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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His critique of the Messianic movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Shepherd Press has puboished his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.

Baruch is also engaged in writing (in Hebrew) a commentary on Romans and Colossians, futher books in the Devotional Commentary series, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, editing a modern translation of the Bible into Modern Hebrew and writing other expositional and theological books. In the pipeline are also books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disiplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.

Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to , most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.

Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at the bottom of this page.

In 2015 Baruch will be driving through and is available for ministry in the following states:
NY, NC, TN, KY, KS, AR, TX, AZ, CA, WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, MN WI, IN, OH, MI

Ministry can include pulpit ministry and Pastor’s fellowships. Among the topics Baruch is most often asked to address are  Old Testament/NT expositions (of parts of whole books), the Messianic Movement, Priorities in Eschatology, a Christian use of the Old Testament.
Interested churches are invited to write to bmaoz@themaozweb.com



Baruch's Musings

December 19, 2014

As the Year Draws to An End

A new year awaits us, both with its expected and unexpected events, some hoped for and others viewed with a measure of misgiving. There was a time -- not too long ago -- when the world was swept up in a wave of optimism. Actually, there were many such times when optimism was the child of encouraging circumstances. Now, what is wrong with looking at circumstances and drawing conclusions from them? Simply this: the circumstances one can see are not the whole of reality (which is one of the major reasons why circumstances change). Above and beyond visible circumstances the is a God in heaven who rules over all, unfettered by anything that may be seen -- or cannot be seen.

What grounds of optimism would Judeans have on the day that the Savior was born? Ruled by a ruthless, murderous king, under the thumb of the most power human regime ever seen, led by a compromising priesthood, there was nothing in the circumstances that foretold what was about to happen when, suddenly, a new reality burst onto the scene: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:).

The collapse of totalitarian Communism, very much like the amazing human successes at the turn of the 20th century, bred exuberant hope, only to be dashed against the rock of a turn of events. We should be wiser by now. We should learn to rest our hopes on him who made the worlds, whose will is always accomplished and who, by grace, has purposed the blessing of mankind in Christ as the means for his own glory.

Hopeful? Not quite. We have cause to be more than hopeful: we are confident, joyfully expectant because we believe! Time will tell that our faith is not misplaced.

December 17, 2014

An Assessment of the Situation Today

Gaza
The people of Gaza remain under the harsh hand of Hamas, while the reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority remains merely on paper. As a result, reconstruction in Gaza is limited, the economy is in shambles and there is barely grounds to expect improvement. Forty five percent of the employable population is without work. The Hamas regime is Gaza's largest employer, with an overwhelming majority of its employees in the security forces. But Hamas has no money with which to pay their monthly salaries.

Egypt, tired of repeated Hamas-supported attacks in Sinai, is carving out a kilometer-wide swath of non-man's land along the border with Gaza, razing homes and preparing to dig a deep water barrier that will obviate tunneling from Gaza into Egypt. Meanwhile, Egyptian forces continue to search out existing tunnels and destroy them. Soon Hamas will have no significant means of bringing in men, money and munitions. Such an eventuality will render Hamas all the more dependent on the border crossing into Israel.

The West Bank
Lone wolf attacks, encouraged by Hamas but opposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that rules in the West Bank, continue, sometimes with horrendous results. Most of the protests are limited to Jerusalem and its environs. Both Israeli and Palestinian Authority security is concerned, however, that continued frustration for lack of a political resolution will promote wider unrest, resulting in an uprising. Hamas is doing everything in its power to encourage such a process while working hard at establishing itself in the West Bank with a view to taking it over as it did in Gaza. Israel and the PA cooperate in an effort to stymie Hamas' plans.

At the same time, the PA has given up hope that Israel is sincerely open to a political resolution under terms that the Palestinians would be willing to consider. It is therefore seeking to force Israel's hands by appeals to the international community. Israel is being increasingly isolated as a result. Oncoming elections will, to a significant extent, determine whether or not Israel will have a Government that will negotiate a resolution of the conflict in good faith, resulting either in an historic agreement or a reversal of present anti-Israel trends in Europe and the USA.

