaning will be powerless to withstand the oncoming barrage of living stones – God’s temple, Yeshua’s living community, his body, the church!

So was Yeshua picking a Pope?

No. Yeshua was not picking a Pope or establishing a global hierarchy with one person at the top to whom every believer must submit. Each local congregation needs leaders, and those who are appointed to lead carry God’s authority and have a very serious responsibility before the throne of God. But Peter himself affirms that we are all part of God’s temple together, using the language of stones and construction. He repeats that we are all priests, all holy, and all hosting the presence of God, Immanuel, who loves to dwell with his people.

[1] Jon D. Levenson, Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life, Yale University Press, 2006,  p.72

This article originally appeared on One for Israel and is reposted with permission.





One For Israel Staff


ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.







This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

What does it mean that “All Israel will be saved”?

One For Israel Staff 

Jan 15, 2017

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Praying at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

Paul assures us in Romans 11:26 that, “All Israel will be saved”. That’s quite a statement! What does he mean, exactly? Who is included in “All Israel”? There are four main views regarding the identity of “all Israel” in Romans 11:26. We favor the latter view, and will explain why, by looking carefully at the meaning and context of the words that Paul uses in Romans 11.

The four views are that “all Israel” means:

  1. The Jews – Every Jew ever lived is “all Israel” and therefore automatically saved.
    Although rarely believed in today, according to this view, any Jew ever lived, who considered himself as a Jew according to the Law of Moses and the traditions of the Rabbis, is saved. This view is not only far-fetched, but also stands in complete contradiction to what Jesus thought about God and Himself.

  2. The church – Jews and Gentiles deemed to have been saved throughout all generations.
    Otherwise known as “replacement theology”, this view equates “all Israel” to the church, as “the Israel of God”. However, this view becomes hard to maintain in the light of Romans 11:28, if the use of the pronoun “they” is followed through to its logical conclusion.

  3. The chosen remnant – all Jewish believers within ethnic Israel that have been saved throughout history.
    This notion indicates that the hardened stance of the Israelite nation is partial and thus a remnant portion among the Jews will continue to face God’s salvation until the end of the modern times.

  4. Ethnic Israel – the people of Israel will receive salvation at the end of days.
    This interpretation asserts that the existing hardening of Israel (albeit partial) will continue till the culmination of this age, at which point, they will turn to Christ and accept His salvation in accordance God’s faithfulness to fulfill his covenantal promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Simply put, despite the majority of Israel being in rebellion, God will not forget His people. Instead, God will pour His Spirit on Israel at a specific point in time, in agreement with the covenantal promises. At that specific time, all of Israel will accept the Messiah.

Does it mean every Jew who ever lived?

In his book “Post-missionary Messianic Judaism”, American Messianic Jewish believer, Dr. Mark Kinzer, asks what we should make of the past 2,000 years of Jewish traditions. He concludes that Israel’s “no” to Yeshua (Jesus) is actually a “hidden participation in the obedience of Israel’s Messiah”[1]. According to Kinzer, although Israel has rejected Yeshua, He “continues to live among them—though in a hidden, obscure fashion”. What Kinzer is really saying is that Jewish tradition (that includes the rejection of the Messiah) is God’s wish for the Jewish people at this time: “a divinely sanctioned religious tradition appointed for the purpose of preserving the Jewish people”. This view is based on the idea that when some Jews answered Pilate “All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25), God considered Jesus’ blood to covered them and their sins. While I have never met with Dr. Kinzer, I have no doubt that he dearly love his own Jewish people. The problem however is that he loves the the Jews so much, that his love for them is in competition with the gospel, and contradicts what Yeshua himself taught about salvation.

Judaism’s rejection of Jesus is based on Judaism’s rejection of Moses, and the prophets. Dead traditions cannot give life nor change our heart for the better, only faith in Messiah can. The outcome of religious traditions that I’ve encountered so far is mainly characterized by pride, legalism and self-justification – nothing that can “save” you.

Did Paul mean the Church?

