As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:3-5).
As the title states, this article is to address and refute the particular – and very serious – heresy of Amir Tsarfati and to also contribute to refuting others who teach similar heresies. Who is Amir Tsarfati – and why should I focus particular emphasis on his teaching? Amir was born in Israel where he has lived for most of his life. He serves as a major in the IDF Reserve. He is well spoken and has been a tour guide in Israel. He professes to believe in Jesus Christ and in 2001, he became the founder and president of a Bible teaching ministry, “Behold Israel”, which provides a particular emphasis of news and information about Israel. Amir sends out regular emails, called “Bible Bites -Devotionals”. I have responded to some of his “devotionals” and the “ministry care coordinator” of “Behold Israel” on one occassion replied to one of my emails saying, “We will have to agree to disagree agreeably.” It is unfortunately true that there are thousands of Christian denominations and that not all Christians agree on all points of doctrine and interpretation of the Scriptures and prophecy.
However, as I will show in this article, the heresy consistently taught by Amir Tsarfati through his ministry, “Behold Israel”, actually quite unwittingly contradicts and nullifies the gospel of Jesus the Messiah and the kingdom of God – which indeed, is a very serious heresy that needs to be exposed lest it lead immature and undiscerning Christians astray from the truth. Ironically, in his latest email, a subheading says, “Be good witnesses” which is the title of his YouTube video presentation.
The apostle Jude wrote, Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people (Jude verse 3).
In his latest email, Amir has taught multiple heresies, all of which need to be refuted and corrected. So, in order to be reliable witnesses of the gospel and ambassadors of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God, I urge you to bear with me in this article.
When Jesus appears from heaven in his majestic power and glory, those Christians who are still alive at his coming, will be transformed and caught up into the heavenly realm to appear with Jesus as he is, (glorified and immortal) – and come with him in his glory when he comes to put an end to all rebellion at the close of the present age. This was taught by the apostle Paul, specifically, in his first and second letters to the church of the Thessalonians:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11).
If we read Paul’s teaching, it is clear that the church, the believers who are still living at the time of his coming, will be caught up and transformed simultaneously at the time of his coming and at which time, he will also finally destroy all the rebellion of those who had refused to believe the gospel in the day of God’s salvation and mercy. (In other words, there will not be a so-called “secret rapture” followed by a “seven year” period of tribulation.)
There are false teachers, however, who suggest that the church will be “secretly raptured”, i.e. that the church will be “caught up” and taken into the heavenly realm, without people experiencing physical death some time, (i.e. seven years), before Jesus’ comes in his glory. In other words not, as the apostle Paul taught, at the very same time as Jesus’ coming in glory. (This teaching of the “rapture” is generally known as “pre-tribulation rapture”.) This is the first heresy taught by Amir (and many others upon which his other heresies are laid), which I will not refute in detail in this particular article.
Such (“pre-trib”) teachers, then suggest that after the “secret rapture”, there will be a further period of “seven years” during which they say there will be “the great tribulation”, (which they also suggest will be a time of testing for unbelieving “Israel” and the unbelieving nations who were “left behind” after “the secret rapture”). This is the second heresy taught by Amir (and many others), which they derive from a complete misquotation and gross misunderstanding of Daniel chapter 9. (I will not refute this heresy and misunderstanding of Daniel 9 in this article either. However, please see articles at these links The Tribulation and The Seventieth Week of Daniel).
As I have pointed out, Amir’s serious heresy is derived at by establishing his false teaching of one heresy upon the other. First, the heresy of a “secret rapture” supposedly before the actual coming of Jesus, secondly a “seven year” preiod of tribulation after Jesus has (supposedly) secretly snatched away the believers. But this brings me to the actual issue of of the heresy of Amir which I need to refute.
The whole ministry of “Behold Israel” suggests that God is going to judge the nations, either favourably by their allegiance to “Israel”, or with wrath, if they do not recognise and stand in solidarity with “Israel”. Hence the name of his organisation, “Behold Israel”. Typically, Dispensationalists teach that God has two chosen people, the nation of Israel, (comprised exclusively of those who claim to be Jews) and the church (comprised of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus the Messiah. They are called “Dispensationalists” because they suggest that God deals with his people in different ways and in various dispensations. They suggest God will deal with the church in one way through faith and eventually the rapture, after which, he will again, supposedly, deal exclusively with Israel.
According to the apostle Matthew, the prophecy of Hosea, which says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son”, which in Hosea also referred to the stubborn disobedience of the people of Israel, was actually fulfilled in the faithful obedience of Jesus when his parents had taken him as an infant to Egypt to escape the murderous intentions of King Herod (see Hosea 11:1-2).
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet (Hosea): “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:13-15).
As the Messiah, Jesus corporately represents the redeemed, faithful assembly of Israel – and in accord with Law and the teaching of Moses, as the apostles Peter and Paul affirmed, everyone who refuses to be reconciled to God through faith in the Messiah will be completely cut off from the holy nation of Israel for as long as they persist in their unbelief.
Furthermore, as was already taught by the Jews and the Prophets, any Gentile who became completely faithful to the God of Israel, would be fully counted among God’s holy nation, Israel, as if they had actually been born in Zion regardless as to what nation they had been born naturally of the flesh.
He has founded his city on the holy mountain. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, city of God: “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre , along with Cush— and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion” (Psalm 87:1-6).
Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant — to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer (Isaiah 56:3-7).
Through the example of Isaac, the son of God’s promise, God never intended that the natural descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be the exclusive members of his holy nation Israel – and not would their inclusion among the people of Israel be secured by circumcision in the flesh.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh — Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart (Jeremiah 9:25-26).
It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring (Romans 9:6-8).
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God (Romans 2:28-29).
Furthermore, (and this brings me to the main point of refutation of Amir’s heresy), we are counted as Jesus’ brothers and sisters, not through our natural birth in the flesh, (whether formerly Jew or gentile), but through being born again from above by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus who, as the King of kings, corporately represents the faithful, redeemed assembly of Israel – which is none other than the church from which unbelieving Jews remain cut off and into which, believing Gentiles are grafted.
If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:13-17).
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward” (Mark 9:41).
Regardless of what the false teachers suggest by their “red-herring” objection to so-called “replacement theology”, the church is comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles who are the Israel of God and Christians are brothers and sisters of Jesus because God has become their Father. The church has not replaced Israel – it is one body, one holy nation completely inclusive of believing Jews and Gentiles. Unbelieving Jews are cut off from the holy nation only while they persist in their unbelief.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6).
Amir Tsarfati, quotes from Matthew chapter 25, where Jesus spoke of separating the goats from the sheep. Amir suggests that the goats will be separated from the sheep only after the supposed “secret rapture of the church” and that the goats are the ones who did not bless those who claimed to be Jews but who had rejected Jesus the Messiah. Amir goes on to suggest that the “faithfulness” of unbelieving Gentiles, who had been “left behind” after the “secret rapture”, will be tested by how they act towards unbelieving Jews, who Amir also suggests are the legitimate brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Amir erroneously suggests that Jews in the flesh are the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:37-46).
A person is not a Jew who is circumcised in the flesh only. A person is not a Jew if they reject Jesus the Messiah and have not been born again of the same Spirit who lived in Jesus. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we say, “Abba, Father”.
Our allegiance and faithfulness is not required to those who claim to be Jews but who are not. Our faithfulness is to Jesus the Messiah in whom there is absolutely no former distinction between Jew or gentile.
It is not through being faithful particularly towards unbelieving Jews or any other persons in the flesh, that we will be saved and justified – it is through faith in Jesus through whom we are moved by the love of God towards all people, Jew or gentile, that we are justified and saved. If people accept Christians and their testimony and show kindness towards them as brothers and sisters of Jesus the Messiah, they will be blessed with Abraham the father figure of a multitude of people from all nations who share in his faith.
Jesus the King of kings said, “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:7-10).
However, what I have addressed thus far is not the full extent of Amir’s serious heresy by any means.
Amir teaches the following – and I quote:
Amir says: “We need to tell people that this time that is coming upon the whole world is a time prophesied by Daniel and is the final seven-year period pertaining to Daniel’s people and Holy City. (The Jews and Jerusalem)
“Zechariah 12:3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Amir says: “People need to know not to follow the world in their antisemitic actions and stand with the Jews, not against them. We also need to tell them how they treat the Jews during this time is evidence of where their heart is concerning ‘the salvation of our God and the Lamb.’
Amir says: “This should be a reminder to those awaiting the Rapture with the anticipation that our perspective on the Jews matters now, just as it will then. There is no place for antisemitism in the born again believers’ hearts and minds. There is no place for rejecting the modern nation of Israel as Biblical Israel brought back into the land in preparation for the 70th week of Daniel.
“Zechariah 12:10 ‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.’
Amir says: “This has not happened yet, and there is no way to allegorize its meaning. When Jesus came the first time, ‘He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.’ (John 1:11) That means when He comes again; the Jews will understand that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David. He is the Holy One of Israel. He is the Root of Jesse. He is the Child Born and the Son given, and they will mourn their rejection of Him.”
The Jewish people returned from the Babylonian exile at which time the “seventy ‘weeks'” of Daniel began – and it culminated in the making of the New Covenant by Jesus in the middle of the “seventieth ‘week'” which followed consecutively with the 69th ‘week’.
Amir introduces one heresy after the other which unwittingly nullifies the gospel.
When the people of Israel were gathered on the Day of Pentecost two-thousand years ago, God poured forth the Holy Spirit (of grace) upon the believers, (mostly Jewish). After the preaching of the gospel, about three thousand Jews, including many priests, believed and were baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. But Amir denies history and the fulfilment of prophecy, by suggesting in his reference to Zechariah 12:10, where the Lord promised to pour out the Spirit of grace upon his people, that “this has not happened yet”.
He also suggests that there is an indeterminable gap between the 69 and 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy which would make a very specific time period absolutely meaningless.
Furthermore, as may be noted in my short article on the “seventy ‘weeks’” of Daniel chapter 9, six things were to be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah and his making of the new covenant, which were indeed accomplished and are essential to the gospel which we preach. But Amir denies that the “seventy ‘weeks’”of Daniel were indeed precisely fulfilled with no interruption or “gap” period.
If anyone reading this article is aware of the teaching of Amir Tsarfati and his circle of influence, I encourage you to share the link to this article and this brief, but important refutation of his teaching.
If anyone wants to learn more about Daniel’s prophecy, or about the tribulation, the rapture, the millennium, etc., please visit the Messianic Good News web site and also The New Humanity Project web site or email me on either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.