A temporary wooden bridge to Temple Mount Mugrabi Gate has been built by Israeli Authorities after part of the earthen ramp leading up to the gate collapsed.
By Shira Sorko-Ram
In 2004 a heavy snowstorm hit Jerusalem followed by a minor earthquake which was felt even on the Temple Mount where the First and Second Temples were built and destroyed, and where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosques now stand.
To the right of the Western Wall (which supports the western side of the Mount), is an earthen ramp that leads up to the Mugrabi Gate, the only entrance onto the Temple Mount completely under the control of Israel. This is the gate where tourists, Jews, and members of Israel’s armed forces enter the Temple Mount. (Muslims generally enter from other gates.)
The ramp partially collapsed that winter and was closed. A temporary wooden bridge was built to maintain access through the Mugrabi Gate.
Before becoming an Israeli citizen, I visited the Temple Mount, which was at that time under Jordanian control, in 1959 with my family. The Wall, then called the Wailing Wall by many, faced a narrow alley about five to six meters wide. On the other side of the alley was a mass of ramshackled Arab huts.
Although tourists from the west (not Israelis!) were allowed to visit the Western Wall, the Jordanians allowed no Jew to face the wall and pray.
When the cease-fire line was drawn between Israel and Jordan at the end of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Israel lost all access to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall. The Jordanian King became ruler of the Temple Mount, but gave little notice to Israel’s ancient capitol, preferring to beautify his own capitol, Amman, the home of his royal palace. For 19 years the Old City of Jerusalem lay sleeping - as I saw it in 1959 -until the Six Day War in 1967. Incredulously, Israel’s army took Jerusalem without even intending to do so!
The famous General Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense during the Six Day War, personally went to the Temple Mount and took the keys to the Mugrabi Gate from the Waqf (Islamic Religious Trust) officials and placed an Israeli police station inside the gate.
Because of Muslim extreme sensitivities over the Temple Mount, Israel has kept control over security but has given the Waqf charge of day-to-day administration of the ancient site. The Waqf is quite unhappy with the arrangement, but thus it has been for 40 years.
ARCHEOLOGISTS UNCOVER REMNANTS OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
In 1996 there was another violent clash as Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount. In Israel’s great desire to excavate at least the areas surrounding the Temple Mount, archeologists had opened up tunnels next to the Western Wall where tourists can now visit. “Discoveries at the new site included a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and a wall archaeologists say dates to the first [Solomon’s] Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C. The findings were widely reported by the media as strengthening Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.” (WND, 24Oct05) Those excavations sparked a wave of Palestinian violence that killed 80 people.
Therefore, when the ramp partially collapsed two years ago, the Israeli government knew they were dealing with a highly volatile situation. Still, something had to be done to
preserve access to the Mugrabi Gate and the safety of tourists and so a temporary bridge was built and plans made to construct a permanent bridge.
According to Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) the excavations on the ramp being carried out until now have exposed “how great the danger” is that the ramp at the Mugrabi Gate will totally collapse, because of deep water cisterns that have been discovered underneath.
MASSIVE ARAB PROTESTS
Nevertheless, as soon as the permanent bridge construction began, there was an immediate world-wide outcry. Muslims protested in various countries while their press led
the world to believe that “the Jews want to build a bridge so they can ‘conquer the Temple Mount.’” The UN and other committees have come to Jerusalem to investigate.
Clearly, facts do not seem to influence the Waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement, as they completely ignore the history and antiquity of the site. Unfortunately, says world famous archeologist, Eilat Mazar, there is no grounds for scholarly discussion with them. (Jerusalem Post 15Feb07)
But Kamal Khatib, a leader of the Islamic Movement, says that it is the Jews who are twisting the truth. There never was any Jewish temple on the so-called Temple Mount, and
the al-Aqsa Mosque has been here since Adam.
WHEN ISLAMICS EXCAVATE
In whatever activities the Waqf engage on the Temple Mount, it is with the intent to destroy all historical evidence of Jewish ancient civilization. Some ten years ago, the Waqf officials built the largest mosque in Israel in a huge underground hall which contained many ancient arches once used by Herod the Great to buttress architectural support for the Temple above. The area today is known as Solomon’s Stables. In building the mosque, the Arabs scraped up hundreds of truckloads of dirt mixed with absolutely priceless and irreplaceable antiquities. They dumped all of the rubble in a garbage dump outside the Old City.
