What’s it like to live and share the Gospel in Israel? Find out with guest Avi Mizrachi along with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: October 14, 2023
Tim Moore: Welcome to Christ in Prophecy. I’m Tim Moore, the Senior Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries.
Nathan Jones: And I’m Nathan Jones, Internet Evangelist here at Lamb & Lion.
Tim Moore: Whenever I lead a pilgrimage group to Israel, we always spend two nights in Tel Aviv, the economic heart of the country located right on the Mediterranean Sea. Most pilgrim groups do not spend time in Tel Aviv. We go there because it is where the modern state of Israel was born on May 14th, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion read the Israeli Declaration of Independence. That momentous event just 75 years ago represents a miraculous fulfillment of Bible prophecy in our day and age.
Nathan Jones: Our pilgrims are always struck by the apparent contradiction of Tel Aviv. It is founded on sand dunes just over 100 years ago, but is now a bustling, modern city. And like New York City it is said that Tel Aviv never sleeps. You can see proof of that on the beaches of the city, they stay lively all night long. Even more jarring to many Christian pilgrims is the rank secularism of Tel Aviv. Only an hour from Jerusalem, greater Tel Aviv is the largest city in Israel. It is also overwhelmingly irreligious. Most Jews living there commemorate Yom Kippur and Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays but without any real belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Tim Moore: But as Elijah came to realize, even when paganism and disbelief is the ideology of the majority, God always preserves a remnant who are faithful to Him. Thankfully, He raised up one such man to be a light in the darkness of Tel Aviv. Our guest today is Avi Mizrachi, an Israeli Jew, a Sabra who became a follower of Yeshua or Jesus Christ during a visit to America. I’ll let him tell you that story in a moment. But first, Avi, welcome to Christ in Prophecy.
Avi Mizrachi: Thank you. Shalom!
Tim Moore: We are so glad you are here.
Tim Moore: Well, Avi I’ve got to tell you, I gave you our viewers, a brief introduction to your testimony. But tell us briefly how a cynical Jew from Israel came to be a follower of our Jewish Messiah.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, well, I was born and raised in Israel. And my parents came to Israel 1948 from Bulgaria. So I was raised in a Jewish home, finished high school, joined the army and four years in the Israeli Air Force, finished that, and done my duty in my country. And then I wanted to come to America to explore America. I was lost in sin. So I want to go to every discotheque in town, every nightclub. I had plans to go to Las Vegas and gamble, become rich. So, but God had another plan for my life. And on my way to Las Vegas, I stopped to visit my sister in Florida. She used to live, she and her husband used to live in Florida. By then she’s a born again believer, and she invited me to go with her to church, to a Baptist Church, and that’s where I found the Lord.
Nathan Jones: How did you then feel called to go back to Israel, especially Tel Aviv, and start planting churches and other ministries, particularly called Dugit? And maybe you can tell us what Dugit means.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, ministry Dugit, in Hebrew Dugit means a small fishing boat. We are fishers of men like you see on the cup here. So. Well, when I got saved, and got married, I want to go to Bible school. So I came here to Dallas for two years of Bible study and Bible college. And when I finished that I thought to stay in Texas. You know, I like to stay in Texas and drive these big American cars.
Nathan Jones: Get a pickup.
Avi Mizrachi: But I prayed. I took a day of fasting, praying, seeking the Lord what He wants me to do. And the Lord spoke to me very clearly, He said, “What are you doing here? Pick up your bags and go back home.” And when the Lord said this, you know, I was in the Army, I said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Yes.” So we packed our bags, finished Bible school, my wife and I went back home to Tel Aviv because that’s home. And I knew I wanted to do one thing preach the gospel and make disciples. And that’s how we started this coffeehouse, this evangelistic center. We will go out to the streets with a guitar, talking to people on the beach and share that there’s hope in the Messiah. There’s Good News, Yeshua has risen from the dead. And that’s how people start coming to the Lord.
