9th June 2016

We are greeting you in the wonderful name of Yeshua the Messiah.

Shavuot is one of the main feasts described in the Bible that God commanded his people to observe throughout their generations. It commemorates the giving of the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. From the Book of Acts we find out that the followers of Yeshua remained faithful to the Lord and continued observing the holiday. This was actually the reason why they happened to be in Jerusalem during this time of the year.

What happened within the following days, however, has been viewed differently by the Christian world. The standard teaching claims that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this day, commonly known as Pentecost, has ushered in the era of the Church, leaving Israel's glorious past behind. Unfortunately, this view has been upheld by many theologians and preachers throughout the centuries. Not surprisingly, this has contributed to the Church's alienation from its Biblical/Jewish foundation as a result.

Therefore, it is possible to say that the conventional view of those historical events neither reflective nor in line with the Spirit of the Scriptures when taking into consideration the broader picture described in the Bible.

When looking at the Book of Acts through the Jewish lens, it is not difficult to see that after the feast of Shavuot was over, Messiah's disciples did not cease to be Jewish or severed their connection with the people of Israel. These were the very same Jews who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and His Messiah. The only difference (though an important one) was that the eyes of their hearts have now been opened to a new reality of the Creator as all of them have been immersed into the Holy Spirit. Or to put it differently, they have been enlightened by the powerful revelation of God. His light has now become available to everyone who believed in the Messiah's resurrection, it set in motion the work of sanctification in the disciples' lives. There was nothing new - neither a new nation nor world order has emerged on the back of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, viewing those events from this standpoint, allows us to see a slightly different perspective to the significance of the New Covenant.

It is a Covenant that confirms the promises made to Abraham and his descendents, the people of Israel. Moreover, sealed by the blood of the Messiah, it also includes additional conditions for His followers and provides means for fulfilling Lord's mission in this world.

And preaching the Good News is an essential part of it. Abraham's call to be a light to the world that defeats the darkness - the Babylon, has been further magnified in the life of the first followers of the Messiah as God has enabled them to perform mighty miracles. Their ministry was undermining the stronghold of this world - its anti-God mentality. It would not be an exaggeration to say that everyone who was immersed into the revelation of God of Israel through the work of apostles, has now become part of this great call. This is why Apostle Paul when writing to the believer in Colossus, had to remind them that God:

"rescued us from the domain of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son whom He loves" (Colossians 1:13).

Almost two thousand years later, we are witnessing a re-emergence of the first century trend - God is raising the Jewish disciples of the Messiah who go forth from the Land of Israel, bringing the living word to the nations. What was unheard of just a few decades ago, is becoming a reality in our day - the hunger of the people for the revelation from Zion is, once again, on the rise. It is a real miracle of God!

In May 2016, after the celebration of Passover, our congregation has been blessed with the opportunity to send our ministers on the short mission abroad with a sole purpose of bringing the Word of the Lord from Israel.

Looking back in time when our elders, Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, were talking about the rise of the apostolic generation from within Israel, I remember having reservations in regards to the scale of such developments. After all, Apostle is the title that carries weight in the spiritual realm.

But praise be to God! By His grace, our small congregation (which consists of no more than 150 members) was able to bring the word of the Messiah to the distant lands. We have been privileged to share about the secrets of the letter to Ephesians as well as the rights of Jews to the Land of Israel with the Japanese and to teach about "the images of Yeshua in the Torah and in the temple sacrifices" in Finland. We believe that these are the first green shoots of the greater things that are yet to come. And even though it may appear as a far cry compared to the work performed by Paul, Barnabas and Apolos, it is very reminiscent of the great promise found in the Bible:

"For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).

Only after coming back home we have begun realising the importance of the mission that we have been given. And even though miracles that we find in the book of Acts did not accompany us this time around, we have been able to do the main thing - proclaim the Truth, which of itself is a great miracle. We have sawn the seeds of faith, leaving to God to do the rest, for He alone knows how to make them grow.

We believe that this ministry from Zion will only continue growing stronger. And even though the task may seem impossible due to human abilities' limitations or the language barrier, no obstacle will be able to stop us from bringing the message of Truth to the ends of the earth. The One who stands behind it is more than capable to complete it. As God gave the ability to Jonah to bring the entire city of Nineveh to repentance despite the foreign language of its inhabitants, He can do the same in our day!

Many blessings to you and your family during this feast of Shavuot!

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