Let me start with a
story about the Ruach Hakodesh.
It's also a story about a Jewish
man--we'll call him Ralph.
I hadn't seen Ralph
for over six months. I was sitting in my office one day in New York
City. I had piles of books all around me and a mountain of work in
which I was all set to plunge. Then, without any warning, the Ruach
Hakodesh suddenly shut me down.
Like turning off a switch.
Like pulling the plug on a machine. The Holy Spirit just shut me
down. I just sat there.
I just sat
unplugged. All shut down.
I had all these
other plans for the day. I was itching to start working.
It was no use.
I had no choice.
What about Ralph?
Call him? I
have nothing to say to him.
I had all this other
stuff to do and that was the last thing I wanted to do when I came into
the office. It was not on my mind at all. And now I saw I had
no choice, because the Ruach Hakodesh was shutting me down.
Do I have to call
I dug around and
found Ralph's phone number, wondering what in the world I was going to say
to him, since it was not MY idea at ALL to call him and he was a very busy
and important man, not to be casually interrupted with a gratuitous phone
I found the phone
number and began dialing long distance. I could hear Ralph's phone
ringing on the other end of the line.
When he answered,
what in the world was I supposed to say?
The phone was still
Then Ralph was on
the line. I remember he muttered something.
Then the Holy Spirit
gave me the words. It was a question.
Ralph was still on
I remember exactly
how the question was worded.
Ralph, "which is
better: to work through
this [depression]...I mean pray and fast and meditate on the Scriptures and go over to [I
mentioned a messianic
synagogue I had helped to plant] and seek the L-rd [I could have mentioned
Isaiah 55:6 but I
didn't].....OR...[I remember I said this very gently and softly, and he
knew that I loved him, I had flown on a plane more than once just to see
him]...OR...take a gun and blow your brains out and go to hell? Which is better?"
...[the L-rd wants to know, Ralph...which is better?]
Actually it was the
L-rd Who wanted to know. That morning, workaholic that I am, all I wanted
to know up to that point was, to be truthful, When do I get to stop all
this and go to work, L-rd? But, now, right at this moment, I was in the Spirit and
really it was the L-rd actually asking Ralph the question. And then Ralph
muttered something again and wanted to get off the phone.
A couple of days
later a messianic Jewish
lady, calling from her home after she stopped by the funeral home, left a
message on my answering machine saying something like..."I know you were a
good friend of his and thought you would want to know that [Ralph] took
his life and we are all very sad here."
You say, "Phil, if
you knew he had already acquired a gun and had been planning this suicide
for sometime, why didn't you contact his family or the police or do
something to save his life?"
I didn't know
anything of the sort. You have to understand that I am a Pentecostal and
the word of knowledge is not a parlor trick but a "ministry emergency"
tool and that tool the L-rd throws me sometimes in a crisis, and you also
have to understand that this kind of thing had never happened before in
all my years of ministry. Know also that I am something of a workaholic
and the L-rd only three times in my life has literally shut me down,
unplugging me in a kind of spiritual suspended animation, wherein He tells
me things I otherwise could not know, and on this particular day I had a
mountain of work I desperately wanted to jump into doing, and the L-rd
hung me out there in my spirit and would not let me do anything until I
picked up that phone and got the call over with that He insisted that I
make. So the Ruach Hakodesh suddenly pulled my plug and would not let me
proceed with any of my workaholic plans for the day until I made a phone
call which I didn't plan to make and which I had no idea what I was
supposed to say (I had no prior knowledge that he was depressed or
suicidal and he had never indicated that to me at any time since I had
known him) and I did not know what I was going to say on the phone until
the unpremeditated words came out of my mouth. (Mk 13:11)
But let's forget about
me. Let's talk about the L-rd. Answer me this one question. What more
could the L-rd do for Ralph? The L-rd had helped us start a messianic synagogue near
Ralph had seen me do
a complete performance
of THE RABBI FROM TARSUS. I had personally taken Ralph to a Bible
Bookstore to buy him a Bible (I couldn't get him a copy of THE ORTHODOX JEWISH BIBLE
because it wasn't finished yet). And now moments before he committed
suicide, the Ruach Hakodesh had supernaturally warned him.
What more could the L-rd
do for Ralph?
Instead of judging just
ME, why don't you also stand in judgment of the Anti-Moshiach activists
that have nothing better to do with their time than to discourage these
"Ralph's" from salvation?
They can't wait until
they've found them and "de-programmed" them and discouraged them from
their faith. I was trying to build up Ralph's faith. They want
to tear it down.
When will these
Anti-Moshiach activists realize that they are fighting the Ruach
One day in the
spring of 1994 I was working upstairs in the back of Beth Shalom.
During a period of stalking, intimidation, harassment, and other types of
religious persecution, the Anti-Moshiach activists had damaged my van (one
Beth Shalom van was fire-bombed years before) and stolen my car and I had
a rental car replacement parked on Coney Island Ave across the street from
It was Sunday,
(April 10th, 1994, around 8 o'clock in the morning.) Suddenly the Holy Spirit shut me down.
