Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
Carrollton, Texas 75006




If you know the Church is called to bless Israel
Do you also know our blessing is to begin first with Israeli believers?

Why then have Christians contributed literally millions to
Orthodox groups in Israel while ignoring the indigenous Israeli ministries?
Our brothers proclaiming the gospel suffer need while we donate
millions and millions to their persecutors who are enemies of the gospel.

Return of the Sanhedrin
(Oy veh!)

By Donna Diorio
March 2005

If there is anything I have learned in a couple of decades of Messianic and Israel studies, it is that coming to an understanding of what God is doing in Israel is not all that easy for non-Jewish believers. Our learning curve is incredible!

We often wander around a bit overwhelmed taking in all the new and unusual sights because we have entered a whole new world and don’t have a clue what it all means. All we really know is that God has placed a love for Israel in our hearts and we are drawn to Jews and to Israel with a deep spiritual yearning.

As uninitiated Christians, we can spend years traveling down paths that are far off the mark when it comes to understanding what God is doing in Israel. This is mainly because we don’t know who God is working through and who He is not working through! We just take all Israelis, all Jews as our brothers.

All Israel is going to be saved, but not all Israel are currently our brothers. We need to distinguish between those who are laborers in the Lord’s harvest and those who the persecutors of Yeshua’s laborers. There are some also that fall in neither category.

If you will stick with me here, I’m going to tell you some things that most of the prophecy teachers out there aren’t telling you. These are things that are important for people connected with the Messianic movement to know. They are things I wish every Christian who loves Israel knew.

The main reason that it takes most of us so long to figure out what God is doing in Israel is because it takes us that long to begin to listen to the Israeli body of Messiah. If we want to know what God is doing in any given place, our priority has got to be to listen to the input of believers who live there.

If we want to know what God is doing in Israel does it really make sense for us to run to Israeli unbelievers—even if they are “religious”—to input our perspective?

We also can’t depend primarily on the prophetic commentators—who may be experts about Israel, but if they don’t live there and don’t have fellowship with the indigenous believers of Israel, then they can’t have the inside view on some of the most important issues they’re commenting on.

Most of the popular prophetic teachers and commentators seem to have a lot more contact with the unbelieving religious community in Israel. That is not a very good idea if we want to hear about what God is doing in Israel.

Most of Christianity ignores the fact that there is a growing Messianic community in Israel. You would think that their existence would be big news to the prophecy teachers and commentators, but instead these folks would rather talk about what the unbelieving religious community in Israel is doing.

There is always a lot of talk on the prophecy programs and web sites about what Israel’s religious extreme are up to—and the talk is always like these are our most natural allies in Israel! That is not true. In every nation—Israel included—the people that we as believers have most to do with are those of like precious faith. Why should Israel be any different? It isn’t.

Christians have been making a big mistake by ignoring the Israeli Messianic community while teaming up with Israel’s religious right. I don’t say that to condemn anyone, but we need to wake up to the reality of this.

Why in the world would Christians run with the religious unbelievers like they are our spiritual brothers, while ignoring the existence of our true spiritual brothers in Israel? What could possibly explain that?

It is exactly like the apostle Paul said in the first century: by and large Israel’s Religious Right are “enemies of the gospel.” Judeo-Christian ethics notwithstanding, there is a deep chasm between Israeli believers and Israel’s religious unbelievers. We need to keep in mind that Israel’s Religious Right are “beloved for the father’s sakes,” but we cannot afford to forget they oppose the gospel.

Like the Messianic believers of Israel today, Christians should hold a hope for the salvation of “all Israel” but for the sake of those in Israel who already believe in Messiah Yeshua, we just can’t keep turning a blind eye to those who persecute them.

What was true in the first century is true again today. Israel’s religious community opposes the gospel of Messiah Yeshua. We need to awaken to that reality. What we are talking about is more than just the fulfillment of prophetic signs but has real-time dangerous consequences for believers in Israel.

We must begin to recognize this about many of the organizations Christians give so freely to: they are enemies of the gospel! This doesn’t mean we hate them or rail at them, but we don’t naively pour finances into their coffers either! Our support, financial and otherwise, belongs to the household of faith.

There are a lot of people saying a lot of things about Israel and the End Times. How can we know what is right and what is wrong? I believe the most important thing we can do is to tune into the body of Messiah in Israel.

Too many Christians are getting input only from prophetic commentators who have no inkling or concern of what it means to be a follower of Yeshua living in Israel. It is a life of greater sacrifice than most of us comprehend.

Our other primary source of information is from un-believers in Israel. We especially heed the input of Israel’s religious unbelievers, and I must include in this the religious news sources like Arutz-7. Too many of us are forming opinions about what is happening in Israel because we are following, sometimes unknowingly but almost exclusively, religious news perspectives. And when I say “religious,” I don’t mean believers in Messiah Yeshua!

