January 1999: Volume 21, Number 1


We should not be convinced of Arafat's sincerity just because President Clinton used him for positive publicity in December. In the cold light of economic analysis, Arafat is clearly seen to be a failure, if not an out and out cheat. The following article gives the details.

Investing in Yasser Arafat

by Michael Kelly, Editor, THE NATIONAL JOURNAL
Wednesday, December 2, 1998

          There was a wonderful moment in the annals of diplomacy this week. Yasser Arafat, the president of the Palestinian Authority, had come to town to attend an international conference convened by the White House to raise a new pile of money to give to President Arafat. And the conference had gone splendidly.

          Everyone had behaved perfectly fine. No one had so much as mentioned the inconvenient London Sunday Times story the day before, which said that the Palestinian Authority had swiped $20 million in British aid intended to build housing for the poor of Gaza, using the money instead to build luxury flats for Arafat's military and bureaucratic elite. After a day of pleasantries, representatives of 43 nations had pledged $3 billion in new aid to the Palestinian Authority, including an extra $400 million from the U.S. president. Arafat saw that it was good. "I am satisfied with the reality of this conference," he pronounced.

          The reality? The reality is this: Since July 1, 1994, the day that Yasser Arafat arrived to take charge of Gaza, the international community has given the Palestinian Authority about $2.5 billion in aid. In that time, to the confoundment of confident predictions, life in Gaza became, for most people, even more poor, nasty, brutish, and short than it had been before the arrival of President Arafat. In the past four years, wage rates in Gaza have fallen 50 percent and unemployment has risen to a high of 50 percent; currently, it hovers at around 30 percent. The gross national product per Palestinian has declined from about 50 percent to 2 percent by 1996. In the first two years of Arafat's rule, one-third of Gazan businesses folded. Foreign commercial investment in Gaza declined from $520 million in 1993 to below $300 million in 1997. The number of Palestinians living in poverty soared, one out of every four now lives below the poverty line.

          In President Arafat's considered opinion, all of this is the fault of Israel for its habit of closing off the Gaza Strip from time to time and disrupting the flow of commerce. "The Israel closure policy is the primary and direct cause for the dangerous decline in the performance of the Palestinian economy over the past five years," he declared Monday.

          It is true that periodically stopping the flow of goods and workers between Gaza and Israel has played an important role in the decline of Gaza's health. But what President Arafat was too diplomatic to mention was that Israel has a reason for its policy. The closures have been in response to the very many — 279 fatalities since Oslo — terrorist attacks on Israelis by Palestinians living under Arafat's rule. Neither did President Arafat see fit to note that, in the past two years, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has greatly reduced the number of closures. Yet during the past two years, the economy of Gaza has improved only slightly.

          Might there be some other reason for Gaza's decline? Well, tactlessly, yes. The other reason, as the Sunday Times story suggests, is that President Arafat has established in Gaza and the West Bank a nasty, thuggish little kleptocracy run by and for the benefit of President Arafat and his bureaucrats and gunsels (gunmen) and cronies, without benefit of law or semblance of order.

          The Palestinian Authority has yet to draft a criminal and civil code. What passes for law is brute and capricious force, imposed by 41,000 members of seven separate police forces — police forces that may arrest without warrant and detain without due process. The 41,000 are the muscle in an obesity of a bureaucracy: the Palestinian Authority boasts no fewer than 80,451 employees, spread among 24 different ministries. Salaries for these employees consume more than half of the entire Palestinian national budget, which ran to $814 million in 1997.

          Where does the rest of the money go? Almost all of it is stolen or dribbled away. The Palestinian Authority's own auditors reported last year that nearly 40 percent of the annual budget — $323 million — was wasted, looted, or misused. In President Arafat's regime, bribery is endemic, services are nil, connections are everything, and might is the only right there is.

          This is the reality that inspires foreign investment to stay far, far away from Gaza. But it isn't diplomatic to say that. Let's give the old fellow a few billion more. Maybe he won't steal all of it.

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What a sad state Bethlehem has come to. The souvenir vendor quoted below has probably met with an "accident" by now.