Herman Ridderbos maintains that, “The church … as the people of the New Covenant has taken the place of Israel, and national Israel is nothing other than the empty shell from which the pearl has been removed and which has lost its function in the history of redemption.” [2] Similarly, Waltke maintains that the church and the New Covenant have permanently supplanted the Israelite nationality together with her law.” [3]

By their rejection of the gospel and the Jesus, has nation of Israel eternally lost her status? Or does the nation of Israel have a hopeful future concerning God’s liberating plan of redemption? Will they “all” be saved? And who are “they”?

The meaning of Paul’s statement in 11:26 can be better appreciated by taking a closer look at some of the words used in the surrounding context. For example, Paul’s use of the words mystrion (mystery) andachris (until) in verse 25 kai houtos (and thus) at the start of verse 26, and they in verse 28.

Rom 11:28 has a particular importance because it bears directly to the identity of “all Israel”. Paul asserts that “all Israel” are viewed as enemies from the gospel point of view. However, from God’s point of view, they are much loved because for the sake of their forefathers. Paul uses this verse to lay ground and make strong prediction concerning the salvation nature of “all Israel.” Despite verse 28 being asyndeton and lacking a proper connection to with the aforementioned content, there is a forged implication used to supplement the subjects touched in verse 28. The use of “they” in verse 27 is not used in its original context and thus need to be supplemented using “them” in the same verse. It seems to be referring to Jacob in verse 26, which then refers back to “all Israel” as evident in verse 26.  The importance of this concept is seen in the fact that verse 28 describes the same group of individuals similar to the one denoted by the term “all Israel” in verse 26.  In other words, Paul has helped to establish an identity of “all Israel” through his words in verse 28 and his description in verse 26.

Paul refers to the subject or the people by describing them as “enemies for the sake of you.” Due to the fact that Paul continuously uses the pronoun “you” to reference the Gentiles, the noun “enemies” must be referring to the ethnic Jews. Verse 28 has Paul summing up the main theme by claiming that the non-believers who made up ethnic Israel were perceived as God’s enemies. This, according to Paul, was for the betterment of the Gentiles. Simply put, from the gospel’s point of view, “they” refers to the ethnic Jews while “you” refers to the Gentiles.

The other reason that presents problems for “the church” view is when analysing verse 28 is that the two clauses used in the whole verse are difficult to use when describing the church. The table below shows the parallel comparison of the two clauses in relation to verse 28:

kata men to euangelion


di’ hymas

“as per the gospel”


“for your sake”

kata de t‘n eklog‘n


dia tous pateras

“as per election”


“due to the fathers”

The two clauses above reveal two distinct revelations; individuals categorized as “all Israel” as defined in verse 26 are treated as enemies of God while on the other hand, God still show some love for them. They are treated as enemies from the viewpoint that they have rejected God’s gospel as evident for the case of the Gentiles. However, those same individuals are beloved by God since he has chosen to elect them as he promised to the fathers. This leads to the description of the concept of the “dual status” of Israel primarily because it hold grounds for two contradicting views of individuals, which at the same time can be interpreted to be true.

In simple terms, it is quite impossible for the two clauses to be referring to the church. How could we define the Body of Christ as “God’s enemies”?

Yet in verse 28 Paul asserts that this group of individuals are seen as enemies from God from the Gospel’s standpoint. This is specifically due to the fact that the gospel and those who believe in it are notdeemed God’s enemies. Romans 11:28 disqualifies interpretation of the Church as Israel.

The chosen remnant?

“The chosen remnant” view is that “all Israel” refers to the believing remnant of the Jewish community. Supporters of this view will insist that verse 28 offers a description of individuals whom God regarded as enemies but have now received salvation and God’s love. Similarly, as noted by Hendriksen, the pronoun “these” used to qualify “enemies” and the “beloved ones” apparently points to the same group of people, who happen to be the elect. “These people were initially unreceptive of the gospel but through magnificent exhibition of God’s mercy, they were able to be beloved.”[4]

The argument is that he first clause of 11:28 refers to the elect in their unsaved state, while the second describes their status after receiving God’s salvation. There is an obvious difficulty with Romans 11:28 and the remnant view, based on these two clauses. They offer two distinct interpretations of “all Israel,” which interestingly appear to be true at the same time. This is supported by Paul’s use of the conjunction “on one hand” and “on the other hand”: They are described as enemies and beloved simultaneously, and not first enemies and only becoming the beloved after some time.”

If Paul had intended to refer to people who had initially been enemies but who have now become beloved (and not enemies any longer), he would not have used the correlative conjunction “on the one hand” and “but on the other hand”, but rather “formerly” and “but now.” Paul’s writing often uses contrasting elements to highlight the differences between the state of affairs between the pre-conversion and post-conversion state. [5]

In Rom 11:28, Paul use the correlative conjunctions to illustrate the existence of simultaneous state between the pre-converted past and the post-converted present state of affairs. It is thus difficult to use Romans 11:28 to denote individuals who were enemies in the pre-conversion past but are now beloved in the post-conversion present. Consequently, “the remnant” view is not credible enough to offer a good interpretation of Romans 11:26.

The ethnic state of Israel

The fourth view maintains that “all Israel” actually means the whole ethnic state of Israel. This interpretation asserts that the existing hardening of Israel (albeit partial) will continue till the culmination of this age, and that the whole Israelite ethnic nation will ultimately turn to Christ and accept His salvation.

Proponents of this view argue that the salvation of the Israelites ethnic nation has its root in God’s faithfulness to fulfill his covenantal promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Despite the majority of Israel being in rebellion, God will not forget His people. Instead, God will pour His Spirit on Israel at a specific point in time, in agreement with the covenantal promises. At that time, all of Israel will accept the Messiah en masse.

This my own view. The “ethnic Israel” view offers a perfectly fitting interpretation of the dual status of “all Israel” in sharp contrast to those offered by other views. Romans 11:28 portrays “all Israel” as the whole nation of Israel.  The first half of verse 28a, 28b, and 29 provide ample support for this statement.

Verse 28a
Based on the “ethnic Israel” view, the current state of the nation of Israel is that of a hardened one at least as per Romans 11:25. The majority of the Israelites do not demonstrate a liking for the Messiah, as described in verse 11 with the use of the terms “their transgression” and in verse 15 as “their rejection.” In the first clause of Romans 11:28 Paul offers a distinct description of the hardened state of the nation of Israel by denoting the nation as being the enemies of God. These are people who stand in enmity with God and among whom God harbours much displeasure. The use of the preposition kata is used to designate the accepted way in which judgement will be accorded. It offers a definition of a rule upon which God’s have managed to establish a relationship with the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel are seen as God’s enemies when viewed from the perspective of their rejection of the gospel.

In the first clause, Paul reiterates the issue of enmity by writing that the people are enemies for the sake of “you.”  The believing portion of the gentile community is described using the second-person pronoun. Here, Paul implies that the by rejecting the gospel, the nation of Israel was working towards the benefit of the Gentiles who ended up receiving salvation – much to their advantage. In the present context, “all Israel” still equates to God’s enemies although that rejection has resulted in many Gentiles finding salvation. The dual status in the first half of verse 28 is reiterated by the statement that the Jewish non-believers that comprise the nation of Israel are perceived as enemies as per the gospel and also for the Gentiles’ sake.

Verse 28b
Paul writes that non-believing Israel are God’s enemies yet that they are also beloved at the same time. First, Paul writes that the nation of Israel are beloved by God “according to election”. The preposition katais used in a similar manner to the first clause to assert the normative form of the way in which judgement will be accorded. “The same is used to arrive at a definition of the rule of determining God’s relationship with the Israelites.” The term “according to election” should thus be interpreted to denote the notion that even though these people are recognized as enemies at least in regards to the gospel, they are still beloved from the perspective of God’s irrevocable choice. This is shown by God’s decision to elect the nation of Israel to be his solely appointed nation. Murray goes on to add that, the term “beloved” denotes “that God  has not ignored or forsaken his good relationship with the nation of Israel because he views them as his own people and wants to maintain the covenants made with the forefathers. Even though the present nation of Israel is hardened, God still sees them as the elect and beloved nation. The second prepositional phrase used Paul to emphasize this point is illustrated though the use of the clause “because of the fathers”… The term “fathers” refers to the main patriarchs of Israel and include Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It also has a special reference to the covenant promises that God made to them. Morris further writes that Paul is seen to make more appeal to the covenant made between God and Abraham as well as the one made to his descendants throughout their lifetimes.[6] The importance of the second clause is that when perceived from God’s perspective of electing the nation of Israel, “all Israel” is beloved by God primarily because of his desire to fulfil the covenant made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Verse 29
Paul uses verse 29 to assert and provide support for the argument that God still loves the nation of Israel and still views it as his chosen nation. In verse 28b, Paul asserts this by writing that the gifts and calling made by God cannot revoked. Despite failing to exclusively define the notion of the “gift” in this context, there is the likelihood that the usage of the word is meant to provide a summary of the good things and privileges accorded to the nation of Israel as indicated in Romans  9:4–5. However, the term “calling” is clearly defined as the process of God’s choosing to elect the beloved Jews. Simply put, it refers to the act of God calling the nation of Israel and electing them to be his own people whom he would stand with, thus fulfilling his promises to the fathers.”

