God's Miracles Through the Adventist Jewish Congregation
By Al Reimche, David Cairns & Alexander "Sasha" Bolotnikov
Did you know that the Oregon Conference supports a new congregation in the Vancouver area? This week I talked with two leaders in this new congregation and was blessed with the stories that came from a recent series of meetings that took place at Beit Shalom Balevav. I asked them to write down some experiences and here is that report.
“I attended Conservative Synagogues since my childhood! Every Yom Kippur I was making sure that my synagogue dues [were] paid and the fees for the seat during the High Holidays were covered, but I have never heard such a clear Biblical explanation of the Day of Atonement.” It is for people like Jacob, that Beit Shalom Balevav: Jewish-Adventist Congregation (House of Peace in the Heart) conducted a mini-series last week dedicated to Jewish High holidays, Rosh HaShanah (the feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur. The congregation meets in a rented facility, a simple store front. They moved into this facility last May after Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Bolotnikov conducted the evangelistic program "The Gospel Through the Eyes of a Jew." More than 65 people attended the meetings conducted on Wednesday, Friday and Sabbath each week. Dr. Bolotnikov is an evangelist for the Oregon Conference, and coordinates Jewish ministries in the area. He also directs the Shalom Learning Center, a training center of the North American Division that teaches Adventists how to reach the Jewish people.
The mini-series “Shofars of Judgment” which started in September, covers subjects that are not usually discussed in depth at regular evangelistic series or in weekly church services, but are vital for the understanding of the Three Angels’ Message. Topics, such as the pre-advent judgment, the cleansing of the sanctuary, and mystery of atonement, require serious attention to the Biblical text. Nevertheless, these are issues that Jews are thinking about during the season of the High Holidays. Our miniseries, accompanied by traditional Jewish customs, such as the blowing of the Shofar (ram’s horn), and eating apples with honey during potluck and in no way constituted an attempt to literally fulfill the Levitical Law. However, these days of interconnected study and tradition provided many “aha” moments for both Jews and non-Jews alike.
Jacob’s wife, Sandy, had been an evangelical Christian all her life. It was an eye-opening experience for her to discover in the Bible the truth that the atonement began at the cross, but will end when Jesus, our High Priest, will finish his intercessory work in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Temple. She had never heard anything like it in her 50+ years!
Carry, a Jewish woman, had been a member of the Adventist church for some time. Unfortunately, the lack of flexibility and understanding of Jewish culture by some Adventist churches and evangelists had driven her away from Adventism and she started to attend a Messianic congregation. “It was divine inspiration that I called the conference last week and talked to Stan Beerman. From him I have learned that the conference supports Jewish ministry, and so I came to your meetings”.
Linda began to attend our Beit Shalom Bal evav congregation right after the evangelistic program in April. She told Dr. Bolotnikov that for many years she had not attended an Adventist church. Only after this mini-series did she come forward and admit that she left the church right at the height of Ford’s controversy over the doctrine of the sanctuary. She said that nobody could explain to her the Adventist teaching from a Biblical perspective. Linda is happy to admit that now she is able to connect the dots.
This exciting report is just a small sample of what God is doing all over our conference. Please join us in praying for the progress of the Jewish Adventist work as well as other evangelistic series happening throughout our conference.