Celebrate Messiah Newsletter
Shalom and blessings to you for a fruitful 2023. As we start a new year, it’s always helpful to reassess our vision and calling, to consider the questions: where are we, where are we heading, and are we being faithful to the vision and calling that God has for us?
Louise and I started Celebrate Messiah 28 years ago, inspired by the Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 1:16 that describes his core motivation and raison d’etre (reason for being):
“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.” (Romans 1:16, ESV)
Traditionally, in our first newsletter of the year, we like to explore this Biblical principle articulated by the Apostle Paul, that the gospel is to the Jew first… and also to the Gentile.
We believe that sharing the gospel with Jewish people – Jewish evangelism – is a priority that is taught by Scripture.
As we explore this a little from the Bible, we will see that Jewish evangelism is a Historical Priority, a Covenant Priority, a Present Priority and a Prophetic Priority.
The gospel was good news first for Jews, before it became good news for the rest of the world. Historically, the Jewish people were not only the first recipients of the gospel but the gospel itself represents God’s faithfulness to Israel.
At the beginning of his letter to the Romans, Paul points out that the Gospel is a fulfillment of God’s historical promises to Israel (Romans 1:1–2).
Also, remember that amazing account in the Gospel of John chapter 4, when Yeshua spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well. He said to her; “You [Samaritans] worship what you do not know; we [Jews] worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22, TLV)
Yeshua must have believed it was important to point out to this spiritually-hungry woman at the well, that God’s message of salvation was first revealed to the world through the Jewish people. We too shouldn’t forget this historical and Biblical fact.
Not only was the gospel “to the Jew first” historically, but it was also because of God’s covenant with his Chosen People.
Ernst Kasemann in his commentary on Romans says; “God has, through his promises, given the elect people precedence with regards to the gospel not because they are more important than the Gentiles but because of his plan of salvation.”1
In Scripture, the Apostle Paul describes this Covenant Priority this way:
“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4–5, ESV)
This Biblical priority is not only a historical priority, a covenant priority, but also a present priority.
Going back to Romans 1:16, we notice that this passage is written in the present tense. The Apostle Paul says that the gospel IS the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. So, if the gospel is still “the power of God for salvation,” and it is still “for all who believe,” then the gospel must also still be “to the Jew first.”
The Greek word used for first in this passage is the word proton. This word implies a priority, rather than a sequential order of events.
The same word proton, is also used in Matthew 6:33 where the Lord Yeshua reminds us to “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV)
Here again, the word proton (first) indicates that we must seek the Kingdom of God in our lives as a priority, even as we seek other things.
Franz Delitzsch, the well-known Old Testament scholar wrote, “For the church to evangelise the world without thinking of the Jews, is like a bird trying to fly with one broken wing.”
Thus, the order is not one of importance but one of priority, and it is a priority that has continuing validity even today.
As we look through the gospels and the Book of Acts, we can see that taking the gospel to the Jewish people first was a priority for both Yeshua and Paul.
In the first Great Commission, Yeshua instructed the twelve: “…Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5–6, ESV)
Later, Yeshua said to his disciples, in what can be described as the second Great Commission; ““Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19, ESV).
Dr Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries, reminds us that the “first Great Commission, Jewish evangelism, is the starting point for the second Great Commission, world evangelism.”
The Apostle Paul, or as we refer to him in Messianic circles, Rabbi Sha’ul, was called by God to be an emissary (an apostle) to the Gentiles, even though he was an Orthodox Jew of his day.
Even so, he never stopped caring for the salvation of his Jewish people and he continued to carry a great burden for the salvation of his people as we read in Romans 9:3; “For I would pray that I myself were cursed, banished from Messiah for the sake of my people – my own flesh and blood,” (Romans 9:3, TLV)
In fact, wherever Rabbi Sha’ul travelled during his ministry among the Gentiles, he first preached the gospel to the Jewish people who lived in that area, before preaching the gospel to the Gentiles in that area (Acts 13:13– 52; 14:1–5; 18:7–11; 19:8–10).
So, for both Yeshua and Paul, bringing the gospel to Jewish people “first” was a priority.
Jewish evangelism is also a Prophetic Priority.