Religious Jews in Israel are not the best source for Christians to gather their news about the important things happening in Israel. We have had it backwards for too long. We need to stop listening to religious unbelievers and start listening to believing community if we ever hope to direct our support of Israel toward the things God is in!

Remember what Yeshua told the chief priests and elders of His day? “The tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” A tough statement that I doubt is any less true today. It was a religious spirit that rejected Yeshua in that generation, and so far, in this generation it is still the religious strata of Israeli society that is most resistant to the gospel of Messiah Yeshua.

As Christians, we can’t let our fascination with the prophetic signs of the End Times cloud over the realties on the ground in Israel, which is exactly what many of the prophetic commentators and teachers have done. What I mean by that is that we get so caught up in the thrill of analyzing the news and spotting the fulfillment of ‘signs’ in prophetic scripture that we fail to see the human impact of real current events.

This is not the sequel to Star Wars. Real life people are affected by what religious extremists in Israel—often supported widely by Christians—are doing.

Case in point: the newly re-formed Sanhedrin.

I spent a little time researching what was said on the web about the fact that in Fall of 2004, a group of right wing religious scholars appointed themselves as Israel’s Sanhedrin.

It is appalling to me that some of the most renowned Christian prophecy teachers are reporting this in the most glowing terms. One of the most famous called it a “remarkable development” and failed to cite even one way it promises to negatively impact the body of Messiah in Israel.

Let me make it clear what the negative impact to believers would be: greatly increased persecution.

The body of Messiah already suffers persecution at the hands of religious persecutors in Israel. Christians may find this hard to believe but it is the secular, non-religious citizens who are less likely to persecute them and more likely to request to hear the gospel when they see believers being persecuted by Israel’s religious right.

So many Christian prophecy teachers seem to be exalting Israel’s religious groups. They just don’t know or don’t care that these groups are so often a threat to the secular democratic nation and to the religious freedom of the followers of Yeshua in Israel.

One Christian commentator wrote recently:

“The Sanhedrin is Israel's supreme religious authority -- an authority so sacred and so revered that it remained disbanded for 1,600 years, waiting until the time of the coming of the Jewish Messiah before being reconstituted. As such, its rulings carry tremendous weight.”

Excuse me? This is a ridiculous statement through and through!

These are not the folks who will be validating Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah! Just as the Sanhedrin was comprised mostly of enemies of the gospel in the first century Israel, so this tribunal remains in that same mindset today.

At present the Sanhedrin holds no power whatsoever in Israel except over those right wing religious supporters who followed their guidance before they proclaimed themselves the new Sanhedrin. Why should Christians be adding to the myth of their power base?

The power this Sanhedrin is reaching for is absolute power, and the result of them gaining it would not be unlike the power the Taliban exercised in Afghanistan.

They desire to exert the Sanhedrin to the position of the supreme judicial tribunal of Israel, not only nullifying Israeli democracy but also setting up a king of their own choosing from among themselves. They already have a rabbi singled out as a candidate for kingship who a recent Israeli newspaper notes is “known for his recent threats to place a death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.”

Remember what Yeshua told His followers who wanted to call down fire from heaven on some who had not received Yeshua? He rebuked them saying, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Religion makes the mistake of cursing others. There is a lot of this cursing going on among Israel’s religious right. If we are of the same spirit, then we need to let the words of Yeshua pierce our own hearts because the words still apply to us in our time and in these issues.

The Jerusalem Post noted in January that the 71-member Sanhedrin was a “group composed largely of (Rabbi Meir) Kahane sympathizers” (connected to right wing religious groups that were declared terrorist organizations by the Israeli Cabinet in 1994).

Why should Christians be excited to hear the launch of such an organization? We shouldn’t!

We have a misunderstanding of the basic differences between the Religious Right of the U.S. and the Religious Right in Israel. The Judeo-Christian ethic that we share with Jews in the United States is not what the Religious Right in Israel is about. We think there is no difference, but we are wrong.

There are many religious Jews in Israel, though the majority of Israelis are non-religious. Am I saying that all religious Israelis are extreme fanatics? No, but I am saying that many of the groups Christians are lauding do fall into that category.

The extreme religious right wing in Israel has set its goal to do away with democracy in Israel and set up a Jewish monarchy. If we don’t know what the character of these groups are, we might naively think that was a good thing; a return to a more biblically governed Israel. But we would be wrong. Religious man cannot institute the government God has purposed under King Yeshua.

We simply don’t know what Israeli religious factions really stand for—and some of them play Christians like a fiddle precisely because of our ignorance!

They see that we do not stand by the Jewish believers in Israel, and know that they can get away with pretty much anything they want as long as they keep up the façade of our supposed shared Judeo-Christian ethic. Lately some of those groups are becoming bold enough to drop the façade. They are coming out of the closet about not even wanting Christian supporters.

We need to know about these things. Not so we can get angry with them, or be fearful of them, but so we can come to the side of our real brothers and sisters in Israel, those people who we really do share ethics and faith with—the believers and followers of Messiah Yeshua.

