by Angus Wootten
I also know that a day is coming when each one of us will need to have Messiah Yeshua do for us what He did in my life-changing experience.
In the mid-eighties I had an extraordinary experience that forever wrote on my heart an indelible understanding of our need to be born again, to have a personal relationship with Yeshua, and to be covered by His shed blood. It happened in the fall of the year as I was preparing for a meeting of my board of directors the following week. At the time (seventies and eighties), I was living in Southwestern New York, and operating an oil company that drilled over 400 hundred oil wells in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Oil has always been a volatile commodity, and in the mid-eighties the price had plunged from a high of over $46 a barrel to a low of $9 a barrel. This dramatic price reduction sent waves of financial destruction throughout the US oil industry. My company was no exception, we too were battling to contain the waves of red ink. So, I called a meeting of my board of directors to deal with our pressing financial problems.
The board meeting was scheduled for a Monday morning. The preceding Tuesday night I experienced a startling vision. I felt as though I were in front of a giant movie screen, and being portrayed on the screen in three-dimension, technicolor, and stereophonic sound, were my good works. Most of them showed the financial contributions I had made for various causes in support of the fledgling Messianic Jewish Movement. Also reflected was the Chaplain I had hired for the oil company, and the time I flew him to Texas so he could pray for a former employee who had been injured in an oil rig accident, and our daily prayer meetings. There were pictures of people being baptized in the company frac ponds, pictures of me taking people to the local Full Gospel Business Men’s meeting, and there was a cross country motor coach trip to promote Israel at the FGBM annual convention. Also shown was a picture of the oil well I had drilled and dedicated the profits from it to the State of Israel.
Then, as suddenly as it had started, the film presentation was over. I was now wide awake. I could not even blink my eyes. Where did this dream or vision come from? Why? What message was I supposed to receive from it? On one hand it seemed very complimentary. Maybe the Father was just telling me how pleased He was with me. On the other hand, I felt uneasy, as though something was not right. So I decided to keep pondering the vision and not to tell anyone about it.
The next night I had the same experience. Once again, I felt the primary emphasis was on my financial contributions to the Messianic Jewish Movement. While the film still seemed to reflect a complimentary theme, I felt even more uneasy than I had the previous night. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that one of the key reasons for the company’s financial problems and the need for a board meeting was because the company literally had no reserve working capital. This problem was a key factor in the breakup with a company that was partnered with me in a large drilling project. They expressed their concern that I was devoting far too much of my resources to what they called the “Jewish Church.” Once again, I decided to keep pondering the vision and not to tell anyone about it.
Thursday night I had the same experience. To say I was a basket-case by now would be an understatement. I knew something was wrong. I knew the message from the visions was not really a complement endorsing all my good works. But what was the message, what was the Father trying to tell me?
I spent most of the day Friday reading the fourteenth chapter of John over and over again. And again, I did not mention what was happening to me to anyone.
Friday evening a fellow Believer, a close friend and board member, arrived to spend the weekend with me and to attend the board meeting on Monday. While I did not tell him about my visions, I did express my concern as to how the Lord might be feeling about our financial challenges. He assured me that he felt the Lord was with us, and while he felt sure we were going through a time of testing, still, all would be well in the end.
There was no vision Friday night, nor on Saturday or Sunday. I was beginning to feel better. Perhaps my friend was right. We were going through a time of testing, but everything would turn out all right.
By Monday morning I was feeling pretty good. The meeting with the six board members was being held in my living room. They were seated in front of the fireplace, and I was leaning on the fireplace mantel soaking in the warmth from its flames. I was confident that I had everything under control. As I was about to start the meeting, my Executive Assistant said, “Angus, before we get started I would like to read something.”
I had not been in the oil business long when I realized that it was hard to find people you can really depend on, so I had hired a military officer I once knew, and who had retired. He had served under me when I was Company Commander of Company A, 1st Battalion of the 29th Infantry Regiment. John Eisenhower, Ike’s son, was our Battalion Commander. While the retired officer did not fully share my Messianic beliefs he was someone I felt I could count on to guard my back.
I would have liked to have known in advance what my assistant was going to read, but since all the board members had heard his request, I felt the best thing to do was to agree to have him read it.
He began by saying, “I woke up very early Saturday morning and felt compelled to write down the thoughts that came to me.” He then began to read from a yellow lined legal pad. What he read was a description of what I had seen in the three visions the prior week. Keep in mind I had told no one about them.