Paul’s focus in verse 29 is upon the term “irrevocable”, which is used to describe something or a situation in which it is impossible to revert or go back to.[7] It is difficult to know whether readers of Paul’s scriptures would be in a position to ascertain whether God still considers the nation of Israel as beloved, especially when viewed from God’s perspective of them being his chosen people. The gifts and the calling to the nation of Israel are irrevocable based on the fact that God does not backtrack on his promises. Moo goes on to add that Paul had a reason for emphasizing the term “irrevocable “at the beginning of the verse indicating that the word of God “has not failed.” God still has a plan for the nation of Israel due to His faithful nature.” [8] Put simply, while Israel rejected God’s Messiah, God has not backtracked on the promises made to the fathers, and equally, those promises have not been annulled by Israel’s lack of faith.

Paul’s assertion of Israel’s dual status in v. 28 succinctly summarizes the dilemma that drives the whole argument of these chapters: the Israel now at enmity with God because of the gospel is nevertheless the Israel to whom God has made irrevocable promises of blessing. In broad terms, as 9:30–10:21 has elaborated the former, negative side of this dilemma, so 9:6b–29 and 11:1–27 have explained the second, positive side. [9]

In a similar context, Murray reiterates that the people of Israel are perceived as both being “enemies” and “beloved” at the same moment – enemies in correlation to the gospel while simultaneously beloved in correlation to their election. This contrasting element indicates that by rejecting the gospel, the nation of Israel was put to the side while the gospel was delivered to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, by virtue of being elected and in accordance with their connection with the patriarchs, they are beloved. The term “beloved” thereby implies that God has not relented but remains faithful in his relationship with the nation of Israel, and still regards them as his chosen people, fully committed to the fulfilment of the covenants made with the fathers. God still shows dedication and peculiar relationship with the nation of Israel despite them being unfaithful to him. This relationship is destined to be illustrated and justified in the eventual restoration (see Rom 11 verses 12, 15, 26).

Romans 11:28 provides a description of “all Israel” that indicates the unbelieving nature of the nation of Israel. It also points out the entire nation of Israel will one day be restored. The refusal of the nation of Israel to accept the gospel of the Messiah did not prevent God from honouring the specific promises he had made with the Fathers. Using Bloesch’s words, God’s rejection of the nation of Israel was only provisional implying that the entire nation of Israel would be saved. [10]


The analysis of Romans 11:28 makes it clear that the dual status of “all Israel” is well interpreted using the view that “all Israel” is the ethnic state of Israel. This is because the interpretation in this view sufficiently envisages a situation whereby the two clauses of Romans 11:28 can be said to be simultaneously true in the present state concerning the “all Israel.” In the same scenario, the unbelieving Israelite nation is perceived on the one hand as the enemy of God, while on the other, still very much beloved. At the end of it all, God has not and will not abandon His chosen nation, Israel.

