What does Plato's well known analogy on reality have to do with the Church and Messianic Judaism? Plato described life in a cave with its dim lights and shadows as an analogy for those who live in the world of sensory experience and never come to a true understanding of reality or the full light of day. The shadows moving on the walls are mistaken for reality. For Plato, reality was his realm of true intellectual ideas. For me the analogy speaks of the reality of Kingdom life in power over against the dim light and shadows that typifies most of the Western Church.

THE SPIRIT POURED OUT

From the late 1960s through the 1980s there was a great move of God, especially among America's young people. Literally millions were swept into the Kingdom of God. Some of these millions were Jews who are constituents of today's Messianic congregations. This was a thrilling time. Many who came to Yeshua had vibrant testimonies of His revealing Himself. These were supernatural stories. These new believers attended worship services that often lasted for many hours. We attended one meeting that went from 6:30pm to 11:30pm every Sunday evening. True seekers visited and were met by God.

In Washington, D. C. we experienced God's Kingdom life. Many came to know the Lord. We counted many churches as friends of our Messianic Congregations. Wonderful things were happening in these churches. This was life outside the cave. It was life in the light of day. I call life outside the cave a life of God's presence, power and manifestation, or PPM. In one wonderful gathering during those days we immersed 26 Jews in the name of Yeshua. There were unity meetings, prayer meetings among pastors, life in the Spirit seminars, cooperative efforts and more. There were amazing healings and stories of deliverance. Our pediatrician was not only a famous doctor in the state, but a man of mighty miracles.

SOME RETURN TO THE CAVE

I understand those who have never been out of the cave. This is the only reality they have ever known. However, something very sad happened from the 90s on. Many switched from the mode of seeking God for revival to adopting a sociological-psychological method for attracting people. Some of these knew life outside the cave but have since returned to the cave. This is true among Messianic Jews as well. This today is called "seeker friendly" or "user friendly" services. Far be it from me to not be friendly to seekers. I want people to understand what we are saying and to be able to relate to what we are doing. However, this is a secondary concern. My primary concern is PPM. When PPM is great, then even our ineptitude is overcome, and God meets people. In revival there is a harvest, not only the picking of a few ears. Some who had experience outside the cave now argue that manifestations of the Spirit are contrary to reaching the lost. Wow! Tell that to the people in the southern hemisphere of the globe who are winning people in droves!

There is a hidden contradiction in this orientation. If the Spirit of God is manifesting Himself, we need to remember that He is a person and knows what He is doing. Certainly He acts for the best of those who do not yet know the Lord Yeshua. He is the One who brings people into the Kingdom. Of course the question is whether or not it is really the Spirit; but people can be trained to be more accurate and sensitive to the Spirit so that PPM (presence, power and manifestation) is the real thing. My great concern is that many have now decided that they no longer desire the presence and power of God. They no longer pray for it.

One time I also slipped into the error of going overboard in the seeker friendly orientation. The Jewish High Holidays were the one time in the year where we would be like other synagogues. We would be a place where the Jewish person who did not know the Messiah Yeshua could be comfortable. Before the holidays, my wife Patty had an extraordinary dream. She saw a series of pictures: first she saw a man acting on stage and even identifying his stage name. Then the images changed and she saw this same man enter our sanctuary and then leave to sit in his car in the parking lot.

During the High Holidays the man from Patty's dream actually showed up at our congregation just as Patty had seen in her dream. True to form he then left and sat in his car. At Asher Intrater's urging, Patty went outside, shared the dream with this man and asked him to come back into the service for prayer.

Asher came forward after my message and asked me to trust him to lead us into something special; then Patty and the visitor came forward. He publicly testified to the accuracy of the dream. This was a dramatic manifestation of the Spirit in the prophetic realm. I expected our other Jewish visitors to be impressed with our choir, our great worship music, the way we did liturgy and my speaking. But instead they were impressed by the supernatural manifestation of God. Some were saying, "This dream and the testimony mean that God is real, that He really intervenes!!" It was a better testimony than anything I could have done.

