Today something historic is happening: over a million followers of Yeshua around the world are answering a call to fast and pray during the next twenty-one days for Israel to fulfill her prophetic calling from the Lord, for the opening of the eyes of the Jewish nation to her Messiah and for the fulness of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:25-26)

Many spiritual leaders around the world are saying that they have never felt such a burden to pray for Israel like they do now.  Believers in Israel feel deep gratitude and even trembling about this great initiative. We have great faith and desire to see “all Israel saved” , but my question is, “Are we as believers in Israel ready for the place God has called us to as the Jewish Body of Messiah in the Land?”

During the coming twenty-one days of fasting and prayer, I choose to pray for us as the Messianic Body of believers in Israel, for our congregations, to pray that we would mature into the calling that God has given us to be true disciples of Yeshua, to transform from those who attend Sabbath services to active workers of the Kingdom because the fields of harvest are full and the work is great indeed.

I am not calling all my brothers and sisters in faith here in Israel to go out into the streets to share the gospel with fliers (of course there is a time and a place for that!) The reality is that God is sending people directly to our congregations every week. And He will continue sending people to our congregation. We need to open our eyes to see them and invest in them. I am calling my brothers and sisters in faith here in Israel to leave their comfort zones and to offer their hands to actively build up the house of God in Israel.

When the world is praying for a spiritual awakening in Israel, I start wondering, “How many seekers and new believers we are able to welcome into our midst? How many people would we able to disciple and care for?”

The reality is that we are unable to do all that we are called to do—we do not have the strength, the love, the patience and all that is required for it. We are weak and broken vessels.

But there is good news:

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Rom. 5:5)

The main question that I wank to ask myself  is one that I encourage my fellow believers in Israel to ask themselves as well:

“Lord, what do you want to do through me during this season?”

To all of us who will be dedicating prayer and fasting for revival in our nation Israel, remember to pray for the Body of Messiah in Israel!

Revival is not a comfortable place.

It is also a place that will require a lot from us.

And it may require everything.

For information about the Isaiah 62 Fast and Global Prayer for israel: Isaiah62fast

*Victoria Trubeck is office manager and women’s pastor at Tiferet Yeshua and regularly contributes to the Hebrew outreach channel ShelanuTV.

When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. ” -Luke 22:14-16


Right before His suffering and crucifixion, Yeshua expressed something extraordinary to His disciples: He told them that He fervently desired to eat that last Passover with them.

Just thinking that Yeshua expressed fervent desire for that moment is amazing to me. He knew full well what was waiting for him—the shame and ridicule, the pain and torture—and He was not indifferent to it. Quite the opposite. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He tells His disciples that His “soul is consumed with sorrow to the point of death” and, falling facedown, He pleads with the Father to let the cup of His suffering pass from Him (Matt. 26:38-39). Despite that, Yeshua expressed His fervent desire for that Passover meal, and the question is What is it? What is it that the Lord desired so much that dwarfed even the terrible darkness that was about to come immediately after this Passover meal?

Jeremiah’s prophecy of a New Covenant realized (Jer. 31:31-34)

The first part of the answer is explained by the Lord: “For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God”. Yeshua knows that this is His last Passover meal, after which He will serve as the complete and eternal Passover sacrifice which will usher His followers into the new covenant that Jeremiah prophesied over 500 years earlier. The moment He has so fervently desired is the beginning of this new covenant which will allow all His followers to have a close, intimate relationship with God the Father through Him. But His fervent desire is for even more than that: Yeshua tells His disciples that He has fervently desired to eat His last Passover specifically with them. Something special and unprecedented happened between Yeshua and His disciples during that extraordinary Passover meal.

Messiah’s Extraordinary Last Passover

During His last Passover meal, Yeshua forges a deep, intimate connection with His disciples on the highest level. This amazing and unprecedented fellowship is described in the Gospel of John in chapters 13-17. After Judah Iscariot, who was about to betray the Lord, left the meal, Yeshua shared with His loyal disciples some of the deepest, most amazing revelations found in Scripture, revelations which are given to us from a heart of profound intimacy. After finishing their meal, Yeshua told His disciples that He no longer considered them servants but  “friends” and that He loved them with the love which the Father loves Him –perfect, all-powerful, absolute love. When I pause to ponder what these revelations mean, I realize that they are beyond my understanding: we need divine revelation to begin to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of this divine love, just as the Apostle Paul prays in Ephesians 5:18-21.

Entering into the Holy of Holies – John 17

In chapter 17, Yeshua takes His disciples into the Holy of Holies by allowing them to be witnesses of His intimate, personal prayer to the Father. By doing so, He essentially brings them into the perfect, holy relationship between the Father and the Son, allowing them to witness the deep, personal connection they have as the One God. Yeshua loved His disciples so completely (He loved them to the end) that He allowed them to be in the most intimate place of love and connection between Him and the Father:

Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. -John 13:1

As Yeshua said, there is no greater love than laying one’s life down for another, and that is the expression of God’s complete love through Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice. The goal of that love, however, is His fervent desire: allowing His disciples and all of us to come into the intimate place of communion of the Father and the Son, to come into God’s house. We understand then that when Yeshua expressed His fervent desire, it was the desire to include us and bring us into the intimate relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This inclusion, this special relationship, happens only within the context of the New Covenant. We are adopted as God’s own sons and daughters (Rm. 8:14-15) and not as “second class” children: The Father loves us with the same love He has for His Son:

I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. -John 17:23

Not only are we now in God’s family, but the Father is also preparing us to be a bride for His Son (Eph. 5:22-33) – the marriage relationship being the pinnacle of intimacy and partnership. Furthermore, Yeshua loves us in the same way the Father loves Him:

As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. -John. 15:9

God has not withheld anything from us. He loved us until the end (perfectly), He has brought us into His house, into his family, into the special, intimate relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are united in perfect love which flows from the Father to us through the Son. He has filled us with the Holy Spirit. Yeshua, who is forever God and forever human, is the connection point between us and God. Through our communion with Yeshua as the Son of Man, we are able to be in a relationship with the perfect God. We are able to enter God’s house and family.