2 Faiths Pray in Bethlehem

The New York Times

Bethlehem, West Bank. Dec. 25 (Reuters) Christian and Muslim worshipers crisscrossed Manger Square today and filled the churches and mosques of this Palestinian-ruled West Bank town to observe Christmas and Ramadan.
          But the ecumenical spirit brought little holiday cheer to the tourism-dependent residents. Recent American and British air strikes on Iraq and tensions with Israel have scared away visitors.
          The bells of the sixth-century Church of the Nativity summoned several hundred Palestinian Christians and foreign pilgrims to Christmas Day Mass.
          A Muslim call to prayer rang out from a minaret on the opposite side of tinsel-decked Manger Square to draw worshipers to the first Friday prayers of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
          Hundreds of other Muslims streamed out of Bethlehem towards Jerusalem to join some 150,000 faithful for Friday prayers in Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine.
          Only a few hundred foreigners made the pilgrimage to Bethlehem on Christmas Day, disappointing street hawkers selling postcards, olive-wood souvenirs, and votive candles.
          "It could be so much better, like the old days," mourned a souvenir vendor, Abu Michael, recalling the boom days of tourism before the Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule that began in 1987. The city came under Palestinian self-rule in 1995.

A Sad State

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Messianic Believers in Israel

An Interview With Our Chief Guide,
Zvi Rivai
By Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.

          Modern Israel is a miracle, the beginning of the fulfillment of the Dry Bones prophecy in Ezekiel 37. For those of us who believe the Scriptures, the revived Israel is an astonishing precursor of the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Rapture of the Church (which must precede those apocalyptic events). The re-emergence of Israel has been well chronicled among those who continue to cling to the "faith once delivered to the saints."

          However, there is another development that has been less well covered by evangelical observers, even though, in some ways, it is just as remarkable as the restoration of the Chosen Nation. That development is the renewal of the Israeli church. For perhaps as many as 19 centuries there had not been a recognizable church of Jewish believers in Israel, but there is one today. It may be relatively small; it may be relatively quiet; but it is there. What difference does this make to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ? Apparently not much. But I believe it should.

          When the Apostle to the Gentiles, Brother Paul, was establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire, he repeatedly emphasized the importance of the churches among the Gentiles maintaining a supportive relationship with the "saints in Jerusalem." In fact, the Apostle Paul's primary fundraising project was for the benefit of the believers in Israel who were facing opposition, rejection and persecution in the homeland of the Gospel. Now, for the first time in untold centuries, churches throughout the world can reconnect with a viable Jewish church in Israel.

Our Man in Jerusalem, Zvi Rivai

          It is not easy to get reliable information about the Israeli church, but one of our best sources is the chief guide for our tours in Israel, Zvi Rivai. He has been a faithful guide for our tours for many years, and those who have traveled with him can testify to his remarkable testimony of salvation in the Lord Jesus, his genuine spirit as a servant of the Lord, and his vast knowledge of the Bible and Israel. During our most recent tour, I interviewed Zvi about the conditions and issues of the modern Israeli Messianic movement, and the following is what he told me.

5,000 Resident Believers in Israel

          There is no way to get an accurate count of born again believers in Israel, any more than we could do so in America or any other country. However, Zvi estimates that there are about 5,000 resident professing Messianic believers in Israel at the present time. This does not include the non-resident Arab or Gentile professing Christians who live in Israel. It does, however, include a wide range of professing believers, with a variety of doctrines and viewpoints that will be discussed below. This means about 5,000 professing Jewish believers out of a total Jewish population of about 5,000,000 in Israel, or 1/10 of 1%. While this is a small percentage of the total population, they are vocal and have an influence on the country beyond their numbers. They prefer to use the term Messianic when referring to themselves, and avoid the term Christian because of the negative connotations involved. Of course, Messianic and Christian both mean the same thing. Messianic is derived from the Hebrew word for "anointed," and Christian is derived from the Greek word for "anointed," so both terms refer to Jesus as the anointed of the Lord. The Messianic believers also primarily use the original Hebrew name, Yeshua, when referring to the Lord, which is certainly understandable.

