By Asher Intrater | www.revive-israel.org | Reprinted from Revive Israel Ministries with permission.
This past year offered some unprecedented opportunities to discuss our faith on Israeli media. This included the educational television, television channel one, and the largest Hebrew newspaper, Yediot.
During this time I have also attended a local Sephardic orthodox synagogue, because I enjoy studying, praying and fellowshipping with them. A few weeks ago, one of the members identified me from the television. I affirmed to him my faith as a Messianic Jew. It didn’t take long for the word to spread around the synagogue.
The rabbi asked to meet with me. He is a dear man, whom I respect. We talked for over an hour about faith and religion. Although he was polite, he told me that the rabbis in Jerusalem were organizing “harsh” opposition to me and that he would stand with them. That next Shabbat they refused to let me into the synagogue. I realized they were not really rejecting me, but rejecting Yeshua, who loves them more than they know. He and I walked away together sadly.
On Sunday the police showed up at our door. They had a summons for me to appear in court (along with a couple from our congregation). The summons contained 19 pages of unfounded claims. The suit was presented in the name of the parents of a teenage girl who had developed a friendship with the couple in our congregation.
In Israel it is illegal to convert a minor to another religion without the parents’ consent. We would not do that under any circumstance, and in this case, we had notified the family in writing that the teenager could only attend with parental permission. Therefore the suit was groundless in the first place.
When we arrived in court, there was a religious lawyer and a representative of an “anti-missionary” group. [It is worth noting that the majority of the Israeli public and the government agencies are not “anti-Messianic.” The opposition comes primarily from extremist religious groups.]
Instead of dealing with the suit of the parents, the lawyer simply began to attack us as a cult, calling me repeatedly “a leader of the cult of the Messianic Jews (Acts 24:4-5).” While this was demeaning, it had no legal bearing on the case. The suit was a ploy to defame us and had little to do with caring for the needy young lady.
Finally, the judge became angry and asked what all this religious talk had to do with the legal suit (Luke 23:4, 14, Acts 18:14-15, 19:38). When we presented as evidence our letters to the family requiring parental permission, the judge closed the case. It is a shame that the parents were exploited in the hands of those trying to discredit us. We can only hope for the best for this girl and her family.
When we returned home, we found out about the next “wave” of opposition: an article planned in the local newspaper, attacking us as a “missionary” cult. Apparently the court case was part of a “spin” to defame us in the newspapers. Please pray fervently that everything that was meant for evil will be turned to good. I want to thank our lawyer and dear friend Caleb Myers, of Jerusalem Institute for Justice, who represented us in this case.
The spiritual attack of religious persecution is three fold: Rejection, Intimidation, and Defamation. You could say they are trying to get RID of us. Because of your prayers, we were protected by the grace of God and sustained with great peace of mind.
The whole situation was reminiscent of living out a scene from the book of Acts. There we were, sitting in a court room in Jerusalem, accused of being a cult, blocked from the synagogue, plotted against by Pharisees. I suppose it was sort of an honor. The slanders against us are a diversion from the real issue: Either Yeshua is the Messiah, or He isn’t (Acts 17:3).
For decades I have taught that we should live like the apostles. Ah, but there is no apostolic revival without persecution. “Now, Lord, behold their threats, and grant to Your servants to declare Your word with all boldness, stretching out Your hand to heal and do signs and wonders…” – Acts 4:29. Did we expect to get the signs and wonders without the threats?
We are gaining a clearer perspective on the biblical narrative.
- Religious leaders will “incite” normal people to be angry (Acts 6:12, 14:2, 14:19, 13:50, 17:5, 17:13).
- They will hire legal and forensic specialists to accuse us (Acts 24:1).
- This is why Yeshua decreed to separate state and religion (“Give unto Caesar…” – Matthew 22:21), and Saul/Paul turned to state authorities (“Before the judgment seat of Caesar…” – Acts 25:10).
- We will be accused of being a cult (Acts 24:5, 14, 28:22).
- Instead of dealing with the content of our message, the issue will be diverted to attacking our character, through lies and slander (Luke 23:1-2, Acts 16:20, 17:6, 18:13, 21:28, 22:22).
- They will seek to catch us in one mistake in our words in order to accuse us (Luke 11:54, 14:1, 20:20).
- If we pray hard enough, the modern day apostles will be delivered from jail (Acts 12:5). If we do not, they will not be delivered (Acts 12:2).