The construction of the mosque, which was carried out without any archeological supervision, was called an “unprecedented archeological crime” by Israel’s top archeological body for its massive destruction of antiquities at the site. (Ibid., 8Feb07)
Eilat Mazar, said, “We are certain that a vast amount of important data was lost, especially when the Muslims dug the huge 2,000 square meter pit in front of [Solomon’s] stables and dumped the “garbage” along with ancient antiquities. They loaded hundreds of trucks…so you can imagine the scale of the data that was lost from all periods.” (Ibid., 15Feb07)
ISRAELIS EXCAVATE THE RAMP
Meanwhile, dismantling the collapsed ramp has given Israeli archeologists rare opportunities to excavate the area near the Western Wall using the standards of scientific archeology. Because of the threat of world-wide protests and even war, Israelis have no possibility of excavating the Temple Mount where they would without doubt dig up world-shaking finds - something that would be absolutely contrary to Arab interests which claim that there never was a Jewish Temple.
Rabbi Rabinowitz of the Western Wall says it is the excavations, not the bridge, which really disturb the Muslims. “It infuriates the Muslims that the Jewish people were here
first. Every excavation brings to light another ‘mikveh’ [ritual bath] and other Jewish finds. True, the Muslims distort every fact, but how far can you twist the truth?”
At this moment, Israeli archeologists, not knowing just how long they might have to keep excavating the ramp, are out in force; some seventy archeologists and archeological students are sifting through the mound - knowing that the ramp holds many secrets in its treasure trove that are of great significance to the Jewish people.
THIS GROUND HOLDS HISTORY OF THE BIBLE
Indeed, there are so many areas outside the Temple Mount that archeologists would give anything to excavate. Just last year, archaeologists submitted a plan to continue tunneling
in the City of David from the Silwan spring towards the Temple Mount. The Silwan spring is actually the Pool of Siloam where Yeshua placed mud on the blind man’s eyes and then told him to wash in the pool. Archeologists believe that they have uncovered part of Jerusalem’s main street in the Second Temple era that leads from the Temple Mount to
the spring a distance of about half a kilometer.
However, for fear of Muslim anger, archeologists have not yet been given permission to uncover the entire length of road, where most certainly Yeshua and His followers walked
The Temple Mount, dominated by the Dome of the Rock. At bottom right can be seen the Western Wall, the lower stones of which are from Solomon's era. In front of the wall to the right can be seen the wooden bridge and to its right the earhen ramp which partly collapsed. The al-Aqsa mosque is out of range of the photo (to the right) - some 100 meters from the wooden bridge.
The Waqf’s justification for continually demanding a halt to all of Israel’s excavations in the Old City is that it is destabilizing the mosques. In fact, Muslim official Al Husseini says that with all of the excavation being done by the Jews, if an earthquake would take place, half the city would disappear. (Haaretz 16Feb07)
Attempting to soothe the world’s fears that Israel is intending to dig under the Western Wall, the Israeli government has placed a 24 hour camera on the internet which can be seen at http://www.antiquities.org.il/home_eng.asp. These current excavations are 100 meters (325 feet) from the al-Aqsa Mosque, posing absolutely no danger to the mosque.
Journalist Yehuda Ben Meir sums it up: “It’s become very clear that the clash over the construction work near the Mugrabi Gate is not a struggle against the construction of a bridge, but part of a broader campaign for the control of Jerusalem. After all, this construction work has no connection to the al-Aqsa Mosque nor any effect on it…In their view, Israel has no sovereignty in the Old City and has no right to carry out any sort of construction work in the Temple Mount environs.
“At the root of this war is the intensifying effort by the Palestinians and their supporters, from within and without Israel, to deny any link or rights of the Jewish people to the
Temple Mount or to Jerusalem, and thus to undermine not only our right to sovereignty in Jerusalem, but also Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. (J.P., 20Feb07)
In a surprise move, the Mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski has suddenly halted construction of the new bridge obviously because of Arab pressure claiming that the
local public must have a chance to voice their opinions on the matter - a process that could take a year or more. At this point, it is not known if a new bridge will be built at all.
Osnat Goaz, spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the excavations would continue, no matter what decision was made concerning the bridge.