50 Congregations in Israel, with Five Large Ones in Jerusalem

          Zvi then explained that there are some 50 Messianic congregations in Israel, most of which are small home groups scattered in the various cities and towns throughout the country. It is perhaps an exaggeration to call these small groups "congregations" or churches in the traditional sense because of their small size, but they do have a corporate witness in their communities.

          Five of these congregations are relatively large, over 50, and they are all in the holy city of Jerusalem. They have many of the same organizational and doctrinal problems faced by congregations in America, Europe and elsewhere. Recently, Zvi said, one of the congregations in Jerusalem has been decimated because of the "Toronto" movement doctrines.

          The largest congregation is King of Kings, which meets in the YMCA building, across the street from the King David Hotel. It has two co-pastors: one is a Messianic believer from America, and the other is a Gentile Canadian Pentecostal minister. It is associated with the Canadian Pentecostal churches. According to Zvi, the congregation is composed largely of foreign Gentile believers, with a large minority of Jewish believers. There is a choir, and the services include a number of songs in Hebrew (with phonetic transliteration) and English. The sermons are generally in English, which is the most commonly understood language among Israelis and foreigners in Jerusalem.

Biblical Education

          While there are several Christian Biblical institutions in Israel primarily designed for foreign students, there is only one Bible College for Messianic believers. This is the King of Kings College with a campus in Jerusalem and a branch in Tel Aviv. It is associated with the King of Kings Congregation in Jerusalem, with the same denominational affiliation. This year, they are beginning a post-graduate, or seminary level course of study at King of Kings. The future pastors of the Messianic congregations are educated either in North America, Europe or at King of Kings.

Diverse Theological Views in The Congregations

          There are many diverse views in the congregations, ranging from Bible-believing born-again people on one hand all the way to those that are far from orthodox in their positions, Zvi explains. Among the more orthodox are the non-charismatic or Bible church type groups, and those that might be considered mildly charismatic congregations in the U.S. Others are of a more pronounced charismatic style, with a Jewish worship emphasis which they call "David's Tabernacle." This includes a heavy reliance on the Psalms, with the use of harps, other ancient style musical instruments, and worship through interpretive dance.

          Still other Messianic groups have a strong tendency toward Orthodox Judaism, with an emphasis on the Old Testament, and a hesitancy to mention the New Testament. They tend to look at Yeshua as the Messiah, but not as God manifested in the flesh. This is similar to the views of the ancient Ebionite sect.

          Zvi says that at least one of the congregations has the same liturgy and theology of the Reform Lutheran churches of Europe. They are decidedly amillennial, and have no concept of prophecy with relation to the nation of Israel.

Problems, Confusion, and Division in The Israeli Congregations

          I asked Zvi what the main problems of the congregations in Israel are, and he answered that there are some seven areas in which there are problems that are caused by confusion and result in division among the congregations.

  1. Prophecy. There is as much misunderstanding about Bible prophecy in Israel as there is in Europe and America. While Zvi believes in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of believers and a Premillennial Second Coming of Christ (as do we), there are many in Israel who are Post-Tribulation and amillennial. Some of them see no prophetic future for Israel, and this impacts on their political views as well.

  2. Keeping of the Law. Some believe that Messianic Jews should keep the Law of Moses as much as possible, while others think that they have no obligation to the Law. Still others think that Gentile believers in the Lord who live in Israel should be observant of the Law, while the rest have the conviction that Gentiles never were placed under the Law, whether in Israel or elsewhere.

  3. Relationship with Arab believers. While some Arab towns, such as Bethlehem and Nazareth, are traditionally Christian, Zvi informs us that there are relatively very few born-again Arab believers. However, there are some, and there are problems in the relationship between the born-again Jews and the born-again Arabs which are unique to Israel. One problem has to do with how the Arab believers should pray. Some pray to Allah just as do the Muslims, as though Allah is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Zvi argues persuasively that Allah is a pagan god, and Mohammed made Allah, the moon god, the preeminent (and only) god out of the pantheon of earlier Arab paganism. Therefore, Arab believers in Jesus Christ should not be praying to Allah, any more than a believer should pray to Jupiter. This pagan praying causes considerable tension between Arab and Jewish believers in Israel, and some Jewish believers are willing to compromise with the Arab religious customs.

