• Derech Yeshua

    Derech Yeshua: The Way of Salvation

    Derech Yeshua: The Way of Salvation, by Daniel Nessim

  • Siddur Sar Shalom

    Siddur Sar Shalom, edited by Daniel Nessim

    Siddur Sar Shalom, edited by Daniel Nessim

  • Introducing Your Jewish Friend to Yeshua

    Introducing Your Jewish Friend to Yeshua, by Nessim and Surey

    Introducing Your Jewish Friend to Yeshua, by Nessim and Surey

Titus, the Temple, and the Fire of Judgement


Titus and his armies destroy Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

Titus and his armies destroy Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

Was it judgement? In 70 C.E. the then general Titus captured Jerusalem. Although Josephus (possibly disingenuously) disclaimed Titus’ responsibility, the Temple was destroyed and burned to the ground. In witnessing the event Josephus recalled:

the roar of the flames streaming far and wide mingled with the groans of the falling victims; and, owing to the height of the hill and the mass of the burning pile, one would have thought that the whole city was ablaze. And then the din–nothing more deafening or appalling could be conceived than that. There were the war-cries of the Roman legions sweeping onward in mass, the howls of the rebels encircled by fire and sword, the rush of the people who, cut off above, fled panic-stricken- (Jewish War 6.272-3)

Titus was the general in who took the city and was responsible for these events. His father, who had been charged with putting down the revolt had gone to Rome, having been elected as Emperor. Nine years later, Titus would take his father’s place. It would be 79 C.E. when Titus became Emperor himself. In exquisite irony, it would be that very same year that Vesuvius would erupt, engulfing Pompeii in burning ash, extinguishing the vast portion of the population of that great yet decadent city. Titus, while visiting Pompeii to assess the damage would get yet further bad news. Back in Rome, the great fire of 80 C.E. had broken out. While less destructive than that of Nero’s day, this fire would result in an equal loss of life and the destruction of many great structures – notably on Capitoline Hill, the Temple of Jupiter, the Pantheon, and the theatre of Pompeii.

The destruction of Pompeii as Mt Vesuvius erupts in 79 C.E.

The destruction of Pompeii as Mt Vesuvius erupts in 79 C.E.

Could it not have been noted in that day, what the comforter Eliphaz said: As I have observed, those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it (Job 4:8).

Maybe Hashem was saying something.

Our daily prayer is May it be your will, Hashem our God and the God of our forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days. Grant us our share in Your torah, and may we serve You there with reverence as in days of old and in former years. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Hashem, as in days of old and in former years.

Amen.

The Etz Chaim


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On Friday, at 6:16 pm London time, the Day of Atonement begins. We have already symbolically cast our sins into ‘living’ water in the ceremony of tashlich. Now the Day of Atonement is a time for sober reflection, teshuvah (repentance), and prayer. Throughout, there is the plea to be written in the Sefer Chaim – the Book of Life.

Our God is all about Chaim – Life. After all, He is the Creator, Source, and Sustainer of all life that is. In Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, He planted a Tree of Life. This Etz Chaim was there as a blessing, and it was through the ‘Fall’ that humanity lost access to it. All was not lost. He provided us the Torah, which is a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18). He provides Living Water (Psalm 1, John 7:38), and keeps a ‘Book of Life’, references to which are too numerous to list.

As Messianic Jews, we rejoice in the fact that our Messiah has promised that we will be listed in the Book of Life (Rev 21:27). In fact, it is not just for we Jews, but for the multitudes of all nations, for it is too small a thing for the Servant-Messiah to be merely given rule the tribes of Jacob (Isaiah 49:6)!

In every Torah service we sing ‘etz chaim hi lemachazikim bach’ which means ‘it is a Tree of Life to those who take hold of it’. It is no surprise then that our Messiah is called the ‘Word’ of God (John 1:1).

This Yom Kippur, we fast – yet rejoice in Him!

