By Daniel C. Juster | www.tikkunministries.org | Originally published in Israel’s Restoration Newsletter
Most media leaders have been euphoric over the revolutions taking place in the Middle-Eastern Arab world. Dictatorships are being swept away; power is now in the hands of the people! Or at least this is the officially perceived wisdom of the day. Many are the editorials in the conservative and moderate newspapers in Israel warning of the great dangers ahead. Few are such reports in the Western press!
Many political leaders in the West are not in touch with reality. The head of national intelligence in the U. S. declared that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a mostly secular organization. The head of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has returned to Egypt from exile, is said to be a moderate according to many Western politicians. In such a context, the word moderate is stretched beyond any reasonable definition. This particular leader is an anti-Semite, vilifies the Jewish state, and calls for a world Islamic Caliphate! It is said that he (that is the Brotherhood) is almost assured a great electoral influence because his views are considered absolutely mainstream in Egyptian society. By some estimates, two million people turned out to welcome his return. Is this not uncomfortably frightening?
The revolutions are fraught with danger for Israel and the West, but most do not want to face the danger. The word democracy seems more important than the content of the democracy. Democracy is not an automatic force for justice.
Am I defending the dictatorships of the Arab world? No. These dictators are getting their just deserts because they did not train their people in the moral and civic virtues that could have led to a true republican form of government. That training should have fostered values that have been a key in free societies. They could have moved their societies toward greater freedom, while still banning parties and individuals who professed Islamic radicalism, just as Germany continues to ban the Nazis. In their hearts, these dictators were simply not committed to the values of human rights, dignity, and political empowerment for groups affirming true human rights.
Wisdom from the Founding Fathers of the United States
The founding fathers of the United States were very clear on several crucial axioms for government. First, the vote is only one part of a republican form of government. They were careful to note that they did not believe in democracy and associated it with mob rule. They actually wanted only educated voters. After all, the 51% could vote to destroy the 49% in a pure democracy. True democracy is mob rule. This is why the idea of true democracy horrified the founders. Constitutional checks and balances, the separation of powers into three branches of government (legislative, judicial and executive), defined rights and freedoms, representative government and more were seen as crucial to a republic. In addition, they understood the character of the people as foundational. For John Adams, this character was formed by Christianity, and without that character formation, there could be no lasting free society. Adams said that the form of government he supported would only work for the kind of biblically rooted people that populated the colonies.
Alarming Tales of Democracy
So let’s look at a few cautionary tales in regard to the call for democracy: Iran, Gaza, Lebanon and Germany. Many Western leaders backed the removal of the Shah of Iran, who was slowly westernizing his country. They welcomed the return of the Ayatollah Komaini. Within a short period, he overthrew the moderates and, years later, had one of the early prime ministries, Shapuar Baktiar, a man who stood for human rights, murdered in France. In the Palestinian territories, free elections put Hamas, a terrorist group, in power. In Lebanon, democracy has given Hezbollah, another terrorist organization, enough votes to veto the rest of the Parliament and to essentially control the government. We should never forget that Hitler was elected. Why Western leaders and media deny that this is a likely but not certain scenario is amazing. It is either denial and blindness or incredible ignorance! Few reported that some of the revolutionaries chanted that they would march on Israel – all the while shouting, “Death to the Jews.”
The Danger of Our Times
We are now entering a very dangerous time in the Middle East. If Egypt falls to an Islamic controlled government, in the pattern of Turkey (it took some years) or Iran, it will be very bad for Israel. Can we be confident in a people where the majority of women are still forced to undergo genital mutilation? The backwards nature of many of the people should not give us confidence in their readiness for democratic government. People have to first be trained or discipled in human rights.
Justice, Israel and the Arabs
This leads to the issue of justice in the Middle East. Some focus on the microcosm. They get all worked up over Jewish injustices to innocent Palestinians. Sometimes the issues are valid and sometimes they are trumped up. However, if one focuses on the macrocosm, we note that there are 21 Arab nations and only one Jewish nation in the whole world. Jordan is predominantly Palestinian, and if a Palestinian state is created in the West Bank and Gaza there will be two Palestinian majority Arab states. Whatever one’s view of forming such a new state, the macrocosm justice issue is very clear in the whole light of Jewish history. The Jewish state must be supported as a foundational issue of justice.