[1] Mark S. Kinzer, “Postmissionary Messianic Judaism: Redefining Christian Engagement with the Jewish People” (Brazos Press, 2005) p.225-228
[2] Herman Ridderbos, “Paul: An Outline of His Theology” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) p.354-355
[3] Bruce K. Waltke, “Kingdom Promises as Spiritual” (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway, 1988) p.274
[4] Karl Barth, “The Epistle to the Romans” (Oxford University Press, 1968) p.418-419
[5] For instance: Rom 11:30, Gal 1:2,  Eph 5:8, Col 1:21-22, 3:7-8, Philemon 10-11. In other instances, Paul, utilizes a different combinational technique to illustrate the temporary contrast between the pre-conversion and post-conversion state of affairs. For instance in Romans 7:5-6, he utilises the active indicative pronoun “we were” and combined with “but now.” He also demonstrates the same element of establishing temporal contrast by using the combination of “at that time” and “but now” as evident in Galatians 4:8-9: “However, at that time …. But now….?”
[6] Morris, “The Epistle to the Romans”, p.423
[7] Walter Bauer, Frederick W. Danker, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich, “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature,” 3rd ed (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000) p.53
[8] Douglas J. Moo, “The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)”, (Eerdmans, 1996) p.732
[9] ibid p.729-730

This article originally appeared on One For Israel, and reposted with permission.





One For Israel Staff

One For Israel Staff


ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.





Global powers are dealing with the Middle East as they remember it 100 years ago. Their state of denial not only misreads evolving Israel-Arab relations, but also a century of God's intervention to upend Western sabotage. Not surprisingly, the two are intertwined.

Hannah W

Jan 19, 2017

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French President Hollande greets US Secretary of State Kerry at Paris Peace Conference, January 15, 2017 (Photo: screenshot/Reuters)

Part 3 of 3: The Reality. Why God is laughing

Parts 1 and 2 of this series reviewed how and why Western powers obsess over “managing” Israeli-Arab relations. Colonial attitudes tend to resurface with frustration, and after the Jewish return to Zion, Middle East events became exceedingly frustrating. Even secret British promises to divide Israel’s land among all Arab neighbors who agreed to attack in 1948 (a fool-proof plan, considering the U.S.-led ban against arming the Jews), inexplicably failed when those blasted Jews won.

Still, that was 70 years ago. How can colonialists still exist today? Simple: in 1960 the UN narrowed the definition of colonialism to withholding self-governance. Once territories received political independence, global players returned to “developthem, controlling the inhabitants through other forms of dependence (a strategy called neo-colonialism, practiced by capitalists and communists alike).

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon hit a nerve in his remark last summer about this Paris Peace Conference resurrectingghosts of a colonial European past”. The EU reacted with self-righteous outrage. After all, they spluttered, the conference is offeringan unprecedented package of political, economic and security supportto deepen the dependence of both sides.

The game is both lucrative and addicting. For decades “friendship” has allowed the U.S. to give Israel generous military aid that brings big American profits, while “state-building” has allowed the EU to fund Palestinian violence that keeps Israel needing more military aid. British intelligence warned that Israel is a “threat to the region, while its government earned billions from military sales to Israel. And when Israel gets weapons, so do the Arab neighbors.

But despite this careful cultivation, Western control is faltering. Middle Eastern nations have discovered common interests in fighting the newest White-House allies, Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS-affiliated Hamas and nuclear-fixated Iran. That makes Israel a worthwhile friend, the West (particularly America) a dubious friend, and Palestinian statehood a side-issue dwarfed by the real regional problems. This three-fold reversal of 20th-century perceptions is reshaping the Middle East in ways that worry the West.

Jordan’s treaty with Israel was always characterized asa truly warm peace [because] they have no need for international peacekeepers.In 2014, Al Jazeera enviously commented that “this realpolitik has paid off.”  Now Jordanians are working to bring that message to their streets, highlighting friendship with Israel minus “Palestine”. The largest Arab nation, Egypt, has been similarly warming up to Israel while growing correspondingly cold toward America. President al-Sissi’s public rejection of Obama’s legacy was no surprise to those who remember his warning to Obama in 2013: “You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won’t forget that.

The Arab world’s condemnation of Hamas for starting the Gaza War showed that already in 2014, Arab anti-Zionist rhetoric was being eroded by reality. The subsequent cooperation of Israel, Jordan and Egypt in military and intelligence efforts started a trend among other Arab leaders to form practical alliances with a Jewish state that was no longer embarrassed about winning wars. Outspoken Arab Zionism became a media phenomenon, not just in Israel but in several Middle Eastern countries.