So much of this is hard to fathom, and may we never let ourselves take for granted the fact that the holy, majestic God of the universe has opened His house to us, where everything is perfect, pure love, and invited us in to be a part of His family – with all our sin and darkness—through the purification and sanctification in Yeshua the Messiah.

The Goal of Creation Realized

I believe that this was the goal of creation: God created us to become part of His family. Therefore, when Yeshua says, “I have fervently desired” this moment, He is expressing the deep desire of God from creation culminating at that point. Yeshua’s intimate fellowship with His disciples during that last Passover meal is the moment that the goal of creation began to be realized. It will be fully realized when the Body of Messiah attains to the full stature of Messiah and ultimately connects to God in the perfect way He desires. (Eph. 4:13, Rev. 21:3-4)

John 17 – Invitation into the Holy of Holies

During this Passover season, I would like to encourage all of us to devote time to the immensely powerful chapters of John 13 through 17, most especially John 17. When you spend time reading these chapters, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the power and depth of what Yeshua so fervently desires for us. If this is indeed the goal of creation, that means that this is our ultimate and highest identity and destiny. Today Yeshua is saying to all of us: “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you”. This is also the end-time invitation to all of us: in Revelation Yeshua makes this same desire known to us – although we do not usually hear the fervent desire in His voice the way we hear it in the gospel of John, the same passion is there when He says to us:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me. -Revelation 3:20






My country is facing an internal crisis, the likes of which I have never seen. On Wednesday evening, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog delivered a serious address to the nation in which he soberly warned about the possibility of civil war. For two months, demonstrations across Israel have been increasing in frequency and intensity, and the rhetoric on both sides of the divide is becoming extreme. We all have said or heard someone say, “Our nation is being torn apart.”

Civil war over what?

In February, the far-right government led by Benjamin Netanyahu has been furiously pushing a sweeping judicial reform though the government: it seeks to reform the power of Israel’s Supreme Court and High Court of Justice which have become increasingly liberal and activist over the last decades.

Everyone agrees that there needs to be judicial reform which will restore the balance of power between the judiciary and legislative (lawmaking) branches of government. However, the ruling government’s reform proposal includes an element which will allow the ruling party lawmakers to pass laws that will be “immune” from Supreme Court review or revoke.

What this means is: any ruling party could pass laws that limit the civil rights of minorities in Israel. Minority rights in Israel are protected by Israel’s Basic Laws (like a Bill of Rights). If this extreme clause in the Netanyahu government judicial reform passes, minorities in Israel, including religious minorities like Messianic Jews, could have their basic rights taken away.

Civil rights of Israel’s minorities at serious risk

Right now there are religious parties in Netanyahu’s coalition who would love to pass laws seriously limiting the ability of Jewish believers to share their faith. Last week when associate pastor Moti Cohen was opening our service with prayer, he said, “We do not take for granted that we are able to gather here and openly declare our faith in Yeshua. There may come a time when we are no longer able to do it.”

How do we pray in this situation?

This situation does not surprise us. In fact, Yeshua prepared us for this situation already:

They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.

-John 16:2

On the fast of Esther, we held a prayer and worship evening at Tiferet Yeshua during which we interceded for our nation at this critical moment. We sang and declared God’s prophetic promises for Israel and prayed that He would have mercy on His people, that He would use the current crisis to cause many to seek Him, that He would pour out His Spirit on this nation so that many from all walks of life would experience powerful revelations of God’s love and truth.

Yes, we hope that our civil rights will not be taken away so that we can continue declaring Messiah’s message to His people. Democracy is the best form of human government, but it is not our savior. In fact, we know that the gospel is spreading like fire in places like Iran despite the repressive religious dictatorship there.

Dear friends, during this time, we ask that you join us in lifting the nation of Israel in prayer that all of God’s plans and purposes for this nation would be done and that He would be glorified in the eyes of all nations as the Keeper of covenants!

(In 2021, Tiferet Yeshua won a victory in the Supreme Court against political religious oppression. You can read all about it here.)

I was so afraid that I would be betraying my forefathers and my heritage if I believed in Yeshua. I asked God for confirmation, and He answered me in an unexpected and powerful way.

When I was twenty years old, I made the decision to immigrate to Israel by myself. As a young Jewish woman growing up in Argentina, I considered myself a Zionist and was very active in the Jewish community in Buenos Aries. For me it was a goal to get to where my grandfather and my father were not able to, to Israel. Even in the nineties, people in the Jewish community experienced antisemitism in Argentina.


Deborah during her bat mitzvah ceremony in Argentina

On the eve of my immigration to Israel, there was a massive terrorist attack against the Jewish Community center in Buenos Aries. This traumatic event strengthened me in the knowledge that I was doing the right thing. As an only child, it was difficult to leave my parents and the culture and language I had grown up with, but I knew that I was going into the unknown for the benefit of my future family.