Says Yehuda Avner, Israeli diplomat: “The Wall is the cutting edge. How goes the Wall so goes Israel. It is the heart and soul of the matter. Thus it was, thus it is, and thus it shall
ever be.” (Ibid., 23Feb07)
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WHY DO MUSLIMS WANT THE TEMPLE MOUNT?
By Shira Sorko-Ram
With television and the media controlling almost all of our information intake concerning the Middle East, it is of paramount importance that we who are followers of the only True God review from time to time the root reasons for the struggle over Jerusalem. It is a cosmic war, the epicenter of the spiritual struggle over the destiny of the human race. Here is what we must remember:
The God who revealed his Name as Jehovah, chose to be known as the God of Israel. He chose to make His dwelling place in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. He chose to send
Yeshua the Messiah to preach in this Temple, the Temple that Yeshua called “My Father’s House.”
It was here that Satan tempted Yeshua to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple. Satan was obsessed with the House that contained the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies.
If only Satan could have convinced Yeshua to jump off the Temple and kill Himself in opposition to God’s will and purpose, Satan would have defeated God’s plan of redemption through His Son.
Another try. If only Satan could have persuaded Yeshua to worship him for one small minute… But Yeshua triumphed for us over sin, evil, death and eternal separation from God.
Nevertheless, Satan is still obsessed with the Temple Mount. His emissary, the god Allah, as revealed through his servant Mohammed, devised a plan to take possession of the
place where the Shekinah once dwelt, and where once again, the King of Israel will reign.
Because of their obsession to forever possess the Temple Mount, Muslims have refused Israel’s many offers to give the Palestinians “half the kingdom” and even the area where the Temple once was, as long as Israel could retain the Western Wall where thousands of Jews pray continually. But to no avail. Allah wants it all. It is extremely doubtful that a Palestinian state will rise up out of Israel’s God-given land just because of the Temple Mount - not to speak of the Palestinian demand to bring millions of Muslim “refugees” into Israel proper and other impossible issues.
Thus the battle continues as Israel struggles to defend herself against the billion-plus Muslims who spend their lives and their nations’ wealth scheming to destroy Israel and take over the Temple Mount once and for all. Islamic historians have rewritten history for this part of the world and the Muslims believe it: 1. The Jews never had a temple in Jerusalem - ever.
2. Indeed, Muslims declare that the site was built as a mosque since Adam and Eve. (The Mosque of Omer was built at the end of the Seventh Century 16 centuries after Solomon’s
Temple was built.)
Mohammed had his first “revelation” in 610A.D. at the age of 40 when he was asleep in a cave. His fellow citizens in Mecca did not receive his revelations and he was forced to flee in 622. He entered Medina where he was met with a more friendly reception, and founded his new nation there. Ten years later, he returned to Mecca with an army and conquered the city, forcing Islam upon its citizens. He died that same year. Mohammed never visited Jerusalem, and never wrote a single word in his Koran about it.
The Muslims did conquer Jerusalem four years after Mohammed’s death, but they did not make the city any sort of political center. However, because of a revolt of the people of Iraq, the citizens of Mecca and Medina found themselves under temporary siege and as a result devout Syrian Muslims could not visit those cities.
The Caliph from Syria decided to solve the problem by making Jerusalem a substitute place of pilgrimage. He built the Mosque of Omar in 691. Then in 715, the Caliphs built another mosque on the Temple Mount and called this one “the furthest or most remote mosque.” By giving the mosque this name, the rulers connected the place to a passage in the Koran which says that Mohammed was flown “from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote,” that is, they claimed, from Mecca to Jerusalem.
They explained (though again not written in the Koran) that “Gabriel” had led Mohammed to the pinnacle of the rock (which was all that was left since the Temple had been destroyed some 600 years before). At the Temple Mount Mohammed encountered Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets, whom he led in prayers.
There, the Islamic spiritual leaders revealed, a ladder of golden light materialized. On this glittering shaft, Mohammed ascended through the seven heavens into the presence of Allah, from whom he received instructions for himself and his followers. Allah had succeeded to create for himself a people who were willing to fall down and worship him on the Temple Mount.
In return, Mohammed and his followers have received from the hand of Allah a kingdom of over a sixth of the world’s population which at the beginning of 2007 registers about 6.6 billion people. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia) Thus Islamic rulers chose Zion as the place where they claim Mohammed ascended to heaven on his white horse.
ZION IS GOD’S RESTING PLACE
God clearly stated that He had chosen Jerusalem for His own house.