Even Palestinians, despite constant indoctrination for war against the Jews by Western-financed education, are showing signs of mutiny. East Jerusalem residents are quietly requesting Israeli citizenship. Palestinians are buying homes in Jewish “settlements, not to displace Jews but to coexist with them. Several years ago a one-state solution under Israeli sovereignty was seriously discussed by Israelis and Palestinians.

The weak link in that chain of defiance is the Israeli government, with a history of sacrificing its own interests in attempts to make friends. [They] have said to you, ‘Lie down that we may walk over you.’ You have even made your back like the ground, and like the street, for those who walk over it.” (Isa. 51:23) The recent American-British-French “friend” song, accompanied by UN Israel-bashing background vocals, was orchestrated to arouse the traditional Jewish dread of isolation, making Israel more receptive to its pre-assignedAuschwitz borders. (Those who think “Auschwitzis melodramatic can survey the reality here.)

But the arm-twisting backfired. Instead of groveling before the global decision to outlaw Jewish settlements, Israel hit back with diplomatic reprisals against the UN and the promoters of Resolution 2334 (which notably did not include even one Middle East sponsor). What’s worse, America’s public elected someone who has resolved to let Israel steer its own future. President Trump, supported by a sensible Congress, might actually demote Israeli settlement projects from global threats to administrative decisions already proven to be lawful.

All this is bad news for the benevolent plan to squeeze Israel back into the 1949 ceasefire lines (conveniently misidentified as “the June 4, 1967 borders) as the starting point for further Palestinian demands and attacks. Any day now, the unwelcome geopolitical changes could produce another Emir Faisal, eager to lead an Arab-Jewish coalition in rebuilding the Middle East… with full U.S. backing in a partnership that respects national sovereignty.

It’s a neo-colonialist’s nightmare.

Driven by this Faisal-phobia, the 2017 Paris Peace Conference was convened for no other purpose than to keep Mahmoud Abbas in power. The PA president whose term expired in 2009, the worshipful fan of terror “pioneerHaj Amin, the statesman who shows no interest in building anything besides his personal fortune, is the only Arab leader who survives completely on Western support. His dependency guarantees his submission. It would never do to let him be replaced by real Palestinian state-builders who want to forge a real peace deal, the kind Jordan and Egypt enjoy. Thus the conference’s only discernible achievement was making Abbas personally available for “meetings with foreign ministers.

What would they talk about? Among other things, their agreement to eject Israel from one specific “settlement. Palestinian violence has long focused on Jerusalem, repeating the incitement several times a day. Now Western obsession is also locked onto Jerusalem, mentioned four times in UNSC-2334, and the focus of a private “meeting of senior officialsbefore the conference even started.

The shift from 100-plus towns to one city is not random, nor is the U.S. response to that shift. Obama’s abstention on UNSC-2334 gave a silent nod to global rejection of Israel’s ownership rights anywhere in its 3000-year-old capital. How do we know that’s the end-goal? Think: If Jerusalem is really to be shared in the two-state solution, relocating the U.S. Embassy to western Jerusalem cannot possibly be a “dangeror “threatto that plan.

But nobody explains the contradiction, or cares. The Daily Beast columnist Maajid Nawaz (a Pakistani Muslim) gave this wall-to-wall denial a spiritual dimension, calling it The One Ring that binds us all. It is the sacred god that must not be questioned.” All doubt regarding the god’s identity was removed when the PA warned that Trump’s non-conformity would “open the gates of hell.

Indeed, Scripture predicts that the world will gather against Jerusalem under spiritual provocation. But that attack won’t be controlled by the UN, the EU or Israel’s great friend in Washington. Satan himself cannot give the order. It will follow God’s timetable, period.

Yet in order to understand what’s coming, we must revisit the prophecies. God through Zechariah promises two such confrontations, which are sometimes mistaken for one. Chapter 12:3 describes a global gathering against Jerusalem as though to move an impossibly “heavy stone, while Zechariah 14:2 foretells another gathering for “battle. In between those two incidents (Zech. 12:4-14:1) God will work vital changes in Israel: territorial restoration, newfound boldness, military valor, and most importantly a national awakening and repentance: They will look to Me whom they pierced, and they will mourn for Him.” (12:10) After this a fountain will be opened for cleansing” in Jerusalem, and all idols and false prophets will be removed throughout Israel (13:1-6). The survivors of a huge worldwide persecution of God’s flock will also be purified and confirmed as His people (13:7-9).