All Alone in a New Country

The first year for new immigrants in Israel is particularly challenging. The hardest part for me as a new immigrant was Shabbat (the Sabbath). I was living in the dorms at the university, and I felt especially lonely when everyone left to go have Sabbath dinner with their families. It was a hard time for me, but eventually I found my place. I wanted to belong somewhere, so I joined a Reform synagogue in Tel Aviv which helped me greatly with the loneliness I was feeling and gave me a sense of connection.

Living the Dream

Even though I attended synagogue, being a Zionist was my main identity, and I became active working for political parties in Israel connecting the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking diaspora with the Jewish Agency. I eventually became the national absorption coordinator for Jewish immigration from Latin America. It was through this work that I met my future husband, and at twenty-eight I was married. A year later I had my first daughter. I was on cloud nine: my job was interesting and important, I was married and had started a family. I was living the dream.

Immune to the Gospel

I devoted myself entirely to my family, to my parents who had immigrated to Israel after my first daughter was born, and to our family business: my husband and I started a tourist agency for Spanish-speaking Christian and Jewish pilgrims to Israel. Through our work, I was constantly hearing the gospel. However, I considered myself immune to “Yeshu” (the derogatory Hebrew name for Yeshua). I told myself and my family: He is for the gentiles, but we can connect with the Christians in worshipping the Father.

In 2014, a group contracted with our tour agency that wanted to worship at every site they visited. I was intrigued: what is this worship they want to do? At my synagogue we barely had a cantor to lead us in singing the prayers, and there were never musical instruments. I told my husband: I have to go with this group—I have to see what this worship thing is.

The first day I was with them, I thought, “They are so insolent! Don’t they have any respect for God and His holiness?” But very quickly my impression changed, and I found that I was deeply impacted by their worship. They praised God with such joy and freedom, and I could see they were experiencing a closeness to God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. I was torn: I wanted what they had, but I also did not want it because I was Jewish and what they were doing was Christian.

Worship – the evangelist that unlocked my heart

In 2015, my father became very ill. During the eight-month period I cared for my Father, I found myself constantly listening to a worship disc that was given to me by the “worship” tour group. It was the only thing that brought me comfort in that dark time: I would sing along with the songs, but instead of saying “Jesus” in Spanish, I would say “Luz” which sounds similar but means light—that way I wouldn’t have to say His name! I felt close to God when I worshipped with that disc, and I could feel His voice speaking inside of me in response.

Questioning Religion and Tradition

After my father passed away, I observed the traditional time of mourning for thirty days. According to Jewish tradition, you are not allowed to do many things in the first year after the death of a parent, including travel. I was a good Jew, and I wanted to honor my father by mourning him according to the traditions, but I also needed to travel for my business. A voice inside me said, “Where is it written that you cannot travel the first year after parent’s death?” This question bothered me, and I started searching. Where was it written? Was it in the Bible?

Eighteen years I attended the synagogue, but I never once read the Bible. I started searching in the Bible and quickly discovered my Judaism was like a layer covering the Bible, a man-made layer that doesn’t belong. Slowly, as I started asking questions, one thing after another broke away, allowing me to seek the truth more freely.

Powerful Encounters 

Three months after my father passed away, I traveled to Peru for work where I also attended a worship conference. At this conference, I experienced the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit for the first time, and I head God’s voice speaking to my heart clearly: “I know you want to worship Me. I will show you how to do it.” Still, despite these powerful experiences and my deepening questions about rabbinic Judaism, I could not let Yeshua into my heart—I was so afraid that I would be betraying my forefathers, my heritage. I wasn’t ready to believe in Yeshua until I knew that I would not automatically become a Christian and stop being a Jew. I asked God for confirmation, and He graciously obliged in surprising and powerful ways!

An Amazing Discovery

During this time, I asked my mother if we had Judaica (Jewish liturgical or ceremonial objects) from our family that I could give to my youngest daughter for her bat mitzvah. My grandfather’s prayer book (Siddur) we had already given to my oldest daughter for her bat mitzvah. My mother said that there was one more book in Hebrew from my grandparents that she brought from Argentina which she could give me.

My mother does not read or speak Hebrew, so she had no idea what it was. I looked at the book and recognized right away that it was Yiddish—I opened it and realized it was a copy of the New Testament…in Yiddish! My first thought was:

This can’t be. Someone tried to proselytize them before they left Poland and put this in their belongings.

Then I saw on the inside cover a mark from the Argentinian postal service: clearly my grandparents had ordered this New Testament from Europe when they were already in Argentina.



Was it possible that my Jewish grandparents were believers? It was a powerful moment of revelation from God: instead of betraying my grandparents for believing in Yeshua, I would be entering into the completed faith they had already entered into as Jews. Amazingly, despite this message from God, I still wasn’t there all the way…I still felt torn.

The Final Confirmation – A Sign in the Desert

During that time, I experienced a serious crisis in my marriage. I had devoted myself to so many things in my life: to Zionism, to my career, to my marriage…which was now coming apart. I wanted to devote myself to the right thing, and I felt that it was Yeshua, but I asked God for one last confirmation.

I felt God tell me: “Meet me in the desert.” I had become very attuned to and obedient to His voice that I had been hearing in my heart. So, I took a friend and went down to Timnah Park in the Araba desert where there is a replica of the Tabernacle. We parked and started walking in the direction of the Tabernacle replica, but I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Stop right here.” I stopped and looked around me. What was there for me to see? Desert landscape all around me. “God wanted to meet with me here?”, I asked myself. But then not very far off, I saw a vibrant green bush that brilliantly stood out in the monochrome desert landscape.

My friend and I started walking toward the bush. As I got closer, I saw the name of Yeshua written out in stones in English across the ground next to the bush. My skeptic self rebelled and I wondered, “Why is His name written in English?” But the moment I thought that, I saw that above the name “Jesus” the Hebrew word chai (חי) was written out which means “lives”. Jesus lives!

