Passover will be over on Friday this week. On this coming Sabbath we return to the regular reading of the Torah, the Prophets, and for our congregation we also read from the New Testament.

The reading for this next Shabbat is from Leviticus chapter 16:1 – 18:30, and from the prophets from 1 Samuel 20:18-42. From the New Testament we read from Matthew 15:10-20.

The reading of Leviticus chapter 16 is the rules for the celebration of the day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. This day had the most unusual ceremony in the Torah. It has the story of the scapegoat.

The scapegoat is the only sacrifice that is not offered on the altar in the Temple of the Lord. It is released into the wilderness. The Day of Atonement is a day in which we are commanded to afflict our souls, and it is interpreted as fasting from food, drink, and any other pleasure of the flesh.

This atonement is not for our private sins as individuals. The atonement on the Day of Atonement is for the national, collective sins of Israel.

The scapegoat is loaded by the high priest of Israel with the sins of Israel, by the laying on of hands on the head of the goat, and confessing the sins of the nation. Then the scapegoat is released in the wilderness and there this scapegoat dies, and the sins of Israel are taken with this goat in the wilderness.

A part of this ceremony in the time of the Temple in Jerusalem was to cut a crimson ribbon into two parts. Half of the ribbon was tied on the gate of the Temple in Jerusalem. The second half of the crimson ribbon was tied on the horns of the goat.

When the goat died in the wilderness, the crimson ribbon that was tied to the gate of the Temple would turn white. As the text in Isaiah chapter 1:18 says:

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”

In the year 30 AD, there was a change in the proceedings of the Temple in Jerusalem. This is what the Talmud said concerning these events in Jerusalem. (The Talmud is a rabbinical collection of discussions concerning the Torah. These discussions are records of what was happening from the 3rd century BC until the 4th century AD.)

In two Talmudic tractates we have the discussion of what happened in the Temple in the year 30 AD – 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Here is a quotation from Babylonian Talmud Tractate Rosh Hashana 31b:

“After the destruction of the Temple, Rabban Yohanan b. Zakkai made the rule ‘…during the forty-year period in which he “taught,” by that time, the crimson thread already had ceased changing color.’”

The second reference is from Babylonian Talmud Tractate Yoma 39a.

In other words, we have a witness in the rabbinical literature – a witness that is contemporary with the Apostolic era, that says that in the year 30, 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, some of the main functions that have to do with the Day of Atonement have ceased to function, and the crimson ribbon (thread) stopped turning white as it was doing years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

Something happened in the year 30 AD that changed the fundamental way that the Temple functioned before 30 AD. The signal that noted when the atonement had actually happened by turning from crimson to white – stopped functioning.

This is significant, dear brothers and sisters. It is a witness that major changes have taken place in the relationship of Israel to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, one generation – 40 years – before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The people of Israel are still alive and they are still the chosen people of God, but the issue of atonement by animal sacrifices is mute!

Leviticus 16:1-18:30 is what every synagogue in the world will be reading this Shabbat. Why don’t you join with the Jewish nation and with us and read the same texts?

This will help you identify with Israel and learn more every year from the word of God, from the Torah, the prophets, and the New Covenant that was given by the Creator of the world to Israel, and all the people from the nations (Gentiles) that have joined with Israel through the sacrifice of the Messiah (see Ephesians 2:11-14).

Well, Passover time is always a very busy time in Jerusalem. People from all around the world come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and our congregation is always full to overflowing before and during, and a little after, the Passover.

I can’t even remember the number of countries that were represented from among the guests in our congregation this last Shabbat, and probably it will be the same this next Shabbat. I believe that we had guests from all the continents and sub-continents in the world.

It is a little like it was in the Second Temple period, the period of Yeshua and the Apostles. This is why Yeshua and the Apostles spent their time and their nights in the village of Bethany. This village is on the other side of the Mount of Olives. It takes about one and a half hours to walk up the Mount of Olives and down to the valley of Kidron, and from there up to Jerusalem and the Temple.

Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian that wrote the history of the Jewish Wars and the Antiquities of the Jews, says that the population of Jerusalem was tripled in number during the holidays. Jerusalem had a population of around 120,000 people during the normal year, and you can calculate how many people were in Jerusalem to worship the Lord God of Israel during the holidays.

Now it is not that bad, but there is no room in any of the hotels in Jerusalem during these days of the Passover Holiday. Yesterday it took me two hours to reach Jerusalem from my house. Normally on Sabbath it takes 20 minutes. The traffic inside Jerusalem was just as bad!

Jerusalem is very special, and it will become even more special in the future. The eyes of the world are on Jerusalem, but more important is that the eyes of the Lord God are on Jerusalem.

There are still places to join us on the Netivyah 40th Anniversary Tour. This will not be a normal tour that most of the tourists to Israel take. It will be a special tour with special events and places that the guests of Netivyah will experience.

It is a celebration of God’s grace and goodness, allowing us to minister and serve Him for 40 years. We chose 40 years because of the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the 40 years of the wilderness. We see this as a step into the second period of our service to God, with new-generation leadership and a renewal of the vision and the mission that God has for Israel and for the disciples of Yeshua.

