From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:21 PM
Subject: Believers under fire: bringing Messiah to the lost sheep of Israel
This is the first in a series of articles about Messianic Congregations in the
Land of Israel.
We start in the same place our father Abraham got started, Be’er Sheva
Ancient well in Be’er Sheva thought to be dug by Abraham
The modern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva (also known as Beersheba) is the
largest city in the Negev Desert region of southern Israel. It has been called
the “Capital of the Negev.”
It has a world-class university (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) and a
diverse, growing population, with many Bedouins living side by side with
Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Europe, North and South
America, as well as Sabra Israelis whose families have lived there for generations.
[While the Hebrew and Arabic word sabra literally means cactus (Prickly
, this word also refers to native-born Israelis
. Sabra is a
metaphor for Israelis, since like the cactus, they are generally tough
prickly on the outside, but tender and sweet on the
Sabra cactus – sweet on the inside, prickly on the outside
Kehillat Nachalat Yeshua: Congregation under Fire
Be’er Sheva is also home to Kehillat Nachalat Yeshua (Congregation of
Yeshua’s Inheritance), which is led by Howard Bass.
The congregation has been the source of some controversy in Israel.
On December 24, 2005, Bass was leading a mikvah service (baptism) at
the congregation and a large crowd of ultra-Orthodox men stormed the
building, physically attacking Bass, intimidating other members of the
congregation and breaking several pieces of furniture. It was the second
Yehuda Deri, chief Sephardic rabbi in the city of Be’er Sheva, was present
at the riot, and according to several witnesses was active in stirring up the
crowd. He would later claim exactly the opposite: that he was attempting to
calm the people down.
The police were called, but it took them several hours to gain control of the
situation. Some witnesses said they didn’t seem to be trying very hard.
Yad L’Achim, the anti-missionary organization which is behind much of the
soft (and occasionally hard) violence directed against Messianic Jews
(Jewish Believers in Jesus) in Israel, was universally suspected of playing a
part in the riot.
The kehillah did seek legal action against both Deri and Yad L’Achim, but
the judge in the case ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence. Bass had to
pay a fine to the defendants, as well as cover their legal fees.
“The judge did not give them any restraining order,” he said. “They were
not warned at all by the judge to be careful of what they do.”
But he added, on a more hopeful note, that Yeshua’s (Jesus’) trial also
seemed “like a loss according to the world at the time” and that God could
use anything to advance His purposes.
click here to stand with the persecuted Believers in Israel
The Negev Desert
Streams in the Negev Desert
“I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into
springs.” (Isaiah 41:18)
The vision for this congregation is “Streams in the Negev” which comes
from Isaiah 41:17-20.
“Our congregants come from many different streams of life most of us
having returned (emigrated) from many different countries, cultures and
mindsets to the present-day Israel.
“This has been in fulfillment of prophetic promises given long ago by God
through His prophets in Israel, and upheld by the Messiah Yeshua and His
apostles in stating that all the promises of God will be fulfilled entirely,” Bass said.
This is a great description of what the Body of Messiah looks like in the
Holy Land in 2012, since Kehillat Nachalat Yeshua in Be’er Sheva is
typical of a Messianic assembly in Israel.
Numbering around 200 worshipers on Shabbat, the kehillah (community)
welcomes a large number of immigrants, some of whom were Believers
when they came to Israel and some who accepted Yeshua here in the Land.
The congregation comprises young people who were raised in the kehillah
with immigrant parents, middle-aged Sabras who came to faith later in life,
non-Jewish students who have come to Israel to study at Ben Gurion
University, a few Arab brothers and sisters, and Christian tourists from
around the globe who speak different languages.
Ben Gurion University
As with nearly every Messianic congregation, the message is usually given in
Hebrew. At minimum, translators will render the message into English and
Russian, along with possibly other languages.
Worship songs are usually sung in Hebrew, along with an occasional song in
Russian, Arabic or English.
Despite almost never speaking a common language and seldom sharing a
common cultural outlook, these diverse individuals are able to come together
to worship the God of the Universe because of their common love for and
relationship with the Messiah of Israel.
“The fullness of the Gentiles has not yet happened, but is on the way as the
Lord works out His purposes to establish the Kingdom of God on this Earth
at the return of the Lord at God’s appointed time,” Bass says.