A cell-phone image Deborah’s friend took of her looking at the name Jesus written in the desert


There in the desert, I devoted myself completely to Yeshua. From that moment, He has taken me on an amazing journey of healing and a new life of freedom in my devotion to Him. Today I live to worship Him, and in Him I have my complete identity as a Jewish follower of the Jewish Messiah!

 (Deborah serves faithfully at Tiferet Yeshua directing the children’s ministry and volunteer coordination. Deborah also runs a tour ministry for Spanish-speakers called Fundacion HALEL) 



As we begin 2023, this is the perfect time to revisit our congregational vision, to see where we have been, how much we have grown in God’s grace, and where He is leading us in this coming new year.

About ten years ago, the congregational leadership sat together to put down our vision as a congregation. After prayer and discussion, our elders came up with a three essential points which encapsulate who we are as a ministry.


Loving God – we desire to be a congregation filled with the love of God, seeking His face and His presence. There are several ways we express our love of God.

I. Fear of the Lord and Holiness

The fear of the Lord (the Hebrew term is most accurately translated as trembling awe\respect) is the first essential step in loving God. Growing in holiness is an expression of our love for God. Love is our motivator to change and choose the good:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

-John 14:15

When we are born again, our spirits are sanctified (made holy) and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. But that’s just the beginning: we then embark on a life-long journey to bring God’s holiness to our souls (thoughts, words and actions). The essential expression of love for God is the desire for real change in ourselves in order to please Him, which then results in a closer relationship with Him! It is also not based on success: God sees our heart’s desire for change and our attempts, even failed ones, are very precious to Him.   

II. Seeking His Presence

The first thing we seek in every service and meeting here at Tiferet Yeshua is God and His presence, especially in worship. God blesses corporate worship with a special anointing of His love and presence. We see one of the most powerful biblical illustrations of this when King Solomon and the children of Israel gathered together to worship God in one accord at the dedication of the Temple and the glory cloud of the Lord filled the Temple so powerfully that no one could stand as a result (2 Chron. 5:13-14).

III. Prayer and Intercession

“Pray without ceasing”

-Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is our communication with God: you could say that our relationship with Him is based on spending time in His Word and time in prayer. This is our spiritual fuel—the oil in our lamps—for all that He calls us to do in His name.

The Spirit of the Lord comes to act through us and on our behalf when we are engaged in prayer. Doing anything in service for God without prayer, without asking for His grace, mercy and power through prayer, is at least a gamble and may even be arrogance.

Loving Each Other

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

-Philippians 2:4

I. Being a close-knit family community

We want to break the mind-set of coming to the congregation to get blessed by good worship and a good message and then going home. By striving to be close-knit, family community that looks out for one another, spends time with one another, helps one another, we are putting the focus on becoming the expression of God’s love. Beyond our main Friday service, congregation members meet during the week for prayer, worship and studying the Word together.

II. Service and gifts of the Holy Spirit

The vast majority of gifts of the Spirit are meant to serve and edify others, not to lift us up in prestige or position because we move in those gifts. 1 Corinthians 14:1exhorts us to actively go after love and to desire the gifts of the Spirit, especially to prophesy because it edifies the Body.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

-1 Peter 4:10

The local congregation should be a place people can serve in the gifts and callings that God has given them. And a healthy spiritual community is where everyone serves in one capacity or another. When new believers come to faith, an important part of their spiritual growth is to become connected in the congregation, to discover their God-given gifts and calling and to begin serving in then.

III. Strategic Giving Fund

Ten percent of our congregational budget is designated to a strategic giving fund from which we help believers in need in our congregation and in the Body of Messiah in Israel. Whether an expensive medical procedure, counseling for those who don’t have the finances, emergency financial help, grants for studies or supporting those who are going on outreach trips, our strategic giving fund is there to be immediate help for those in need. We also support other ministries in Israel from this fund, such as a drug rehabilitation center in Netanya, an outreach for prostitutes in Tel Aviv and a Messianic kindergarten in Jerusalem.

Loving our City 


We have a calling to be in Tel Aviv –the secular center of Israel which also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. So, renting a building and maintaining a congregation in this city is a calling indeed! In this place that is called Israel’s sin city, we are called to be light, to be witnesses, to share the gospel, and to draw people to Him.

When we asked ourselves, “How do we show love to Tel Aviv?” We didn’t have to look very far. Just a few blocks away from our congregation is Israel’s skid row, the worst area in Israel for drugs, homelessness and prostitution.  Each week, Associate Pastor Moti leads a team of volunteers who prepare 450 healthy, home-cooked meals for the homeless in south Tel Aviv.  In addition to a warm meal and first aid for those who need it, Moti and his team offer prayer and the Word of hope to whomever is open. Whomever is willing, they offer to bring directly to a drug rehab center run by believers. God is touching countless lives through this ministry!


Active sharing of the gospel in an important aspect of who we are, and congregation members live a lifestyle of sharing their faith on a daily basis. Additionally, we lead organized street and city outreach with small groups from the congregation. On the digital front, we have an active media outreach in Hebrew through our weekly livestreams, Facebook page and Hebrew website. God has blessed these efforts greatly: most of the new believers at Tiferet Yeshua have come through these outreach efforts.

Several times in the Gospels, Yeshua used leaven symbolically in order to make a powerful point. In order to understand the deep spiritual ramifications of what He was teaching us, it is important that we first understand the nature of leaven.

