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Revive Israel Ministries

©December 14, 2012 Revive Israel Ministries

Recovering the Apostolic Commission

By Asher Intrater

Being a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) includes taking part in a grand vision and challenge to change the world. This "great commission" was given to the original Apostles and disciples right before Yeshua ascended into heaven.  That commission includes making disciples (Matthew 28:18), preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15), and restoring the kingdom to Israel. 

Acts 1:6 – "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Acts 1:8 – You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and be witnesses of Me in Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria, even unto the ends of the earth.

Many people today speak of restoring the Jewish roots of the faith. That's good and right—but our roots are more profound than food or festivals. Recovering the original apostolic commission is a central aspect of the restoration of the Messianic remnant in our day. Restoring the Messianic remnant includes recovering the Apostolic vision.

Isaac went back to dig the wells of Abraham; he called them by the names that his father called them (Genesis 26:18). The wells and the names were tools to get back the water that his father had found. Our "Jewish" restoration of "wells" and "names" has the goal of getting back to the waters of salvation and rivers of revival that our "fathers" - the apostles - had found.

Peter, John and Paul are just as much our "Jewish" fathers as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (The apostles all had two names – one in Greek and one in Hebrew, since they were all bilingual and bicultural. They used their Greek names in international venues and their Hebrew names within Israel.)

Some of the wells they dug were: the Messianic kingdom on earth (Acts 1:3), the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), world evangelism (Acts 1:8), a literal Second Coming (Acts 1:11), world revival in the end times (Acts 2:17), and even the restoration of all things (Acts 3:20).  Redigging the wells of Abraham is rediscovering the vision of the Apostles. As Isaac drank the waters that Abraham drank, we want to partake of the anointing that the Apostles walked in.

I was once asked on a national Israeli television program what our vision is as Messianic Jews. I answered that it was the same as all the prophets of Israel from Isaiah to Malachi: to establish the kingdom of God on earth, with peace among the nations, and the Messiah reigning from Jerusalem.

We have a spiritual inheritance from the Patriarchs, from the Prophets, and from the Apostles. That spiritual inheritance is available to all who will believe it and receive it--whether Jew or Gentile, man or woman, rich or poor. Let's take possession of it.

Akiva's Orchard

(new novel by Yochi Brandeis)

Unfortunately, the number one best-selling book in Israel is a pornographic novel from England, contaminating the minds of thousands with sexual immorality.

Amazingly, the number two best-selling novel this week is an original historical novel by Orthodox religious author Yochi Brandeis. Although the novel is fictional, it is based on extensive research by Brandeis in academic documents, rabbinic writings and the New Testament.

The novel, "Akiva's Orchard," tells the life story of famous Rabbi Akiva who proclaimed Bar Kochba to be the Messiah in the revolt against Rome in 132 AD. Much of the novel revolves around the conflict between Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanos, who was Akiva's mentor. In some ancient Jewish sources, he is reported to have become a believer in Yeshua.

The main drama of the novel is the tension between these two great rabbis over the issue of faith in Yeshua. Eliezer tells Akiva how he met Saul (Paul) when he was a young man, and became convinced that Yeshua is indeed the Messiah. Brandeis describes the development of several streams within Judaism during those 100 years following Yeshua's death and resurrection.

She depicts the Messianic or "Natzerene" Jews as parallel to the emerging post-Pharisaic stream of rabbinic Judaism. Both the Pharisees and Natzerenes were in agreement in their rejection of the corrupt Sadducean priesthood. Some Pharisees were favorable to the Natzerenes, and others opposed. The book includes descriptions of persecution of the Natzerenes by religious Jews and Roman authorities alike.

At one point Akiva has a supernatural vision of the persecution of Jews by Christians ("Notsrim") in future history. When his wife asked how that could happen, he answers that the Notsrim denied the faith of the original Natzerenes.

Brandeis is not a believer in Yeshua, yet her portrayal of 1st and 2nd century Judaism, the background of the New Testament, the early Messianic movement, and how faith in Yeshua was seen by religious Jews at that time is well-researched, even-handed, thought-provoking, and at times brilliant.

Hanukah and James Bond

(from Arik Bender, Yediot Aharonot)

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and "Mossad" Chief Pardo, during a brief ceremony for Hanukah, handed out certificates of "outstanding performance" to the 12 top-secret agents of the year.  Netanyahu thanked them for standing on the front lines of the fight against international terror, and said, "I saw recently the film "Skyfall" about James Bond. The things you are doing in reality go way beyond what the film makers could even imagine."

Among the 12 who received special recognition was a famous but anonymous female special agent, whose dozens of undercover exploits around the world are described by her commanders as "hair-raising." Pardo thanked the agents, in the spirit of the Maccabees, for doing "signs and wonders" in our day.

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