For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His habitation.
This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. Psalm 132:13-14
But the sins of Judah and its rulers increased until God turned His back on Jerusalem and His House:
Then he [King Mannaseh] put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever… II Chronicles 33:7
And the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from my sight, as I have removed Israel. And I will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” II Kings 23:27
But the saga has yet another chapter! Through His prophets God reveals that He will return to Jerusalem and His House will be built again.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion.
“But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.
Therefore, thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts… Zechariah 1:14-16
Although there may have been a preliminary fulfillment of this prophecy with the building of the Nehemiah temple (later improved by King Herod), if we continue into chapter two of Zechariah, we can see there are many parts of the prophecy that have yet to be fulfilled, thus setting the stage for a “last days” fulfillment such as when many nations will join themselves to the Lord when the glory of God once again dwells in Israel. (Zechariah 2:11)
In fact, in Zechariah six, one of the Bible’s clearest passages of the coming of the Messiah appears: Behold, a man whose name is Branch…Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord…and sit and rule on His throne… Zechariah 6:12-13
Scholars attempt to analyze why “all the nations of the earth” will gather against Jerusalem. Perhaps oil would be found in Israel? Perhaps the riches of the world would be brought to Israel? While not discounting any possibility, it is now clear that the first and foremost cause of the Middle East crisis is that the demon god Allah simply wants to sit on the throne that God chose for His Son, in the city that God chose for Himself. Ultimately, the struggle will again bring war to Jerusalem.
But the outcome is known, as Zechariah gives us the answer: “I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:9) In the midst of the battle over this city, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…Then the Lord my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! (Zechariah.14:4,5)
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WHEN LIFE BECOMES SIGNIFICANT
My family immigrated to Israel from California when I was eleven. Upon my completion of high school in Jerusalem, I entered the army. My dream of serving in a combat unit came to a sudden end when during a medical check I was found to have an irregular heartbeat, causing the army to transfer me to an office job.
After completing my three years of military service, I began to work in geriatrics as a caretaker for disabled patients. But I wasn’t at all happy with my life. I felt a failure and
that I had no real hope of a successful future. I began to drink heavily, although not with other people, but alone in my room. This continued for twelve long years.
My parents had divorced, and I lived with my mother who was a believer in Yeshua, but I was not at all interested in religion. Nevertheless, all the time my mother was praying for me, and from time to time she reminded me of what was written in the Bible, especially focusing on God’s desire to save me and change my life for good.
Several times I tried to stop drinking. For a few days I would be OK and then I would think, “Oh no! Not again!” And I would go back to drinking. I saw that I was not going anywhere but to the grave, so I sent up a prayer to God: “Help me please. I want to quit. Please get me out of this mess.”
My mother had taken me to a congregation some years before, but I didn’t find a home there. Then one day in 2001, she began to talk to me about another congregation - in Tel Aviv. I decided, “Why not? What would it hurt to go with her?” But when the service at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua started, it seemed really strange to me. It was so lively - the music was modern, and people stood with their hands in the air or they clapped and even danced. I was certainly not used to anything like that and somewhat disconcerted. However, I didn’t say anything to my mother.
THE GREAT ATTRACTION
I thought to myself, “Maybe this is new to me, but I’m not going to let it stop me from coming just because it’s different.” What attracted me was something else I had never
experienced anywhere. The leadership and the core people simply loved me. They accepted me as I was. This influenced me so greatly that I had to keep coming!
Even as I am telling this story, I feel overwhelmed with the love that I felt the spiritual motivation to accept someone they didn’t even know really ripped me inside.
I felt that this was genuine love. They simply loved me! It didn’t matter that I was a zero. I was loved!
After attending a couple of meetings, my heart said “Yes” to God. I stopped drinking. Although I felt sick for an entire week, I refused to take another drink. And then I began to somehow feel different. After a few months, I was visiting some relatives and I smelled liquor in a glass, and, it smelled to me like vomit. That was when it really hit me - I had been completely delivered from alcoholism!
As I began to understand more about my new faith, I meditated on the parable of Yeshua where seven devils had been cast out of a person, and the “room” in his heart had been
swept clean but was left empty. This realization made me understand the need to be discipled.
One of the elders in the congregation, at that time, Eddie Santoro, became my mentor. We delved deep into my background, doing a thorough cleaning and dedicating each part of me to the Lord.