In Matthew 23 we see Yeshua looking over to Jerusalem from some vantage point, perhaps the Mount of Olives, and he cries out in a heart-felt lament to his Jewish people. His people had rejected him as they had rejected the prophets before him and so he cries; “… you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”” (Matthew 23:39, ESV)
Yet, there is a glimmer of hope in this passage. Yeshua vows that his people would not see him again until they are ready to welcome him back with those words; “baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai – blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
As a Jewish bridegroom is welcomed to the wedding to his beautiful bride, so Yeshua is waiting to be welcomed by his Jewish people before he returns.
Surely this captures the motivation for Jewish evangelism. If we want the Messiah to return, we need to work towards the day when our Jewish people will be ready to welcome him back. Only then will we see our Messiah.
Another passage in the Prophets that captures this thought is Zechariah 12:10 speaking of the day when Messiah, the Pierced One, is revealed to his own Jewish people. Oh, what a day that will be!
Finally, Jewish evangelism is a Prophetic Priority because the Apostle Paul speaks about the day when the restoration of the Jewish people to their Messiah will result in hitherto, untold blessings for the Gentiles.
He writes; “Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (Romans 11:12, ESV)
And again he writes; “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15, ESV)
God has a prophetic plan to bless the world when Israel comes back to their Messiah. “Riches for the world,” and “life from the dead” speaks of a world-wide revival and spiritual blessings when Israel is restored to faith in their Messiah.
The salvation of the future remnant of Israel described by Paul is the final step in the chain of events preceding Yeshua’s second coming, and culmination of the Abrahamic blessings promised to the world (Genesis 12:1-3).
There is a remnant today of Messianic Jews. However, a great movement of Jewish people who will believe in Yeshua is coming, and this is the hope that really motivates us.
The priority of the gospel to the Jewish people is not because he specially loves the Jews, but it is precisely because he loves the world.
Baruch Maoz, a fellow Messianic Jew says:
Preaching the Gospel to Israel has universal implications. By preaching to the Jews first we are working toward that day when all mankind will enjoy the eternal goodness of God, every tear shall be wiped away, sorrow and sickness will be no more and all things will be made new.2
God has called us, as a mission, to reach out specifically to the Jewish people with the Message of Yeshua the Jewish Messiah, and to build congregations and communities that will sustain a Messianic Jewish spirituality, while providing a spiritual environment that nurtures all people, Jew and Gentile.
God has not rejected his people Israel. His gifts and his calling upon them are irrevocable, i.e. without repentance (Rom. 11:29). For this reason, we continue to work towards Israel’s salvation and the blessing of the whole world.
God is both willing and able to graft the broken off branches, the Jewish people, back into their own olive tree (Rom. 11:24), and to this end we labour.
What Is Our Role Today?
I pray the Lord will burden all of us to reach Jewish people for Yeshua as we see this as a Biblical Priority.
In this newsletter we present some practical ways that you can reach Jewish people: we are expanding our network for Hosting Israelis, and introducing new courses in the Messianic Training Centre to help further train and equip you for ministry. We are continuing our work in Israel and in the Far East of Russia and supporting in partnership the work in New Zealand and in 19 countries around the world, through our partnership with Chosen People Global Ministries.
From our base at the Caulfield Messianic Centre, located in the heart of the largest concentration of Jewish people in Australia, and from our various ministries in Canberra and Sydney, we are divinely placed to witness “to the Jew first,” thus fulfilling our mission of “Bringing the Message to the Original Messengers.”
Thank you for your support and prayers for the ongoing work of Celebrate Messiah as we celebrate our 28th year as a ministry in Australia.
Yours for the salvation of Israel,
Executive Director, Celebrate Messiah
1 Kasemann, Ernst 1980. Commentary on Romans. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, p. 23.
2 Maoz, Baruch 1991. "Priorities in Eschatology." A paper presented at the LCJE fourth International Conference, Zeist, Holland. 8-9 August 1991, pp. 252-267.
OK let’s say you get it! You get it that God has a plan. That God’s plan is to bring blessings to all the families of the earth through the nation of Israel. You get it, that the blessing of the scriptures are Jewish. You also get it that the blessing of our saviour is Jewish and that the blessing of salvation is also Jewish. As Yeshua said in John 4:22, “salvation is from the Jews”.