I long for the life outside the cave; I wonder that those who once experienced it can return to the cave. I suppose the cave seems safe, manageable and an atmosphere more easily controlled. This is very desirable to some. It seems more respectable. I know that we have to learn to filter out what is not from God; but in an atmosphere of over control and government, God has been asked to please remain within our boundaries. This is the tendency of most of today's seeker friendly directions. We are seeing some really big congregations established, but few are successful in winning new people to the Kingdom of God.

LIFE INSIDE THE CAVE

I want to illustrate life inside the cave. Let us imagine a big cavern. There are many caves in the one cavern. The leaders in each cave compete for the people in the cavern to be in their cave. They rearrange the furniture and even make better cave furniture. This does attract more people. Some of the caves have many more people than others. There are even a few who drift into the cavern and go to one of the caves and commit to the light that they see in the cave. However, most of what goes on is only the people already in the cavern switching their cave dwellings.

All of today's church growth statistics, especially the data compiled by George Barna, tell us that this is not really working. We need to seek God for a revival; a mighty move of God, we need to be open for His manifestations of power. When God pours out His Spirit, people are motivated to be truly discipled and empowered to win a lost world.

We have much literature on the history of revival; the accounts of Jonathan Edwards, the Wesleys and Zinzendorf to name a few. We have an historical record of life outside the cave. It is less safe but the Spirit knows what He is doing.

REVIVAL IN ISREAL

In Israel we seek a great harvest. We work in a training school that is committed to life outside the cave. We know that only God's presence, power and manifestation will gain a great harvest in this land. The Book of Acts shows us life outside the cave and we are to accept nothing less. This is our desire. To gain a Jewish harvest, nothing less will do.

By Daniel Juster


Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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Comments:
12:07 17Dec06 Lisa -
Life in a cave...a great analogy! I have always said the church lives in a box and rarely comes out in the light anymore. However, a cave makes more of a visual statement. A cave is a place of refuge. When you are lost and find a safe place in the wilderness, because of the elements outside, aka storms, enemies and the like, you are too fearful to leave it. It serves your purpose. Great article ... better visual.

14:24 17Dec06 Pelham & DeDe Gross -
Dan, you had to be listening to our morning prayers today when we were pouring out our own heart-yearnings here in Branson, MO for God's presence, power and manifestation. We love the church, but God, please do understand that we prefer to live outside the cave SEEKING AFTER PPM, rather than spend all our energy in the cavern where you are ushered out more than in. It's encouraging to know we're not alone in the yearning.

14:39 17Dec06 Denis Hollands -
I attend a messianic congregation. How much closer to a new covenant church can I get. The work you are doing is new covenant. Praise the LORD. Keep up the excellent work.

15:12 17Dec06 Simcha -
Better visual ... I agree, but that is not the point, I think that what the communicator wants to express is that the real "PPM" is LOVE, something that is lacking big time in all those caves and what you really see is politics expressed in their cheapest form. That is why the musical chair from cave to cave.