As I began to mature in my faith, I saw that in the congregation there were sister believers who were dedicated to God as I was. Though I was shy, in my heart I picked out one girl who was very strong in her faith and besides that, very pretty! But I said nothing to her.
Our congregation went on a trip to Megiddo in the north of Israel, and I did have an opportunity to talk a bit with her. But that was all. So I just continued thinking about her. Then one evening Eddie asked me, “Is there something between you and Eva?” Suddenly, I switched from my dream land to a place of faith, thinking that, perhaps, there could possibly
be a future for us together.
One day Eva, who was living with some of the girls from the congregation, asked me to repair a couch in their apartment. Afterwards, we left together and took a bus to the congregation where we were to join our evangelistic team which was preparing to witness on the streets of Tel Aviv.
I said to Eva, “I’m in the clouds.” Then I added, “Do you know why I said I’m in the clouds? Because I think of you all the time.” We prayed together, and then I asked her to marry me. Four months later we were married and a year later, we had a beautiful baby girl named Eden.
HOW WOULD I SUPPORT A FAMILY?
Yet I did not have a real career. How would I support a family on the small amount I earned as a caretaker of disabled patients? It was then that I was offered the chance to work as the congregational secretary of Tiferet Yeshua, and I did so for two years. There I learned to get over my shyness as I had to speak throughout the day with members of the congregation and also contact the newcomers.
Even as I worked for the congregation, it became apparent that I needed job training which would offer opportunity for advancement in some trade where I could really excel. So Maoz
sent me to take aptitude tests which revealed I had potential in analytical fields. The government then granted me an eightmonth electrician’s course and through istandwithisrael.com I was also able to take a computer course for 15 months.
I was on my way for the first time in my life to success with a career, learning both electronics and computers. I was in the top group of my classes. Little did I know that I would shortly experience a major attack on my health. It all began when a virus that started in my throat struck me in such a way that it affected all my joints, to the point that I could not stand up, causing me unbearable pain day and night. I was hospitalized as the doctors tried to find out what was wrong with me. This resulted in my losing more than two critical weeks of my studies, nor did I seem to be getting better. It was as if some weird disease had suddenly attacked me, and the doctors could not promise me that it would leave me at all.
Eva and the congregation prayed continually for me. One afternoon, a couple of young men from our congregation’s healing team came by and prayed for me, and suddenly the virus completely left my body. Even though the pain tried to come back later, I was able to stand against it, as I had the victory in my spirit. I knew I was healed.
I went back to my classes, working diligently to catch up with what I had missed, when without warning we were notified that the government class for training electricians would be closed for lack of funds! In the middle of the course! All the students were in agony - as now we had no way of finishing the program.
Again, my friends in the congregation prayed together with me, and a miracle happened. A judge ordered the school back open - to at least finish our course! Amazingly, the moment we finished, the school closed.
I immediately found employment as an electrician where I worked for a number of months under a contractor, until I was offered an even better job with higher pay and a real future!
With my knowledge of electrical and computer skills, I know that God has granted me favor.
I want to thank the God of my Salvation for my greatest gifts in this world: my wife, my daughter and my congregation.
My father managed to survive a Nazi concentration camp and moved to Brazil where he married my mother, 25 years younger than he. He was an angry and ill man, and I, unfortunately, don’t have fond memories of him. When I was seven years old, my parents separated and three years later my father died.
I received a good Jewish education as I attended Hebrew school for nine years, and we belonged to the only synagogue in our town. My mother remarried a man who was warm and gave us a sense of security. At 15, I entered a technical high school where I began studies in architecture. My memories of those days are good - our family was together and I was learning an interesting profession. Besides that, I had become engaged to a wonderful man, Marcio.
Then tragedy struck. Marcio’s mother had been a witness to an attempted rape by a very wealthy neighbor. After serving a very short jail term, the accused man was released and
returned home with many violent threats against Marcio’s mother. When Marcio went to this neighbor and demanded he stop his intimidation, he was shot dead a few days later. No one was ever arrested for the murder.
I TURNED TO SPIRITISTS FOR HELP
Devastated, I left school and never returned. I decided to go far away - to another city 1000 kilometers away where I opened a restaurant with a girlfriend. But in a few months our venture collapsed and I lost most of my savings. I turned to spiritists - Brazil is full of them -who called up my dead fiancé, (who spoke of things only Marcio would have known - I now know they were evil spirits.) These spirits also gave me instructions for operating a successful business. So then I went into partnership with my sister in another business, but it just didn’t get off the ground. By this time, I was completely broke.
