The Jerusalem Prayer List – April 3rd, 2009

Passover is at the door! Next week on Wednesday evening we will gather to retell the story of the Exodus. This year we hope to have a few less people in the Seder than we do every year because we are just tired and busy with so many things that keep us in a constant stir. Last week we had the court case and although we believe that the Righteous Judge will do justice and righteousness by us, it is stressful and challenging and expensive to go to court. This was not the normal lower court it was the second instance of court and just one measure below the Israeli Supreme Court. We might have to go to the Supreme Court and if we do we will do it with our chin up and our trust in the Lord God of Israel and Yeshua our Rabbi, Teacher, Master, and Savior and much more!

The Gospel of Matthew starts with the Birth Story of Yeshua but immediately goes to the Passover motiv when

John the Baptist sees Yeshua coming down to the Jordan River and calles out loud “See here comes the Lamb of God who carries on himself the sins of the World.” Immediately when John identifies Yeshua as the Lamb of God he connects Yeshua with the Passover story. Reading Exodus chapter 12:1-6ff one can see some gramatical and logical queries. The text says: “You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” (Ex. 12:6) In the Hebrew text the problem is much clearer. Let me list the problem for you. First the idea that the “the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill IT . .” How could the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel kill the Passover Lamb? It is impossible for more than one person to hold the knife and kill the lamb. So, first of all only a few people who were actually trained to slaughter the lambs in a biblically kosher way would hold the knife and actually do the killing. Second especially in the Hebrew the “IT” – the lamb in the singular ought to be in the plural because every family was to have a lamb of it’s own unless it was a small family and than they were to share a lamb with the neighbouring family. In other words there would be many thousands of lambs that were to be slaughtered at twilight by many men with sharp knives and not one lamb that all of Israel would have to be slaughtered by all of Israel collectively.

Now when the Torah writes things that are logically or grammatically difficult to understand the Holy Spirit wants us to dig and look and search for deeper truth. So, what is this lamb in the singular that is to be slaughtered by all of the Assembly of the Congregation of Israel. Rashi the great Jewish Commentator takes from older sources the idea that this text teaches that “a messenger of a person is equal to the person himself.” That is when there were appointed men who were given the task of slaughtering the One Year Old Lambs without Blemish – it was equal to all of Israel doing it because these butchers who killed the lambs were the representatives of all of Israel. So, this lamb that was slaughtered by all of Israel in Egypt actually was the same lamb whose blood covered the door posts of the homes of the Israelites and the same lamb that by it’s death delivered all who had the blood on their door posts to be delivered from the death of their first born. This is why Yeshua is called the lamb of God and in fact the Apostle Paul says: “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1Cor. 5:7-8) This text is clearly related to the Passover Feast when women in Israel go crazy cleaning, and cleaning, and cleaning, and some more cleaning, and than just drop dead tired just before the guest come for the Passover Seder. This text tells me two very important things. The first is that Christ is our Passover – and that means that it is the Messiah who actually was at least symbolically the Passover Lamb. The second thing that I learn from this text is that we don’t only have to clean our homes from leaven, but also work even harder on cleaning the leaven of malice and wickedness. It does not make a difference if you celebrate the Passover Seder or not, but it does make a big difference if you would be willing to work on cleaning up the malice and wickedness and replace these with Sincerity and Truth. Let us all pray to make this our agenda for this next week to replace the malice and wickedness that we have in our lives and hearts with sincerity and truth. This is not an easy task, but with Yeshua’s example and the power of the Holy Spirit it is not an impossible task.

We are in need for your prayers because it seems like most of our staff is so terribly tired and frustrated with both good and not so good challenges. We wanted to do so many good things like do packages for the loan soldiers and present just before Passover, we wanted to finish publishing the new book in Hebrew and also publish the New Teaching from Zion Magazine before the Passover Holiday, but we just could not catch up with all those tasks because of all the busy work and challenges. For most people Passover is a holiday but for our staff Passover and all the other Holidays turn out to be sources of stress. People who make commitments to come and help clean and cook often don’t show up on time or don’t show up at all. It ends up that a few people exhaust themselves and then 70% of the people come to enjoy the feast and the worship and go home happy. Please keep our congregation in your prayers!

There are so many challenges that we face in Israel that are unique to us. On the want hand we want to see the Restoration of the First Century faith and life. We do want to know and understand the world of Yeshua the the Apostles and study the Jewish Roots of our faith, but on the other hand we don’t want to see people become so attached and magnetized by modern Jewish traditions that they give up faith in Yeshua. For us watering down our faith in Yeshua would be as tragic as Cain selling his inheritance for a bowl of red soup. We have the King and the Savior and the LORD and the Torah of God walking and talking in the flesh and the spirit both. It would be sad to dethrone the King of His throne and put in his place some Rabbinical clown in His place. I have seen this happen in Israel before and I have seen it happen in Brazil and I have seen it happen in Finland and I have seen it happen in the USA, but I will do all that is possible to keep disciples of Yeshua stay as close to Yeshua and as close to their Jewish Identity without watering down one single point of faith in Yeshua or of Yeshua or of the Apostolic teachings. It is possible and imperative to have a firm and unwavering faith in Yeshua our Messiah and at the same time dig deep and drink clear water from the Jewish sources that help us understand better the New Testament texts. Pray for us all!

Please pray for Aggi a dear friend who is facing cancer, and for Dubi a dear old friend who is quite old and dealing with cancer too. We also lift up Kathy in Denver, Colorado, and Ruby in Oklahoma, and Paulo in Curitiba, Brazil. Sally is a fine Israeli women with cancer. In Jerusalem we continue to pray for Sarit, and Zvi and Sara, and Miriam, Lea, Ahuva, Ilana, all these dear sisters from our congregation in Jerusalem. We have to continue to pray for Paulo in Brazil, and Ruby in Oklahoma, and Liz’s sister in Tennessee. I ask you to also continue to pray for the Lord to heal Marcia my wife and show His mercy to Danah and Noaam, my daughter and granddaughter in California.

Israel h

as a new government with Mr. Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu as Prime Minister and 33 different ministers. It is the biggest government that Israel has ever had. We all pray that our God will use this government for good and for peace in this land.

There are new families in our congregation and some of these families need work and need financial support. We are doing our best in Netivyah to give support both morally and financially to these families and we would appreciate your prayer for the new unemployed both in Israel and in the United States. We all must pray for wisdom for our governments and for those who make the decisions that affect our lives and the lives of millions of people. We must pray that this “what-you-call-it” recession or depression or melt-down to pass quickly from the face of the earth and a more stable economy that will still allow freedom to the citizens be established. Fears of totalitarianism that historically has followed such financial crashes is not unfounded and we, the Disciples of Yeshua in the World, have to knock on God’s door day and night for His righteousness and goodness to prevail in this world. The only Noah’s ark that we have now is the community of the saints that in normal language is called The Church! Let us stand with our community and allow the Lord to guide and to protect and to support the very task and purpose of why Yeshua came into the world – to seek and to save the lost.

Happy Passover, and Spring time to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere! Wonderful Passover and beautiful Autumn to all our brothers in Brazil and the Southern Hemisphere!

Joseph Shulam

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