19:06 17Dec06 Peter Dickson -
You know, this is really quite an excellent article. I guess the million dollar question for American Christianity/Messianicness is, "What happened and can you get it back and if so how?"
Once upon a time, there were people who lived in a cave. And one day a man came into the cave, and convinced them to step out into the light. For the first time in their lives, they could see, and they praised the light that illuminated their vision. For many years, they lived in the light, and they spent their time going into other caves and bringing people into the light. But not all of them did. Instead, they created a building, a temple to the glory of the light. They cut bricks from the hillside, and they roofed it with cedar cut from the forests of Lebanon. They lined the inside with gold, and made the high, narrow windows from stained glass. Most of the children joined them in this work rather than go on the dangerous mission of dragging people out of caves. And it was safer for the children. "How could we send our children into caves?" the younger generation asked. And they made their dwelling inside a beautiful temple of stained glass, and even though it was dark inside, it was beauty of their own creation, and as the windows were covered over with the soot of their own torches, the light of the sun grew fainter and fainter. But they didn't notice, they were too busy singing songs to the glory of the light, speaking in tongues, and falling down in front of the altar when people prayed over them. They forgot about the light's ability and that it would illuminate anyone who would only open the door, and though they talked about those in caves, they didn't care enough to go find them. And those who did brought them smack dab into the temple...
How do you get it back? Individual seeking of God, and a preaching a clear, straight gospel. If you do that, the Holy Spirit will convict people of (their) sin, righteousness (their lack thereof) and judgement(their guilt before God) and they will come to Yeshua for the FREE GIFT of eternal life.
Unfortunately, most churches don't do that. They're afraid of stepping on Jewish toes.(regular churches are afraid of scaring away Gentiles) So reference to Jesus as a person goes, and the gospel goes, replaced by one form or another of legalistic perversion. (attaching conditions to salvation other than acceptance by faith, or merely by deemphasizing the gospel and the person of Jesus by preaching exclusively on holiness, manifestations of the spirit, or Christian living). Ordinary churches have done this too, not just Messianic congregations. It's horrible. Because they don't teach the gospel, people in these churches don't know how to tell it to someone else. See Romans 10:14-15. The "crazy" man yelling on the corner and handing out tracts, even if he's a Baptist, has a fuller understanding of God than most Christians/Messianians, because his understanding results in obedience to Y'shua. Also, because he knows and is sure of the gospel, and even if he's wrong he's at least fully convinced that what he's saying is the truth. Lon Solomon was saved by a guy doing just that, and he is Jewish.
Many Messianic congregations in America have become the ultimate "seeker sensitive" congregations, with Gentiles unwilling to confess Y'shua before Jews for fear of offending them. Bring Jesus back! That is the rallying cry for the American church/Messianitas. The need for salvation is universal.

22:06 17Dec06 James E Dykes -
I am in a church of about 500 which is living in the cave. They have known life outside the cave, but now seem to be content to live in the cave. Those who are leading now have no outside cave experience and think cave living is the ultimate. The heart of God is grieved! Those who can help are not received!

11:39 18Dec06 anonymous -
I have been in Messianic congregations for 20 years. Mostly they have been modeled after traditional synagogue services. They strived to be "authentic" with the hope of appealing to Jewish non believers. That was never the case. It only attracted non Jews that love doing the "Jewish thing". I was a Torah reader in one of these places. I feel very sad today for the years that we played synagogue but never experience God's power in our lives. I am now living in an area that has no "healthy" messianic congregation feeling very confused. I long for what you have described but don't know how to find it. Thank you for you article. It helps put into words what I have felt.

13:45 18Dec06 Carolynne Rine -
I am one who wants more of PPM and I pray for a great outpouring of the Lord God's Spirit. Even more I pray for plowed up and prepared hearts. It was the healings and miracles that attracted people in Yeshua's day and it will be the same today...Preach it brother Dan, preach it!

13:55 18Dec06 Jay -
For Plato's students, the "shadow" ideas were the only reality. Today most leaders and thus the believers under their authority abandon the need for the PPM because it's very inconvenient to admit the reality of our spiritual poverty. We still seek to compete with one another and create the new church furniture of ever deeper "teachings" ... and call this Torah observance. Better to seek the manifest presence of Yeshua and pray for visitation than descend back into the cave of unbelief! We ought to practice the Torah and walk in the power of the Ruach.

19:02 18Dec06 Todd Marlin Davis -
This is one of the most amazing of the newletters I've read from ya'll! Praise the L-RD! One Sabbath while riding home from a Messianic congregation the L-RD asked me a question, it's one of those questions that shapes the way you think ... "when revival comes will you go deeper?" The question alludes to the verses: "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJ) another time I was hanging out with a friend who was listening to a CD about revival in Argentina. The one who was speaking was talking about a prayer that began to rise out of him which was that L-RD if you're not going to send revival take me home. He rebuked himself because of his family, the prayer came again, he rebuked himeself, etc. until he realized that it was a G-D inspired prayer and talked about having this intensity of a passion for the reality of the L-RD in our midst and believing that G-D always desires to bring revival. After hearing this CD the verse above is the main one I looked to to believe that the L-RD always desires revival. I hope this stirs something in your inner man ...

02:54 19Dec06 Mihaela -
"The Book of Acts shows us life outside the cave and we are to accept nothing less." I agree and feel encouraged by like-minded brothers like you, while pressing forward for nothing less than His revival here, in Japan.