At 26, I felt my life was a complete failure. By then I had an ulcer and was losing my hair -the doctors said it was clearly a case of nerves. Because of the burning ulcer, many nights I couldn’t sleep.
One sleepless morning - it was nearly 5:00 a.m. - I couldn’t find anything on TV except a preacher. I suddenly heard him say, “And you who are right now listening to me, at home, sick in bed, and you have no money and you cannot sleep and you have all kinds of problems and you think no one can help you…I want to pray for you right now.” With my chest on fire, I thought what can I lose by praying with him?
I began to watch this pastor nightly, and he encouraged those who were seeking God to find a congregation - so I did. There I asked the Messiah Yeshua into my heart. I knew witchcraft was wrong so I left it completely. But one day when I was witnessing to a girlfriend whose husband was deep in spiritism, out of nowhere I felt like someone was
crushing my stomach and ribs. I began to throw up and continued doing this throughout the night.
WARNED BY SPIRITS TO LEAVE THE NEW WAY
I then began to see strange phenomenon such as two red eyes glowing in the dark, staring at me. Finally, I had a harrowing dream where an evil being grabbed my niece - the most precious person in my life - and hit her in the head three times. The dream warned me that worse things were coming if I continued on the new path where I was going.
That morning my sister frantically called me and told me that three times in the night my niece had screamed out, but when she ran to her bedroom the child was asleep. My niece continued to have terrible nightmares in the weeks that followed.
My new pastor told me plainly: “Eva, you cannot witness with one foot in the Kingdom of God and one in the world. You can’t have addictions, go to discos, drink and go with the crowd with whom you are running around. You can’t witness and at the same time live for the devil.”
I asked, “Then you think this has happened because I am witnessing?” The pastor said, “Yes, I do.” I responded, “I don’t know much about Satan, but I am taking him on. From this day on, I will never smoke again as long as I live. I will never get drunk again. I will never have a relationship with a man until that someone is my husband.”
I have to admit that I did it more for the love of my niece than I did for myself. But God is full of mercy and accepted my decision to serve Him unconditionally from that moment.
HOW DO JEWS AND YESHUA FIT?
Yet there was one thing that left me unsettled: I found it very confusing for me, as a Jew, to go to a Christian church. On the other hand, it seemed unthinkable to be without Yeshua. At an all-night prayer meeting, I poured out my heart to God. I pleaded, “Do what You want with me. Turn me upside down. But please do something with my life so that it makes sense.”
A week later my brother, who was now an Israeli citizen, visited me in Brazil. He asked, “Why don’t you immigrate to Israel and come live with me?” So in the summer of 1996, I arrived in Israel with two suitcases and a $200 loan. My brother was good to me but warned, “I’ll give you two months here in Israel to forget Yeshua.”
I went to Jerusalem and prayed at the Western Wall. “Lord,” I cried out, “I’m here because of You. If You will show me that Yeshua is Your Son, I’ll follow You all the way. But if Yeshua is not Your Son, and I as a Jew do not have to believe in Him, just tell me!” Immediately all the confusion left. I knew that Yeshua was the Messiah, period!
Three months later, an Israeli believer told me that a congregational leader was looking for someone to clean their building which housed their congregation and their living quarters. And so after being in Israel exactly one year, this is how I met Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram. I began to work in the Maoz facility, and when I came to the Ramat HaSharon congregation, I knew I had found my spiritual home.
A TURNING POINT: THE HEBREW LANGUAGE
Even while I was working as a cleaning person, Maoz sent me to Hebrew language school so that I would be able to function fully in Israeli society and in the Kingdom of God. As my language skills improved, I was able to take over different tasks. I took on the children’s department of the congregation and volunteered in different areas of service. Later I learned to print our Hebrew books with digital printing equipment and we began to distribute these gospel books throughout the country.
I was also able to go to Brazil on behalf of Maoz and open up a Brazil office, finding Pastor Julio…… who, to this day, heads up the branch there. Today we have a Brazilian website,
print the Maoz Israel Report in Portuguese, and have a large army of prayer warriors in my native country.