Click here to register now.

Please pray for the conference that will be held in the middle of the month of May in Castelo de Vide, Portugal. We need your prayer support and your material support to make this conference what God wants it to be.

I especially appeal to brothers and sisters in Europe to join this conference because the Catholic Inquisition was, generally-speaking, a European problem. We need our brothers from Italy and from Spain and Germany and Finland and Holland to make a major effort to come to Castelo de Vide and be a part of this effort to restore the Marrano/Anussim Jews back to their identity and back to Israel.

Please make a special effort to participate in this important event for the future of Israel and the restoration of the descendants of the victims of the Inquisition to Israel, and their return to the land of Israel.

For information on how to attend this conference, please contact Daniel at Netivyah here.

You can also go to the web page of the Castelo de Vide municipality and see the program. It is not totally the final program, but you will get a picture of the important people who are going not participate in that conference.

Below is a nice flier prepared by the municipality of Castelo de Vide:

We have a very dear family living in Sweden that are faithful prayer partners for Israel and for Netivyah.  Pray for the Lucca family in Sweden. This precious family has been praying and standing with Israel for many years, and now several members of this family have some health challenges and need our prayers.

Our dear sister Ruby Little in Oklahoma is suffering from the aftermath of chemotherapy. Ruby has to decide now if she will continue with more chemotherapy or defer this option.

Eli Levi is in Cincinnati, undergoing medical treatment for cancer. He is taking a second round of chemotherapy, and is already halfway through this second round. Please keep Eli in your prayers.

Please don’t forget to pray for my family and especially for Marcia my dear wife, and Danah and Noaam and all those on this prayer list – that God will be glorified in their lives and in their healing. Keep Barry our son and his family in your prayers.

Keep Elena Litvak, Efim’s widow, in your prayers.

Eddie Santoro is also in urgent need for prayer.

A dear brother and a leader of the Jewish Disciples of Yeshua in the United States, Robert (Bob) Weiner, needs us all to lift his name before the Lord God of Israel for healing and strength to go through heart surgery.

Netivyah is receiving so many messages of gratitude and thanks from the over 200 Messianic soldiers who are serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Thank you all for standing with Netivyah and with our soldiers. Especially we are grateful for the partnership with our dear brothers in New Beginnings Church in Dallas, Texas.

We appreciate so much the contributions for the purchase of the van for Netivyah. Almost every week someone is contributing funds for the purchase of the van for Netivyah. God is answering this prayer need. We need a few more brothers and sisters to make a significant contribution and we will be able to purchase the van and use it for the glory of God and for the service to the people of Jerusalem and the saints.

Please remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani in your prayers.

Dr. M. Song, from Korea, and his whole family needs our prayers.

Pray for Courtney for healing and strength. Keep Um Abu-Eid in your prayers.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better, but still far from being out of the woods.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki, and Keijo and Salme in Nokia, and for Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Evelina, and Eva H.

Pray for Patty, Andrea, and Tineke – and our brothers and sisters in the in the Netherlands that need healing from God.

Continue to pray for Julia and Victor. Pray for our dear sister Paula in Switzerland who needs a divine breakthrough.

Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou WenriIan living in China. Please intercede for Pastor Isaac in Chennai. Pastor Isaac needs healing for his kidneys.

I am also asking you to pray for a dear sister Ema! She has a big burden for a big school that she has built in China. Now we beg the Lord to bless Sister Ema and the school and her husband.

Margareta told me recently that she feels the effects of your prayers for her. Please keep Margareta in your prayers.

Please lift in your prayers the following brothers and sisters who need the Lord’s gracious touch of healing: George, Gary, Melanie, and Aaron Hook and Nancy. Also, our congregation members, Sarit, David S., Gabriela, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Hannah, young Gabriela, Zvi D. and Elisheva, Jonathan B. and his wife Aviva. Our dear sisters Laurel, Orna, Sima, and Aviva. A special prayer is needed for one of my godsons, David B.A. and his family.

These brothers and sisters from around the world need your prayer and your intercession and healing. Paulo, and Noami. Marcelo’s parents, Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Yumi, and her father and family.

In Hong Kong, we pray and ask you to join us and pray for Louisa and Tony. Keep our dear brother Goh and his family in prayer.

In Korea pray for Sister Christy. Please keep Brother Michael Knezevich in prayer. Please add Ismael Alves who lives in Portugal, and Asher Gabriel in Kenya, to your prayers.

I wish all of you, who stand with Israel and who pray for Jerusalem, the best of the Lord’s blessings and the fulfillment of all His promises to His faithful children. For the Lord is gracious and longsuffering and good to all, but especially to those who have faith and hear His word and do it.

Those who hear God and do His will are the ones who are called wise! Those who only hear His word and don’t do it are called foolish! Let us all strive to be wise and never foolish! The best is yet to come! Israel will be saved!

Thank you for praying for Jerusalem and standing with us in this holy task of bringing good news to this land!

Joseph Shulam