My name is Shmuel.
I am a Haifa native and I love the city of my birth. I grew up in a Messianic congregation in Haifa that was founded at the same time as the founding of the State of Israel, and the original members were holocaust survivors. Its name is "Beit Eliyahu" and it is located in the German Colony. We believe in the Tanach and in the New Testament (which, by the way, was promised in the Tanach). Why in the world is our congregation called "House of Elijah"?
The people of Israel are a people of the book. The land of Israel is the land of the book. As a believer in the Tanach, I know the uniqueness of Jerusalem (without loving Betar, obviously...), but as a native of Haifa, when I read about what happens here, on Mt. Carmel, it does something inside me.
The people of Israel "succeeded" again and again in turning their back to God. It's interesting how people search for signs and wonders in order to believe instead of searching for the truth. Here, we have people who didn't value the truth or even all the signs and wonders, and chose to walk after false gods, after the Ba'als and the Ashteroth. Amazing and sad....
But here, on Mount Carmel, the people came to a turning point - God brought His people to a point of decision: to whom did they belong? or Who did they worship? A kind of T-intersection.
The man that God chose to use was Elijah the prophet. He stood against the false prophets and challenged them: "Come, let us see who is the stronger God!"
It sounds a little like kids who fight about whose father is stronger... but the truth is that that's not what happened. What happened on Mount Carmel was that Elijah invited the false prophets to a defining confrontation, and the question at the center was: Who is God and who is not? Who is truthful and who is lying? In whom is it worth trusting, and in whom is it foolish to trust? On whom is it possible to rely, and on whom is it impossible to rely? Elijah was, in essence, a man with simple faith: that the God of Israel who promises, also fulfills His promises.
And this is what happened. The prophets of Ba'al went wild, cried and sweated -- and there was no voice and there was no answer. And after Elijah scorned them a bit, he prayed in quiet, but also in confidence: "Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD are God." 1 Kings 18:36-37.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob answered, and all saw that truly: The LORD our God, the LORD is One" - and there is no other! So what's the connection to us? You didn't come for a Tanach lesson in grade school... We chose to call our congregation "Beit Eliyahu" because also we believe in the God of Israel and in His promises. We are only simple people from all sorts of backgrounds. We have one faith that is also simple: we believe in the God of Israel! We don't just believe in Him but also believe Him - we believe in His promises. We believe in His Word, in the Book of Books.
The most central promise of the Tanach is that the Messiah will come. Many talk about it (either in seriously or in ridicule). But few ask the most basic questions: Who and what did the LORD promise? For whom and for what are we supposed to looking? He is called "Messiah" -- He is anointed to do something specific. What is that task? Interesting how long it's possible to talk about the Messiah, the Anointed One, without asking: for what purpose is he anointed? We talk about him without being interested in his duty or his identity.
The Tanach describes a harsh picture of hostility between God and mankind because of their sin. This is the highest, thickest wall of separation ever. There is not one page in the Tanach that sin, or the repercussions of it, are not seen. If we are honest with ourselves, there is not a time in our lives that we've not known sin. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah will come and he will take care of the problem, not part of it, nor only for a while, but one time and for always. He will be the sacrifice that is required for the atonement of all of our sin. We read in Isaiah 53: "But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - every one - to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53;5-6)
This is the Messiah - and the task of the One who is anointed! According to the the LORD's promises in the Tanach and their fulfillment in the New Testament, there is no doubt that Yeshua is the Messiah and is the One who was promised to Israel. He is the One of whom the prophets spoke.
It's really hard to be quiet when there is such good news in our hearts. Therefore, there isn't a better thing that we wish for our neighbors on Carmel and the communities around us. For sure only the LORD is God and Yeshua is the promised Messiah. The passage that we mentioned from Isaiah begins with the question of questions: Who believes what we have heard? That is exactly the point. This is the point of faith.
God seeks a personal faith from each one of us, our hearts -- not some religion or organization that you can join. There is no salvation and redemption in a "Messianic Congregation" and not in Elijah - only in Yeshua, Israel's promised Messiah!
Elijah was a man who pointed to Him and dared to challenge His precious people. This is all that we want to do -- to point to the One who changed our lives, to the One of whom the Scriptures testify -- all of this in the knowledge that each of us is very precious to Him.
And again to the questions of Isaiah in relation to the Messiah: "Who will believe?" On this website there is information and also personal testimonies of several people in the congregation whoheard and believed. If you want to know more, please know that all the information that is necessary is in the Tanach.
We, of course, are happy to for you to contact us with any thoughts or questions.