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  JCFI News          January 2015

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Because the vision of JCFI is to raise a greater awareness of Israel in the churches of Johnson County, we want to connect you to some of our friends who work to bless Israel.


This month I want to update you on the ministry of 

the Israel Prayer Mission!


 Looking to a New Year in 2015, we as Believers should be concerned about the communication of the Gospel to the nations. Below is a recent conversation with a Jewish family sent to me by Leonardo and Una Bella with the Israel Prayer Mission. It gives unique insight into the special task of sharing Jesus with the Jewish People!

THE CONVERSATION (names have been changed)


Some weeks ago, the Bella Family witnessed to a vibrant Jewish man who accepted the Gospel message and has been radically saved. We will call him "John." Recently, the Bella's were invited to meet John's parents, who are Jewish non-believers. John's father, "Tom," has noticed a very positive change in his son and graciously engaged Leonardo and Una in a conversation about Yeshua:


Tom: If you say you love my son, then why did you take him away from us ?

Bellas: Take him away? How ?

Tom: He is not a Jewish man any more.

Bellas: So what is he ?

Tom: You turned him into a Christian.

Bellas: Was Yeshua Christian or was He a Jew? Yeshua, as a Jew, came for the Jews in a Jewish place called Israel.

Tom: But, He started a different religion! It is called Christianity!

Bellas: Yeshua read only the Tanach ( the Hebrew scriptures ) and always pointed to the God of Israel. Yeshua came to fulfill the bible and expand upon it. Here is an example. It is said in the bible - do not commit adultery. Well, Jesus said that if you have a thought of lust, you already committed adultery. How is that a new religion? How is that a danger for Judaism?

Tom: Well, anyway, what about the holocaust? Where was your God then ?

John: Abba, what kind of question is that ? None of us know the answer, but we do know that Israel was born out of the ashes of that horror and surely that was an act of God, a true miracle.

Tom: What God? It was America who saved us Jews from the holocaust. It was the American army that helped us, not God.

Gabi ( Bella's 10 year old daughter ): And what does it say on the American money? In God we trust !

Tom: But, I do not believe in God!

Bellas: Thank God, He does not depend on your belief system, and He is God regardless what you think.

Tom: So, are you Jewish ?

Bellas: Look, you can be Jewish and have different ideas about who the Messiah is. You can be Jewish and practice Buddhism. You can be Jewish and believe the new-age religion. You can be Jewish and be totally sure that God does not exist. And yet, you can not be Jewish and believe that Yeshua is the Messiah? Why is that ?

Tom: Maybe, you are right. So why is that ?

Bellas: Religion is the opposite of relationship. What Yeshua offers us is a direct communication with God, and it negates the system of Judaism as it has been expressed through the Rabbi's control.

Tom: There is a joke that says that if Jesus came back to life and saw all that the Christians have done in His name, He would kill himself.

Bellas: Well, let's look at it like this. It is said in the Bible to keep the Shabbat holy. Say, you drove your car mistakenly into a religious neighborhood on shabbat. The extreme religious Jews most likely will through rocks at your car and maybe even hurt you. Is that what the Bible said to do? Or is that what those people chose to do using the name of the Lord to cover terrible behavior ?

Tom: They are hypocrites. They do not represent God.

Bellas: So were the nazis who claimed to do God's work. What was done in the name of Jesus has nothing to do with what He spoke about. Do you know that Yeshua always pointed up to God and gave instructions about love ? How to love unconditionally. God's love !

Tom: But I still do not think that God exists.

John: So, abba, why do you fast on Yom-Kippur ( day of atonement ), and why do you go to the synagogue on that day ?

Bellas: It is only pride that will have you say, "I do not believe God exists."

John: Abba, maybe what we say is true ?

Bellas: Why don't you ask God tonight to show you if what we said is true. After all, He is God, and He hears you and will surely be delighted to show you the truth.  

Una: I really understand you. When Leonardo started to read the new-covenant, I freaked out even though I did not believe that God existed. I said, "God, if you exist, why are you destroying my life?!" Then, after few months of watching Leonardo's changes (like you are watching John), I realized that all is positive ! One day, I asked with a real, pure heart, "Who is this Yeshua?" The next day, Yeshua appeared at the mirror as I washed my face. My whole life changed forever more once I saw that Yeshua is alive ! And today, we shared with you this great news. So why don't you ask the same question yourself? With God all things are possible.

John: Yes, abba, do that. Ask God to show you if indeed it is the truth.

Tom: (with a face so soft and gentle ) I do not know? Maybe I will do that. It is a possibility. I need to think about it.


Now, prayer will do the rest. Tom heard. Tom saw. Tom needs to be set free so he can choose. Please pray about the spirit of fear, unbelief and pride that orchestrates this huge confusion in Tom's mind. Let's pray with much faith and hope that Tom and his wife will come home to the loving hands of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.



Could there be a mysterious textual variant within the Hebrew Bible that speaks to the birth of the Messiah?