As ever, the issue is whether or not both sides are willing to compromise in areas of vital interest one to another. So far, Palestinian demands would constitute the eventual destruction of Israel while Israeli would constitute the Palestinian State-to-be more of a rump State than a true political and economic entity.

The Middle East
ISIS has been pushed to the wall. Former successes have not been followed by new ones and armed opposition has blocked ISIS progress. The result could be one of the two: ongoing, endless bloodletting, or a vigorous drive to destroy ISIS. Exactly the same may be said on the conflict in Syria. Whatever may be the case, Iran stands to gain further influence.

At the same time, sanctions plus the 50% decrease in the prices of oil have rendered the Iranian economy a devastating blow that even the lifting of sanctions will not undo. Iran has little with which to finance itself apart from oil. It imports most of its foods and other commodities and exports nothing much but carpets. Its reserves have been exhausted by the sanctions while unrest in the country continues to grow. It is only a matter of time until the country implodes.

Saudi Arabia is now fighting a price war with the US, reducing oil prices so as to render US oil, most of which is obtained by costly fracking and horizontal drilling, unprofitable. The Saudi kingdom has sufficient reserves to engage the US for some time to come.

Israel
A weakened Netanyahu, despised and distrusted by many in his own party, in charge of a Government many of whose Ministers have tired of the Prime Minister's vacillating ways and persistent scare tactics, was forced to call elections a mere 20 months after having formed a government. The population in Israel is now divided between "anyone but Bibi," "we have no one else but Bibi" and "Oh, well, it just might be Bibi all over again." Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection is most likely to result in more of the same. His demise as Prime Minister is likely to bring renewed peace negotiations and a meaningful difference in social and economic policies.

Due to the issues at stake, the consequences of every round of elections in Israel are historic. Given the international atmosphere and Palestinian resolve, the implications which follow results of the next round are likely to be epochal, for good or for evil.

As the Year Draws to An End

A new year awaits us, both with its expected and unexpected events, some hoped for and others viewed with a measure of misgiving. There was a time -- not too long ago -- when the world was swept up in a wave of optimism. Actually, there were many such times when optimism was the child of encouraging circumstances. Now, what is wrong with looking at circumstances and drawing conclusions from them? Simply this: the circumstances one can see are not the whole of reality (which is one of the major reasons why circumstances change). Above and beyond visible circumstances the is a God in heaven who rules over all, unfettered by anything that may be seen -- or cannot be seen.

What grounds of optimism would Judeans have on the day that the Savior was born? Ruled by a ruthless, murderous king, under the thumb of the most power human regime ever seen, led by a compromising priesthood, there was nothing in the circumstances that foretold what was about to happen when, suddenly, a new reality burst onto the scene: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:).

The collapse of totalitarian Communism, very much like the amazing human successes at the turn of the 20th century, bred exuberant hope, only to be dashed against the rock of a turn of events. We should be wiser by now. We should learn to rest our hopes on him who made the worlds, whose will is always accomplished and who, by grace, has purposed the blessing of mankind in Christ as the means for his own glory.

Hopeful? Not quite. We have cause to be more than hopeful: we are confident, joyfully expectant because we believe! Time will tell that our faith is not misplaced.

December 15, 2014

Two Aspects of Truth -- A Comfort and A Challenge

The eighth chapter of Romans is an outburst of humble triumph on the Apostle's part on realizing that the conflict of the Christian life as depicted in the seventh chapter issues in victory through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Evil may be entrenched in our members but the power of God unto salvation has entered our hearts by the Holy Ghost and by the prevalent working of that Holy Spirit in us as we are enabled to cry Abba, Father; and being made sons of God are constituted His heirs and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.

