Israel Prayer Teams
PO Box 111302
Carrollton, Texas 75006




Early in his ministry, God made the apostle Paul aware of the significant need of support that Israeli Messianic believers would always have.  At the same time, the Lord was orchestrating events so that Paul would participate in the first Gentile outreach to meet the need.  Scripture makes it plain that Gentile believers are spiritually indebted to Israel

Do You Desire to Hasten the Lord's Return?

By Donna D'Iorio

“For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things,

their duty is also to minister to them in material things.”

Romans 15:27

In his final trip to Jerusalem, Paul modeled for us the practical means of repayment of this debt. 

The apostle Paul has been second-guessed and criticized for his insistence on returning to Jerusalem, past all warnings by the Spirit that he would be arrested there.   In fact, the offering he was determined to deliver in Jerusalem was Paul's way of fulfilling the commandment to bring a Shavuot (Pentecost) offering to the Lord.   There is good reason that Paul could not be turned back from his mission and the timing of his delivery of an offering from the Gentile Christians to the leaders of the Israeli believers in Jerusalem is not coincidental.  Rather the timing is accordance with the prophetic timetable contained in the biblical Feasts of the Lord. 

Paul placed the greatest of importance—laying his life on the line—to go up to Jerusalem with the commanded Shauvot offering.  He understood what we must also come to understand about this prophetic offering, for God's command is clear:  “And they shall not appear before the Lord empty handed.” (Deut. 16:16). 

Paul's own testimony was that he was “bound by the Spirit” to deliver an offering before God on this feast more commonly known to Christians as Pentecost.  While the Church has embraced the significance of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that is not a complete fulfillment of the prophetic foreshadowing contained in the feast of Shavuot.  God fulfilled His part in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but our part—the delivery of the Shavuot offering which God has required in response can only be fulfilled as we follow the Apostle Paul's example of bringing the offerings of the Gentile believers to the leaders of the Jewish believers in Israel

Paul understood the type and shadow signified in the Shavuot offering of two leavened loaves as symbolizing Jew and Gentile in the Messiah—from two, one new man in the Messiah (Eph. 2:15).  His practical application of the Shauvot offering was made in terms of financial support, collected over four years and delivered with an accompaniment of representatives from the churches (Acts 20:23). This collection of alms, this offering symbolizing the two loaves of Jew and Gentile united in the Messiah, was long in the making and even more significant than we have comprehended for centuries!

God made Paul aware early in his ministry of the significant need the Israeli Messianic believers would always have.  At the same time, God was orchestrating events so that Paul would participate in the first Gentile outreach to meet the need.  What the enemy meant for evil in the persecution of the leaders of the believers in Israel, God turned to good by revealing to Paul through evil circumstances that the Gentile Church was spiritually “indebted” to the Israeli body of believers to minister to them in material things.” (Romans 15:27)  In fact, the apostle called it our “duty.”   His one-time offering does not constitute a completion of this duty on behalf of the Church towards the Israeli Jewish believers.  He only modeled the required expression of it which we are to fulfill.

The events that awakened Paul occurred as the Antioch church sent Paul and Barnabas to the believers in Jerusalem with alms in response to a prophesied worldwide famine. Their arrival in Jerusalem coincided with Herod's execution of the apostle James and his subsequent arrest of the apostle Peter, “because he (Herod) saw that it pleased the Jews” (Acts 12).

We must believe in Divine timing when we see it!  Here Paul looked plainly into the eye of both the spiritual indebtedness of the Gentile believers to the Jewish believers (Romans 15:27) and also to the persecution of believing Israeli Jews by unbelieving Israeli Jews (Romans 11:28).  These events took place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the first of the three prophetic Feasts of the Lord that portray the salvation harvests of Israel. How could Paul escape what God was dramatically speaking to him through these events?

Acts records that the believers in Jerusalem, shocked by the execution of James, were terrified of what would happen to Peter, and what these actions against their leaders would surely also mean to all believers in Israel.  Intercession for Peter was going on day and night in Jerusalem.  This is the scenario that Paul and Barnabas came upon when they arrived in Jerusalem with alms from Antioch. How it must have impacted them!

Paul was in a unique position to understand God's purposes through his own past failings. He understood that the mindset which thought itself to be in full compliance with God's will to persecute the “unfaithful” Messianic Jews would never change until the appointed time that God reveals His Son corporately to Israel.   These powerfully connected events surely brought Paul to a mighty awakening at how the Gentile members of the body of Messiah relate to the Jewish members will be critical to the survival of Messianic Jews. He was experiencing first hand how the Jewish brethren in Israel were suffering without any practical assistance from believers outside of their borders.

