I wasn’t here last week, I was in Jerusalem. Which, I have to say, is better. But it’s good to be here nevertheless.
This time last week we were at Christchurch Jerusalem where we managed to get into the evening service.
It is a very nice Anglican Church in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem which really preaches the Gospel and has a heart for Israel.
It has been there since 1840 and it is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. And we had a good word from the speaker there.
I’m not going to give the whole detail of the trip now because I did give a whole talk this morning about what happened in Israel. So, if you want to get that information watch The Bridge morning service for April 30, 2023 posted online and on our website.
I’ll just say one thing that happened last Sunday. We went to יָד וַשֵׁם (Yad Vashem) in the morning, the Holocaust Memorial and, having been through all the traumatic places of the Holocaust, we then got a taxi up to the Mount of Olives.
The taxi in which we got was driven by a young Orthodox Jewish man who turned out to be of French background. He didn’t speak very much English so I had to have my discussion with him in French, which was possible but a bit of a challenge.
Anyway, we managed it. We got talking and he asked us what we were doing there. And one of the things I said was that we’d just been to Mount Scopus which is near where we were going, where the Hebrew University is, and where Barbara put on her concert of ‘Hear Oh Israel’ in 1988.
I think some of you (Heather) you were involved in that, weren’t you? Yeah, yeah, and it was very big production with a large choir orchestra in the amphitheatre. ‘Hear Oh Israel’.
We talked a bit about it, and he said, ‘Wow!’ He seemed to be quite amazed that we’d done that in that place, and somehow then said, ‘Well, Jesus was Jewish, wasn’t He?’
So I said, ‘Yeah!’ And we then got on to a big discussion on the subject.
I said, ‘Absolutely! You read the first verse in the New Testament in Hebrew it says,
סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדׂת יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ בֶּן־דָּוִד בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם׃
sēp̱er tôlḏׂṯ yēšûaʿ hammāšîaḥ ben-dāwiḏ ben-ʾaḇrāhām
This is the book of the generations of Yeshua Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
And if you go through it, you will find it’s all about Messiah being Jewish.’
‘Yeah’, he said, ‘Okay’.
And I said, ‘He came to bring in the New Covenant, ‘la nouvelle alliance’ (in French)’.
Then he said, ‘Yeah, but we don’t need a New Covenant because we’ve got the Old Covenant with Moses, and we keep God’s Commandments through Moses and that’s what makes us right with God.’
He added, ‘We have to achieve ‘merit’ through keeping the Commandments and it’s that is what’s going to bring us closer to God.’
He also said, ‘The idea of which is a Jewish concept that by doing good deeds you’re helping to repair the world that’s what תִּיקּוּן עוֹלָם ‘tikkun olam‘ means, ‘to repair the world’, and so, if you do, even your little good deeds, you’re helping to repair the world and to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. And, when the Messiah comes, when you’ve accumulated enough ‘good deeds’, then the Messiah is going to come to reward us for all the good deeds we’ve done.’
I answered him saying, ‘I think about this it says in the Book of Romans that Messiah came at the right time when we were sinners to save us from our sins and to save the ungodly and, He didn’t come when we’d accumulate enough ‘merit’ but when we hadn’t.’
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.Romans 5:6-9
I went on to talk to him about the New Covenant and about what it says in Jeremiah and how it says in Jeremiah that God is going to replace the old Covenant with the New Covenant through Yeshua and through that we can know that our sins are forgiven, we can have God’s Law written on our hearts and have a new life.
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”Jeremiah 31:31-34
And he was, I would say, quite interested. We then got on to talking about the state of the world and he said that ‘by doing good deeds we’re going to help to make the world a better place and that the more we do that the world is becoming a better place’, he said, ‘through all the good deeds which are being done’.
I said, ‘In fact, the world is getting it worse through all the bad deeds which are being done’. and I said, ‘It all ties in with what it says in the Bible about the אחרית הימים acharit ha yamim ‘end of days’ and the coming of the Lord, the coming of the Messiah’.
And I mentioned one or two passages about the Second Coming and the return of Jesus, and I’d say he was interested. So, pray for Yoram; we had a very good talk with him.