He pulled my plug. I was like a machine switched off. It was exactly as I
described above with Ralph. The same suspended animation. Precisely the
same phenomenon. This has only happened three or four times in thirty
years of ministry. This was just like with Ralph. I was working, working
working. A workaholic knows what I am talking about. And then, without
warning, the L-rd just shut me down. Just shut me down. Completely shut
down. The Biblical language to describe this phenomenon is called "being
in the Spirit."
What about the front
Go right now and
stand at the front door. (I got up and ran down the stairs and stood
inside Beth Shalom at the front door, looking out the windowed front door of this messianic
synagogue. In those two minutes I was actually engaged in a
conversation with the Holy Spirit and getting instructions, like you would
be if you were talking to another person. See Acts 8:29. Believe me,
this kind of thing is a miracle
and miracles don't happen every day, even at Beth Shalom. But I
believe the L-rd was having mercy on me because I was suffering from
post-traumatic stress from all the many weeks of persecution, and the L-rd
was throwing me a tool for this ministry crisis, because these are His
people and He loves them, blind though they are [Isaiah 56:10] as I was,
as we all were, before we were born again and given spiritual eyes to see.)
So I said to the
Holy Spirit these words in my mind: "Okay, I'm at the front door. Now
Do not take your
eyes off your rental car, even for a second.
Okay, I'm looking at
it. What about it?
Then I noticed that
someone had parked his red car so that his rear bumper was actually
lightly touching the front bumper of my rental car.
While I was
wondering about this, staring intently, a black car suddenly pulled in
very slowly behind my rental car and this black car put his front bumper
lightly against my back bumper, making my rental car totally penned in
between the black car and the red car. My car having been stolen two
weeks before (actually the car wasn't really my car-- it belonged to
a man named Yosie, who didn't need it anymore because he was in heaven), and my rental car now
penned in, these Anti-Moshiach activists thought, "This one ain't going
However, early one
day about 6 o'clock in the morning, this one Anti-Moshiach activist was
parked in his car in front of Beth Shalom "casing the joint" for a
break-in. He was parked across the street from our building at 1410
Coney Island Ave. It was so early the street was practically empty
and he was alone in his car. We'll call him "Mark
I was sound asleep
upstairs in the back.
Suddenly the Ruach
Hakodesh woke me up, "Mark Gabinowitz!"
I tried to roll over
and go back to sleep.
Gabinowitz!" (this is not his real name)
I sat up in
I got up and went
into the bathroom and got into the shower.
I turned on the
I got out of the
shower and started drying off.
I started putting on
All of a sudden a
spirit of fury came on me.
I was practically knocking the door down to get to the upstairs
staircase. I was furious. I had never been that angry in my
life. It was not me, I was angry in the Ruach Hakodesh. I went
tearing down the stairs absolutely furious in the Ruach Hakodesh. I
tore open the door and went crashing furiously out onto the Coney Island
Standing there was a
neighbor, a very polite Orthodox Jew. I nearly screamed at him,
"Have you seen Mark Gabinowitz?"
neighbor stepped back from me, "Yeah, I saw him last week. He was in my
store for his organization, raising funds."
"Well, I have
something I want you to tell him."
And just at that
exact moment, we both turned our heads and looked... and there was Mark
Gabinowitz, appearing very scared, as if he had been caught red-handed
doing something wrong. He was starting up his ignition, and driving his
car quickly down the street.
The next day was a
Friday. My friend Roger ran into me on the street on Coney Island
Avenue and I told him the story.
Roger glanced at me
with a kind of prophetic far-away look and said, "You will meet Mark
Gabinowitz. You will be kind to him, and you will tell him what his
soul needs to hear."
Friday. On Monday morning I was up at the corner in the bank
line. There were only a couple of tellers and the bank was very
crowded with a long, long line. I was standing there for quite a
while, when my subconscious mind started studying the back of the head of
the individual in front of me in the line. There was something
familiar about the back of his head.
Then he turned
As soon as he
turned, he let out a soft scared kind of yell and jumped back a
I remembered Roger's
words, "You will meet Mark Gabinowitz, you will be kind to him, and you
will tell him what his soul needs to hear."
I opened my
mouth. I started to speak, "You know, Mark, if you knew me
personally you would know that I'm a nice guy..."
I SSSSAAAAAYYYYY YOU WERE NOT A
NICE GUY?!!!" (The word "say" lasted about 10 seconds in his
Everybody in the
bank turned around when he yelled that out.
I continued trying to
witness to him in a soft voice, everybody in the bank staring at
Let me witness to
you. Give it up. Don't you realize it is futile to fight against the
"May my death make kaparah for all my sins." rather than
haMoshiach kaparah al kol avonotai"
"May the death of Moshiach make kaparah for all my sins."
If the following six words
from the Talmud
תְּהֵא מִיתָתִי כַּפָּרָה עַל כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתָי.
"May my death make kaparah for all my sins." Here are
the Words from the inerrant Tanakh:
"Kee neegzar may-eretz chayyim
mee-pay-sha amee." So
from these inerrant words
we confess "T’hei mot haMoshiach kaparah al kol
avonotai," which translates into English:
"May the death of Moshiach make kaparah for all my sins."
תְּהֵא מִיתָתִי כַּפָּרָה עַל כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתָי.