I want to start this letter with a word of prayer to the Almighty ONE. Despite the two hurricanes that came over the US (as a warning to return back to HIM), He took care of His own. Surely, I know that the destruction was huge, but it could have been much worse. Thank you, Father, for loving us so much and always reminding us to WHOM we belong. Forgive us of our sins and our trespasses!
All that we see and hear around us today are signs of His Beloved SON’s very soon return. You may hear He will return at this date or that date. Do not believe them, but rather be ready for the REDEEMER to appear soon. The question is though: Are we ready? Are you ready?
Shaul HaShaliach (Apostle Paul) wrote “There is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Messiah is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11). He tried to encourage unity within the Body of the Messiah. We are all equal in His sight and are justified by the same means- His Precious Blood! Unfortunately, the family of Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) is characterized today by divisions amongst the man-made denominations. This was not so within the assembly of the first Disciples of Yeshua in Judea. Reading through the Book of Acts, the Scriptures reveal that the original disciples were in total unity as they worshipped at the Jewish Temple, praying together and sharing in common all that they had (Acts 1:14; 2:44). “And continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” (Acts 2:46) More than that, the expression of their faith was entirely in keeping with the faith of the Jewish People of God, for it was not the intention of Messiah to start a “New Religion”.
Disagreements first arose within the Congregation of the first Believers as Gentiles came to faith. What happened? What happened then is happening today when believers are not committed to the fullness of the Word of God. We have divided the Scriptures in two books which in fact is only one book; the New fulfils the Old and the Old prophesize so distinctively the New. More some of the Jewish believers of the first century thought that the Gentiles Believers should do all rituals to become fully Jewish accepting all the Oral Torah-Law (Torat b’ál Pe - which was just some interpretation of the old Rabbis of the written Torah), for a real conversion to faith in Yeshua and also to be circumcised. It was not the problem of keeping the written Torah, but the extensive one more than the commandments the Written Torah. Surely they were wrong on that, Apostle Peter stood strong against it and so did Apostle Yaakov (James) reminding them the prophecy from Amos 9:11-14, and also reminding them the Law TORAH given by God through Moses was to be read every Sabbath in their synagogues. Yaakov also asked them to: “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 15:29)
While the Scriptures says very clearly that Torah’s Commandments are not difficult to keep (Deuteronomy 30:11–14; see also Romans 10:8), the early Disciples of Yeshua concluded at the meeting that the "extra," traditional laws (Torat b’al Pe) are too burdensome for Gentile Believers and the conversion process to Judaism is totally unnecessary for salvation. Yaakov (James) indicated that he expected Gentile Believers to learn and obey the Law of Moses (Acts 15:21) so they would grow in their understanding of how to live a holy life. And so, we have a picture of Gentiles and Jews united in one sheepfold as Yeshua promised in John 10:16. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one-fold, and one shepherd.”
Shaul HaShaliach (Apostle Paul) explains in Romans 11:11–31 that Believers are grafted into ONE tree - a Jewish Tree - and ALL are nourished from the same root - Yeshua. Gentiles have been grafted into this tree as wild olive branches while Jewish believers are grafted into the same tree, which is their own tree. It seems, however, that Paul had to address some arrogance among Gentile Believers who looked down on Israel for not nationally accepting Yeshua as their Messiah. “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in. Well, they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.”(Romans 11:19–21) Paul warns them that falling back into unbelief could cause them to be cut off: “And if they [the Jewish People] do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:23)
We can see from (Apostle Paul) Shaul HaShaliach’s analogy of the olive branches being grafted together, that the Almighty God intended the Gentile Believers in Yeshua to live in unity with the Jewish People at large, and especially so with Jewish Believers, who would naturally maintain their Jewish identity.
In the last 150 years, a move has taken place among my people, the Jewish People, God’s first-born nation that has seen many grafted into their own tree. That move continues to grow and prosper, not only in Israel, but especially in Israel, where faith in Yeshua as their Messiah is flourishing and being increasingly accepted by the Jewish people living there. You and I are part of this revival. Please pray for the non-believing Jewish people this High Holy Season to realize the truth of their Messiah. And, be ready to give account of the hope to which you have found through the Jewish Messiah in this season.
This coming week on September 20th we will celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, or as the Jewish People improperly call it Rosh HaShanah, meaning the Jewish New Year. Following a month of Repentance (as the month of Elul is supposed to be), comes the month of Tishri that begins with תרועה יום Yom Teru’ah , which is the Feast of Trumpets and the day of the sounding of the Shofar. It is the first of the High Holy Days, or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), and celebrated 10 days before Yom Kippur - The day of the real repentance. Yom Kippur is a very somber celebration that focuses on individual fasting and repentance, as well as the national repentance of the nation of Israel.
We can see the importance of “Appointed Times of the Lord” these Festivals all over the Scriptures, Old or New. If all Spring Festivals (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Shavuot) in the Scriptures speaks about our Salvation through the Blood of the Lamb, our Messiah, the Fall Festivals mainly speak unto us about His Return or second coming and it starts with the Feast of Trumpets. During a time like this He will appear. Am I ready? Are you ready? Are we ready? Let us ask ourselves this question?
Shortly, I will be leaving again for ministry in Israel, Romania and Moldova. Please keep me and my household in your daily prayers, as we surely need it. During my first 6 days in Israel, I will be leading a group of Messianic Believers from Romania through Israel. Pray that we may be a great witness to the Jewish people. Ten days after that I will be doing ministry by myself in the land of Israel, and then I will return to Romania and Moldova. There are many things I must accomplish in this trip and because of this I need your prayers, and the ministry is in desperate need of your financial support, too.
“Thank you” from the bottom of my heart for all your support in prayers, in your generous giving, or both. May the LORD of ISRAEL, the Redeemer of the WORLD, richly bless you all! I began this letter specifically on September 14th as my wife and I celebrated 42nd year of our marriage - and even more years of ministry since both of us have served many years prior to our marriage. Thank you again for everything you have done for “Jesus of Israel Ministry” and surely for us, as well!
Theo Ben-Abraham Smilovici