I immediately realized that the board members reaction to his presentation would undoubtedly deal with how wise, or unwise, I had been, and whether I had exceeded my authority in the utilization of funds to support various elements of the Messianic Jewish Movement. As he read from his yellow paper, I mentally began to formulate my response.
Then suddenly, I realized I was not in my living room! Where was I? I felt I was in a place much like the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C. and that I was standing in the area of the Lincoln Memorial. And, as I looked to my right, I could see a figure dressed in red and black. I immediately recognized that it was Satan. He was standing at what would be like the foot of the Reflection Pool, looking towards where the Washington Monument would be. However, rather than having a pool of water before us, there was a crystal-like surface. Also, rather than the Washington Monument, while I could not see it clearly, I realized that in its place was the throne of God. In addition, I could sense the presence of a vast multitude of witnesses looking on from the clouds.
Startled, I realized that Satan had in his hands the same legal pad my assistant had and was reading from it while making a presentation to the Father and the multitude of witnesses. However, there was one giant difference in Satan’s presentation and the one my assistant was giving. It also differed from the visions I had experienced. Every time Satan related one of my good works to the Father, he added the comment, “And You did not tell Angus to do this, so he served another god!”
“Angus served another god!” The awful words kept on ringing out in that heavenly setting…
What came on me during this time was not so much fear, but an appalling realization that Satan was absolutely correct. I had served another god. I was that false god! I was following my own good ideas!
Rather than follow Yeshua’s example, and not do anything that the Father had not told me or shown me that I was to do, I now saw that many of my supposed “good works” had been based on my own initiative. In my heart I realized that I had done many of these things out of pride, fear of man, and a host of other unholy reasons. False gods.
Satan’s presentation to the Father finally came to a close.
Then I heard a voice from the throne ask, “Are the accusations that Satan makes about our servant Angus true?”
I realized that the question was not directed to me but to a figure that I now saw on my left, and I realized that figure was Messiah Yeshua.
Relieved to see Him, I was devastated when He answered, “That is not the half of it…”
While that surely is not something that anyone would want to hear their defense council say, I had to nonetheless agree that Yeshua was absolutely correct. Satan had only talked about what I thought were my good works. He had not even mentioned my sins.
The Father then asked, “Is there any reason that we should not take our servant Angus and throw him into the bottomless pit and burn him to a crisp?”
Suddenly, there was a period of silence in the heavens. Again, it was not so much fear and despair that came over me, instead, I felt the absolute justice of the sentence being proposed against me. Truly, I had served another god. I had failed the test of loving Yah with all my mind, heart and soul and listening to His voice alone. I had instead let my own fleshy desires and the desires of others guide me. Rather than being sure I was walking step by step with the Father, rather than trying to make sure His desires were my desires, I had gone my own way, and in pride, I had called it “His way.”
However, the question being asked had nothing to do with how I felt about my proposed sentence. Again, the question being asked of Yeshua was, “Is there any reason that the proposed sentence against Angus should not be carried out?”
Then Yeshua answered, “Yes! Angus is saved by My blood!”
As long as I live, those words will resound in my mind, heart and soul, “Yes! Angus is saved by My blood!”
Then the verdict came down from the Throne, “Case dismissed!”
My destiny was not eternal damnation, but was instead eternal salvation. I was granted the gift of eternal life with, and in the presence of, my Heavenly Father. And it was granted to me because I had faith in the shed blood of my Messiah.
Suddenly, I was back in my living room and my assistant had finished his presentation. But before I could say anything, my friend from out of town said, “Angus I know you have a lot that you could say about what has just been read; however, I believe that this is not your day to say anything, and surely not to try and defend your actions.”
My friend was right. Rather than attempting to justify my fiscal decisions, I, with tears (which is really unusual for me), hugged each man present and asked each one to forgive me. I then pledged to them that in the future, I would seek their council and seek to be truly led by the Lord.
Fortunately the fiscal problems we had gathered to consider that day, but had never discussed, were miraculous resolved.
What I learned from this experience was the absolute necessity of having a saving relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach, my Messiah and Redeemer. Nothing is, or will ever be, more important to me than that relationship. Further, I realize that my relationship with Him is not just a one time affair, but a life-long relationship, one that will continue for all eternity. I also know that the best way to keep that relationship in proper order is to always desire to only do things that are pleasing to the Father. So, to the best of my ability I now seek to follow Yeshua’s example, and He said, “I do nothing on My own initiative,” and, “I always do the things that are pleasing to the Father” (John 8:28-29; 14:10).
My experience forever taught me that, when I do things out of my own thoughts, wants, or desires, or with wrong motives, I am serving another god. As harsh as that may sound, it is the truth, and we all need to realize it. When I am instead led by the Father, I can say, as Joshua did, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).