Most understand more or less that leaven (yeast) is used to make dough rise. Leaven exists naturally in the environment around us, and, in ancient times, people discovered that allowing flower, water and sugar to ferment together for several days would produce a mixture which would cause dough to rise. What leaven actually does is change the chemical composition of the dough. One could say that when leaven is added to the dough mixture, the character of the dough changes. Yeshua was highlighting something that will change our hearts and our perceptions of God if we allow it into our lives.

The Leaven of the Pharisees

In Matthew 16:11, Yeshua warns His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees. Since we already know the nature of leaven, we need to make sure we understand who Pharisees were.  After the Babylonian exile, the sect of the Pharisees developed with the goal of advancing study of the Law (Torah). In contrast to the Sadducees (the Jewish sect associated with the elite temple priesthood) the Pharisees claimed authority from Moses and, as such, claimed Mosaic authority to interpret the law. They ultimately developed and codified the Oral Law (Torah Shebaal Peh) which has been the cornerstone of Rabbinic Judaism until today. Through the lens of Oral Law, the Pharisees had a very specific way of viewing and interpreting God and His written Word.

It is interesting to note that Yeshua warned his disciples about this leaven specifically after the Pharisees asked Him for “a sign from heaven” to prove He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:1). It seems strange they would ask for a sign when He was constantly performing miracles which they themselves witnessed. What the Pharisees were actually asking for was not a miracle of healing or casting out a demon but a visible demonstration of heavenly power like the people of Israel witnessed when Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai or Elijah calling for heavenly fire on Mt. Carmel.

The Pharisee Prism  

When speaking to Orthodox or religious Jews today, you discover that they have a difficult time looking at the Word of God without the prism of the Rabbinic interpretations (the Oral Law). The leaven of the Pharisees is therefore viewing God and His Word through a specific, man-made religious lens.

The lens of the Pharisees focuses solely on carrying out the law in action, down to miniscule, obsessive and even mind-boggling details. Considering that leaven causes a change in the makeup of its host, how then does the leaven of the Pharisees change the makeup of our hearts? It hardens our hearts to God’s heart and puts self-righteousness in its center. Can New Testament believers be susceptible to this religious leaven? Absolutely! We are all human, capable of shutting out God’s love and turning His Word into a formulaic doctrine for good behavior and personal justification.

The Leaven of Herod

In Mark 8:15, Yeshua warns His disciples about a very different form of leaven: the leaven of Herod. Even though he was born in Judah and kept a certain measure of Jewish law, Herod was raised in Rome and embraced Greco-Roman culture. During Yeshua’s ministry, Herod openly lived a life of sin, having married his brother’s wife. But he also had many ritual purification baths (mikvaot) in his personal palaces and was interested in the teaching of John the Baptist. Herod represents a person who is living in both the world of traditional faith and the world of popular culture.

Herod’s leaven is mixing the philosophy of the world with the Word of God. Today we find ourselves surrounded by a popular culture that is post-postmodern where lines are blurred, there are no ultimate truths and every individual determines their reality, their identity, even their gender identity. Yeshua warns against this leaven because it also changes the way we view God and His truth: we start interpreting God’s Word to fit our personal preferences, to make it permissive of the world’s philosophies we have adopted, whether cultural or political, and end up shaping God into the image of who we want Him to be.

 The Good Leaven

Yeshua also presented a positive leaven teaching. In Matthew 13, He taught that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven. What is the kingdom of heaven? God’s rule supreme. The good leaven, the rule of God in our hearts, changes us on the inside. The leavening process is a chemical reaction happening inside the dough: we don’t see the it, but we see the results. The kingdom of heaven is not something observable (Luke 17): it is a process of surrendering to God’s reign in our hearts, and His transforming us into something different, something new.

The One Ultimate Truth

In today’s culture, particularly among the youth, it is a battle to declare “There is only one truth.” In John 18 when He is being interrogated by Pilot, the Roman governor of Judea, Yeshua says, “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” Pilot, who represents the world’s system, cynically retorts: “What is Truth?” That cynical question is resonating today, and the world’s answer is, “Whatever you want it to be.”

The Critical Question

“When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith in the earth?” (Luke 18:8) What time more than now can we feel how far humans are from belief in one ultimate truth, the Word of God? Being a person of faith is becoming controversial, and our faith is challenged on every side.

Now more than ever, we need the Word of God to be the double-edged sword, dividing between spirit and soul, God’s truth and the wisdom of the world, cutting away religious perceptions or theologies through which we want to interpret God and His Word.

I believe that it is important that we ask God to show us where we have let the leaven Herod, the leaven of the world, influence our faith and allegiance to God’s ultimate truth. We also need to ask God where we allow the leaven of the Pharisees, the theologies of man, to twist or skip over parts of God’s Word and focus us on being in the right and doing the right things instead of having a right heart before God.


 Jews demand signs (demonstrations of power on par with the giving of the Law on Sinai) and Greeks look for wisdom (rational, human knowledge) 23 but we preach Messiah crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Messiah the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

-1 Corinthians 1:21


On September 21st, Tiferet Yeshua joined together with Fundacion HALEL ministry to erect an alter of worship and intercession on the Mount of Olives in preparation for the Day of Trumpeting (Rosh HaShanah). SInce 2017, Deborah Luquer, director of Fundacion Halel ministry, has been leading groups of worshippers and intercessors to erect alters of worship in strategic locations throughout the land of Israel to proclaim the Lord’s Kingdom before His return.