My view echoes that of John Adams. I do not really even trust the long term prospects in the West for freedom, justice and respect for human rights because the West has drifted, and is now drifting further, from its Biblical roots. I certainly do not trust the long term prospects in countries that profess Islam. I believe that the answer is always and only in the Gospel. Only coming to Yeshua and embracing His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount can deliver Arabs from violence, hate and tyranny. We say that the Gospel is to the Jew first, but there is no greater second focus for prayer and witness than the Gospel to the Islamic world and especially the Arab world. This is why our related ministries support, in large ways, Arab Gospel witness.
I wish I could be more optimistic, but until we see a change in the hearts of peoples, we will have to support a balance of power arrangement between blocks of nations and a judicious navigation of foreign policy that is not given to fantasy. Many of Islam’s top scholars say that democracy is only a temporary expedient since Allah should rule through a council of top religious leaders who enforce Shariah law. That law is a disaster for minorities and for women. Only a balance of power arrangement can limit the potential damage of the dangerous Islamic Arab and Islamic Iranian expansionism. Containment and eventually defeat have to be the order of the day. As followers in Yeshua, we need to also face the fact that the relativistic and multi-cultural West may not have either the will or the means for a strong stand. We may not see victory until the return of Yeshua.
Let us pray for our political leaders in the U. S. and the West. Some do have open eyes and some are speaking out, but they are the minority. May we yet see these many peoples under the bondage of Islam delivered and come into the glorious liberty of being children of God in Yeshua.
Dan Juster, a Messianic Jew living in Jerusalem, is Director of Tikkun Ministries.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: Ayatollah Komaini, daniel c juster, egypt, Germany, Guest Writer: Dan Juster, israel, Jerusalem, John Adams, Lebanon, Middle East, muslim brotherhood, Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel
The push for a new state for the Arab Palestinians may be attained by September of this year. The way this could be achieved is outside of the current peace process and could lead to negative results. A lengthy article has been written by David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post explaning how this could come about. In essence if the UN Security Council reaches an impasse on its ability to maintain order and stability, the process can then go to General Assembly where resolutions are passed via two-thirds majority. Although non-binding, this “Unity for Peace” Resolution has been used before where the dynamics on the ground affected the related parties (for example, boycotts and sanctions). The article states,
The Palestinian leadership, that is, anticipating that the US will veto its unilateral bid for statehood at the Security Council, will take the matter to the General Assembly. There it will push for the necessary two-thirds GA support for recognizing “Palestine,” presumably along the pre-1967 lines and with a “right of return” for refugees, under a “Uniting for Peace” resolution to ensure global action.
If this were to transpire, critical issues that normally are solved through consensus could become flash points of contention and further world condemnation. Horovitz adds
Most Israelis may well believe that the failure to make progress in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from the other side’s refusal to take positions that would guarantee Israel’s physical and demographic security alongside the proposed Palestine. Most Israelis may well believe that the Palestinian leadership has neither encouraged its people to accept the Jewish right to statehood, nor accepted this right itself, and has maintained an environment in which terrorists who target Israelis are regarded as role models.
But the sad fact is that most of the international diplomatic community simply doesn’t accept this narrative, and tends increasingly to blame strong, sovereign Israel for failing to grant independence to the weak, stateless Palestinians. Rocket attacks from Gaza, bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem, even horrific murders of fathers, mothers, children and babies in their homes, are evaluated in that context.
So there is certainly no automatic, or even readily attainable, blocking vote in the Security Council for the Palestinians’ demand for statehood, even if the establishment of that “state” is being sought while the core issues of dispute with neighboring Israel remain unresolved.
No Jews were allowed in Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967 while the region was under Jordanian control. Currently there are many established Jewish communities in this same region. What would happen as result of this machination to these communities? Do any of the recent terror attacks give us a clue as to the attitude of some Palestinians?