I want to emphasize that during my time in the Throne Room of Heaven, I was never asked any questions, nor given opportunity to say anything. The proceedings were handled by the Father, who was the Judge, by Satan, who was the accuser and prosecutor, and by Yeshua, who was my Advocate, my Defense Attorney. When I remember this experience, I cannot help but wonder, what would have been the outcome if I had not had a Defense Attorney?
I wanted to share this vision to encourage others to make sure they too have Messiah Yeshua as their Defense Attorney. Make sure that you, too, are covered by His shed blood. If you have not done so already, ask Him now to forgive you of your sins, to come into your heart, and to help you live a life wherein He is your Lord and Savior.
For those of us who have already asked Yeshua to be our Lord, let us remember to always be asking Him to help us to better hear His voice as He whispers in our ear, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Let us also remember to pray the prayer of King David in Psalm 51:1-13:
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge….Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.”
By Yeshua’s grace may we be a people who do not do things based on our own fleshy initiative, but instead truly serve the One True God.Amen and Amen. Angus Wootten is a retired Army Colonel who now serves in the Army of the Holy One of Israel.It is Angus’ heart’s desire to see full restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.For more information, see his book, “Restoring Israel’s Kingdom.”
I think it is time for us to be sober, actually, it is past time. Our times of play are over. The times of “believe whatever you want and it will be okay” have come to a close. We might say that those things were removed when, like our forefathers, “we had to start getting our own straw for our bricks.” Having others do our work for us is long gone. The scriptures about us being responsible for our own salvation are becoming clearer.
I seem to be getting into trouble with this idea with people lately, meaning, the idea of being responsible for our own actions. It surprises me a bit about that, but then again it doesn’t surprise me. The Father has been very faithful to carry me through times of darkness and depression, but with a different result. He is teaching me about “working out my own salvation.” Hmm, not anyone else’s salvation, but my own. No one else. But aren’t I “my brother’s keeper”? I have been asked about that as well.
What I am learning as I am learning to be sober, is a greater in-depth meaning of Micah 6:8:
Yahweh’s requirements of me. It doesn’t say that I have to make others follow His requirements, but the verse instead tells me what He requires of me.
I have been blessed to be intimately learning these 3 requirements. He has been teaching me from me the verse, “O man, what is good, and what does Yahweh require of thee?”
What does He require of me “but to do justly…”
He tells me to “love mercy.”
He tells me that I am to “walk humbly” with Him.
Learning these things does not mean that I don’t care about those around me. I recently reread the story of Cain and Abel. They walked side by side for many years. They knew and loved each other. After all they were brothers. Abel was walking justly, and I believe with mercy, and humility (though Torah wasn’t yet written). But the jealousy of Cain was immense, even enough to lead him to the point of murder. Why such an intensity? I believe Abel was walking out Micah 6:8, even though it wasn’t written yet. Abel was the upright example. His lifestyle of choosing to walk in love is what bothered Cain to such an extreme.
I think Abel was trying to be his brother’s keeper by being an example of light to him. I hope to do the same for those around me. Sometimes when we walk this very narrow road our very actions will irritate others. Perhaps because they know they should be doing the same, but for whatever reason they are not. I have watched people hate someone that walks in Torah and then try to get others to hate that person too! That is where I see the type of fruit they are producing. Too often, I don’t see good fruit. It is here that I pray and ask for mercy, for they really don’t know what they are doing.
Yes, we are to be examples, and to teach and share the scripture with people, and to sound the shofar and admonish one another, in love and humility. But that is all. I am learning to drop the responsibility of making them accept Torah or not. That is between them and the Father, I no longer want to be in between them. Now, I pray and intercede for them. I pray, knowing that Yahweh is a just Elohim, and that His judgments will come to pass, but asking for His mercy and reminding Him that we are ALL but dust.
Mercy, I cry for mercy!
Theresa Bates is an ARI Guest Teacher
I was descended on my father’s side from Jewish immigrants. My grandfather and grandmother grew up in small towns in Russia that were only a few miles from each other, yet they did not meet until they moved to America many years later.
My grandfather, Joseph Libin, was born in 1885 in the old Lithuanian province of Minsk in what was then known as the Pale of the Settlement and now is called Belarus.1
He left Russia in 1896 at age 11 and traveled through Eastern Europe, later moving to England where he worked as a cabinet maker. In 1907 at age 22 Joseph stowed away on a ship bound for America and landed in New York City.