    Another area of tension with Arab believers has to do with views on the Biblical future of Israel. The Arabs tend to be amillennial, not believing in the restoration of Israel and all the future blessings promised to the Jews. This means that the Arab believers do not see modern Israel as being a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and tend to have the same view toward Zionism as do the Palestinian Muslims. In order to have fellowship with them, some of the Jewish believers have modified their views about the future of Israel.

  4. Politics. The way Jewish believers view prophecy and relations with Arab believers has an impact on their views on Israeli politics. Those who do not believe in the Biblical prophecies relating to Israel tend to hold the views of the Labor Party and favor the Oslo agreement. Those who do believe in the prophecies concerning the Second Coming of the Messiah and the glorious future of Israel, on the other hand, tend to favor the Likud position against the Oslo agreement. Zvi says that the Messianic Jews are just about split down the middle on these issues in Israel.

  5. Leadership. The Messianic movement in Israel is relatively so small that no leaders have arisen that are able to command national recognition. Future leadership will probably come from Sabras (native Israelis) who are believers, and are nurtured in the Messianic congregations and Biblical schools of Israel.

  6. Anti-evangelism law. During the past year two laws have been proposed in the Israeli Knesset that would criminalize any evangelistic activity in Israel. They have been referred to committee, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's ministers have assured everyone concerned that these laws are just fringe group proposals and will never be passed. Nevertheless, Zvi states that these proposed laws have caused considerable concern in the Messianic community, and that they remain a potential club in the hands of both the Orthodox and Socialist factions (who jointly proposed the laws) to threaten the Messianic believers.

  7. General Israeli indifference. Finally, I asked Zvi what the general attitude of Israelis is toward the Messianic congregations. He said that the vast majority of Israelis are secular, perhaps as much as 70%. They generally believe in religious freedom, and do not really care about the Messianic believers. They figure there are so many kinds of Jews, including New Age Jews, Yoga Jews, Orthodox and Reform Jews, etc., that the Messianic Jews are just another variety. It is essentially a pluralistic society, with an emphasis on Jewish identity. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to interview Zvi, and hope that his insights on the unique opportunities and problems of the Messianic believers in Israel will help believers in the Lord in America and around the world to be able to pray more intelligently for our brethren in the Holy Land. We need to hold them up constantly in prayer.

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A Note From Zola

Dear Friends,

          Our December tour found Israel peaceful as usual even during a time of "war" between the U.S. and Iraq. Our tourists discovered first hand the sort of hype being perpetrated by CNN and other American media. The newsrooms now act like sports writers or crime reporters trying desperately to dramatize everyday news into matters of extreme world importance. They reported gas masks being passed out in Israel and Palestinian uprisings in support of Iraq. Neither of those things happened to any degree anyone would notice. The Dallas Morning News, a constant critic of Israel, goes to the extreme of accepting news releases about Israel from a reporter in Cairo which are reliably denigrating to that nation.

          David Bar-Illan said it best when he spoke to our tour group. He said everything Israel does is scrutinized under a microscope by the rest of the world, for some reason, and when you're under a microscope it is hard to behave to everyone's specifications. The only reason for Israel's inflated importance in world news is Biblical. It is being prepared to take its place as the head of the nations in the Kingdom to come.

          The government "fell" while we were in Israel also, but this bears some explaining. Under the Israeli parliamentary system, Netanyahu can simply run again in the upcoming election and may very well be elected by the landslide he had the last time. (You were told by the media that he won by a razor thin margin, but it was as much as a 60% majority of the Jewish vote, what in this country would be an overwhelming landslide.) Netanyahu may not have let the government "fall" so much as he "dropped it," so to speak. If he is reelected, it will be a new vote of confidence and a new mandate to continue his policies of which I, for one, approve very much. While he did give away some land in accordance with previous agreements with the Palestinians, he basically is insisting that they perform their side of the agreement — something unheard of in the previous Israeli administration. I won't say "I told you so," but if you read the Levitt Letter, you will see the Wye agreement came out as predicted — it equaled nothing. No peace has been exchanged, no good will has occurred, and the entire exercise simply made for some dramatic photographs of ineffective government leaders in beautiful suits. There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Palestinians stop murdering the Israelis and that is all there is to that.