Another area of incitement being reviewed is the attitude to peace: “They say that Jews have no right to be in this region, Jews have no right to be here. This is especially noticeable in school text books, where Israeli presence isn’t even mentioned. There are no maps with Israel. (Ynet News).
If such an event were to occur the security of an estimated 200,000 Jews would be of immediate concern. Just as a point of fact, other items that have been in negotiation are water, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem.
It is unclear what the position of the US is in this regard. With the recent vote on the settlements, it was stated that the US ‘ was “very, very close” to not vetoing the anti-settlement resolution’.
The manner in which this Administration has conducted its foreign policy over the past few years, allowing others to take the lead in domestic and international affairs, may pave the way for this potentially historic event in September.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: israel, Jerusalem, jerusalem post, jew, jewish, jews, Jordan, Judea, palestine, palestinians, peace process, Samaria, un security council, ynet news
By Stan Goodenough | www.stangoodenough.com | Originally published Feb 2011
My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war. (Psalm 120:6-7)
How do we pray concerning the Israel-Egypt peace treaty? Do we pray for it to be protected, upheld and perpetuated? For the majority who wish to see Israel live in peace with her neighbors, this question would seem a no brainer.
And yet, I cannot pray so readily for this.
Let me paint a picture:
A friend has contracted cancer that, unless caught in its early stages, will grow progressively more threatening to his life. On learning of the disease, you urge him to have the tumor removed, but he prefers to continue living as normal a life as possible, taking basic medication to numb him to the pain, and even help him forget he was ill.
The more time passes, the more perilous his condition becomes. He would carry on regardless, but a sudden turn of events forces him to reassess. While the attack on his body is set to intensify, he’s not ready to deal with it.
You have the chance to remind him that, had he agreed to it at the start, he would have undergone a painful but relatively straightforward procedure while his body was strong enough to survive. The passage of time and progression of the cancer has weakened him. Although it is still possible to save his life, he must have the surgery now.
Thing is, it’s no longer a small operation. What he requires at this point will be agonizing; the risks far higher. As his friend, you must choose whether to pressure him to go under the knife by telling him some unpleasant home truths, or allow him to continue in self-delusion as he drifts towards his date with doom.
“Everybody’s” pleading with him to, “for heaven’s sake, leave well enough alone! Anything is better than the alternative.”
But do we really believe this?
Let’s take a closer look at what this Israel-Egypt peace treaty really is: how it was drawn up, what it cost Israel to sign, how it has played out, what its effects have been, and where its perpetuation will lead.
The Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, and the Egyptian military dictator, Anwar Sadat, signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, known as the Camp David Agreement, in 1978.
In other words, it was signed between an elected representative of the Israeli people on the one side, and a military ruler representing no-one on the other.
The details – or more accurately – the parties to the agreement – were hammered together by the American president, Jimmy Carter.
As close advisor to Begin, the late Shmuel Katz, outlined in his book “The Hollow Peace,” (Dvir Publishing; Israel; 1981), Carter held a gun to Israel’s head and, wielding blackmail and deception, mercilessly pressured Begin into agreeing to the treaty terms – the tangible fruits of which were all in Egypt’s – and America’s – favor.
Sadat, who had his forces launch the aggressive wars of 1967 and 1973 with the intent of obliterating the Jewish state, was rewarded for his belligerence by being given the Sinai Peninsula (which was not Egyptian sovereign territory before), and by being universally applauded as a courageous peacemaker.
By relinquishing the Sinai, Israel lost access to sources of oil that supplied upwards of 60 percent of its oil needs. It lost the ultra-modern military airfields it had built in the Sinai, and the billions of dollars it had to spend building substitute airfields in the Negev.
Israel lost the strategic depth that protected it against another Egyptian onslaught. It lost the only way it had of ensuring Israeli ships retain free access to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea. It lost the Jewish communities it had established in the Sinai – the process of uprooting them leaving deep scars in the Israeli national conscious and sowing seeds for civil disagreement and strife among Israel’s Jews.