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Not as if, indeed, we are to be borne without effort of our won into this glorious inheritance -- 'to be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease.' No! 'Surely we must fight if we would win.' For, after all, the Christian life is a pilgrimage to be endured, a journey to be accomplished, a fight to be won." (B.B. Warfield, THE SPIRIT'S HELP IN OUR PRAYING, Faith and Life, BOTT, 1974, pp. 193-194).

December 14, 2014

When Pastors Cease to Pastor
Why is it so common in Christian churches today for Pastors to be leaders, executives, visionaries, organizers, theologians, denominational politicians -- or even just preachers, when congregants need shepherds who care as much for and about them as they do about anything else?

All too many of us take our stand on points of principle at the expense of the people we are called upon to love and serve. All too many defend our positions, personal and doctrinal, instead of sacrificing for the flock. All too many feed off the people whom we were sent to feed. We become preoccupied with the push and shove involved in maintaining our position of affection, respect and authority in the eyes of the people instead of the kind of prioritizing Robert Murray McCheyne expressed when he said, "my people's greatest need is my own holiness." Our focus is misplaced. How did this happen?

Martha-like we become preoccupied with too many "things," legitimate in themselves, but thieving bastards when they come at the expense of pastoral visitation, real engagement with the joys and struggles of our congregants, prayer, prayerful self-searching and a lively, continuous engagement with the word of God.

How have we lost the Pauline vision of "warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily" (Colossians 1:28-29)?

Thoughts From An Age Long Gone By

"A statesman's first and greatest qualification in my estimation is the mastery of the whole theory of morals, which makes the foundation of all human society. The great and everlasting of the right and wrong of every act whether of individual men or of collective bodies.The next is the application of the knowledge thus gained to the events of his time in a continuous and systematic way.

It is in this last particular that the greatest number of failures are observed to occur. Many men never acquire sufficient certainty of purpose to be able to guide their steps at all. They become mere sport of fortune. Today they shine because they have caught at a good opportunity. Tomorrow, the light goes out and they are found mired at the bottom of a ditch. These are the men of temporary celebrity... Every civilized nation is full of them.

Other men, more favored by nature of education, prove their capacity to direct their course at the expense of their fidelity to their convictions. They sacrifice their consistency for the sake of power, and surrender their future fame for the applause of their one day. The number of these is Legion. They crowd the records of all governments.

The feebleness of perception and the deliberate abandonment of moral principle in action are the two prevailing characteristics of public men."

(Charles Francis Adams the first in a letter to his son, Charles. Quoted by James Truslow Adams, THE ADAMS FAMILY, The Literary Guild, New York 1930, pp. 276-277)

One of the major political difficulties facing Israel, accentuated in the elections held 23 months ago and likely to be to the fore in the next is the product of terse political fragmentation.

Israel has a one-camera, 120 seats Parliament, the Knesset. A majority in the Knesset forms the Government. In the present constellation, representation comprises of Lapi'ds Yesh Atid 19, Netanyahu's Likud 18, Herzog's Labour 15, Liberman's Israel Beyteinu 13, Bennet's HaBait Ha'Yehudi 12, combined Arab 11 seats, Occidental Religious Jews 11, Western Religious Jews 7, Livni's HaTnuah 6, Gal'on's Merets 6 and Mofaz's Kadimah 2.

Divided otherwise, the right wing comprises of Likud, HaBait Ha'Yehudi and, perhaps, Israel Beiteinu - 43 seats in all. The Left comprises of Labour, Merets and the Arab parties - 32 seats in all. They are likely to be supported by the 11 Arab votes, creating an exact balance between the left and the right.

The Centrists, who may ideologically go with either the left or the right but seems to be disinclined to work with Netanyahu again comprise of Yesh Atid, Hatnua and Kadimah (27 seats in all). They may well be joined by Israel Beiteinu, giving a centris-leftist Government a overwhelming victory (56 seats). Then there are the Jewish Orthodox parties (18 seats in all), who will support whichever leader will accord their sector the most financial and social advantages.