This year we joined Deborah’s international team, along with Israeli worshippers, to raise up an alter of praise and intercession on the Mount of Olives which the prophet Zechariah describes as the place where Yeshua will make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem after defeating the armies of the antichrist:

Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem…

-Zechariah 14:3-4

This is the third year that we have joined Deborah and Fundacion HALEL during the fall Feasts, and each year has been powerful and special. This year, however, was an extraordinarily powerful time. First of all and most importantly, there was a deep sense of love and unity among all of us, believers from different congregations in Israel and believers from the nations.

As the sun began setting over the Temple Mount behind us, we started praying and worshipping, proclaiming Yeshua as Lord, Savior and righteous Judge. Right below us, groups of ultra orthodox Jews were gathering to pray at the graves of important rabbis: because the prophets are clear that the dead will be resurrected when the Messiah arrives, starting at the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is basically a giant ancient cemetery, covered with graves down into the Kidron valley below and up the side of Moriah to the eastern gate of the Old City.

An outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we worshipped and blew the shofars (trumpets)

As we were worshipping and blowing the shofar, the Holy Spirit fell on us in a powerful way. One of the worship team members who was feeling sick and feverish when she arrived for the rehearsal was completely healed. Two young new believers from Tiferet Yeshua joined us and both experienced a dramatic baptism in the Holy Spirit. One of them even heard the audible voice of God speak to him about his future and calling: needless to say, he was on His face weeping for the rest of the evening. The moment we starting singing a song in Hebrew, the chorus of which says “Yeshua is light, Yeshua is the light of the world”, the setting sun broke through the clouds, flooding us in an intense golden light.



We sang, prayed and proclaimed Yeshua’s return for a spotless bride in Hebrew, English, Spanish and Russian. We wish that we could share with you all how powerful our encounter with the Lord was at the moment, standing on the ground Yeshua will stand upon when He returns and feeling how much He loves us and wants to purify and perfect us, His Body and Bride, to be ready to meet Him under the wedding canopy.

As we fast and seek the Lord’s face during this Yom Kippur fast here in Israel, we at Tiferet Yeshua are crying out to the Lord in repentance, asking Him to purify and prepare us, His Bride, in love and holiness. He is coming soon! Let’s get our hearts ready for Him.

When lining up the end-time events described in the New Testament with the description of end time events in the book of Joel, it becomes clear that the first two fall feasts, the Day of Trumpeting and the Day of Atonement, mirror the progression of the great and terrible day of the Lord just before His return, when the armies of the antichrist descend upon the land of Israel and surround Jerusalem:

Day of Trumpeting (Joel 2: 1-11)

 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand—
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.

~Joel 2:1-2

In the above passage of Joel, the sounding of the trumpet is an alarm to assemble the people together because a horrible and fierce enemy has invaded the Land—it is essentially the “last” Day of Trumpeting. It is also the moment that Messiah Yeshua appears in the sky with the voice of the trumpet and the those who are in the Lord are raptured:

Rapture at the Last Trumpet (Matt. 24:30-31)

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

~Matt. 24:30-31

Day of Atonement (Joel 2:12-17 )

 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
 Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly

~Joel 2:16-17

In this passage, the prophet Joel is calling all the people to declare a holy fast, to weep, mourn and cry out to the Lord to save them—a description which sounds like  the Day of Atonement. While this passage clearly speaks about the Day of Atonement, it also calls for a trumpet to be blown in Zion, which makes one think that it might be referring to the Day of Trumpeting since no trumpets blown on the Day of Atonement. Well, yes and no: there are no trumpets blown on the Day of Atonement except for once every fifty years during the Jubilee year:

Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.  Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you.’”

~Leviticus 25:9-11

If the last “Day of Atonement” at the Lord’s return takes place in the Jubilee Year (which we believe it will!), it adds another powerful dimension of prophetic meaning to this “last” Day of Atonement when a trumpet will sound declaring salvation, liberation and restoration.

All Israel Will Be Saved

Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall on Sukkot\Tabernacles (photo credit Shutterstock)

Joel 2 describes a fierce and mighty army attacking the Land of Israel — the great and terrible day of the Lord. The prophet Zechariah describes the same day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against Judah and Jerusalem: at that critical moment when Israel is surrounded by enemies, God tells the prophet Zechariah:

I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves…

~Zechariah 12:10-12

This passage in Zechariah sounds like it is describing the exact same end-time event that Yeshua is describing in Matt. 24:30 when “…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn…”. Zechariah 12:10-10 specifically describes the national, collective response of Israel at that moment. This moment is also when Paul’s Romans 11:26 prophetic declaration that “…all Israel shall be saved” comes to pass. Israel will go through terrible tribulation and suffering, but she will also be the only nation in the earth that collectively accepts the Messiah and is saved. Joel 2 describes that final moment: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

So, if the last Day of Trumpeting marks the Lord’s appearing in the sky and the rapture, and the last Day of Atonement marks Israel’s calling a fast and solemn assembly to weep and mourn over “the one they have pierced”, then the Feast of Tabernacles that follows can be none other than Yeshua’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem where He will tabernacle with His people! As we prepare to observe and celebrate these deeply meaningful biblical fall feasts, let us focus our hearts with expectation and intercession on their future redemptive promise.


Originally published October 1st, 2020

Sinai Covenant and New Covenant – what changed and what is the same?

For the last several weeks, I have been giving this series of messages at Tiferet Yeshua with the intention to explore the important elements of the Sinai Covenant and how they have changed, or not changed, in the framework of the New Covenant. Understanding both gives us a deeper understanding of God’s perfect plan for all of us – to dwell with us and bring us on a journey deeper into His heart and His presence. In this article I would like to share one of those messages.