You probably also understand that Yeshua’s second coming is somehow related to Israel’s spiritual awakening, according to Psalm 67, Zechariah 12 and Matthew 23. Let’s say that you love Yeshua and that you long for his return. If his return is triggered by Israel’s spiritual awakening according to the Bible, then you want to be part of making that happen, don’t you. But how?
Well, if you are reading this in your home, then that is exactly where you can contribute to the salvation of Israel: in your home.
How can I contribute to the salvation of Israel from my home?
A movement has begun among thousands of believers just like you. A movement that involves hosting Israelis in your home.
According to Israeli research, approximately 40,000 Israeli young adults leave Israel every year and travel the world for about six months.
Most of these Israelis have just completed their mandatory military service; some are hurting, some are questioning. Many are feeling lost and in need of direction. They are in a formative season of life. They’re seeking experiences that may somehow answer some of life’s most important questions.
It’s in this ‘in-between space’, that they are uniquely open to considering the messiahship of Yeshua. This is where you come in!
If you’re willing to open your home and your heart, you can invite Israelis into your home for short stays and become part of this movement. Your openness of heart and home can play a transforming and provoking role to bear witness of the love and salvation of Yeshua. In fact, it’s a way of making scripture come alive, as God said in Romans 11:11.
You may not have been aware of this, but one of the responsibilities that comes with your salvation is that you make Israel envious of your life in Messiah. This movement is a way for you to fulfill that role, right from your own home.
There are local people in Australia and New Zealand who have been hosting Israelis for many years in their own home and have had many interesting conversations and seen some come to faith through the simple power of this hospitality. By opening up their home to Israelis for short stays at no charge, Israelis often ask, “why do you do this?”. This creates a wonderful opportunity to share how they want to bless God’s people. When the opportunity arises, they share of their faith in Messiah, sometimes opening up the Hebrew scriptures to them and also sharing what impact Yeshua has had in their lives. It is such a powerful testimony. Hosts remain in contact with many of these travellers, years after they have left.
Celebrate Messiah executive director Lawrence Hirsch says hosting can make an immediate impact in Jewish lives.
“It’s a blessing to have Israelis in your home, but if you can’t do that you might want to support this project financially.
“It’s not something that’s coming, it’s something that’s happening already. “We’re just developing it further to be more effective,” he said.
At Celebrate Messiah, we are working with our international partners to create an online platform that will enable us to support and train people who are interested in hosting Israeli travellers. We invite you to join the thousands of believers who are wooing Israel to her Messiah, through the simple ministry of hospitality!
If you are interested in finding out more information about becoming a host, please go to www.celebratemessiah.com.au/contact-us and we will contact you once the platform is ready.
However, if you are not in a position to host, but want to support this great work, your prayers and financial support are greatly appreciated.
The Messianic Training Centre is a new ministry of Celebrate Messiah, inspired by our vision to equip and empower believers for Messianic Jewish ministry and evangelism. The Messianic Training Centre was opened in 2021 and is growing rapidly, as appreciation for the Jewishness of Yeshua the Messiah grows within both Jewish and Christian communities, and has led to a rise in demand for teachings from a Messianic Jewish perspective.
We are pleased to be able to provide courses which help believers to deepen their love for God’s Word and His people, through biblical studies, Jewish history and culture, and biblical languages. We also plan to offer training in effective Jewish outreach. Our courses are enriched through collaboration with expert local teachers, as well as teachers from partner ministries such as Chosen People Ministries in the USA and Israel. All of our courses are offered as interactive, live Zoom classes and include follow up Q&A lecturer help, and assessment where relevant. Our courses are priced to provide affordable training, with most courses priced around $12 per session.
In the past, the Messianic Training Centre has offered courses in Understanding the Book of Revelation, The Reliability of the Scriptures, Hebrew for Beginners, and Bringing the Message to the Original Messengers. All past training courses are available to download for individual study, and include play on demand sessions, tutorials, and course notes, for a nominal fee.
In 2023, the Messianic Training Centre is offering courses in Biblical Hebrew and Bible Studies: Messiah in the Psalms, and is developing new courses on the Jewishness of the New Testament, and Fighting Antisemitism. To find out more or to register, go to www.celebratemessiah.com.au/mtc
The Beginner’s Biblical Hebrew course is designed to teach the student to read and understand Biblical Hebrew as quickly as possible, focusing on recognition and translation. ‘Biblical Hebrew Level 1: Part 1’ will be followed by Beginner’s Biblical Hebrew Parts 2, 3 and 4 and will ultimately comprise a one-year course.