In 1905 my grandmother, Esther Lagovsky, who was then 11 years old, immigrated to America with her family. She spent her adolescent years in New York going to school and working to help support her family. In 1914 at age 20 she traveled out west to visit her brothers, Charles and Max Login. They introduced her to their friend, Joseph Libin. Esther and Joseph were married in 1915 and settled in Lewistown, Montana to begin a new life.
Joseph had left his family at such a young age in order to escape the Russian pogroms and the crushing poverty that resulted from Czarist oppression. He wanted to make a new life for his family in America. He enlisted in the US Army shortly after settling here, then became a citizen when he finished his service. Because he had experience in cabinet making, when he first settled in Montana he set up shop, but then later expanded his business to other areas. Over the years he gradually built a prosperous business and raised a large family.
My grandmother too had left Russia at a young age with her family. They knew some of the traditions of their Jewish faith, but little of the Torah or the writings of the rabbis. She apparently tried to read the Torah to her family, but she knew very little of the sacred writings and was isolated from other Jews, as the nearest synagogue was a few states down in Salt Lake City, Utah.
My Father and Mother Meet in Australia
My father Herb thus grew up in the middle of Montana in a secular world without the knowledge of the God of Israel. His father Joseph had taught him the value of hard work and entrepreneurship in his adopted county, a value shared by all of his siblings and subsequently passed down to my generation.
In the middle of World War II my father met my Australian mother Shirley in Sydney near where he was stationed as a US Army serviceman. Mother, who had a deep love for the Jewish people, fell in love with my handsome father and they were soon married. Mother, now a “war bride,” traveled to the United States on a troop ship with her 6-month old daughter, my older sister Stephany. They made their way to Lewistown, Montana where they moved into the large home of Grandfather Joseph, awaiting my father’s return from the war.
Mother had been raised Catholic, so her children were also supposed to be raised Catholic. This was acceptable to my Jewish father, who only thought of himself as an American soldier, not as a Jew, for Joseph had wanted his new family to assimilate into the culture of his adopted country.
At the end of the war my father returned home and nine months later I was born. It was now late November of 1946—I was among the first wave of the post-war baby boomers. Three years later my parents divorced and my mother moved us to Oregon where one of my aunts lived.
My Early Years in the Radical 1960s
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I went the way of Jewish leftism, joining with many East Coast Jews who had moved to the Pacific Northwest, attracted to the environment and the leftist communities that had begun to form there.
Then there were the many drug years. I became involved in the drug culture of the hippies during the time that drugs were dominating our culture. Many of my generation tried pot, acid, and speed, but I also went on to use hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, which led me down a pathway of misery. Yet all the while I was seeking and searching, trying to find God and truth, but not knowing where to look. I had a heart for God, but was far from Him. In the 1970s I remember being aware of the Jesus Movement and their sweet message of love, but I was not yet ready to leave my leftist friends, especially the growing women’s community in Portland, Oregon, where I lived.
Please Don’t Let Me Die Like This!
But the God of Israel had called me from before the foundation of the world. No matter what I did, He kept calling me back. By early 1993, I had reached the end of myself and even remember feeling like I was dying. I called out to God, “Please don’t let me die like this!”
While I was desperately seeking and searching during this time, God sent some Christians into my life who loved and cared for me even though I was down and out. They told me about the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who had died for my sins. I came to know this God personally and followed Him with my whole heart while I was rebuilding my life. Many years later, in the late 1990s, I became involved in the growing Messianic Movement.
Messianic Israel and Beyond
In early 2002, after my father died, I inherited a small trust fund that my grandfather Joseph had left for me. I used some of the money to move to Orlando to work with Angus and Batya Wootten and the already vibrant community of the Messianic Israel Alliance. I was grateful for the privilege of serving the God of Israel in some small way. My years there were some of the happiest of my entire life. We loved each other and we still do. We were all saddened when I had to return to my home in Seattle because things had changed at the MIA. The Home office was moved and they could no longer afford to employ me there. I was sad, but I knew by now that I could trust Father God to guide me and care for me, and that it was time to move on.
What Does My Heritage Mean?
Now, many years later, as I reflect back on my life and all that Yeshua has done for me, I have begun to think again about my heritage as a Jewish woman who was not raised Jewish, yet who met the Jewish Messiah of Israel. My conversion was extreme, intense. I was a new creature. I was radically born-again. All things had become new. I was no longer a drug addict or a leftist politico. I was a child of the Most High God. When I finally understood it was the God of Israel who was calling me, I was able to worship Him in a new way. And the Word of God had new meaning. I began to see things that I had never seen or understood before.