Only then does the international war against Jerusalem take place, which God Himself initiates. In the first global gang-up, although God provokes the world with the issue of Jerusalem, He allows the nations to decide whether to injure themselves by tackling it. The second gang-up is beyond their control altogether: “For I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle(14:2). That war will end abruptly with YHVH descending bodily on the Mount of Olives with His saints (v.3-5), ushering in the great “Day of YHVH(v.6-9).

This raises a concern for believers like the New Zealanders, who are already asking: Will entire nations suffer for their leaders’ anti-Israel actions? Can the righteous in those countries make a difference?

God is just. He does not “sweep away the righteous with the wicked(Gen. 18:23). Although Western leaders are elected by their people, once in office they might disregard the people’s will. This was clearly seen when American grassroot support for Israel was overridden by Obama’s personal decisions. Even during the 2014 Israel-Hamas War, for which Israel was widely condemned by Europe, British and French citizens took to the streets to support Israel. Nor are all the Arab peoples blind Israel-hating sheep as portrayed in their government-controlled media. This especially applies to news coming from Palestinian territory, where violent censorship dates back to pre-Oslo days.

In fact, the Israeli Body of Messiah is aware of many ex-Muslim Arab Christians who support Israel, as well as Palestinian believers who reach out with love to Israelis. This is part of a wider revival engulfing the Muslim world, often driven by direct revelation from Yeshua. Its impact on Muslim leaders is unknown, but the spiritual influence of untold millions embracing Israel’s God and His Messiah – an estimated 3 million in Iran alone – could realign their countries with God’s plans for the Middle East. Such changes, when they do happen, are routinely kept quiet until years later.

If the recent unforeseen shift in Arab sentiments toward Israel is a result of Arab prayers, then there is hope for the saints in post-Christian nations. It’s God’s way:But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” (Matt. 19:30)

That’s what the future holds. For now the two Paris Peace Conferences, separated by almost a century, produce a sense of Déjà Vu both in goals and futility. In 1919 Paris, Jewish claims to Jerusalem were met with silence; the British and then the UN sneakily reassigned it to international control. But they have been unable to take possession for over 90 years. What’s stopping them?

Jerusalem is the only city on earth that God repeatedly chose for Himself by name (1 Kings 11:13, 32, 36; 14:21; 2 Kings 21:7; Zech. 1:17, 2:12, 3:2; Matt. 5:35). He designated it as Israel’s territory. He restored His Mandate in 1967, mocking the global resolutions. The kings of the earth [led by America] take their stand…” (Ps. 2:2), declaring in 1962 that even western Jerusalem was not Israel’s capital… and poof!in 1967 the entire city drops into the hands of the Jews… who (in the words of the late Yitzhak Rabin) were themselves “truly shakenby the turnaround.

Fifty years later, world leaders still don’t get it!

The Paris Conference has now come and gone, dragging failures behind it like a string of clattering tin cans, and causing some of its backers to back away. God has ensured that this latest effort to rewrite His plan for Jerusalem will be remembered as an exercise in futility – either embarrassing or entertaining, depending on the viewpoint of earth or Heaven.

Stay tuned for the Epilogue, which will give some examples.





Hannah Weiss

Hannah Weiss


Hannah Weiss lives in Israel with her husband Hillel, their three children and two grandchildren. Besides writing on issues relevant for followers of Yeshua, she also works as an English writer, editor and translator for Israeli exporters and academics. Hannah is part of a small home fellowship, Restorers of Zion, which serves the Body of Messiah by focusing on neglected or dysfunctional areas of Scriptural teaching and practice.





****A big, untold story! ****

online videos of Jews explaining why they believe Jesus is the Messiah have been viewed more than 23 million times. Here’s the latest. (Update)

January 9, 2017 By joelcrosenbergin Epicenter


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16)

With so much bad news in the U.S., Israel, Russia and around the world these days, I thought it might be good to kick off 2017 with some very good news.