And in the agreement Israel forfeited the possibility of annexing Judea, Samaria and Gaza, instead binding itself to negotiate with the Palestinian Arabs to give them self-rule in those areas to which they – the Arabs – had no prior historical claim.
The United States rewarded Egypt richly; over the ensuing years giving the country billions of dollars worth of modern and sophisticated weaponry, and training Egyptian soldiers and security forces. All the while Egypt’s army – twice as large as Israel’s – has been playing yearly war games in which it practices attacking and destroying the Jewish state.
Egypt, first under Sadat and then under Hosni Mubarak, lived up to nothing in return but a pledge not to launch attacks on Israel from Egyptian soil. That did not stop it from pursuing that other, political, war – delegitimizing the Jewish state and fomenting hatred of Israel at home and abroad.
While Israeli leaders frequently visited Egypt for consultations with Mubarak and his officials, the Egyptian ruler absolutely refused to reciprocate. His solo trip to Jerusalem was for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Israeli tourists flocked with their money to Egypt, but Egyptians basically never came to tour Israel. The Mubarak-controlled media in Egypt regularly vilified the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens, while Israel’s free media almost always related to their southern neighbor in terms of being a partner in peace.
Meanwhile, included in the Carter-sanctioned agreement, with the American president’s full awareness and in fact collusion, was Egypt’s right to declare war on Israel if Israel should get into another conflict with any other Arab state.
As The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick told an audience in the Israeli capital last week, what has existed between Israel and Egypt for the last 32 years has been not a state of peace but a readily reversible ceasefire.
Apart from badly compromising Israel’s security at the start, when it was formulated and signed, the agreement led Israel to further weaken itself as the years, then the decades, went by.
Glick pointed out that Israel, lulled into sleepiness by the exciting ‘peace agreement,’ long ago stopped training its forces for desert warfare. It also stopped collecting intelligence on the Egyptian military. All the while, Cairo was building up its war machine – with a billion dollars in aid from the United States every year.
“Egypt received massive military assistance from the United States. Those forces – which are trained by the US military – have been training for war against Israel for the last 32 years… The Egyptian army is twice the size of the IDF. Nearly a million Egyptian boys come of call-up age every year.”
Egypt is not “just” anti-Israel; it is one of the most antisemitic countries in the world, warned the Post reporter.
It must be noted, Glick added, that the new military junta ruling Egypt, despite being under intense pressure from the United States to commit itself to honoring the Israel-Egypt treat, was willing to go no further than make a general commitment to all its international treaties.
This should not be overlooked.
So what do we have? Israel signed a treaty with an Egyptian strongman which, yes, helped keep the southern border quiet for 32 years, and enabled millions of Israeli tourists to visit the Sinai and enjoy its beautiful coastline. But it also led to Israel weakening itself strategically, relaxing its guard and effectively rendering itself less able to deal with a future Egyptian assault.
Meanwhile the Egyptian side massively modernized its military while uninterruptedly fuelling hatred of the Jews and their state. Egypt used its “credentials” (influential Arab state with Western-backing) to keep itself in the center of the “peace process.” From Cairo, Hosni Mubarak edged ahead with his anti-Israel agenda, encouraging American administrations and Israeli leftists to work against Israel’s security interests.
Many, mostly liberal, experts are decrying the “scaremongers” who believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will soon ascend to power in Egypt. The revolution there has been widely described as the birthing of democracy in the Arab world and therefore promising a better future for Israel-Egypt relations. But democracy and Islam are oil and water – they cannot be mixed, and Israel’s presence in the Arab’s Muslim midst can never be tolerated. It must be expunged.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while calling Israel-Egyptian peace a “cornerstone of Mideast stability” and “hoping for the best” has said that Israel must “prepare for the worst” in its relations with its southern neighbor. Leftist Israelis have torn strips off him for doing so, calling instead for an appeasing approach that would not risk heightening tensions between the two countries during this transition period.
