On June 28th, Art Katz, a true servant of Christ, went home to be with the Lord.
(excerpted from Lost Seed and Akiva Cohen)
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York through the depression years and coming to adolescence during the turbulence of World War II, Art Katz, in his quest for the meaning of life, began a journey toward Truth that climaxed significantly and symbolically in Jerusalem.
Through the diversity of Marxist, pragmatist, and existentialist ideologies and philosophies, as well as merchant marine and military experiences, Art was brought to a final moral crisis as a teacher, able to raise, but not answer the groaning perplexities of the modern age and his own heart. During a leave of absence and on a hitch-hiking odyssey through North Africa, Western Europe and the Middle East, the cynical and unbelieving atheist, vehement anti-religionist and anti-Christian was radically apprehended by a God whom he was not seeking. The actual journal of that experience, Ben Israel – Odyssey of a Modern Jew, recounts the breaking into consciousness and ultimate apprehension of an unsuspecting and resistant ‘son of Israel.’ Other of his books published since include, Reality – The Hope of Glory; The Spirit of Truth; The Holocaust – Where was God?; Apostolic Foundations and True Fellowship.
Art attended Santa Monica City College, UCLA, and the University of California at Berkeley, earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in history as well as a M.A. degree in theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Art’s public ministry of nearly forty years is both anointed and conceptually challenging, reflecting such end-time themes as the significance of Israel and the Church. Art was also founder and elder of Ben Israel Fellowship, a community established in Minnesota, USA over thirty years ago at the felt direction of God. Among its purposes is to seek for a consciously biblical life-style and to witness the radical relevance of the Bible’s message to contemporary societies throughout the world. With several of his books translated into major foreign languages, Art traveled frequently and widely to many nations. Akiva shares that while the Western church has passed through fad after fad, Art has preached the steady and unwavering message of repentance and the need to pick up one’s cross and follow Jesus.
He adds that Art had a prophet’s burden to prepare the church to be God’s instrument of grace for Israel’s last days tribulation. He held the firm conviction that the church of the Nations is God’s chosen vehicle by which the Jewish people would encounter their God in the midst of the yet future time of “Jacob’s trouble.”
Even from his own mouth, Art spoke of his desire that his message remain authentic in spite of his nature in an interview in 2001.
He shared, “A prophetic man has a great sense of his responsibility before God: “My Lord, to be Your mouthpiece, to speak Your Word. How dare I traffic in this, or take my liberty, or use it for any self-aggrandizement or take liberties with Your Word, or seek affect?” There is a great ponderous weight of responsibility before God not to violate the trust, and yet we hear Elijah say, “As the Lord my God lives before whom I stand it shall not rain or dew, but according to my word” (1 Kin. 17:1), and he commands the widow woman to feed him first; we also hear Paul say, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1), and Moses describes himself as the meekest man upon the face of the earth. In one sense, it sounds like the most arrogant egotism, but in the deeper sense, it issues out of brokenness and a humility that men of this character, substance and history, know and have. Therefore, I would say that brokenness, the dealings of God, is a requisite for the prophetic man. God has to keep him somewhat in that state at all times, keep it current and let him taste humiliation frequently. I mentioned today, even when he has sought the Lord with fasting and believes that he has the Lord’s Word, to hear an indictment that you have failed the Lord and have grossly, adversely affected God’s people, and to consider that, yes, that might be true. You always live in the tension that you might fail; therefore, you take as great a precaution as you can and being careful over what you say, but knowing also that in the volume of much speaking, there is sin. My daily prayer is always, “Forgive me, Lord, for the iniquity of much speaking, because invariably something will slip in, the tone of accent, an illustration that is not totally Yours, for which I ask Your forgiveness and Your cleansing, and that will be more perfectly the expression of Your heart and life.” That is a great and awesome responsibility and call, and that is why such men need to be prayed for, need to be attended by prayer, by intercession. Those men who are not in that kind of relationship and have organizations rather than communities, who of necessity would affirm them and not bring correction, are in the greatest danger of becoming false.”
I first met Art Katz 9 years ago through a series of divine appointments. Today I would like to share my story and I would encourage you to read Reality – The Hope of Glory, by Art Katz.
It was graduation day–I was finally graduating from North Central Bible College after 5 years of hard work. I was apprehensive of what the future might hold and what ministry the Lord had in store for me–if any at all. My mom and dad had drove up from Maryland to attend my graduation in Minneapolis, MN. Unfortunately my dad got the flu on the evening before the ceremony and was unable to attend with my mom to the church.
My mom sat in a pew by herself but sat with pride, I’m sure, to see her daughter walk up to the stage and receive her degree. But here is where, the Lord orchestrated a series of events in order for me to meet a servant of God. I did not know who Art Katz was–never heard of the name before that day (1998). My mom sat right behind him that day–he attended the same graduation to see his son receive his degree. His grandkids were climbing all over the pews–my mom is a baby magnet–all kids love her. His grandkids wanted to sit with my mom and that’s where a conversation started between Art and my mom.