Tim Moore: You know, when people go to Tel Aviv, they’re struck because Tel Aviv is almost a sense of New York City, San Francisco and Las Vegas rolled into one, a very secular place. And yet when we come to Israel with our pilgrim groups, we love to come to Dugit and go to your prayer tower, which is located in a high rise overlooking the city, and emphasizing that really we’re not here just to look at dead stones, as you’ve said, but to pray for lost souls. And there are so many right there, Jewish souls gathered in Tel Aviv.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, that’s right. Tel Aviv is very secular. It’s also Tel Aviv, Jaffa. And also it’s the gate. You know, the international airport is there. And many years before that in Ancient Israel of course Jaffa was the port for countries to Israel. And many people go there, then they miss it, they run to Jerusalem, which is just another hour drive up the mountains. And that’s fine they want to see Jerusalem. But where most of the people live is really the Tel Aviv area, the whole center of Israel, and more than 3 million Jews live right there. And that’s where the harvest is. And that’s where people are very open. And that’s the reason, I was born and raised here, so for me this is my hometown. But I believe that’s where the harvest is, and that’s why we are excited to reach out to our own Israelis with the Good News.
Nathan Jones: And you must have seen a change over, I mean, just, you know, Tim and I have been back and forth to see it grow exponentially like it is. One of our guides once joked that the city’s bird was the crane because you have so many cranes all over the place. And so when they started building the high rises and you got that tower and you pray over everybody, do you see as more and more people seem to make Aliyah and move into Tel Aviv and growing that there’s a reception to Messianic Judaism?
Avi Mizrachi: Well, I would say that the people are today much more open to the good news of the Gospel than they were years before. And I believe it’s because we have wonderful Christians praying for us. And people also, you know, we live in a very stressful world, wars we have and all and life is very expensive in Tel Aviv. You know Tel Aviv has become you know, you think about 110 years ago there was nothing, just desert and sand and look at this city. And now it’s become one of the most expensive city in the world to live in. You can Google it, the most expensive city and Tel Aviv will show up. So it’s a challenge. You know, it’s very the cost of living is very, very high. But yet it’s a lot of young people. It’s the city of the young people. And then the business center, the stock exchange, the diamond center, the headquarters of the army, our Pentagon is in Tel Aviv. So everything is in Tel Aviv. Of course, our government the Knesset, the parliament is in Jerusalem, but everything else is in Tel Aviv. And people are very open because they are searching, seeking. And we know that New Age cannot satisfy them. Nothing can satisfy them. But only Yeshua.
Tim Moore: You know, when we go, I try to impress upon our pilgrims that whether in Israel, and obviously we’re only there for a period of time, the odds that we’re going to meet someone and develop a relationship is limited. But even as they come home, whether it’s a Jew from Israel, whether it’s a Jewish person living here in the United States, I tell them, seek a Jew, pray for the Lord to allow you to cross paths with one Jew. Because you’re one Jew who came to know the Lord and now is having tremendous impact in Tel Aviv. You’ve told us stories about other individual Jews, and that’s the way God works. So we encourage our pilgrims to pray, not just for the peace of Jerusalem and for Israel in a generic general sense, but ask the Lord to impress upon your heart one person to focus your prayers on because obviously when Jesus came to Jerusalem, He said the city did not recognize the time of its visitation. And we want to focus our prayers so that one Jew recognizes the Lord God in the person of Jesus Christ.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, I believe in praying specific prayers, and I totally agree with you. And I believe the more we see believers praying for Israel, yes, and praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Yes. But also praying that it will come to salvation, that the Prince of Peace will reign and rule in their heart.
Tim Moore: Amen.
Nathan Jones: You were on this program last year and you gave an interesting statistic. You said there’s about 7 million Jews of the 14 million or so in the world now living in Israel, but only 20,000 are Messianic Jews, according to your estimate. Do you still say that’s the number?