Recently a ministry leader in Jerusalem wrote about the newly formed Sanhedrin in a prayer letter:

“While the thought in present-day ‘democratic’ Israel of the emergence of a religious governing council in Jerusalem which would be ‘Judaism’s top legal assembly’ seems at first remote, even far-fetched, it may be wise to bear in mind (even as the ultra-Orthodox population in the Capital continues to burgeon) that in Yeshua’s prophecies regarding events in Israel preceding the final days before His return there appears to be a governance of power in place which will include Religious Judaism (see, for instance, the mention and use of the synagogue in Luke 21).

“While, as Believers, we will not be able to accept all of the conclusions drawn by our secular leaders, we must also be aware that the spirit behind the rise of a religious government in Israel is not a ‘Holy’ one.

“The Holy Spirit of Truth was sent by the Father at the request of Yeshua to be a guide to those who loved and obeyed Him (John 14:15-17). In rejecting God’s Son, Israel’s religious leaders consequently rejected the Holy Counselor; instead of receiving a Spirit of Truth, they have embraced spirits of deception.

“Ultra-Orthodoxy has thus not only replaced the Holy Word with the religious interpretations and traditions of man; it has also become laced with an occult mysticism in which ancient rabbis are often worshipped as re-incarnations of the holy Fathers.

“Lastly, it should be mentioned that almost all of the mentions of the Sanhedrin in the New Testament refer to forums in which Jewish Believers in Yeshua were undergoing persecution at the hands of the religious Jews. The spirit behind any resurrected Sanhedrin will certainly be anti-Messiah (anti-Christ), and the rise in authority of such a structure will mean intense persecution against Jews who become believers. “

This is not a minority opinion among Israeli believers. The believers in Israel do not have the luxury of ignoring such realities—as many Christian prophecy teachers do—when it comes to groups who have set themselves as enemies of the gospel.

It boils down to this: whatever power growth this new Sanhedrin is able to gain, the body of Messiah in Israel will be put in that much more danger from persecutors. It is that simple and clear cut.

What is the connection with the re-formed Sanhedrin, the Temple Mount Faithful and many of the rabbis opposing disengagement by enacting curses and incitement against Israeli government officials? They share a hard-right religious perspective that renders them willing to go to life threatening extremes (other people’s lives endangered) to exert their will and interpretation of Torah over Israel.

Regardless of what you have come to think about the current Disengagment plan, as a believer you are not to let your opinions be shaped by the opinions of unbelievers, especially religious ones who oppose the Messiah you serve!

Can you even begin to imagine the hell that would be released if the Temple Mount Faithful were ever successful in their plots to blow up the Dome of the Rock? (The late above-mentioned Rabbi Meir Kahane also served a sentence in Israeli prison for plotting to attack Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount.)

The Israeli Security Forces have to be on guard continually against the threat posed by the Temple Mount Faithful and similar right wing religious extremists, yet Christians are delighted to help them raise funds for their work!

Why? There is an incredible amount of deception going on by many of these groups toward the Christian community that would begin to be cleared out if we would just begin to listen to the Israeli believers in the Land.

(I have to make a distinction here between the Christian ministries operating in Israel, and those Jewish believers who are actually citizens of Israel. Only citizens can evangelize their Israeli countrymen. Christian ministries who operate in Israel do so under the promise not to engage in evangelism. For many of these Christian organizations there is increased pressure to keep silent on issues related to the indigenous body and evangelism.

Here is a good way to judge your sources: Take a tour of the websites of the most renowned Israel-loving Christian leaders. If you don’t find any articles about or links to the indigenous Israeli ministries, you are probably not going to be getting a truly balanced view of the issues Israelis face or what God is really doing in Israel. You can’t get that without getting input from the believers of Israel. If a ministry has no meaningful fellowship with Israeli ministries then their viewpoint is too limited and narrow.)

The ramifications of the reestablished Sanhedrin, and those who are occupied with preparing to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, has great impact on the people of Israel, among them thousands of Messianic Jews, Arab believers and other Christians living in Israel.

If our eyes are not focused first on the living temple that the Lord is building in Israel, then our eyes are focused on the wrong thing. They are why it is necessary for us not to merely get caught up in the ‘thrill’ of identifying prophetic signs. There is something much greater at stake here than seeking after signs of the times.

To truly love and support Israel as He has stirred our hearts, we have to discern who God is working through in Israel and that’s where our support should go.

Yeshua didn’t go just anywhere but He went where He saw the Father was moving. He wasn’t just moved by need.

God has placed in us the desire to express love to the Jewish people and to the nation of Israel, and we should. Yet in regards to our support of Israel we should hold ourselves to the same thing that guided Yeshua’s outreach: where is the Father moving? He is moving where the body of Messiah is touching lives.

The needs are great in Israel and men can do many wonderful works and good deeds, but only God can do a work that will change the destinies of men, women and children for eternity.

When we consider Israel, shouldn’t the ministries of body of Messiah be our first point of reference?


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