The Antioch church was prompted to send relief to the brethren in Israel not because the Jewish brethren were “special” in themselves, but because they lived and ministered in a more gospel-hostile environment than most of Gentile churches.  To keep the Israeli Jewish brethren from suffering excessively for the sake of the gospel, Gentile believers must minister special care towards their needs.  The situation for Messianic Jews in Israel remains the same to this day.

Today in Israel, Messianic Jewish congregations have been fire bombed by ultra-orthodox religious persecutors—people just like Paul before his Damascus road experience. Messianic Jewish evangelists are often beaten, street witnesses threatened, and congregations surrounded by angry mobs of religious zealots.  Employment is especially challenging for Messianic Jewish believers, and congregational shepherds often must hold secular jobs alongside their full-time pastoral ministry due to a lack of adequate financial support.  And because of their faith, the 7,000 Messianic Jews of Israel must continually fight attempted legislative restrictions leveled against them by religious-political groups.

Although persecution comes in many forms, Messianic Jews love their people and their nation.  They understand they are in a spiritual battle and hold the same vision for the salvation of Israel as the apostle Paul.  (Romans 9:3) They understand that those who persecute them today, may be the ones God has planned save.  That He is able to intervene in their persecution through the same means He intervened when He turned Saul from misguided religious persecution of the believers in his day (Acts 9).

In an environment of religious persecution, the body of Christ worldwide must respond with help.  This practical assistance is no less needed or truly required for the body of believers in Israel.  We cannot look at Israel as merely a historical reference point of our faith for within its borders is a community of the household of faith who need the brotherly love and care of the Church.

Scripture makes it plain that Gentile believers are spiritually indebted to Israel.  In his final trip to Jerusalem, Paul modeled for us the practical means of repayment of this debt.  We see from his letters that he repeatedly urged the churches to contribute to this need—a need that continues to exist.  As he told the church at Corinth in direct reference to their collection of funds earmarked for the Jewish brethren, “And in this I give my advice:  It is to your advantage….”

This practical expression of love and unity is a fundamental ingredient to the witness that will bring the national salvation of Israel!  If you have ever wondered what would make unbelieving Israel “jealous” of our gospel, wonder no more.  This is powerful witness of love and unity—the evidence of the sincerity of our gospel—that unbelieving Jews must see to believe our gospel.  When the Gentile Church releases such care, concern and provision for the Israeli ministries the harvest will be released to abound.

When God sees the required Shavuot offering made—the Gentile believers' expression of love and unity toward their Jewish brethren—a great blessing will be released on the harvest of salvation among Israeli Jews.  Likewise, what testimony will the harvest of souls in Israel be to unbelievers throughout the world?  The Jewish Messiah accepted by the nation of Israel?  Can such a witness be ignored?  

Just as the original Jewish believers of the first century went out to preach the gospel among the Gentiles, so now the Gentile believers must provide resources for the proclamation of the gospel among the Jews, by Jews.  Only Israeli citizens may legally witness in Israel.  The Christian ministries in the land of Israel are forbidden by law to proclaim the gospel.  Most that want to maintain a presence in the Holy Land do not engage in evangelistic outreach.  If your heart's desire toward Israel is the same as the apostle Paul's, that all Israel might be saved, then you must reconsider how your Israel-support resources are allocated. 

Paul wrote extensively in his letters addressing the very issue.  He did not advise setting up missions in Israel from the churches in Corinth, Ephesus or Antioch.  What he did was advise the churches to collect ministry funds to be sent to the Jewish believers to finance their ministry needs.  This is still the most effective means and the only workable solution for ministry outreach in Israel!

For the Church to fulfill its spiritual duty toward the Israeli Messianic Jewish body is also the desire of God's heart or He would not have made it a factor in the prophetic foreshadowing of the Biblical Feasts of the Lord.  When this Shavuot offering to Lord of the double loaf is made ready, it is only then Yeshua can return to take up His Throne in Jerusalem.

Do you desire to hasten the return of the Lord?  Fulfill the spiritual debt to minister to the material needs of the Israeli ministries, who in turn will bless God for provisions to meet the needs of their congregations and to reach out into the unbelievers of their nation.

When the crop has matured, the Lord of the harvest will return for it.

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