Avi Mizrachi: Yes.
Nathan Jones: So it’s a really small minority.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah. The way I look at it is look at what God did, you know, I became a believer 39 years ago, almost 40 years ago. So I remember 40 years ago, 39 years ago, we were a few hundred believers. So what God has done in the last 30 years is tremendous. We’ve seen more and more Jews and Arabs coming to the Lord, but we are not satisfied. I want to see more and more Jews and Arabs coming to the Lord.
Tim Moore: Well, before we talk about some of the aspect of the Jews and Arabs, because I want to explore that. I know of late Israel has been under threat of attacks. Matter of fact, it was attacked by the terrorist in Gaza, specifically the Islamic Brotherhood. And sometimes Israel does not sense that the United States at least our current administration, is very supportive. So what is the perception of Israeli Jews as to the threat that exists nearby and far away and to their relationship with America?
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah. Well, first of all, in Israel, we know very well that our best ally is America. There’s no question about it. Regardless of who is leading it, America is our best friend. And also, I believe now in the government and also most of the Israelis, they know our best friends are Evangelicals. So praise God that now we have come to a place where more and more Israelis are realizing there is wonderful Christians, Evangelicals who love Israel. And for example, everybody still remembers President Trump because he promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem and he did. I mean, he’s the only prior president who promised and did it. So definitely Israelis we love Americans, and we love America, and we thank God for standing with us in such a time.
Nathan Jones: Jan Markell at one of our conferences a few years ago gave this fantastic presentation where she showed the support of each administration since the 1950s. And it was really eye opening to me that it didn’t matter if it was Republican or Democrat, actually, some of the Democratic presidents were more pro-Israel than the Republicans, which is interesting. But one of the things that we get in the ministry all the time when they want to go on an Israel tour with Tim, is it a dangerous place to live? I mean, there’s missiles flying all over. Tim, you were just over there while Operation Shield and Arrow was going on. What do you tell people that want to visit Israel or even make Aliyah to Israel about the safety of living in Israel?
Avi Mizrachi: Yes, I feel very safe in Israel. In fact, many times here I don’t feel safe in America.
Tim Moore: For good reason I would say.
Avi Mizrachi: I’ll give you just a simple example. Years ago I went to visit my friend as a pastor in Chicago, and I spoke the Sunday night and I like ice cream. So after the services, “Pastor, let’s go downtown and have a nice ice cream.” And he goes, “Oh, no.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Oh, its too dangerous, we cannot go downtown Chicago for an ice cream at midnight, late at night.” And I was like, “Why not? We can do it in Tel Aviv. It’s very safe.” And this is how I feel as an Israeli, you have more shooting in America, than in Israel, so what’s the problem?
Tim Moore: Sad, but a good point.
Avi Mizrachi: But again, you know, we have terrorists. We cannot say we don’t have terrorists, but we take care of them.
Tim Moore: Yes, you do. As a matter of fact, in this most recent, you know, attack series of attacks by Islamic Brotherhood, obviously Israel responded. The sad thing to me is that the United States, United Nations, other nations always ask Israel to exercise restraint or to stop attacking the poor people in Gaza, even though it is those terrorist in Gaza that are targeting Israel. And Israel is very careful to isolate its targets, instead of shooting indiscriminately like the terrorists do, Israel only goes after the actual perpetrators of violence and wickedness.