Defilement in the Sinai Covenant

In the framework of the Sinai covenant the bible relates extensively to the subject of physical or bodily defilement. When reading through the somewhat exhausting verses on bodily defilements, particularly in the book of Leviticus, you may find yourself asking, “What is the point of all this?” Quite a bit, actually!

It is important that we first answer this question: what are these defilements that the Sinai Covenant speaks about? First of all, they are not sins. Defilements relate to situations in the human existence which connect to death. For instance: touching a corpse or a dead animal, illnesses (which are an expression of death), a flow of blood, even when semen leaves a man’s body, the potential of life has left the physical body causes defilement. Even birth causes a woman’s body to become “defiled”, something which at first seems very surprising, but it is because the life of her baby has “left” her body.

The Torah (the Law or first five books of Moses) reveals to us the basic spiritual principle that nothing which is connected to death can enter into the presence of God because:

  He is not the God of the dead but of the living.

-Matthew 22:32

Defilement Denies Access

In the framework of the Sinai Covenant, anyone who was in a state of “defilement” was not allowed to enter the Temple – the physical building which housed the presence of God. The life of the Jewish believer under the Sinai Covenant revolved around worship in the Temple, and being denied access into the Temple was a serious thing.

In order to be purified from “defilement”, a person had to go through a process which always involved cleansing with water and the passage of time:

But if a person who is unclean does not purify himself, he will be cut off from the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean

-Numbers 19:20

Defilement in the New Covenant Framework – different but the same

In the framework of the New Covenant, the Holy Temple, God’s physical sanctuary on earth, no longer exists. The sanctuary of God’s presence now resides in the spirits of all redeemed believers. In practice, the issue of defilement under the New Covenant is very different from the Sinai Covenant because we no longer enter into a physical earthly temple and therefore bodily defilement is no longer relevant.

However, the principle of “defilement” in the New Covenant is actually the same, but it is just expressed in a different way. Instead of physical defilement, now there is soul defilement. What is defilement of the soul? First of all, if we are talking about the soul, we have to clarify that we are talking about the realm of our thoughts, desires and emotions. Soul defilement in the context of the New Covenant relates to thoughts, emotions and desires in us which are not pleasing to God –in essence, they can be described as thoughts, emotions and desires which produce death instead of life.

When Yeshua first announced a change in the focus from bodily defilements to soul defilements, it was considered radical:

Yeshua called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and understand. A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it.”…

Matthew 15:10

When the Pharisees heard this, they were shocked! And of course they were shocked: they knew that the Law taught that even touching an unclean animal would defile you, how much more defiling it would be to eat one. Yeshua clarified this further for those who were still open to hear about this groundbreaking shift:

 …the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20 These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.

-Matthew 15:18-20

Soul Defilement in the New Covenant – a deeper level

In the framework of the Sinai Covenant, there was a physical Tabernacle (the Temple) and the Jewish believer would enter into it with his or her physical body. Therefore, they needed to be pure in the physical sense.

In the framework of the New Covenant, the Tabernacle of God is in the spirit of the redeemed believer and we enter into God’s presence with our souls. Therefore, New Covenant believers need purity in their souls in order to enter into the Tabernacle of God in the spirit. Why is that? Just as physical defilements limited the entry into the presence of God in the Holy Temple during the Sinai Covenant, so do soul defilements (evil thoughts, emotions and desires) limit our access to the Tabernacle of God’s presence in our spirits.

God calls us to purify ourselves from soul defilements because He wants us to be closer to Him, to enter deeper into His presence.

Purification – not an instant process

Of course, changing unhealthy ways of thinking, negative character traits or ungodly desires does not happen overnight. Our lives are essentially a journey the Lord takes us on, and the major point of that journey is internal change, i.e., the purification of our souls. God is drawing us on that process because He wants to take us to ever deeper and higher places in His Presence.

The Journey and the Process

Through life’s experiences, challenges and obstacles we face, God exposes or reveals our issues, unhealthy tendencies, emotions or ways of thinking. He then calls us to pay attention to them and to act in order to change and cleanse ourselves from them.

So how can we cleanse ourselves from soul defilements? It’s a process, but it’s not complicated. First, we must recognize the problem area (the defilement). Once we have recognized the problem, we must first desire to be purified from it—we have to want to change. Then we bring it before the Lord in prayer to ask Him to purify (change) us, because we cannot purify ourselves. Only God can do that work in our hearts.

  1. Desire to change.
  2. Seek the Lord’s grace and mercy each day to change
  3. God acts: He washes us with the water of the Holy Spirit (remember cleansing from defilement in the Sinai Covenant involved washing and sprinkling with special water).

Patience and Persistence

If I want to experience serious change within thoughts, desires and emotions, I can’t just pray one prayer and expect transformation. Just like being purified from bodily defilements in the Sinai covenant required a period of time, being purified from soul defilements in the New Covenant also takes time. Usually it is a process of weeks, months, and maybe even more than that, of bringing it before the Lord in prayer. But if I desire change, then I ask God sincerely in prayer to change me, and God acts.

There is nothing in us that God cannot change if we desire it and ask Him to change it!

A Lesson we can take from the Sinai Covenant to our New Covenant lives:

In the Sinai Covenant, there is also an element of being extremely careful and cautious about coming into contact with things that defile. In the same way, God wants us to exercise the same care and caution about the things that defile our souls. For example, listening to music or consuming entertainment with negative messages, listening to gossip or spending an abundance of time in the company of worldly people.