Isa. 9: 6, "For unto us a child is born..." 

Isa. 9:7 "Of the increase of his government there shall be no end"


 It is precisely at the Hebrew words "of the Increase" (Lemarbeh / לםרבה) that some see a hint of the Messiah's virgin birth, for here, instead of the proper letter "mem" normally used within a word, the Hebrew writer use a final 'mem'.  The Talmud from more than 1500 years ago puzzled over this unique occurrence saying, "Why is every 'mem' in the middle of a word open, whilst this is closed?" It concludes that the 'final mem' in its closed form refers to the secret of the Messiah.(1) Could it be that the Hebrew letters themselves reveal a mystery regarding the miraculous birth of Yeshua?


1.The Closed 'mem': A symbol of the virgin womb?   


In Hebrew there are twenty two letters. Five of the twenty-two have a beginning and an ending form.  One of those five is the letter "mem". When the letter occurs at the beginning or inside of a word it looks like this (מ). When the letter occurs at the end, it uses a special ending form (ם). There is one place however in the Hebrew Bible where we find a 'final mem' occurring in the middle of a word - Isaiah 9: 7 (Is. 9: 6  Hebrew text).(2) What could this mean, if anything?  


First, the ancient commentaries on the bible did not consider this to be a mistake; it was intentionally written this way in order to bring attention to that particular text (not uncommon in scroll writing). The letter 'mem' in Jewish thought is associated with the womb and even resembles a womb. While the open 'mem' is symbolic of a womb ready to give birth,(מ) , the final or closed mem (ם) symbolizes a closed womb.(3) Yehuda Liebes of Hebrew University notes that this caused some to see a connection between the closed 'mem', and the womb of  a 'virgin' (almah) in Is. 7: 14.(4) 


(Note: Though some Hebrew Bibles use a corrected spelling; the most authoritative Masoretic text, the Aleppo Codex, has the unique final mem, לםרבה).


2.The 'closed mem' is without beginning or end (ם). 


This unusual final form of the 'mem' occurs at the very point of the text which says, "Of the increase of his government there shall be no end."   The semi -circular / closed 'final mem' can be seen as symbolic of the infinite reign of the Messiah.


3.The closed mem and the Messiah's breakthrough. 


Both Risto Santilo and Yehuda Liebes note, "In order for the Messiah to come forth from an unopened womb there must needs be a break through." They were Christian and Jewish writers from the Middle Ages who wrote about the connection of the 'closed mem' and the Messiah breaking forth from a closed womb. (4) (5).


One of the names of the Messiah in Rabbinic tradition is the Poretz, (the breaker). Yeshua, the Messiah, has indeed broken forth from both the womb and the tomb. He is the One who has opened the way for all of us to have access to the Father. He has opened the Holy of Holies and torn down the wall of partition that separated Jew and Gentile. If you need a breakthrough or find yourself in a closed situation with no exit, look to Yeshua; He is the one who can bring about a break-through in your life!


1.  see discussion in San. 94a  

2.  See discussion on the unusual occurrence at the website for the Academy of the Hebrew Language: 


3.  The Hebrew Letters: Channels of Creative Consciousness, By Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh pg. 196

4.  See the Hebrew article by Yehuda Liebes of The Hebrew University:  "Christian Influences on the Zohar"  pluto.huji.ac.il/~liebes/zohar/hashpaot.doc השפעות נוצריות על ספר הזוהר, יהודה ליבס, עמוד: 11

5.  See Risto Santila,The Midrash of the Messiah.  Pg. 162

6.  Yehuda Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, "Christian Influences on the Zohar", pp. 139-161, State University of New York 199




Israel Under Attack On Two Fronts

Monday 22 December, 2014 | On Friday, a rocket fired from Gaza hit an open area in the Eshkol Region, drawing a strong response from Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Israel's security takes precedence over everything and I will not ignore the firing of even one rocket. Therefore, the Air Force responded to this firing by destroying a cement factory that served to rebuild the tunnels that we hit in Operation Protective Edge. Hamas bears the responsibility for any escalation. We will safeguard Israel's security."

A statement from IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said, "the Hamas terrorist organization is responsible and accountable for today's attack against Israel." Israel has long been clear that it holds Hamas accountable for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. Hamas was quick to say it had not launched the rocket, and it was later reported in the Jerusalem Post that Hamas had arrested the members of a global jihadist organization in Gaza who had carried out the attack.