Avi Mizrachi: That’s true. That’s true. In fact, I’d like to share this like we have a dear friend, Pastor Michael Beener. He’s a leader of a messianic organization in the city of Sderot, which is about two miles from the Gaza Strip. And, you know, from the 9th to the 13th of May, just a month ago, we had them shooting all the terrorists from Gaza into Israel, about 1,500, 1,500 rockets in 4 or 5 days. Can you imagine? 400 rockets every day. And the reason I share this because Michael, my friend Michael, he lives in Sderot, he said when they hear pop-pop-pop, and they know the sound goes off they have 20 seconds to run to the bomb shelter. Can you imagine living this every day for 4 or 5 days? And I asked him, “How do you handle this?” He said, “Well, I take my wife and my family when we are at home, we just stay in the bomb shelter. Because it’s not enough time to run to the bomb shelter, so we stay in the bomb shelter. If we go out, we just pray that we can do the grocery shopping and come home. And we live, he basically slept with this with his children in the bomb shelter. Because he said it’s the whole night boom, boom, boom.” I’m like, “How can you live this with this?” But this is because they shoot at innocent civilians. And then our Air Force, when they find out who shot they go specifically and bomb the terrorists and the launchers.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Avi Mizrachi: But we don’t go after the people.
Tim Moore: No, of course not. And the other thing that a lot of folks don’t realize, even our pilgrims didn’t realize Israel has allowed Gazans to come back into Israel on work visas. So this claim that Israel has occupied Gaza, the United Nations still considers Gaza to be occupied. It is not. Israel actually provides their food, their medicine, their fuel.
Nathan Jones: Their electricity.
Tim Moore: Yeah. And even when fuel is very limited supply, it’s amazing how the government officials and the terrorists always have plenty of gas, plenty of material, but the poor people there oftentimes are not provided for. And yet Israel does try to provide even jobs. Why in the world this satanic hatred inspires some to resort to terrorism is beyond our comprehension? But that’s exactly what it is, it is satanic.
Avi Mizrachi: That’s true. That’s very true.
Nathan Jones: I remember in 2005 when George W. Bush pushed this two state solution and pulled the Jewish people out of the Gaza Strip and immediately the Gazans leveled all the economy there and made it a basically a military zone to attack Israel. But the only power plant that was powering all of Gaza was on Israel’s side. And when Israel said it’s time for you to pay your bill, you know, they threw a fit, and it’s all these evil Israelis are trying to charge us for electricity. So Israel’s been providing electricity since 2005, free to the Gazan people and the world don’t know that. Israel always seems to get the bad rap. The Arabs are masters of P.R. What is it like to live in Israel and always know that Satanically, as Tim says, the world hates you and for no really good reasons?
Avi Mizrachi: Well, it definitely puts a lot of stress. When you live in Israel. I mean, it’s nice when, you know, people come as tourists and stay in hotel and tour around, it’s beautiful. But those who live there every day, the stress level is a lot. And we are and of course, our soldiers are doing a great job watching our borders so that we don’t have any terrorists trying to infiltrate like just happened just a couple of days ago.
Tim Moore: Egypt.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, Egyptian he was a policeman. He came in with a gun with soldiers, he starts shooting and killed three Israeli soldiers for no reason. He was a terrorist.
Tim Moore: And a beautiful young lady, too.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah. So it’s like it shows you that, yeah, it’s a challenge. But, you know, we trust in the Lord, He who keepeth Israel shall not slumber nor sleep. And I can tell you, the angels in Israel are working very hard for 24/7.
Tim Moore: Well, the angels are working very hard, obviously, a lot of people think about the Israeli Defense Force, about your tremendous intelligence agencies keeping an eye on Iran and other threats around the world. But the Bible says someday every nation will come against Israel, come against Jerusalem specifically and the Jewish people. And it says a coalition from Gog, a land way up to the north, we think, is Russia will come against Israel. And yet even the United States will fail. The IDF will not be sufficient. And so the Lord will supernaturally protect Israel. And only following that when the vast majority of the Jews well, when the Jews themselves cry out, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonia,” Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, will Jesus return. So there’s worse days coming, but we know that God in His glorious plan, will protect and preserve a great remnant of the Jewish people.
Avi Mizrachi: And it’s amazing because you see what has happened in the last few years. Those countries have become allies like Russia, Iran, Syria.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Avi Mizrachi: I mean, it’s all there ready to come from the north.
Nathan Jones: The Gog Magog Coalition is forming. Interesting.
Tim Moore: Well, we’ve said and to quote Jan Markel again, the world is not just falling to pieces, the pieces are falling in place. Proving that the signs of the times are converging and the Rapture of the church is imminent. And then the return of Jesus is also soon to follow. And the Church being Jew and Gentile alike. But I want to explore one other aspect that you’ve already touched on, and that is the healing power of the Gospel to a Jewish heart, to a Gentile heart, to an Arab heart. So tell us about some of the interaction you have with Arab pastors and Christians there in Israel and even here in America.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, definitely. God is working. God is working and the kingdom of God is expanding in Israel, especially among the Jewish and Arab. So as you shared earlier, we have more than 9 million people living in Israel today, more than 7 million Jews and a million and a half Arabs, Arab Israelis. And we see congregations coming, growing up among the Jewish people, and the Arab people. And we’ve had many meetings where Jews and Arabs will come together and pray together.
Tim Moore: Praise the Lord.
Avi Mizrachi: For example, we had a classic meeting in Nazareth about ten years ago. And I’d like to share a little bit about that.
Tim Moore: Please.
Avi Mizrachi: They rented a big hall the Arab believers in Nazareth. You know, it’s mostly Arab in Nazareth, in the Galilee. And they had a time of worship and they invited us to come. And after they had time of worship, they said, we want to take time to pray for one another. But before that, one of the Arab leaders said, “I’m a pastor, but I want to identify and I want to repent for the Arab world, who want to kill you.”
As Jewish people, so we the Jewish people came onto the stage and said, “We forgive you. We love you. We are your brothers.” Then I said, I came as a Jew, and said, “Yes, and as a Jew many times maybe we the Israelis have treated you as a second class and please forgive us.” And he stood there and he forgave us. So, it’s like we identified the sin of our people and here as believers, we were able to forgive one another, pray for one another. And then we felt from the Lord to wash each other’s feet. And then we took communion together. In the end of this 2-3 hours meeting. After we have done this, the presence of God was so strong and beautiful. And then we decided, both teams, the Jewish and Arab got together and started worshiping. And we started holding hands and we started dancing in the hall together, worshiping the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Claiming there’s only one Lord. And this is what God is doing with the local body in Israel, Jewish and Arab coming together as one, welcoming the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Tim Moore: Amen.
Nathan Jones: In preparation for that, some people get confused. They think we’ll okay the Messianic Jewish people, they somehow disconnect them from being part of the Church. But when the Rapture happens, you’re going up to Heaven. There’s going to be no Messianic Jews left in Israel, at least for the first few minutes, I think probably quite a lot after that. What is Dugit doing to help prepare the Jewish people to bring about the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the Jews to come to Christ as their savior? Well we know that one-third of the Jewish people by the end of the Tribulation will be saved. I know we here at Lamb & Lion Ministries believe our biggest ministry will probably be after the Rapture with all the materials we leave behind.
Avi Mizrachi: Well, that’s one way of looking at things. So, if I may say, if the Rapture happens I’m ready, but if the Rapture does not happen, I’m still ready. So that’s one of the things that I put in front of me. I want to see all the 9 million Israelis who live in the land of Israel coming to salvation.
Tim Moore: Amen.
Avi Mizrachi: And I believe that’s, I believe that as the Scriptures says in Romans all of Israel, my heart’s desire and prayer, that all Israel will be saved. And that’s my goal and that’s what I want to see happen. And it’s a challenge. And but I tell you, it’s a powerful testimony for a secular Jew or even a religious Jew. And when they see a Jew and an Arab where they used to hate each other, but now they love one another and they support one another and pray together. That’s a very powerful testimony.
Tim Moore: Sure is.
Avi Mizrachi: This is what God is doing in Israel. And we want to thank you guys, you know, in America, and all the wonderful Evangelical Christians praying for us, for such a time as this.