What is best for Israel? What should we pray for? The survival of a peace treaty that strengthens Egypt – whose political future is at best uncertain – and keeps Israel weak – making its future survival uncertain?
Or do we pray for Israel to prepare for the possibility that Egypt will tear up the treaty and throw it away – even if Israel’s very act of preparation is used as a justification by Egypt to abrogate Camp David?
Should we pray for God to help Israel prepare for what the Bible foretells and Middle East geo-political reality confirms is on the way – a war the Jewish people don’t want, but which will be unleashed against her? And if, as the IDF is bolstered in the south and Israel moves to make up its deficit in intelligence on Egypt, the Egyptian side reacts by scrapping the treaty, so be it?
Latin scholar Vegetius said: Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war).
With the Israel-Egypt treaty, Israel has prepared for peace, but Egypt has has used it to gear up for war.
Stan Goodenough is a journalist and commentator, and 23-year resident of the State of Israel.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: Camp David, egypt, Guest Writer: Stan Goodenough, Indian Ocean, israel, Jerusalem, Jimmy Carter, Peace, political revolution, Red Sea, Stan Goodenough, treaty, United States, War
The UN Security Council last week was one vote short of “rendering” all Israeli settlements illegal. The US stood in the way and vetoed the resolution, opting however to agree to the settlement’s “illegitimacy.” Ynet news stated:
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.” She added that the US view is that Israeli settlements lack legitimacy.
The Ambassador continued on to indicate that settlements and other issues ought to be resolved through negotiations. The Jerusalem Post added that:
The resolution risks “undermining US-led efforts to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” Rice said that the settlements have, for “four decades” undermined Israel’s security situation and hindered the peace process in the Middle East.
At the same time the Palestinian official said this veto actually threatens the peace process. Again from Ynet:
The Americans have very clearly demonstrated to Palestinians, to Arab public opinion, and to world public opinion that they are biased to the point of destruction.
If they keep trying to manipulate and water down a resolution to become a statement, and they start selling us used goods again it’s not going to work
Israel’s position on this is that settlements and for that matter the entire peace process is to be through negotiations and not via UN resolutions. A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office reads:
“We seek a solution that will integrate the legitimate Palestinian aspirations with Israeli requirement of security and recognition,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The US decision makes it clear that the only way to peace is through negotiations. We are ready to vigorously advance negotiations and are interested in beginning the process of achieving secure peace and hope that the Palestinians will join the process.”
Was the US Administration trying to play both sides of the aisle? The settlements were always part of the peace negotiations going all the way back to President Carter’s Camp David Accord. For some reason, a non-issue became an ISSUE. I am not willing to speculate here on why this seems to be the case, but the settlements are not only legitimate, they are in fact legal. This can be traced all the way back to the League of Nations’ partitioning of Palestine and the British Mandate. To make the settlements illegal, one would have to make the judgments of The League of Nations in 1922 and the UN in 1947 in establishing a home land for Jews void. For a primer on the settlement issue please see Jewish Virtual Library, Myths and Facts, Settlements.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: ambassador to the united nations, America, David, Jerusalem, jerusalem post, Middle East, Netanyahu, palestinians, President Carter, public opinion, un security council, ynet news
“But Daniel made up his mind [as did Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah] that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
…. At the end of the ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating king’s choice food.
…. As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.” -Dan. 1.8, 15, 17
There is an oft-neglected standard set in forth in the life of Daniel, and it needs especially to be heeded by believers who find themselves living in the prosperous nations of the world. It has to do with the manner of our eating and drinking, and the direct correlation of the level of our spiritual sharpness and discernment. Simply put, those who are given to overeating and overindulgence will be dulled to spiritual realities, and will have no room or capacity for the glorious privilege of the saints; namely, the grace to increase in the knowledge of God, and the power to set forth His word in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
Daniel and his Hebrew friends (a small remnant out of all those who were taken from Jerusalem during the first installment of Babylon’s intrusion) were characterized by a remarkable kind of consecration. It was remarkable indeed, for the majority of their kinsmen were totally duped and swallowed up by the pervasive power of Babylon’s table, and these young prophetic men were not willing to have any part of it.