Thy Kingdom Come: A Conference on the Bible, Theology and the Future


Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come: A Conference on the Bible, Theology and the Future

It was a tale of two cities… Two centuries ago, Britain was a place awash with apocalyptic expectation. Napoleon’s armies were bringing the Enlightenment across Europe, feudalism was collapsing, and the Jewish people were experiencing emancipation from the ghetto and their own enlightenment, the Haskalah.
Fast forward to the present, and the opposite seems to be the case. The famous British reserve has given rise to a general abhorrence of the speculative and extreme. Sadly, in many cases, this has meant that what the Bible has to say theologically about the future has fallen into disregard and disrepute. In some quarters there is a fear of the extremes of the past, but is this justified? Does the Scripture have anything relevant to say about our current situation and God’s plans for our world?

I am really thrilled to be part of Thy Kingdom Come: A Conference on the Bible, Theology and the Future, which brings together leading Bible scholars from the UK and USA to explore what the Bible says about our world. With human rights abuses, the environment, and the threat of war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction constantly in the news, what is our hope as Christians and what does the Bible say about what the future holds? Surveying a broad cross-section of biblical passages, the Thy Kingdom Come conference seeks to equip believers with the tools to discern properly what the Scriptures teach about the world and the future.

Information is available at http://www.thykingdomcome.org.uk. Maybe I’ll see you there – at Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, 17-18 October!

Yom Hashoah and the Righteous among the Nations


Today, 28 April is Yom Hashoah. Israelis across the country have stopped their cars in the middle of the streets and highways as the country came to a standstill to remember the unspeakable evil perpetrated in the Holocaust.

Paradoxically, I spent the eve of Yom Hashoah (27 April) in Berlin, honouring one whom I would term a ‘righteous gentile’. Horst Stresow, a founding member of Beit Sar Shalom Evangeliumsdienst has throughout his life demonstrated love for the Jewish people including those of us who believe that Yeshua our long-awaited Messiah. Messianic leaders came from Holland, Israel, the United States and of course the United Kingdom to recognise his exceptional love and faithfulness.

I was reminded of the other ‘righteous gentiles’ but for whom I would not exist. My mother, born in Berlin in 1933, has often told me ‘I was born in the year Hitler came to power.’ It was because of Hitler, the Nazism and the Nuremburg laws of 1935 that she lost her father. His death, however, resulted in her survival and life.

Shortly after, her mother remarried to a German-British Christian man called Frank Schmidt. I knew him as ‘Opa’. Frank Schmidt refused to be cowed by the Nazis and like Horst Stresow, chose to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Subsequently, as events unfolded, he found himself concealing the identity of a German-Jewish girl, Jutta, right under the noses of the Nazi regime in Berlin.

I am grateful today for the German official who noticed my mother’s papers were not in order, and instead of pursuing the matter, tore her papers up concealed the matter. That was not only something out of order – and Germans are famous for their carefulness to do things rightly and in order – but it was at considerable personal risk to the official.

I am grateful for the neighbour in Berlin who, when my mother, as a little girl, played with her daughter and wrote her birth name instead of her assumed name, came up to her apartment and remonstrated with her parents. To give away such a distinctively Jewish name in wartime Berlin could also result in exposure and death.

And so, I am grateful for all who at risk and cost choose to advocate and protect the Jewish people. Today the news from Ukraine is that a mayor has been shot in the back. At this point CNN has not reported the fact, but Arutz Sheva has: the mayor is Jewish. That is not likely to be an insignificant aspect to the news, and one has to wonder if CNN was unaware, was not able to verify, or simply did not want to report this aspect of the story. As Jews, we need people who stand with us and for us. We remember the lost, but we remember those who did what they could.

London, 28 April 2014 / 28 Nisan 5774

Neo Nazis in London?


On Passover, Jewish people read in the Haggadah (Passover Story Guide) that  ‘In every generation they rise up against us.’

This week has already seen a lone gunman in Kansas kill three people at Jewish community centres in Kansas City. It has driven home the truth of the Haggadah‘s saying. On top of that, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funerals of the victims.

Never mind that the gunman, reportedly an ex member of the Ku Klux Klan and shouting ‘Heil Hitler’ failed in his attempt at killing Jews, killing non-Jews instead. Jews again have one of those all-too-frequent reminders that no matter where we are in the world, no matter how enlightened the country, province or city, there are always those who ‘rise up against us’.