          The whole time of our tour was like fiction in Israel; it was hard to believe that President Clinton was standing in Gaza pretending that the Palestinians have some viable nation, and presenting Arafat, a longtime airplane highjacker, with his own airport! No less than 15,000 security policemen were on duty to guard Bill Clinton while he was in Israel! This vast expense and human effort over nothing but a pretentious bunch of handshakes meant to flatter the Saudi Arabians and Bill Clinton's image back in the States, is appalling.

          The pretense that the Palestinians, under a regime of corrupt gangsters, are a real country is very misleading. There is nothing wrong with those people, taken one by one, but the leadership they have "elected" is a total disaster. Arafat is a terrorist — he always was and he is today — and he knows little beyond killing people.

          It is amazing to me that the killing doesn't stop even during peace negotiations. Surely terrorism makes it harder for the Palestinians to get their land.

          If they could just stop the killing, for say even six months, I'm sure that Israel would be pressured to give them land and would have to do it. But the terrorism has not abated and the Netanyahu government, and I'm sure any government that may follow it, has grown tired of trusting Palestinian promises. Despite Clinton's best efforts, it was only a week later that Palestinians were burning American flags again. They even went to the trouble of washing the sidewalk where our president stood (when the camera-men arrived) and this despite the land giveaways. As I've said before, we have a few problems with the gangs of Los Angeles, but no one has suggested giving them half of the city to induce them to stop looting and killing!

          All of this action in Israel, of course, leads right into the End Times and Bible students know that very well. Israel has to be maneuvered into a posture of "being hated of all nations" (Matthew 24:9), and into being a target for some "right-thinking" western power like that of the Anti-christ. It looks to me as if we are setting up exactly that situation at present.

          In view of that, 1999 will be the year we will talk about End Times prophecy and what may well be a last ditch effort to get the unbeliever to consider salvation in a serious way.

          Obviously, time is running out and anybody that doesn't see that just isn't looking at this world. We are already underway making our first national primetime special about prophecy to be aired in March. Our guest will be Hal Lindsey, and a number of other well respected prophecy teachers will also comment. We'll have plenty of footage from the Holy Land, and with your support and your prayers, we'll make an effective appeal for people to seriously consider the implications of the end of the world!

          What a year to see Israel! We can guarantee you it is perfectly safe; after 60 tours I believe I can say that with total confidence. The places that we visit are far away from any areas of unrest, and our tourists invariably return as ambassadors for a wonderful and peaceful nation.

          Our Spring Grand Tour (April 13-28) begins in Athens, Greece. We will visit the magnificent Acropolis and Mars Hill, take a breathtaking cruise of the Mediterranean, visiting Mykonos, the Isle of Rhodes, Ephesus and Patmos, which is one of the most stunningly beautiful island paradises to be found anywhere. It was on Patmos that the Apostle John was said to have written the Book of Revelation.

          This year we are offering the Greek Island Tour separately and these passengers have one extra night in Athens, departing for the U.S. on April 20. After visiting Corinth, the Grand Tour passengers will join the Deluxe Tour passengers in Tel Aviv.

          The Deluxe Tour (April 18-28) covers all the important Biblical sites including the ancient City of David, Jerusalem, Israel's national memorial to the Holocaust, and the Israel Museum where we will examine the Dead Sea Scrolls. We will gather at the summit of the Mount of Olives, walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, see the Upper Room, Calvary, and the Garden Tomb. You will always treasure the impressions this country will make on your heart.

          We are considering a June Kibbutz Tour of Israel, a lower priced tour scheduled so our teachers and students can attend. Let us know if you have some interest in this.