As a single girl, I would often feel lonely on the weekends and I knew others felt the same way. I wondered what we could do as believers in a city that spends its weekends in discos and wild parties. God gave me a heart and a burden for our young people, and I organized many events for the singles of the congregation. This group grew until it was the largest age-group in our congregation.
PRAYING FOR HUSBANDS!
Together with some of the other sisters in the congregation, we began to pray and fast once a week for the Lord to send us husbands! We continued praying for a year. Nearly all of us who prayed during that time have since married!
One Sabbath meeting I was sitting in the front row, and I noticed one of our young people, Yoel, singing with the worship team. Though I had never considered Yoel as a future mate, in the middle of the worship, this thought came to me, “He will be your husband.” I said, “Lord, if this is from you, change my heart” - as he didn’t at all seem to be my type! He was very quiet and shy and I was an outgoing Brazilian! Soon I found I was thinking about Yoel all the time …and you know the rest of the story!
Now that Yoel and I are married, I have once again taken on the children’s department in our congregation. Today, we have 65 kids and are continually working to better serve our children in very crowded quarters. God has given me a great desire to see children from unbelieving families come to our congregation, and, as a result of the vitality and life of our department, consequently bring their parents into the Kingdom of God. Everyone knows
that if the children want to come to a congregation, the parents will follow!
God brought me from a life of failure and witchcraft in Brazil, to the land of Israel promised to us through our forefathers. He has lavished me with beauty for ashes. I love what I do at Maoz. He has given me a wonderful husband, and a beautiful little girl, Eden. And much to our joy, my mother has now immigrated to Israel and lives with us, so she is able to take care of Eden while both Yoel and I work. How great is our God!
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NEW GENERATION OF ISRAELI MESSIANIC JEWS CELEBRATE PURIM
To our dearest partner,
Greetings this Passover Season!
At this moment, the two of us, Ray and Christy, are in Israel. For 18 years we have been working together with Ari and Shira as Maoz’ ambassadors in the U.S. and helping to establish branch offices in other nations.
Over the last few weeks we have been privileged to attend three Shabbat meetings at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua while here in the land. And all we can say is - God is up to something in Tel Aviv!
The building is full to the brim with Israelis who love Yeshua, love each other, and are serving the Lord with gladness... coming into His presence with thanksgiving... and into His courts with praise. We were even a part of the celebration of the Feast of Purim, where the people celebrate their lives, once again, being spared by Queen Esther’s obedience.
The worship is anointed, the children are singing and dancing, often there is standing room only in the building, and the people are receiving the bread of life the Word not only from Ari, but also from a team of the finest teachers and preachers in the land all of whom call Tiferet Yeshua their home congregation.
The life of the congregation is in full swing. The messages are penetrating straight to the heart. And the Lord’s presence can be felt from beginning to end.
And there is something else we are observing. More and more young families are becoming a part of the believing community. Lots and lots of babies are being born children who, from birth, will know what it means to be a Jew and an Israeli who believes Yeshua is their Messiah. What strength this will bring to the country as they mature in their faith!
This is the time to be part of what is happening in Israel!
As you pray, and as you give... your investment of your time and your gifts make a remarkable difference in how much we can impact this nation and this people.
One of the leaders on our recent tour to the land visited Tiferet Yeshua. She had been instrumental in raising $7,000 for our ministry, and she remarked, as she observed our Shabbat service, “This makes me so glad I put so much work into our event just to see such a wonderful congregation like this in Israel.”
Truly, you are affecting people’s destiny life and death when you give. And your prayers are not going unnoticed, either.
In fact, the evil one has us on his list, as well! Just two weeks ago, after a very pro-Messianic segment aired on primetime television in Israel, our Hebrew-language website and all our email, as well as several other Messianic websites, were deliberately attacked with a virus and they even succeeded in completely disabling our Hebrew website... dedicated to reaching all kinds of Israelis believers and unbelievers.
We have since placed our Hebrew website and our email infrastructure within the same security arrangements we have already provided for our English websites and contribution pages. Attacks of all kinds will, no doubt, continue as the enemy gets more and more desperate to thwart God’s plan for His people.
But we know who wins the battle, and we know for sure who wins the war! We do! We together have the privilege of being warriors for the sake of the Gospel... and we will wear our armor boldly!
We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Yeshua... for it is the power of God unto salvation... to the Jew first!
We bless you from Israel,
Ray and Christy Wilkerson
VP of Ministry Partnerships
and International Administrator