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
Orthodox groups in Israel while ignoring the indigenous Israeli
Our brothers proclaiming the gospel suffer need while we donate
millions and millions to their persecutors who are enemies of
of the Sanhedrin
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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!
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.)
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
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?