Thanks, and don't forget to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

Your messenger,

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Ways to bring civility back into life

by Glen Dromgoole, Viewpoints,
The Dallas Morning News

Now is a good time for a New Year's resolution: "This coming year, I will try to be a little more civil and a little kinder to everyone."
          That one simple resolution could change not only our own lives but those around us. Civility is contagious.
          At Christmas, we celebrate the life of one who proclaimed that we ought to treat others the way we would want to be treated. That admonition, which is a basic tenet of most of the world's major religions, is what civility is all about.
          Obviously, we could use a lot more of it in the political arena, but the call for more civility goes well beyond politics.
          Here are 20 ways we can inject more civility into our daily lives:

  1. Reject the temptation to criticize someone else's actions without first considering his side of the story.
  2. Respect the dignity of those whose politics, theology, or world view you disagree with. Try to find some common ground.
  3. Whenever you are inclined to state an adamant position, consider the possibility that "I could be wrong."
  4. Write a letter to the editor praising someone or something.
  5. If you write a letter critical of someone, find something to praise before getting to the criticism.
  6. Set aside one hour each week to write three notes or postcards to people who have contributed in some small way to making this a little better world.
  7. Once a month, send a small check to a charity that is helping the poor, the homeless, the abused, the elderly, or the disabled.
  8. Give a little more to the Untied Way than you did last year.
  9. Always drop something in the Salvation Army kettle, even if it is just a few coins.
  10. At work, smile more and complain less.
  11. Try this exercise for one week: Every day, clip out something positive from the paper an upbeat thought, a good deed, or an inspiring article. See if it doesn't improve your outlook.
  12. Fight "road rage" by being exceptionally courteous.
  13. Tune out TV or radio shows when people start interrupting each other.
  14. When you encounter exceptional service at a restaurant or any other business, tell the person you appreciate it. Too often, we are quick to complain and slow to praise.
  15. Think about whether your community, home, workplace, or school would be better or worse if everyone behaved as you do.
  16. Try to be a little more understanding of leaders at all levels, whether at work, church, or in politics. At lease accord them the courtesy you would want to have if you were in their shoes.
  17. Everyday, look for an opportunity to make a small difference for good to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
  18. Make peace with someone you have had a disagreement with
  19. Make peace with yourself for not always living up to your own standards. We all suffer lapses of civility from time to time.
  20. Slow down a little and take time to be more courteous.

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Letters to Zola

Note: If those writing to this ministry tell us that they do not want their letters published, we will abide by their wishes.


          I am in the process of setting up a trust for my family. Having stated that, I believe that the time is very short till the Lord Jesus comes for us. If so, then my loved ones will not be here for the trust. My question is this, which group will be still here to support those 144,000 of our brothers in Israel? I'd like to leave support to them. I'd send it to you, but you won't be here either (Praise the Lord). Any suggestions?

Your Brother in Christ,

Dear P.L.P:

          You raise a very interesting point. As I understand Scripture, no one in the Church will be left on earth to support the 144,000. But there will be new believers converted by them who will undoubtedly give them support. We must remember that the Tribulation is a period of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, so much so that the Lord will set up His throne in Jerusalem to judge just who among the nations showed their faith by supporting those faithful 144,000 Jewish converts. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren (the 144,000), ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40.)

          Unfortunately I don't know exactly how you would set up a trust for those not yet saved. Even if you placed it at a bank with designations that it be given to Christians after the Rapture, I'm afraid the deposits would see the same fate as the money given to the Swiss banks by the Jews of the Holocaust. In other words, I'm afraid the unbelieving banks would "lose" those accounts rather than hand them over to "criminals."

          I might suggest that if you sent contributions to a witnessing ministry like ours, then those people who hear the gospel today but are not saved until they see the evidence of the Antichrist and the Tribulation all around them, would prosper because of your donation. I've never had the question before and forgive me if the answer seems unusual. Also, there are many witnessing ministries as good as ours, and the Lord should lead you as to whom to give these funds. Thank you for a most interesting inquiry.

