A regular stream of Israeli and Diaspora rabbis, political, and community leaders are now gracing evangelical and messianic churches and television networks. They diligently sow the seeds of Christian love for the Holy Land and get to reap the benefits from inspired congregants via "offering baskets” and on-air solicitation.
But as various messianic Christian Hebraic Roots sects endeavor to implant themselves as an integral part of normative Judaism, Jewish leadership continues to be both mesmerized by the overtures and oblivious to the damage being done to the Torah, the land of Israel and its people.
Pastor Mark Biltz, leader of the messianic El Shaddai Ministries of Tacoma Washington, has the kind of christ-driven "pro-Israel" approach, which should cause responsible Jewish community leaders to abruptly about-face and pave a clear detour to ensure that the Jewish collective avoid stumbling off the path. And yet, one can find a hefty sampling of Israel's best "Land-of-Israel" spokespersons on the guest speaker line-up of that thriving messianic congregation.
Sometimes Christian and at other times "Jewish per se", Pastor Biltz inter-changes religious identities and definitions in order to deliberately wreak confusion and blur the definitive lines between faiths. In a very recent video sermon the pastor stated that," the New Testament is Torah". He goes on to explain that:
“I like to keep people off balance”… “When I say ‘Torah’, sometimes I mean just the first five books, sometimes I mean the entire bible. But I like to keep you guessing which one I’m talking about”
Biltz is consistent in his duplicity, as even the banners used on the El Shaddai Ministrieswebsite swap the terms jesus and Torah.
Of course, none of this stops Jewish leaders from eagerly singing the praises of El Shaddai Ministries and its pastor, Mark Biltz. It's clear from the video footage that following the guest lectures by Jewish personalities, a prayer is offered and collection taken up in the name of Jesus. Based on the praise-o-meter, it appears that congregants at El Shaddai are very generous to causes such as David Rubin's Shiloh Children's fund, Jeremy Gimpel's and Ari Abramowitz' Land of Israel.com fund, and Rabbi Moshe and Lea Goldsmith's Friends if Itamar fund.
In September 2011, Lea Goldsmith, wife of the head of Itamar's local council Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, literally sang to the messianic Christian congregants "We're home in this place" and went on to say, "If I can call anyplace outside of Israel home, it's El Shaddai…my best friends."
While introducing guest speaker Limor Livnat in an October 2011 El Shaddai Ministries' event, Charlie Schiffman former executive director of the Jewish Federation of Portland Oregon declared, "happy the flock that has such a shepherd", in reference to Biltz. He later infers that Biltz is a Lamed Vavnik(one of the 36 righteous people upholding the world).
One would think that Mr. Schiffman, a Torah Observant Jew, would surely be distressed to see Biltz and numerous other evangelical/messianic leaders accessorizing their christocentricity with twisted versions of Jewish texts, rituals, and blessings.
Hebrew Cross-word games
Like all messianic leaders, Pastor Mark Biltz is absolutely committed to demonstrating a belief in jesus' centrality to Judaism and his inclusion in the Torah.
So while Rabbi Chaim Richman and Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith can go to great pains to carefully present Hebrew-loaded classes to El Shaddai congregants on issues such as the oneness of G-d , Biltz has no qualms taking his Hebrew knowledge and admittedly doctoring it up with some messianic Christian adaptations and interpretations from the missionary organization First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ).
The results, which are widely disseminated via the internet and Christian electronic media, are an absolute affront to Torah and a chilul Hashem, a desecration of G-d’s name.
For example, Biltz explains on GLC (Gods Learning Channel) program Light of the Southwest, the meaning behind the world "Bereshit":
“Bereshit” - “the son of god, crowned with thorns upon his head, hung on a tree as the gift of the covenant”
In last week's reading of the Torah, Vayishalch, Biltz has Jacob wrestling with jesus.
How can good Jews from Eretz Yisrael justify speaking at El Shaddai ministries and befriending its missionary leader, Pastor Mark Biltz, a man who openly encourages Christians to try and convince Jews of the divinity of jesus?
Visit us or live with us?
You would think that Torah observant personalities, who do choose to speak at the messianic El Shaddai Minisitries, would find themselves in a bit of a tight spot. At the very same time the collection basket is being passed around, and prayers for healthy donations are offered in the name of Jesus, congregants are asking some pretty loaded questions about the possibility of living in Israel. But without flinching, Jewish rabbis and activists like Jeremy Gimpel and Rabbi Goldsmithare not just inviting devout Christians to visit Israel, they are asking them to come and live in Israel. Gimpel includes these people among the "remnant" of Israel.
An Invitation to Assimilation
Jewish activist David Ha'ivri, who currently serves as director of the Shomron Liaison Office and spokesman for the Shomron Regional Council, and Gershon Mesika, director of the Shomron Council continue to partner with messianic Christians and encourage their attachment to the Land of Israel. Ha'ivri recently posted the following on his Facebook page:
"Israel is meant to be a Jewish State, that does not stand in the way of nonJews being part of Israel."
Last week, David HaIvri appeared with Tommy Waller on GLC's Light of the Southwest. On the Christian program, which is dedicated to spreading the gospel of jesus, David HaIvri sits comfortably as Tommy Waller quotes from the new testament and calls on thousands of believers in jesus to make their presence felt in the hills of Samaria. The co-host of the show makes it clear that although Tommy can't verbally express his jesus agenda in Israel, the job is getting done through his actions.
Meanwhile, according to a new video, it appears the Tommy Waller's Christian son Caleb and his bride Kendra are indeed setting up a home in Israel. (hat tip: Geula Girl)
Don't think for a minute that these fine, handsome folks - who are on fire for jesus - will not be an attraction for our sons and daughters. That, due to a lack of foresight, this assimilation program is being brought to us by the Torah observant Land of Israelcamp is most distressing.
The most recent edition of the B'Sheva weekly news magazinereported that Rabbi Zephaniah Drori, the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Shemona and the Rosh Yeshiva of the Kiryat Shemona Hesder Yeshiva, expressed great concern over the missionary crisis in Israel:
"What is a current and primary concern of the Rabbi, is the missionary activity in Israel and the contributions Jewish organizations are taking from Christians. 'It weakens the people of Israel in a terrible way, and brings the Christian mission into our communities. Even a specific settlement in Samaria granted a Christian the rights to live with his family in the Yishuv. This is just dreadful. They [the Christians] are coming with the intention to spread the gospel of jesus and this disturbs me very much.'"
Jewish Israel’s Community Affairs Advisor, Anita Tucker, is particularly concerned that rabbis and activists from Israeli communities are teaching Torah in churches and to messianic congregations. She says,
"I'm at a loss as to why our people think that they can teach Christians Tanach without deducing that the Christians will want to teach us their "new testament" as well ----it defies logic and sense."
Beyond the need to "share their faith" and "serve the Jewish people", there is something more sinister and revealing about the messianic movement in particular. It can be clearly seen in the "all things to all people"doctrine of Christianity:
"...I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel..."(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
In February 2010 Ari Abramowitz interviewed Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold on the matter of whether or not it was a good idea to teach Torah to Gentiles. Throughout A7’s Light Unto the Nations broadcast, Rabbi Gold, who serves as Jewish Israel's Rabbinic Director, consistently held that it is “far too dangerous for us to enter into the business of teaching Torah to non-Jews.”
We note that at the time of the show, Ari's partner Jeremy Gimpel was on speaking tour in America and El Shaddai Ministrieswas on his agenda.