On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Netanyahu summed up the situation Israel is currently facing as he said, "In this struggle that we are in, Israel is being attacked on two fronts simultaneously. It is being attacked by the terrorism of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. It is also under a diplomatic attack led by the Palestinian Authority and which is designed to deny us our very right to defend ourselves and seeks to deny us the legitimacy of our very existence. We are rebuffing both of these attacks. Over the weekend we sent a clear message to Hamas-we are not prepared to countenance the firing of even one rocket, and we are responding accordingly and in strength. We also have a clear message to those who are leading the diplomatic assault against us. It could be that the Palestinians will, in the very near future, submit to the UN Security Council their proposal to unilaterally force on Israel the establishment of a Palestinian state as well as other conditions that are unacceptable to us. We expect the responsible elements in the international community to reject this proposal; in any case, we will vigorously oppose it and will, of course, not act in accordance with any dictae."


by Janet Aslin / Bridges for Peace, December 22, 2014


Prayer Focus

As Israel experiences rocket fire from Gaza and diplomatic assaults in the UN, beseech the Lord that this nation, under attack, will put their trust and hope in His holy name, in the one and only Lord God of creation.


We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!

Israel produces 93% of its own food requirements


There are more than 40 kosher McDonald's in Israel

(The only one outside the Jewish state is in Buenos Aires)

Israelis, per capita, are the world's biggest consumers of fruits and vegetables

Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than almost any country in the world


BOH Logo with text
Bridge of Hope Update... 
We Are Growing ! 
One way JCFI raises awareness of Israel's role today is through building a Bridge of Hope (BOH).  A Bridge of Hope is a "bridge" built between a Church or organization of Johnson County and a Congregation, Home Group, Faith-Based Organization, or Individual within Israel. At JCFI we currently have 20 Congregational BOH's and 4 Organizational BOHs  that are up-and-running with MANY in the process. The BOH project is blessing people both in Israel and here in Johnson County as it provides connection through fellowship, prayer support, educational exchange, and more.  (Click
HERE for more info)

We would love to hook you up!  I am Skyping almost weekly with those in the Land who are eager to link up in a "sister" relationship with a congregation or organization in Johnson County.  Be in prayer for us as we establish new connections with ministries in Israel that desperately need our support and prayer.   

If your church would like to know more about becoming a BOH to a congregation in Israel, click HERE or contact me by phone at 817-556-1061817-556-1061  / by email me at bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.

  Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!



The Bridge of Hope (BOH) ministry continues to grow (24 strong now) and bless Believers in Johnson County and Israel. We are so honored at JCFI to be a part of these vibrant connections. 

Please pray for, "BOH IGNITE," coming February of 2015. At this gathering, designed specifically for the BOH pastors of Johnson County, we will fellowship and envision how to build stronger BOH connections moving forward. BOHs strengthen our churches, promote the Gospel, & bless Israel !

Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !

Hebrew Helps
As we work to build a greater awareness of Israel in Johnson County and continue to connect to Believers and Jews in the Land, we are often ask, "What does that word mean?".  So, each month at JCFI we will ad to a glossary of terms to help broaden our Hebrew vocabulary. Please, enjoy this Hebrew Help and contact us with any definitions you think we should ad.

This month's Hebrew Help definition is:

Ruach HaKodesh (ROO-akh hak-KOH-desh)

Holy Spirit; the Holy Ghost. Occurs more than 90 times in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). Note that kodesh is an adjective meaning holy that agrees with the noun it modifies.

Previous Month's Definition

Hametz (also spelled chametz)

Leaven, or yeast, which makes bread rise. God commanded Israel not to eat hametz during Passover. Jesus taught that good and evil spreads the same way hametz leavens the whole batch of dough (Matt.13:33 / 16:6-12)

Click HERE to see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!


RecomReading List Logomended Reading

This month at JCFI we encourage you to get a copy of:

What About Us? by Eitan Shishkoff

Return of the Kosher Pig by Itzhak Shapira 

Since the Banquet, many have ask me, "What can I do for Israel?"  While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are a few suggestions I hope you find useful:

1. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psa.122:6)
    "For Zion's Sake I Will Not Be Silent" by Rebecca Brimmer is an excellent guide on
    prayer for Israel. Click HERE for more info.

2. Learn more about Israel-related ministries
    There are wonderful Israel-related ministries doing a great work to support Israel. Click
     HERE to learn more about a few of them.

3. Learn more about the Hebraic Roots to Christianity
    The Bible often takes on deeper meaning in the context of its Hebraic Roots. The
     Ancient Hebrew Scroll project at the CHF is a testimony to this fact. There are
     numerous writings about Hebraic Roots. A good place to start is the book by
     D. Thomas Lancaster entitled Grafted In.  Click HERE for more info.

4. Take a trip to Israel     I've been blessed to travel to Israel many times.  It has
    changed my life. I baptized my daughter, Lauren, in the Sea of Galilee during my trip
    there in 2011. She had accepted Jesus as her Savior 3 days before we left. This
    should be at the top of any bucket list!

5. Be an Israel contact person for your church
    The vision at JCFI is to increase the awareness of Israel within the churches of
    Johnson County. Maybe you could support your pastor by volunteering to be the
    church's Israel contact person for JCFI. 

6. Build a Bridge of Hope
    Speak with your Pastor / Church Leaders about building a BOH.  Feel free to contact
    me for more info by phone at 817-556-1061 or by email at

Kevin Bentley, JCFI Director
2 North Caddo Street, Cleburne, Tx 76031