High Holy Days 2015
The recent High Holy Days were a time of great rejoicing and opportunity for the Messianic congregations with whom we work. Here is an overview of God’s work in this season from two of these congregations:
Hope of Israel Charlotte:
“In Charlotte we had standing-room-only crowds with so many visitors that we are still working through the follow-up from them. At our evening service for Rosh HaShanah (the Feast of Trumpets), the message spoke to the Rosh HaShanah tradition of three books being opened in heaven for judgment. We noted that this tradition which comes from Dan. 7:10 is more fully explained in Rev. 20:11-15 (See the September 2015 Shmooze letter for more information). As the traditional view of Rosh HaShanah as the Day of Judgment was highlighted by the Scriptures, there were several people who responded to the invitation to accept the Good News of Messiah.
For the Rosh HaShanah morning service, we observed the biblical feast of Trumpets, when we remember our blessed hope of Messiah’s return which will be heralded by the last trump. This feast is also a poignant reminder for us to be reaching out with the Good News to those who desperately need to hear it, for no man knows the day or hour. In light of this, we must use the time, talent, and treasure God has given us for the furtherance of the Good News to the glory of His Name!
Our evening service for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, again saw an unusually large attendance with many visitors. Through the service, we recognized the need for the special Yom Kippur offering which is detailed in Leviticus 16: the Azazel, the scapegoat. A stunning point to some of our visitors was to hear of the unintended witness of the Rabbinical writings, as the Talmud tells us that each Yom Kippur, a scarlet thread was placed on the door of the temple. If the sacrifice was accepted by God that year, the thread would turn white, and everyone would rejoice. If it remained red, the people mourned, for this indicated the atonement was not accepted by God. Amazingly, the Talmud goes on to say that for 40 years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the scarlet thread never turned white. As we considered in the service, 40 years prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. marked the death of Messiah as the final sacrifice for our sins. Following His death and resurrection, God no longer accepted any other sacrifice for the atonement of sin.
The next morning, we gathered again to understand the other side of the coin of our forgiveness. Not only do we need a sacrifice, but by faith we need to repent, trusting in Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice, for God desires to bless us if only we will repent. Following this Day of Atonement morning service, several of our people were sharing with some of the visitors. One Jewish woman in particular stood out as her questions were being answered and she stated that she wanted to trust in the Messiah right then. As she prayed to receive the Lord, there was much rejoicing in this lost sheep who has been found!
Please remember us in our follow-up as we partner together to share the Good News in holy season and out.”
Hope of Israel Roanoke:
Hope of Israel Roanoke also had a joyous season of ministry as they met for their second High Holy Day services and their first immersion service:
“At our Rosh HaShanah service this year, five people (three being new believers) were immersed at a local lake. One of the new believers is Mark, a Jewish man who came to trust in Yeshua last year. Mark had moved from New York to Roanoke a number of years ago and had been wondering about Jesus. Last year, he happened to pick up a Jewish Voice magazine while waiting in a local doctor’s office. He noticed information in the magazine concerning Messianic congregations. This piqued his curiosity and he later decided to drive to the closest Messianic congregation which at that time was in Richmond, VA. As he entered the service, he noticed men, both Jewish and Gentile, wearing kippot and tallitot, praying the Shema, but also praising and worshipping Yeshua together. It was after this service that he became convinced in his heart that Yeshua is the Messiah and his Savior.
Months later, Mark decided to search for fellow Messianic Jewish believers to learn with. Interestingly, one day while at a restaurant in Roanoke, he happened upon a poster announcing that Sam Nadler of Word of Messiah Ministries would be speaking at Hope of Israel Messianic Fellowship (HOI) in Roanoke on the subject of Shavuot. He attended the Shavuot outreach, met Sam and Tony, and has been connected with our fellowship ever since. He has been working through Sam’s Messianic Discipleship book with Tony and made a public testimony of his faith as he was immersed at our recent Rosh HaShanah service. We are thankful that seeds of faith were planted for Mark and that Hope of Israel Roanoke has the privilege to water those seeds through prayer and discipleship in our developing community.”
Please pray for us at Hope of Israel Roanoke as after two and a half years of monthly meetings, we conducted our first Shabbat morning service on October 3rd with about fifty people in attendance. We will be meeting twice a month for worship services with a children’s class and twice a month for discipleship classes. Our goal is to gather fifteen committed families with unifying vision and values to move forward in discipleship and core group development with a plan to then work towards congregational life. We are thankful for your prayers and the assistance of Word of Messiah Ministries. God has been answering our prayers for wisdom, discernment, and provision in the midst of the work here. Please continue to pray for HOI Roanoke, and for God’s guidance and provision as we transition to weekly meetings.”