© 23 October 2015 Revive Israel Ministries
By Asher Intrater
While the term “rabbi” is commonly used in Messianic congregations in the Diaspora, it is almost unheard of in Israel. Here are some thoughts:
- There is a difference in culture between the diaspora and Israel. In the diaspora, there is a greater plurality of “Judaism”—Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc. There are many different kinds of “rabbis.” In Israel, the term has a much narrower, traditional sense—an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi.
- The point of Yeshua saying not to use the term "rabbi" in Matthew 23:8 was not that this particular term was worse than other terms for religious leaders, but that using and emphasizing titles of honor tends to cause pride, which can be both dangerous and hypocritical.
- While the word "Rav" (rabbi) does in its origin mean "great one," it is not essentially different from other terms, such as reverend, minister, father, priest, pastor, apostle, doctor.
- Such terms may be used when referring to function rather than title. We should try to use titles as little as possible. There is a difference between saying, "Pastor John", and saying "John, who serves in pastoral leadership."
- In our bio material, I use "Asher Intrater serves on the leadership teams at Ahavat Yeshua, Tikkun International, Revive Israel and Tiferet Yeshua." In needing to describe the apostolic function, I try to use "founder and overseer" or "serves in oversight".
- When it is important to note the difference between the different fivefold offices (Ephesians 4:11), I would say, "serves in apostolic oversight." It is essential to affirm the function of apostolic ministry and restore correct biblical terminology.
- There are three positive reasons to use the term "Messianic Rabbi." The first is to create the correct historical Jewish cultural context of the New Covenant, which has been altered by 2,000 years of Jewish-Christian polemic.
- Secondly, within the context of a Messianic congregation, there are many congregational functions that the leader must fulfill which are distinctly Jewish, such as presiding at Brits, Bar Mitsvahs, weddings, holy days, liturgy, funerals, etc. These functions are performed by a rabbi in a traditional synagogue, and therefore the term Messianic rabbi allows the congregational leader to perform them within his congregation.
- Thirdly, in the struggle for basic religious freedom, rights of religious expression, and cultural identity, the Messianic community is a legitimate stream within the greater Jewish community and Israeli nation. Therefore the use of the term is part of establishing that identity and right of social standing.
- If the term Rabbi is to be used for the above reasons, in order not to cause misunderstanding, it would be important to affix the term "Messianic" (i.e. "Messianic Rabbi"), and not just say "Rabbi", unless one was ordained with a traditional "smicha".
Pray from Faith not Fear
By James Bates
While praying for the safety of our families in the midst of the ongoing terror attacks here in Israel, two examples of prayer came to mind. The first was Yeshua's disciples waking Him up while He slept on the boat during a storm (Matt 8). The second was Yeshua praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while His disciples slept (Matt 26).
What I saw through these moments was that the disciples were more mindful of the temporal things than the eternal. While it is not wrong for us to pray for safety and protection, it is wrong for us to operate out of fear, and become overwhelmed by natural circumstances.
When the storm began overtaking the boat the disciples became fearful, woke Yeshua and said “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (vs 25). Yeshua’s response, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (vs 26). They were all in the same boat, but Yeshua responded to the storm much differently.
In the Garden of Gethsemane however Yeshua was deeply distressed and asked the disciples to watch and pray with Him. Three times he came back and found them sleeping instead of praying.
So why were the disciples awake and fearful when Yeshua was sleeping, and then when He asked them to watch and pray with Him, they could not stay awake? Because, in the boat they could see and feel the wind and waves. They were overwhelmed by the natural circumstances, and operating in fear and not faith. In the Garden however, they did not understand what Yeshua was doing and the eternal significance of what was about to happen.
Too often we pray according to the natural circumstances of the storms in life, and miss the invitation to watch and pray with Him concerning things of eternal significance.
So, let us, like Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane place the Father's will above our own, seek to see things from His perspective and pray from a place of faith to release His eternal purposes on earth.
In all the discussion about the recent wave of terror attacks, it would be worth seeing this video clip from Israeli Arab television journalist. To watch in English, Click here.
God's Future Faithfulness to Israel
In this message Cody examines the disciples question to Yeshua in Acts 1:6 "Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" Was this a misguided question like some theologians claim? Will a kingdom be restored to Israel one day? If so, what will it look like? To watch in English, click HERE!