11:20 19Dec06 Moziah Armstrong -
Wow! Bless Yeshua for this article! I am a Messianic Jew living in the US and met Asher @ IHOP for Israel Mandate 2006. I contribute to this org and you are exactly right! My family (father mostly) has disowned me and sees me as one who is dead b/c I live "outside of the cave!" Thank you for the encouraging words of this article. It motivates me to continue His work. I have been used and seen the miracles of God, b/c of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit and I will never return to the cave! May the Lord continue to bless you all for your diligence in His Kingdom work! Thank you :)

11:47 19Dec06 Hannah -
Good article, Dan. I would add only a postscript: Those who emerge from the cave need to be prepared for life outside ... Scripture says the Lord's Presence and Power will dwell only where there is brokenness. When His Glory really "falls", it crushes everything in you that is not Him.
The door to PPM is being "baptised into His death". This not a symbol acted out in a pool, but a violent spiritual transaction - allowing Him to flood and drown our life as we now know it. For spiritual leaders, it is a time of obscurity, losing our grip on everything we thought we had to offer Him in service. We learn to be in Him, to be content, to just ... be in Him. No wonder caves are so inviting.
So many of us would rather not pay that price; we have too much invested in our present ministry. But we still want "life outside the cave"... the book of Acts, but minus the betrayal and slander and rejection by many (even among the brethren) who do not love the Truth. We've got to equip people for Real Life outside the cave - we must disciple believers into "the fellowship of His suffering". Otherwise they will wilt in the sun ... or cut and run for the nearest shelter (maybe something worse than a cave).

13:57 21Dec06 Messianic Rabbi Yosi Fuller -
Dr. Juster's article brought tears to my eyes. Our little Messianic Jewish congregation, Kehillot Beth Tikvah in El Paso, Texas, USA, has been struggling for nearly three years against people who want to keep us in the cave. I have yearned to see more of God's PPM, both personally and congregationally. We are striving to be a God-fearing, Y'shua-centered, Scripture-based ministry. We have learned that being such certainly goes against the stream! Thanks to Dr. Juster and Tikkun Ministries for pointing out the needs and leading in the right direction. God grant us the courage to be Messianic Jews of Scriptural integrity!

19:33 21Dec06 Ramona Hubbard -
Good article. It bought back old memories. I was there. I knew the pediatrician you spoke of and many others that were involved in those days. God did do great things. I want to see it again. I believe we will.

00:43 26Dec06 Sue Blake -
This is one of the best and most timely messages I have read in sometime. It is right on ... sadly to say. We are in a coma !!!!

17:46 01Jan07 David -
I agree with your analogy completely. I have been in the Sunday church most of my 45 years and, by the grace of God, have fellowshipped with PPM seekers. I believe this year will be the year that God up-ends our traditions and programs to get back to the power of prayer in His presence to see the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to restore holiness and righteousness to the church. My cave has been the church and four years ago God brought me out into the light of the Messianic movement. Learning about the Jewish roots of my faith has made a tremendous difference in the way I read and understand the Bible. Fortunately there is a Messianic congregation about 35 miles away that I attend on Friday nights. These people have a deep desire to pray for revival in our nation and revival in Israel. It's great to not be cooped up in the cave anymore.

23:40 03Jan07 - anonymous
Such beautiful truth!!! Yeshua help us!! I was one of those young people in the early 70's who Yeshua redeemed and filled with the Holy Spirit. I immediately had a love for Messianic Jews and found them to be the most anointed of God!!! (love for not only Messianic, but all Jewish people, Jerusalem and Israel) I now have a feeling that I have Jewish heritage but I can't prove it. One of my Grandmothers was a full-blooded descendent of Spaniards and was a Sanchez. I've been told that many Spanish people with that name were Sephardic Jews. Also, one of my Grandfathers was a Simmons, and his family was from England. I have heard of a Rabbi Simmons but don't know anymore than that. Thank you !!!!


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Marty Shoub: Under the Shadow of the Almighty
Eric Morey: Kehilat Poriya
Revive Israel: While I rode the Bus Home