Dear Zola:

          In reading your Levitt Letter of November 1998, I was struck by several of your comments in "A Note from Zola." In reference to the percentage of America's population being Jewish and of such a percentage of Jewish believers as remnant even in a small community such as mine, God has His remnant.

          When I came to pastor the congregation of First Evangelical Free Church (Rapid City, SD), I wondered how folks would embrace my flavor of the Judeo-Christian faith. Within months, I received an anti-Semitic phone call the week I was going to present a Hebrew Christian Passover. That night over 300 came out and I've had no doubt since that the Lord's flock appreciates their Jewish pastor.

          Replacement Theology crumbles in the Flesh and Blood reality of the Jewish believers. Messiah Yeshua has chosen to place me within a local church context (as opposed to a strictly Messianic Fellowship) in order to be what was His intent all along. Jews and Gentile can be a corporate whole with patience, instruction, and the work of God's Spirit.

          While my heart is grieved over my denomination's use of the Gundry textbook (especially in light of the Feinbergs being on faculty and the Free Church's historic position and support for Israel and the Jewish people) please be encouraged to know that you are indeed not alone.

A Jewish Shepherd in South Dakota,
Shalom, D. H. G., Pastor-Teacher

An Explanation of who God is and what God does by an 8-year-old, D. D., from Chula Vista, California, for his homework assignment to "explain God."

          "One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things here on earth. He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make, He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk, He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

          God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV on account of this. Since He hears everything, not only prayers, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere, which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your parent's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

          Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any that come to our church.

          Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind like His Father, and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them, and God said OK.

          His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important, of course. You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to hear you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

          You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy. And if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God. Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong! And, besides, the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

          If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim very well and big kids throw you into the real deep water.

          But you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And that's why I believe in God."

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The Origins of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

When most people hear of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" they think of the song. This song had its origins as a teaching tool to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith.

From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not able to prac-tice their faith openly so they had to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one example of how they did it. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something of religious significance. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help young Christians learn their faith.

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me" The "true love" represents God and the "me" who receives these presents is the Christian.

The "partridge in a pear tree" was Jesus Christ who died on a tree as a gift from God. (Another version of this gift is that it represents the one true God revealed in Jesus.)

The "two turtle doves" were the Old and New Testaments, another gift from God.

The "three French hens" were faith, hope, and love, the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (I Corinthians 13).

The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

The "five golden rings" were the first five books of the Bible also called the "Books of Moses."

The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of creation.

The "seven swans a swimming" were seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church).

The "eight maids a-milking" were the eight beatitudes.

The "nine ladies dancing" were nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 23).

The "ten lords a-leaping" were the Ten Commandments.

The "eleven pipers piping" were the eleven faithful disciples.

The "twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed.

So the next time you hear "The Twelve Days of Christmas" consider how this otherwise non-religious sounding song had its origin in the Christian faith.

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Zola's Travel and Speaking Itinerary

Zola is available to speak in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. This would be much easier on him than "going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7). The Lord observed, "no prophet is accepted in his own country" (Luke 4:24), but he didn't mention a teacher's own city! Zola is available for Passover demonstrations as well as talks on prophecy, etc., at your DFW area church. Please call Leanna at (214) 696-8844.

February 5-8
Caribbean Reunion Cruise
Nassau - Cococay - Miami

March 6-7
Hereford Church of the Nazarene
1710 La Plata Drive
Hereford, TX 79045
Pastor: Rev. Ted Taylor
(806) 364-8303

April 2
Bethany First Church of the Nazarene
6789 N.W. 39th Expy.
Bethany, OK 73008
Rev. Doug Forsberg

April 4
Lakeland Baptist Church
397 S. Stemmons Fwy.
Lewisville, TX 75067
Rev. Thom Wilder
(972) 436-4561

April 7-8
Thy Kingdom Come Prophecy Conference
7301 East 14th Street
Tulsa, OK 74112-6700
Rev. Charles L. Pack
(918) 835-6978

April 13/18-28
Spring Tour
Greek Island Cruise

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Copyright © 1999 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.