- Thinking there will be revival without persecution is a deception (Acts 14:22).
- Everything will be acceptable except one thing: the name of Yeshua (Acts 4:17-18, 5:28, 5:40).
Is all this worth it? Yes. For what reason? – LOVE. If we love our people, then pain and persecution are worth the price to show them the love of Messiah. I don’t feel in any way offended or hurt. We simply love our people and would be willing to lay down our lives for them (Acts 7:60, 20:24, 21:13). They really just don’t understand (Luke 23:46). Yet.
Asher Intrater is the director of Revive Israel Ministries, an apostolic ministry team dedicated to revival in Israel. To access more articles by Asher Intrater or to find out more about the Ministries of Revive Israel, go to www.reviveisrael.org.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: government, Guest Writer: Asher Intrater, israel, israeli media, jews, judgment, messianic, orthodox synagogue, yeshua
From an E-Mail sent by Lou Engle’s TheCall on April 12th:
Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” Regarding Senate Bill 48, the next few weeks will decide what California students will learn, which according to Lincoln will guide the thinking of our future government. As Gettysburg was considered the high water mark of the civil war, this very well could be the Gettysburg of American education regarding the issue of homosexuality.
This bill will affect nine million children and parents in public schools. The implications of this one bill are monumental and I believe the voice of the churches must be heard in this critical hour.
President, TheCall to Conscience
What is Senate Bill 48?
“California Senate Bill number 48, now tracking its way through the legislature, would change the teaching of core academic subjects into a ‘celebration’ of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual lifestyles. This profound change in the basic education of children would be mandatory, without involvement or opt-out rights of parents.”
What is at stake?
SB 48 still passed the Senate Education Committee but there’s still time to stop this bill in the assembly and senate that SaveCalifornia.com calls “the worst school sexual indoctrination ever,” forcing nine million California children to learn about homosexuality at an early age with no opt-out rights for parents.
What is most alarming about this bill is that if it passes, parents will have no rights over what their children learn in public schools regarding their sexuality. This is total discrimination against religious liberties and parents’ rights to teach their children morals.
Furthermore, Dr. Miriam Grossman, an author and child psychiatrist for over 20 years, presented well-researched evidence that introducing elementary and junior high school students to homosexuality will cause gender confusion and misidentification as a homosexual because they are still in the stage of gender and identity formation.
Also, because California is the largest consumer of textbooks, what goes into California’s textbooks will most likely go into the rest of the nation’s textbooks. This could effect what all public schools will teach across the nation!
ConcernedParentsUnited.com goes on to say:
“What we all do, or fail to do, in the next few weeks will determine whether or not California’s school children will be subject to homosexual textbooks and curriculum for years to come! Your help is needed to fight this bill every step of the way at every committee hearing and every vote.”
Three steps to stop SB 48
1. Please pray that God would do a miracle and stop the passage of this bill.
2. If you are a California resident and you want to stop this bill, please go to the following website to let your representatives know your stance. It only takes a minute: http://capwiz.com/legislativecenter/issues/alert/?alertid=27189501
3. It is vitally important for us to vote and put those who will truly represent us into office. If we don’t vote, we won’t be represented, period.
To watch the video of last week’s hearing at the Senate Education Committee, visit www.calchannel.com. To hear Sarah Yang’s powerful testimony, skip to 28:45 in the video
Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: california, government, homosexuality, Lou Engle, the church, thecall, transgender
Called to Pray:
and from Jesus (the Messiah) the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father… (Revelation 1:5-6a)
In Revelation 1:5 the Messiah Jesus is identified according to His authority. He is the faithful, resurrected witness, the ruler of the governments of this world. This glorious king is also a priest, our “great priest.” (Hebrews 10:21) According to His inherent power and authority, He has made us to be a kingdom of priests. (Revelation 1:6)
Apparently, the believing community has forgotten this primary calling. Generally speaking it is not considered a good thing if someone wakes up and cannot remember where they work or what they do. It is important for every believer to recover and live in this aspect of our identities. We really are priests. (1 Peter 2:5,9)
The Spirit of God, through the Scriptures, shows us our identity and reveals the nature of our Creator. As spiritual priests we know, and freshly discover, Who we worship through the Scriptures. Let us know and rediscover our intercessory priestly priorities as well. For direction in prayer, the first place we go to receive our assignments are the Scriptures. Since we are submitted to God through His Scriptures, let us be attentive to enscriptured apostolic guidance.