Such a balance of power means that no one party holds enough political sway to govern effectively. This forms a large part of the background of the present Government's collapse. The lack of a competent leader such as were Ben Gurion, Rabin, Begin, Sharon and Olmert who could lead by dint of personality creates a void no one has yet demonstrated the ability to fill, leaving the nation in a quandary.

In the upcoming elections, probably slated for March 2015, pundits expect Netanyahu to lose still more votes, as is expected of Livni, Lapid and Mofaz. 
A new player on the field is the newest upstart party led by Moshe Kahalon, whose electoral capacities are yet to be proven. He is expected to gain from the previously-mentioned losses. Extremist HaBait Ha'Yehudi is expected to gain.

Unless blocs are created previous to elections by the merging or by way of a binding agreement, it is unlikely that the political impasse will be resolved.

On the political level, what Israel needs at this time is strong, courageous statesmanship with a clear vision and the political wherewithal to accomplish it. Until emerges, no resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely and Israel is likely to limp from one ineffective Government to the next, its' international isolation increased, it's economy disaffected and its peace and security increasingly threatened.

Q&A: Is God Protecting Israel?

Brother Maoz

I get postings every day from an Israeli newsletter. Many times, like today, there was a graphic presentation of a hand protecting Israel with the words, in effect, "We have more than technology. We have God". This is just one in a long series of such postings that proclaim that God is protecting the land of Israel ...

As one goes through the O.T. it is plain to see that God did anything but protect your nation when it was unfaithful. Today, the people of Israel having rejected the Son of God are about as far from a relationship with God as a people can get [save the Muslims], yet they do constantly "claim" that He is doing battle for them ...

As one who lives in that country; who is a Jew but is a regenerated Christian, how do you respond to such proclamations?

Dear brother

My answer is not framed by my being Jewish or the fact that I live in Israel, although I am often faced with the kind of question you ask because both factors are true of me. My answer is framed, I hope, by the fact that I am a Christian and, as such, bound by God’s word.

As best I can tell from scripture, we have no grounds to say what God is or is not doing. All we can and must say is that when Israel (or anyone else) sins it has no right to expect God’s favor, protection or blessing. It certainly cannot validate it’s behavior on the grounds of God’s providences. God is sovereign over his grace (grace is, by definition, an exercise in sovereignty). If he chooses to show favor to sinners in one way or another, that is his prerogative.

Having said as much, allow me to add that God is truer though every many a liar. He has covenanted to save Israel from its sin. I therefore believe that day will come will a redeemer will come to Zion and turn ungodliness way from Jacob. As I stated above, by definition grace is an exercise in sovereignty.

In Christ by grace,

Baruch

 

 

The Recent MaozNews

2013-04-12   17:55:23

 

MaozNews No. 83 December 2014 

to access, click below 

 

In This Issue:

 A Feast of Lights, pg. 1

Political Developments in Israel, pg. 2

Tremellius, a Jewish theologian, pg. 3

Ministry and Family News, pg. 5


 

 

 

To read our most recent issue, or any backissues, please click on the link below this box

Breaking News

In Jerusalem, on three separate occasions Palestinian drivers have intentionally driven their vehicles onto sidewalks and train stations, killing and maiming Israeli pedestrians. In the process of one such attack yesterday, the driver then emerged from his car with a metal bar and attacked bystanders until shot by police. The Palestinian Authority's Spokesperson has described these incidents as "car crashes." Hamas, on the other hand, has hailed the assailants as martyrs for the cause and the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, paid condolence visits to the families of the attackers.

Seven Israeli Inventions That Changed Your Life

http://www.haaretz.com/life/science-medicine/1.612677
 
 
www.haaretz.com
www.haaretz.com
 
Testimonials

I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author

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Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi

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Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL

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Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL

For more, see below.

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