My mom shared her concerns about the church–not even realizing who she was speaking too–he listened and in the end, handed my mom a pamphlet and encouraged her to read it. After the graduation, he disappeared. That pamphlet was called Apostolic Conversion. “This booklet is a transcribed and edited message, spoken at a charismatic fellowship whose nominal acceptance of the first two messages made it clear that something radical had to happen in their midst. A powerful arrow to the heart of the Church’s apathy and lethargy that examines the issue of true conversion.”(excerpted from Ben Israel web site) I highly recommend this book.
My mom came up to me and my friends at the end of the graduation to take pictures. She shared that she spoke to a very nice man who gave her the book in her hand. My friend Chad became estatic when he saw the name on the pamphlet–he wanted to know where he was–he knew who Art Katz was. My mom then shared he had to slip out. She gave me the pamphlet and said–“I think this is for you–I know that I probably won’t read it”.Later on after I read the book, I had wished my mom would of read it. It would of settled many things in her heart concerning her views and the Church.
I took the pamphlet back to my apartment and read through it in one day. I was so affected by what I read because it was so different from the fads that would spring up in the Church. I had to read more. I had to find out more about this message–i knew it was authentic and from the throne of God. The message was Truth–His Truth.
I wrote Art a letter and asked if he had other books that I could read. I shared in my letter about his meeting my mom and shared that if he was ever in the area again that I know there are students that would like to meet him and hear his message. I was surprised when he wrote back and enclosed a second book. Reality-The Hope of Glory. He gave me his email and said at the end of his letter to keep in touch–and I did. A couple months later he wrote and said he would be in town with Willie Wallace (another precious brother) and would love to stop by and have a meeting with some students. So I rallied some students together. I remember that day so clear, I wanted to fix a pan of lasagna and knew that Art was Jewish, but I knew nothing about the Jews. All I knew was that they ate kosher food. I wasn’t sure if I should add meat to the lasagna. Ha! So I added meat on half of the lasagna. It was the worst lasagna I had ever made–and as many of you know me–my lasagna rocks! The noodles were so soupy! It was hilarious. When Art and Willie arrived, I asked how does one eat kosher foods. Art chuckled and with graciousness shared that what I made was acceptable. I wish I could remember his exact words–but his reply made all of us laugh who were present in the room.
I will also share that what Art shared that day was way over my head. I was disgruntled that I could not understand anything that he was sharing concerning the Jews. But I had a heart to know and so I continued to pursue this message that confounded me.
I continued to read his books and began to pick up even older books written back in the 1800’s which also seemed rich with the message of Christ. I became tired of the church fads even though I was still consumed with going to church and being on worship teams–but something was slowly changing. I began to become even more restless in my heart concerning what I really believed. Was it merely religion or was it Jesus and a true relationship with Him? The Lord was gently removing the sludge from my heart to bring in the sword of His Word.
I had a deep desire to just live at Ben Israel and take in as much as i could. So I decided to write and ask if I could live there. But the Lord had other plans for me, and Art knew that. I began to understand through that process that if I were to live there that there was nothing glamorous about living there and being apart of that body of believers– I was so precocious. All that I heard from those that lived there was that God would literally peel back all hidden layers of fallacy within a heart and bring His sword of truth. Amazingly, I was still curious. All I knew of church was fluff–I didn’t understand the suffering aspect of Jesus. But I had read about it in his Word. I knew that if the saints of old had suffered for Christ, why weren’t Christians today experiencing the same? Why wasn’t His Church really making a difference in the world in a radical way–if Jesus said that we would do even greater works than he? This perplexed me and I was consumed to getting to the bottom of it. Although I didn’t understand the vastness or propensity of what I was truly searching for. Or how it would affect the rest of my life.
Through this search I took many trips to Ben Israel and visited the saints that lived there. They were a second family for me–a spiritual family–not perfect but they love the Lord with all their heart. Their faith was authentic. They showed me that being a believer was not just something on Sunday’s to attend–but it was a way of life.
Every time I heard Art speak, my heart was perplexed and confounded–I had to hear more because within the perplexity, there was great peace and I knew what he shared was true because it was Jesus.
I could go on and on and share detail after detail. But the most important thing is that Art was obedient to the message that was within him. He affected thousands if not millions of lives on this planet– and I was one of them–for that, I am thankful. So I will deeply miss Art, and I am thankful to Jesus that there were those divine appointments that led me to walking on the path of righteousness. If my mom would of never met Art on that graduation day–I would not of met my husband who also lived there–again I am deeply grateful. Who knows where I would be today if it were not for all those orchestrated events.
I know in my heart that the message will go on–the message he spoke does not die with a man–but lives on, because it was never the man–he was just the vessel and instrument that God chose to speak through to pierce the hearts of man–for that–I am grateful. I will say that once your heart is pierced by the sword–you’ll never be the same. You won’t settle for just church.
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
You will cry out of God and ask that He would remove all wood, hay and stubble.
1 Cor 3:12-16
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
You will want all wrinkles ironed out, you will want no spot on your gown.
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
You will cry out to be filled with the Holy Spirit. You won’t want anything less. You will want to carry the message. For this is what the sword does–it makes you uneasy to settle for anything less that Jesus and the reality of His truth.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
So today, harden not your heart–may this day be the day of your turning–a true turning to Jesus.
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
So how did you meet him? How did he affect your walk with Christ? Share your story here if you like.
Here’s more on Art Katz through the eyes of another blogger’s experience.