Date: Each Monday Night, 30 Jan to 1 May 2023
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 PM (AEDT)
Location: Zoom Webinar
Cost: $120 (covers all 10 sessions)
Course Instructor: Eleanor Miles
Eleanor has a degree in Old Testament Biblical Literature and is an experienced Biblical Hebrew teacher. She works with the ministry of Celebrate Messiah in Canberra, co-pastoring Hineh Yeshua Messianic Fellowship.
Prophecies about Yeshua glimmer tantalisingly in the Psalms. Would you like to find out more about the Messianic Psalms and find Yeshua revealed in them? Let’s discover what these psalms teach us about Messiah’s past, in His role as Prophet, His current role as Priest, and His future role as King of Kings. We will study two psalms each night over seven weeks and look at how the New Testament and Rabbinical writings interpret these psalms. Outlines will be provided and there will be an opportunity for Q&A after the study.
Date: Thursday Night, 9 Feb to 23 March 2023.
Time: 7:30 – 9:00PM (AEDT)
Location: Zoom Webinar
Cost: $84 (covers all 7 sessions)
Course Instructor: Paul Cohen
Paul Cohen works with the ministry of Celebrate Messiah in Sydney, helping to lead Brit Chadashah Messianic Fellowship, a congregation planted by Celebrate Messiah.
Tribute to servants way out West
Pastor Peter and Leanne Boland who have managed Perth Tikkun Olam for the past 12 years are moving to country WA and their leadership will be passed onto Jenny Di Stasio.
Tikkun Olam manager Barry Buirski said Peter had been a close and trusted friend for many years and would be greatly missed by the team in Perth.
Peter said it had been a great honour to serve the Jewish community of Perth, and he’s eternally grateful for the opportunity to spread the love of Yeshua to those who he’d met along the way.
“In around 2010 I was approached by Barry to head up Tikkun Olam in Perth. Commencing with just six gift hampers and no contacts, we relied heavily on Hashem to provide contacts.
“In 2022 we now distribute 55 gift hampers, and we continue to grow, all praise to Hashem. During the past 12 years, many friendships were made, lives were touched by Hashem’s love and the generosity of those who support this ministry.”
Peter said he left the role in the very capable hands of Jenny and the team, and looked forward to hearing of many more lives being touched.
New center for Jewish missions in Tel Aviv
Our partner Chosen People Ministries has found a permanent facility in Tel Aviv with the potential to meet the needs of its growing ministry. The new Tel Aviv Messianic Center (“the Center”) is directly across the street from the current rented facility in Ramat Gan. It’s a 370 square metre space in a mixed commercial and residential building with ninety condominiums.
Next door two new large properties are being built with apartments for another 200 families. The Center is only a seven-minute walk from the border of downtown Tel Aviv.
CPM president Dr Mitch Glaser said the ministry was very grateful for the opportunity because it would provide a presence among Israelis in this important community.
“God opened this door, and we invite you to come alongside us on this journey to expand His work in Israel,” Dr Glaser said of the $3.5 million fundraising campaign
The Center will be the hub of Chosen People Ministries’ mission efforts in the greater Tel Aviv area. It will include space for a Messianic congregation, a gospel café, concerts, and young adult outreach gatherings. Additionally, it will host Bible studies, children’s events, public lectures on a wide variety of topics, and ministries to elderly Holocaust survivors. “Most importantly, this new space will allow us to develop our community-based activities designed to demonstrate the love of the Messiah Jesus to Israelis.”
Holy ark reveals new covenant truth
Beit HaMashiach gifted its former aron hakodesh (holy ark) to Hineh Yeshua Congregation in Canberra. One of their congregants Suzanne led a team to create a beautiful new curtain for it in time for Pastor Robert and Ellie’s daughter Elizabeth’s bat mitzvah. “We had the Torah Ark out for our daughter’s bat mitzvah and one of our Jewish friends read the scripture that is written on the curtain from Jeremiah 31, and they asked us, “Does the prophet Jeremiah really talk about the Brit Hadashah (new covenant)?” To which we answered, “Absolutely!”
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