Paul gives a doxology in 1 Timothy 1:17 – To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. In the light of the reality that the Messiah Jesus is king, (five verses later) Paul prioritized prayer for governments.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
We are called to pray for the social and economic climate in which we find ourselves. We are called to pray for the structure of civil society to be amenable to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God through the church. To pray for the Kingdom’s purposes to advance in our nation we must identify with the King’s heart for those who govern. First, we must renounce wrath, rebellion and resentment.
Renounce Wrath, Rebellion and Resentment:
Here’s a principle offered by an apostle: Peter wrote that husbands must live “in an understanding way” with their wives “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7b) There is an analogy to be made concerning prayer for our government. We must make sure that our hearts are right with God before we can expect to be heard.
To wisely pray we must have hearts that are free from wrath and rebellion.
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (1 Timothy 2:8)
“Wrath” in this context has to do with being angry at the repressive Roman regime. The dissension spoken of in this verse is not referring to rebellion within the church. It is speaking directly to the priestly call to pray for those who ruled a godless, amoral, idolatrous, tyrannical empire. This follows the instruction of the Messiah Jesus. He told us that if we are to effectively pray we must have hearts that are free from resentment.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
Anger, rebellion and rancor pollute the streams of our relationship with God and revelation from God. Let us rid ourselves of the deception that we will be enabled to maintain holy intercessory interaction while ignoring this important injunction.
Honoring God’s Heart:
We must diligently watch over our hearts.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Many who read this may view President Obama and this administration as adversaries of important godly priorities. I am not contending with that perspective. However, let me ask us a question – what is it about loving our adversaries that we don’t understand? Jesus shed His blood for those who were adverse to God’s righteousness. He loved His enemies. He died for sinners. He expects us to reflect this love, even in the light of serious political oppression.
The degree of despotism experienced by Israel under Roman occupation and what we are enduring in our nation is not worthy of comparison. Yet, Jesus said this, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) What a test this verse provides for many of us in this current political climate. Look at this section of Scripture that follows:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
How serious is the oppression we are enduring? In comparison to what believers suffer throughout the world, we are not suffering. If we cannot walk in love during this season, how can we hope to do so in a time of serious tribulation?
Here’s something else to consider for those seeking to fulfill their role as priests: Can we come before God, through the blood of Jesus with an attitude which is antithetical to the motive which caused this blood to be offered? Dare we come with a different spirit? His blood speaks love and cries out for forgiveness. If we are to effectively pray for our nation’s leaders we must have a similar spirit.
To pray effectively there must be a thorough, heartfelt, renunciation of anger and rebellion. To be heard in heaven, we must honor the heart of God by embracing His love for His enemies.
During this time before the elections, let us consider our ways, return to the Lord and pray that righteousness would be exalted.
Posted in Law & Politics Tagged with: attitudes, authority, election, government, humility, obedience, prayer, praying for leaders, rebellion, submission, worship
From Compass Direct News:
Government seminar on house churches, once considered encouraging, results in crackdown.
DUBLIN, July 2 (Compass Direct News) – Amid vigorous debate among scholars in China on the status of house churches, one prominent scholar has suggested the government offer more openness and legal standing to house church Christians, but authorities have reacted with raids, arrests, forced church closures and a ban on the Chinese Federation of Christian House Churches.
Scholar Yu Jianrong and others have concluded that house churches are a positive influence on society, but the government is wary of such influence, particularly since Yu’s research estimated the total number of Protestant house church Christians at between 45 and 60 million, with another 18 to 30 million attending government-approved churches – potentially putting the number of Christians higher than that of Communist Party members, which number around 74 million.
The one-year, government-commissioned study by Yu and associates suggested that officials should seek to integrate house churches and no longer regard them as enemies of the state.
Yu, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Institute, used a combination of interviews, field surveys and policy reviews to gather information on house churches in several provinces from October 2007 to November 2008.
After comparing various research statistics, Yu determined that Protestant house church members numbered between 45 and 60 million, with another 18 to 30 million attending government-approved churches. He acknowledged in one interview, however, that the total number of Protestant Christians might be as high as 100 million.
Posted in News, Persecution Tagged with: China, christianity, government, house churches, Persecution, study