For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17“Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”…

2 Corinthians 6:16-17

by Gil Afriat






Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh…

-Song of Songs 4:6

A spiritual challenge: when asking, seeking and knocking don’t seem to work

This last year, I found myself feeling far from the the Lord, and I began longing for His presence. When I prayed about it, God showed me that one of the reasons I was feeling so far from Him was because I had pulled away after going through a period of suffering which began in March of 2020 when Israel went into covid lockdown. At the time, my husband and I had been seriously seeking the Lord, (we had just finished participating in a 40-day global Jesus Fast), we were moving forward in our ministry, and things were good! When the lockdown hit, I thought it might be an opportunity to have some “time off” from our busy routine. God, however, had something completely different in store for me.

Pretty quickly after going into quarantine, I started suffering from a debilitating physical condition. In addition to the practical steps one should take in such a situation, I took every right spiritual step: I sought the Lord in prayer. I spent more time in the Word.  Instead of improvement, things got worse. So, I searched my heart. I repented. I prayed more. I declared the Word over my life.  But then attacks started. And they kept coming. For a long time. Eventually, over time, things started to improve, little by little. But even after things had improved significantly, I still felt somehow traumatized, like I had been in a violent shipwreck at sea and was washed up on the shore still alive…but barely. I had climbed the mountain of myrrh through the night that Song of Songs 4:6 speaks about: myrrh, an ancient biblical spice used in the sacred anointing oil and in Yeshua’s burial, often speaks of suffering and death.

The Garden of Gethsemane – An invitation to suffering

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane…He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

-Matthew 26:36-38

The scene of Yeshua alone in the Garden of Gethsemane came to me often during my difficult period. That night in the garden, Yeshua had asked the disciples who were closest to Him, Peter, John and James, to stay with Him as He wrestled with the great suffering He was about to endure. Instead of watching with Him, Yeshua’s nearest and dearest fell asleep.

When His persecution and suffering began, all His disciples (with the exception of John) would abandon Him. We often think of the great physical pain our Lord endured on the cross, but we do not often contemplate how it was coupled with the emotional pain of being abandoned by nearly all His friends and, ultimately, being cut off from the presence of the Father, as Daniel 9:26 foretold: the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. This is the Suffering Servant whom we are called to follow and emulate.

How popular culture has shaped our faith

Shallow secular culture has unfortunately influenced many in the church and trained us to think that God’s main desire for us is to be blessed, prosperous and happy. As a result, in the minds of many, any kind of suffering in the life of a believer must be the result of sin. A very mature woman of God at Tiferet Yeshua whose teenage son was killed fighting in one of Israel’s recent wars in Gaza shared with me the pain she experienced when fellow believers made her feel that her suffering and loss must be the result of sin.

Let me be clear: there is much needless suffering we experience which is a result of our bad choices, practicing sinful behavior and not investing time in our relationship with God. However, the New Testament makes clear, over and over, that there is indeed suffering which is according to God’s will (1 Peter 4:19) and that we are invited to participate in Messiah’s sufferings (1 Peter 4:12-17).

It’s all about love

I once thought participating in Yeshua’s suffering came only through direct persecution for the gospel. That is indeed part of it, but it is also more than that. When we understand that God’s main desire for us is to grow and mature in our love for Him and for others, we discover sooner or later that suffering is part of it.

Song of Songs 5 – The mature believer’s invitation to the Garden of Gethsemane

In Judaism, the Song of Songs is considered “The Holy of Holies”. In addition to its being a literal description of the love between King Solomon and his betrothed, the Shulamite maiden, on a spiritual level it is seen as a description of the sacred love journey between God and Israel. As followers of Messiah, we see it as the description of the bride of Messiah (Jew and gentile) growing in mature love for her Bridegroom King.

Chapter five of the Song of Songs describes the suffering and persecution of the mature bride. She is described as a garden, and others are blessed and strengthened by the fruit evident in her life (5:1). At that point, she must feel good, being right where she needs to be! But she is unaware that her Bridegroom is inviting her into a new and painful phase of growth, not unlike Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane asking us to keep watch with Him and to fellowship with some of His sufferings.

She is asleep, but her heart is awake (5:2): when Yeshua finds the disciples asleep, He says, “the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt.26:41)

The Bridegroom, outside, alone in the night, is seeking her companionship (5:2): “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38)

-She is confused at this unexpected turn of events, but ultimately responds in obedience (5:3-5) – despite being scattered and confused, the disciple John and a company of women stay with Yeshua through His suffering (Jn. 19:25-26, Mrk. 15:40-41)

-She opens the door to Him, but He is not there. She seeks Him but cannot find Him (5:6): Yeshua is abandoned by the vast majority (Matt. 26:56) and suffers the ultimate separation from the Father on the cross (Matt. 27:46, Dan. 9:26)

-She is beaten and bruised by authorities over her and they strip her of her cloak (5:7): the Lord Yeshua was beaten, bruised and stripped of His clothing by the Jewish and Roman authorities (Matt. 26:67, Jn 19:1)

What is the response of the mature bride after all this ordeal? She cries out that she is lovesick for her Beloved and launches into highest praise of Him to the daughters of Jerusalem. What a powerful witness! In the next chapter, she declares “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine” from a place of personal experience knowing there is nothing that can separate her from His love. That is why her Beloved calls her “as awesome as an army with banners” in the next chapter (6:4).

That is going through the refiner’s fire – an idea that used to frighten me. The longer we walk closely with our Beloved, the more we understand His heart for us and that sometimes He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death in order to bring us to a deeper level of maturity, love and knowing Him…which is the truest joy and pleasure we can ever know.

If you feel like you have never experienced a real relationship with God, I highly recommend to you my friend Monica’s testimony!

by Tamar Afriat