Here, then, is an update to a column I published on September 22, 2015 about “a big, untold story” that “the media isn’t reporting” but is very much “worth examining.”

“Millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah,” I wrote at the time, based on conversations with key Messianic Jewish ministry leaders in the U.S. and Israel. “For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in numbers unprecedented in history. Some are searching through the Hebrew Scriptures for answers. A stunning number are actually reading the New Testament, most for the first time. They are searching on Google for information about the Messiah. They are even watching a new series of videos by Jews who claim to have found the answers. The videos — some of which have gone viral — were produced and posted on a new website called www.imetmessiah.com.”

The numbers as of September 2015 were nothing short of astonishing. “More than 10 million people have watched these [English-language testimony] videos just in the past few months,” I explained, while “more than 900,000 Hebrew speakers have watched the Hebrew-language versions of these videos in just the past four months.”

Since then, however — despite the stigma in the Jewish community against consider the claims of Jesus — the videos have continued to go viral and are surging beyond anything I would have imagined.

Eitan Bar, a native Israeli and a devoted follower of Yeshua, heads a team that is producing the videos and helping to develop digital evangelism strategies for two ministries, One For Israel (based in Israel and led by Dr. Erez Soref) and Chosen People Ministries (based in the U.S. and led by Dr. Mitch Glaser). Recently, I asked Eitan if he had updated figures.

Here’s what he told me (and has now posted in an online report):

Eitan’s online report also includes numerous encouraging quotes by Jews who have been watching the videos and either started their own spiritual journeys to figure out who Jesus (Yeshua) is or who have actually become His followers.

A few examples:

  • “Finally, I have reached the destination I was looking for, for years! …I considered myself to be an atheist for a long while, resisting any kind of explanation of God. Until, I came across your video about who Jesus is, that you did in Jerusalem. My jaw dropped. So I decided to keep away from your videos so not to fall for it. But, like a cat who is drawn to the taste of cream, I wanted more. Everyday I would visit your websites to watch more and more of your video teachings. I found truth and endless love that I never came across in Judaism. Thank you so, so much!” — a Jewish woman in her 40s who lives in central Israel

  • “I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I feel that my life was saved. All the information in your videos is so rich in content, pleasant to watch, and the way you explain things is so good that I came to that moment in my life of understanding who Yeshua really is. I thank you from the depth of my soul! I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!” — a young Jewish man who works in Jerusalem

  • “First, I have no words to thank you (Eitan) and Moti for the articles and videos. I saw your video-ad on YouTube a year or two ago, but when I realized that it’s all about “Christianity” and “Jesus”, I switched it off. Lately, I came across your videos once again, and it grabbed me so I decided to read the prophecies in the Old Testament. I was surprised to find out they all point to Yeshua . Then I wanted to find out about the lifestyle of Messianic Jews – how do you live your lives – only to realize that it’s not about what we do, but about what’s inside, the change is inside the heart.  …I found our Messiah and two days ago gave Him my heart.” — an Orthodox Jewish man

It’s amazing to think how few Jewish people have ever examined the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the most famous Israeli in all of human history. Fortunately, that’s changing now.

As a Jewish follower of Yeshua myself, I am thrilled to see the Lord using these websites, videos and social media to spread the Gospel so broadly and so rapidly throughout Israel via Hebrew and throughout the English speaking world.

While surely many Gentiles are watching the English language videos, many Jews are watching them, too. What’s more, we can be confident that the vast majority of those watching the Hebrew language videos are Jews. This suggests the possibility that in a world of about 14.5 million Jewish people — including about six million Jews in Israel — more Jewish people have been exposed to the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah in the last two or three years than in any other two to three year period in human history.

Would you be praying for each and every person that has watched, that the Lord would be drawing him or her to His heart? Would you be praying for all the people that work for these and related ministries for continued boldness, wisdom and discernment, and the Lord’s spiritual and physical protection? Also, would you share these videos on your Facebook pages, and through Twitter and other social media so that they are seen by even more people in 2017? Might you even consider giving financially to such ministries?

Thanks so much — may the Lord bless you and your family as you give Jews and Gentiles the opportunity to hear the Gospel for themselves and make their own personal decision for or against Yeshua!