“Some of us who believe in the truth of Messiah have also come from
different streams within the Body of Messiah; others who have come to
know the Father and the Son since coming to Israel have entered into a
mighty river into which all these streams converge.
“It will be such a work that it will be seen and understood as being done by
the Hand of the Lord, even a new creation of the Holy One of Israel! This
speaks of the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) being glorified
here in the desert and the wilderness of Israel.”
Pedestrian mall in Be’er Sheva
HaMakom: The Place
Even the building where the kehillah meets has significance.
Built on Ahavot (Fathers) street by an Ottoman Turkish official in 1903, the
building is in the heart of Be’er Sheva’s Old City.
The location offers many opportunities for outreach. It’s the ideal location
for quiet meetings on Shabbat in a part of the city otherwise filled with
rustic cafes and interesting architecture that draws many tourists, from both
Israel and abroad.
Because the building was built to be an administrative headquarters, it rests
on a slight rise that overlooks the Be’er Sheva wadi (a dry stream bed
except during the rainy season) and provides a panoramic view of the
A dry river bed in Be’er Sheva
Bought in 1913 by a US-based Christian group, the property and buildings
have been serving workers of the Gospel for almost 100 years.
Nachalat Yeshua Messianic Congregation moved into the property in 1995,
having outgrown their previous meeting hall in a nearby house which had
been used as an outreach center since 1957.
Today, the building is home to HaMaKom (The Place)/ The Bible House, a
shop where many people still come to learn about Yeshua (Jesus.)
[HaMaKom also means God. It is a metaphoric reference to the fact
everything is contained in God, and nothing contains Him.]
It’s been the target of two Molotav cocktail attacks, the last one in 2004.
Bjoern, can you imagine a Bible bookstore being set ablaze by religious zealots
in your city.
The persecution today doesn’t go as far as killing people, but the “persecution”
is not so much different than in the Book of Acts, when Saul (Paul) gathered up the
“Believers” to have them beaten, or when he stood by as the Ultra-religious Jews
(Pharisees) stoned Stephen to death.
“Be’er Sheva is spoken about many times in the Bible. It is where Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Hagar and Ishmael, even Elijah met with God.
“They found it a place of divine revelation and of true, spiritual worship and
praise and thanksgiving towards our God—the God of Abraham, of Isaac,
and of Jacob.
“It is indeed the ‘City of the Fathers’, and we desire that the true sons of
Abraham—Jews, Arabs, and any other believers in Yeshua —will worship
the Lord together in the beauty of holiness,” Bass says.
Tel Be’er Sheva, an archaeological site that is believed to be the remains
of the Biblical town of Be’er Sheva, lies east of the modern town.
The believing pioneers who came to Be’er Sheva and bought these
properties before the First World War couldn’t have imagined the changes
that would take place over the next century.
Although the Gospel has been brought to many people in Be’er Sheva and
here in the south of Israel, much work remains to be done. In order for this
work to go forward, laborers must come to work in the vineyard.
“He has good works for us to do, and we want to be equipped for every
good work to please our Father in Heaven,” Bass says.
The Messianic Believers in Israel need tools to reach the Jewish people
of Be’er Sheva with the love and truth of Yeshua.
Please help us continue the development of the Messianic Prophecy Bible,
which will be a powerful tool in the hands of a Believer so that they can
show their families, neighbors, and friends the Messianic Prophecies with
explanations of how Yeshua is their Promised Messiah of Israel.
This Bible will also refute all the arguments of the Rabbis, such as Yehuda
Deri, the chief Sephardic rabbi who is persecuting the Believers in Be’er
Sheva. This rabbi teachers his students how Yeshua is not the Messiah
showing how the prophecies are not true.
Our urgently-needed Messianic Prophecy Bible will reveal how this
Orthodox Rabbi twists the Scriptures around, and will prove that Yeshua
(Jesus) truly is the Only One who fulfills the Prophecies of the Suffering and
You can help Bibles For Israel Today and make a difference for Eternity, as
Jews throughout Israel will know the truth of Yeshua and receive everlasting
click here to equip the Believers in Be’er Sheva with the Messianic Prophecy Bible
Take a Stand against the Persecution of Jewish Believers in Israel, click here now
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