This month, just two blocks from my home in London, a store historically linked to Neo-Nazis opened in the heart of London’s Jewish world.

Thor Steinar North FinchleySteps away from the office of the Chief Rabbi, close to a Jewish school, synagogues and – my family, a shop by the Thor Steinar Nordic Company has opened up.  The Independent has summed it up: ‘A German clothing brand favoured by neo-Nazis in Europe, whose goods were banned because of their similarity to logos worn by SS officers, has opened a high-street store in the heart of London’s Jewish community.’
When I went by, a man wearing a WW2 Nazi-style helmet with skull and crossbones on the back was handling the merchandise inside. Very nice. Wearing a kippah, I wasn’t about to go in and enquire further.

This is the company that in 2012 opened a store called ‘Brevik‘ – right after the coward Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 unarmed, mostly young, people in a rampage against Islam, Zionism, Feminism and more.

The Independent reports that ‘Users on the white power website Stormfront claimed “London gets its first white nationalist clothing shop”. This can be seen here: Capture

However, Stormfront has removed the offending posts at this time.

I’m aghast and don’t know what to write more. As the executive director of Chosen People Ministries (UK) what can I ask? I would like to see Christian street preachers take this as their favourite spot for street preaching. I would like to see Christians standing up for the Jewish community. But none of that will really and truly make any difference.

The shop owner, maybe unaware of his brand’s dodgy history (he is now!) said he is appalled and is not ‘Nazi’ nor a racist. Still, there is the very real concern, as evidenced by the Stormfront post, that this shop will become a magnet for those very undesirable elements.

Those who frequent the shop need to be prayed for, as my Yeshua, my Rabbi, instructed (Matthew 5:44). Hate cannot be met with hate, but we are reminded to speak up, love our enemies, and be a light to the world come what may. And please, pray for the safety of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom, where every Jewish institution of any significance has to have serious security provisions in place because of the constant threat we are under……..

The Holocaust and Searching the Soul


Sixty-eight years ago, Auschwitz was liberated. I have never been there, although I have twice been in nearby Krakow. The thought is too horrendous. How could I absorb and contain the tragedy and evil in that place? Just a week ago, a lovely Polish lady told me questioningly that she had heard ‘that Poland is the graveyard of Europe’ in Jewish eyes. I had to say that was true. Yes, we have moved on as a people, but Europe, once the soul of the Jewish world, is in many ways gone. 

Both my wife and I have family – close family to our parents – who died horrifically in the Shoah. Our surviving parents are greatly affected to this day. Crippled, they, we and our people move on. We search our souls. What does the Shoah mean? Is there an answer for the unspeakable evil that occurred? Can the questions of theodicy be answered?

Blame can hardly be apportioned. Not only did Himmler mastermind the holocaust under the Nazi regime. The western world put up a united front against Jewish emigration from Europe that made their borders as much a barbed wire fence as those surrounding the death camps so many Jews (and Gypsies, homosexuals and others) were consigned to. In Canada, our deputy minister of immigration said ‘None is too Many’ to Jewish immigration. In England, token numbers and just 10,000 Jewish children were taken in. Paradoxically it was countries like China that provided refuge – but they were almost impossible to reach. 

Today, genocides continue. Cambodia, Rwanda were just two of the most egregious examples. Today, nothing has changed. The world watches and remains inert as these tragedies unfold. This is why we must all search our souls. 

The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!
For this our heart has become sick, for these things our eyes have grown dim,
for Mount Zion which lies desolate; jackals prowl over it. 
But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. 
Why do you forget us forever, why do you forsake us for so many days? 
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old– unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us.

Lamentations 5:16-22

The End and the Eschaton


TKCbannerKings Evangelical Divinity School and Chosen People Ministries are jointly sponsoring a conference to be held in London on 17-18 October 2014 highlighting Scriptural passages and approaches that bear on the eschaton.

Entitled Thy Kingdom Come: A Conference on the Bible, Theology and the Future, the event includes well-known theological speakers, including Derek Tidball, Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock. Full details are available at the event website – www.thykingdomcome.org.uk. There is also a Facebook page which you are invited to Like to help get the word around.

 The organisers have also issued a call for papers. There are more details regarding that here.
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