Who is Israel?
“Who is Israel? Why do we even need to know? Is it not enough to be in Messiah?” Batya Wootten wrote in her book Who is Israel? This question grabbed my attention and has continued to influence me as well as countless others, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who understand personally that they belong to the Commonwealth of Israel. It saddens me that my brothers and sisters in Judaism are so opposed to those of us who are Believers in Yeshua/Jesus and who also see ourselves as Israelites.
My point in telling my story is this: I am a daughter of Abraham too. If I could have chosen, I would have asked my grandfather Joseph and my grandmother Esther to stay with their Jewish faith and not seek to assimilate into the culture of the American gentiles. I would have asked them to teach their children the Torah and the traditions of the elders. I would have wanted them to be raised as Jews. But then if my father had been a devout Jew, he would not have married my Catholic mother, but would have stayed within his faith. And then I would not have been born, nor had the opportunity to be radically born-again and to come to know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I would have been a Jew without a Savior Redeemer.
We Too Are Israel
So I ask my brothers and sisters of Judah, why in your eyes am I not an Israelite as you are? And why not my friend from church who believes she was descended from one of the early church fathers? Or my other friend whose DNA tests on the male side indicate that she is a descendant of Joseph’s son Ephraim? And what about my dear friend whose DNA shows him to be a Levite of the priestly tribe of Israel? I do not want to reduce the reunion of Ephraim and Judah to a matter of genetics, because our more important reunion is of course found in our Messiah. Nevertheless, perhaps we should consider that these tests might indicate for many Believers that there is something in their genes that is drawing them—as returning Israelites.
The truth about our heritage means something to all of us, just as it means something to those of Judah. We love Israel and we love the Jewish Messiah Yeshua. We have learned to walk as the Redeemed of Israel and are ready to live for him and proclaim His praises in all the earth. Without Him, nothing is worth living for. We want to join with our Jewish brothers and sisters; we do not want to replace them. We are family. As Joseph said to his brothers in Egypt, “I am your brother, I am Joseph.”
Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.” (Ezekiel 37:21-22).
As the Father promised, the people of both the houses of Israel still live—and it is His plan that they, and their companions, would become one in Him (Isaiah 8:14; Ezekiel 37:15-28).
I close with a prayer that our families might be reunited.
January 2013 2
1 The Pale of Settlement literally means “The Boundary of Settlement.” From 1791 to 1915 the majority of Jews living in Eastern Europe were confined by the Russian Empire to this area. No Jew was allowed to make their home outside the Pale except by special privilege conveyed by the Czarist authorities. The 1897 census recorded nearly five million Jews living within the confines of the Pale. This number comprised almost 95 percent of the total Jewish population of Russia.
The pogroms and restrictions within the Pale, along with the severe poverty and deteriorating economy, resulted in a major wave of Jewish immigration to Western Europe and the United States. Between 1881 and 1914 over 2 million Jews left the Pale of Settlement to seek a better life. From 1899 to 1907 some 55,000 left for the United States alone. My grandfather Joseph and my grandmother Esther and her family were among them.
2 Special thanks to my sister, Stephany Libin Smith, who has spent dozens of years investigating the Libin/Lagovsky geneologies. She has tirelessly studied and collected records. For anyone interested in Jewish genealogies, her excellent work is available on her website “Russian Jewish Immigrants to America: The Descendents of Abraham Lagovsky* and Libe Goodseit” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~heathsmith/libin/index.htm
See also her historical page on the “Pale of the Settlement” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~heathsmith/libin/introduction_pale_of_settlement.htm
The Alliance of Redeemed Israel, Messianic Israel Alliance, Messianic Israel Ministries, and Key of David Publishing, are international organizations that operate under the umbrella of the non-profit organization, Redeemed Israel Ministries Inc., each entity is headquartered in Palatka, Florida, U.S.A. While Redeemed Israel Ministries is a non-profit organization, we are not a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and as such, any gifts are not tax-deductible. We truly appreciate your support and we will seek to be good stewards of the gifts you entrust to us. All funds are used in accordance with Ezra 7:16-18.
All media found within these domains are copyrighted according to international copyright law, and belong to one of these organizations. Media on this site cannot be reproduced in printed, electronic, video, tape, or CD-ROM format for resale, or inclusion in any other publication(s), nor can it be used on any other internet site without the written permission of House of David.
However, we do want to encourage the distribution of Biblical truths, and in this vein, articles from our sites may be reproduced, but only in their entirety and with proper credits, for free distribution to friends, participants in a Bible study, or private use.