FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS ABOUT US Who or What is Heart of God Israel? Heart of God Israel is a member of the Heart of God International Ministries (HGIM) network. HGIM is a 501c3 not-for-profit tax exempt volunteer organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and staffed predominately by volunteers with the exception of a few self-employed contractors to handle some specialized business and administrative work. Can you give me some background on Heart of God Israel? We’d be glad to! Heart of God Israel was born in the hearts of HGIM’s co-founders with the purpose of providing a means of officially reaching out to Israel and the Jewish people while giving a voice to our Messianic leaders who represent a balanced approach to life as believers in Yeshua as revealed through the Torah. Does HGIM Represent a Particular Denomination? While HGIM is a Christian organization, we are a non-denominational organization made up of believers in Jesus Christ from a variety of traditional and non-traditional backgrounds. It has been our experience and remains our goal to use this unique approach to ministry to bring greater unity to the Body of Christ, rising above denominational barriers so the emphasis of both word and action is on the purity of the Gospel and not the name of any particular denomination. HGIM does not not adhere to a specific denominational mindset or doctrinal background but rather uses the Scripture as the sole and infallible basis for teaching, instruction, and training in righteousness. As such, we embrace a Scripturally balanced perspective of Hebraic teaching while understanding and appreciating the origin of of the Scriptures, the culture during which they were penned, and the importance of understanding the context of the New Testament through Hebraic interpretation. ABOUT HEBRAIC TEACHING What is Hebraic teaching and why is it important? Don’t let the term scare you! Hebraic teaching is simply a means by which we learn how to interpret the Word of God through the lifestyle and culture of the Jewish people during the time the Scriptures were written. If you can imagine trying to explain an iPod or cell phone to your great-grandparents, you realize they have no context with which to identify the words you’re using. It is the same way with the ancient Scriptures but backwards! Reading the words written mostly by Jews living in the Middle East thousands of years ago, you soon realize they make reference to things that were common to them (like the iPod or cell phone to us) but which have no contextual meaning for us thousands of years later, living in a different culture, reading in a totally different language. So, to gain a rich and revelatory understanding of the Scriptures, we need to understand the context in which they were written. Once we do, the Word of God literally explodes with deep and rich meaning — not necessarily different, but rich with understanding through the lens of ancient Hebraic culture and life in the eras before, during, and immediately after the temple. Why don’t our Bibles use Hebraic terms? Our English Bibles do a wonderful job of expounding on the Word through a translation (or a series of translations) from the original texts. In order to keep them faithful to our contemporary Western culture and understanding, the words (names and phrases, especially) have also been translated. Sadly, a lot of symbolism and depth is lost during this process — the words may be easier to read and more familiar to us, but the simple fact that Hebraic words and names are all rich with meaning. How does the Hebraic translate into non-English languages? This is a good question! It is said that ancient Hebrew is the language of heaven. God is the God of all peoples and His Word is not exclusive to the English-speaking. The Hebrew alphabet has had some major overhauls in the last several millennia, so much so that the modern Hebrew language would hardly be recognizable to an ancient Hebraic scribe. That said, however, the basis for all Hebraic teaching would translate into non-English languages just as easily as it is translated into English. The truth found in the Scriptures is non-exclusive and available to all. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” If anyone, regardless of their mother-tongue, seeks Him with all their heart, they will find Him. What a glorious thought! What a loving Father! ISRAEL TOURS Do you take groups to Israel? Although we do not have a date set in stone at this time, initial plans are being made to take another group to Israel in mid-2014, and hopefully on a regular basis thereafter. What makes your tours different? Our first tour group to Israel was quite unique in many ways. Soldiers Bible Ministry, another ministry of HGIM, arranged the tour from a military perspective. Learning more about the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gives you a greater appreciation for the rich history of Israel, the victories won, the pain of loss and defeat, and the nearly tangible hand of God that has been seen when it seemed all hope was lost. Emphasis on Israel’s military history, however, was only one highlight of the trip, however. Our group joined an excavation team at the City of David National Park, working side-by-side with seasoned archaeologists, sifting through ruins from the Second Temple era, etc. Additionally, each member of the tour group spent time touring the Old City, Galilee, Capernium, the Mt. of Olives, the Garden Tomb, and much, much more. You can be sure a tour with us will be unique and NOT your typical Israel tour! Can you share your experiences from previous tours? While our first tour of Israel was basically exploratory, learning how to set up a tour, what to see, what to do, where things were relative to each other, the high points, the low points, the places where security might be an issue, etc., we had many wonderful experiences. Eating at the local kosher restaurants, walking through the marketplaces, dealing with the local merchants, wading through Hezekiah’s Tunnel for 45 minutes, watching the sights and sounds … it was an incredible sensory experience that made the Scriptures come alive. It’s now easy to imagine David hiding in the cleft of a rock. It’s easy to see Jesus standing in the synagogue teaching. The distance between key places in the Bible amazed each of us as we thought of walking the distance through the hot and dry desert land. It would be impossible to isolate one experience as it was all too incredible to describe! FUTURE PLANS What are your plans and goals for this ministry? The temptation is to tell you everything that NEEDS to be done rather than limiting our plans and goals to what we are CALLED to do! Right now, our goal is to: Build the Hebraic teaching ministry on this website while encouraging two-way dialog between our teacher(s) and our visitors; Build an awareness of the political and social issues in Israel with the purpose of developing a prayer team targeting the unique needs represented by Israel and the Jewish people; Build a network of financial support in order to meet specific humanitarian needs of those who have been sorely oppressed and displaced as a result of the ongoing battle of the ages between God’s chosen people and those who have set their minds to bring destruction and division to the Promised Land and people; and Establish ongoing ministry of key individuals assigned to minister in Israel who can be the hands, feet, and mouthpieces of this ministry in Israel on an ongoing basis. Where will the resources come from? HGIM (along with its growing network) is totally donor-funded, governed by a highly-qualified, passionately-called, and sacrificially committed volunteers. Some of these volunteers are business owners and full-time employees, devoting a huge portion of their free time to direct the ministries, raise funding, speak to churches and organizations, build awareness, promote and otherwise perform labors of love to ensure the ongoing and ongrowing opportunities associated with HGIM. We depend on our friends and constituents for support to fund this ministry. In today’s economy, it is particularly interesting that God has continued to expand our outreach, meeting every unique need in His time, in His way. To get involved in resourcing this ministry, please visit our Donation page and set up your one-time or recurring gift to Heart of God Israel and/or any other HGIM member ministry. Your gifts are 100% tax deductible and are extremely appreciated.