Tim Moore: Well, we have many friends who have powerful testimonies and we’ve seen God transform lives, Jew, Arab, Gentile, He is no respecter of background or ethnicity, but He wants all to come to faith. And so we know the Rapture is going to happen. But as you said, until it does, we have to be about His business. Our friend Olivier Melnick makes a point, he said, “The Lord didn’t say how many Jews would be left. He just says that there’s a percentage who would perish and a percentage who would become believers.” So we want the number to dwindle because more and more have joined the Church and are raptured out of the world. But you talked about some of the pushback even that you would get as a Messianic Jew, how difficult it is to make Aliyah to Israel if you identify as a follower of Yeshua. And even from your own heritage, your family from Bulgaria, you have a powerful testimony about how a Messianic believer follower of Christ partnering with a Gentile follower of Christ helped save people, Jewish people in Bulgaria.
Avi Mizrachi: Yeah, that’s very true. You see, I was born in Israel but my parents came to Israel from Bulgaria. And they went, especially my father he was from Sophia, Bulgaria he went through the during the Second World War and all the persecution and the Holocaust. And it’s amazing because that during the Second World War II Bulgaria was like an ally to Germany and to Hitler, and they agreed to give all the 50,000 Jews from Bulgaria to the Nazis to be killed and be slaughtered in Auschwitz and Treblinka.
So what’s amazing in all of this, there is beautiful story of this bishop of the Orthodox Church by the name of Stefan and who was a believer and a lover of Israel. And there was this orthodox Rabbi Daniel Zion, who had a vision of Jesus and became a believer. And then they decided together, to work together to influence the King Boris, the king of Bulgaria and the Parliament, not to give the Jews to the Nazis into the trains, to go Auschwitz. And it’s a known fact that in 1943, during the Second World War, when Hitler sent three times, he sent the trains to Sofia to collect the Jews, three times those trains went back home empty with no Jews. And all the Jews in Bulgaria were saved from going to the Holocaust.
Tim Moore: Praise the Lord. You know, I think that’s a beautiful testimony, Avi, because we think Eastern Orthodox, they may not be evangelical, but this man loved the Lord. He loved the Jewish people. And then you think of the Orthodox Jew, Daniel Zion, whose name means Zion, and he became a follower of Yeshua. And together because of their shared faith in Yeshua, our Jewish Messiah, they were able to intercede for 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria, including your own parents.
Avi Mizrachi: Yes, otherwise I would not be here today.
Tim Moore: Well, the Lord had a plan. And the fact that He raises up individuals. So folks, I say again, if you don’t already know a specific Jew, pray that the Lord will send one your way. Somebody like Avi. If you do know a specific Jew or several, start naming them by name in your prayers that the Lord would intercede in their lives and perhaps give you the opportunity to share your faith in your Jewish Messiah. Because whether it is Avi, whether it is his growing family in Tel Aviv or someone living close to you, the Lord wants all to come to believe in faith in Yeshua, Jesus Christ, our Jewish Messiah.
Avi Mizrachi: Amen.
Tim Moore: Avi, any other words for our viewers today? How can they get in touch with you and all the wonderful things happening at Dugit?
Avi Mizrachi: Well, they can go to our website: www.dugit.org there is information there. And pray for us, definitely we need your prayers. Without prayers, nothing happens. And so we just want to thank you for your prayers and for your support.
Tim Moore: Well, I want to thank you for your friendship. I am so blessed. Nathan and I, all of us at Lamb & Lion Ministries by our relationship with Dugit and with you personally. And so may the Lord continue to touch many lives in Tel Aviv and around the world through your ministry, Avi.
Avi Mizrachi: Thank you.
Tim Moore: Godspeed. I hope you will join us next week. But until then, pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the salvation of a specific Jew. And pray that you will see the Lord coming soon and very soon. Godspeed.
End of Program