For these ones who were brought to Babylon from Jerusalem to serve in the King’s palace, assimilation was the name of the game. Nebuchadnezzar wanted “youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered the chief of his officials to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.”
They may have been castrated and made into eunuchs (removing their courage); they were given new names (removing their identities); they were instructed in the knowledge of Babylon (clouding the clarity of the Law of God), and made drunk by the voluptuous power of an unlimited volume of food and wine, straight from the King’s reservoir. Daniel and his friends endured all of the hellish transition, but they reached a point where they could not buckle any longer. They were willing to submit to the changes that were placed upon them in the sovereignty of God, but when it came to the table of Babylon, and the dulling effects of luxurious food and copiously flowing wine, they boldly and humbly drew the line in the sand.
Daniel “made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank.” This was not merely an issue of the Law, which is to say, refraining from the eating of unclean animals. This was an issue of protecting the inward prophetic distinctive of his own purpose and existence as a young Hebraic man. This little remnant of four souls had maintained a union with the God of Israel, though all of their kinsmen had fallen under the sway of Babylon’s way of life.
The land of exile was to be for some of the exiles the land of opportunity.
(Daniel: OTL, Norman Porteous; Westminster John Knox Press, 1965)
It may have been the “land of opportunity” and promotion for those who lacked the iron-core of prayer and the moral grit of loyalty to Yahweh, but it was a land of radical delusion and compromise to the one who had “made up his mind that he would not defile himself.” Daniel knew that he could not transgress against the union he had with the Lord, and because he jealously guarded that union, the Lord put him high places to set forth the truth of the Kingdom.
There is a note that needs to be sounded along these lines, for the Church in this age is being mostly swept up in a manner similar to the majority of the exiles. There are too few Daniels in our midst, and as infrequently as we hear it addressed, the issue of our food and drink plays a staggering part in dulling our hearts to the reality of God, and sweeping us away in the tides of lust and sinful pleasure.
How is it that Daniel was able to endure losing his Hebrew name (which was so charged with meaning), being indoctrinated by Babylonian thought and spirituality, and becoming a eunuch (if indeed he did), but when it came to the issue of food and drink he was unwilling to give his soul over to it’s alluring power?
There is something terribly amiss in our Christian culture, when so many of our members are obese, given to excessive eating, and lusting after food in the same way that men lust after women. I am suspicious of the whole phenomenon of buffets and “all-you-can-eat” establishments, most of which are filled to capacity on Sunday afternoons. There is something telling about our dissatisfaction with God when we flock to these restaurants, making multiple trips to the buffet, and straining our intestines in pursuit of fulfillment and pleasure. Is there something lacking in our union with God, and since our drab Sunday meetings haven’t met that lack, are we compelled to turn to “comfort foods” for some type of satisfaction? The practice of overeating, which is so common to believers in the Western world, is a revealing sign that we have not been satisfied with the table of the Lord, with the fellowship that He gives, with the “food” that Jesus ate of; that is, doing the will of the Father.
Daniel and his friends stepped away from the table of Babylon and it’s stultifying influences, for they did not want their inward loyalty to the Lord to be diluted. They were jealous for His glory, and jealous to keep their hearts with all diligence, for a blurred heart cannot abide in the counsel of the Lord, and this was the chief desire of these four remarkable young men.
Not only were they preserved in terms of health, but “God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.”
There is something here to be said for the man who will take thankfully only what is needed of food and drink, “setting his heart upon” the place of prayer, totally unwilling to break from a union with the Lord, totally unwilling to give sway to the spirit of this age. Daniel is a unique prototype for us along these lines, and we need not to hold his example off at a distance as some rare historical episode, but to examine our own lives and press into the Lord for the grace to walk in this kind of consecrated reality.
How shall we function in the various types of “Babylonian” atmospheres that we find ourselves in? Are we willing to step away from the table, to take only what is required for sustenance, and to give our lives over to the spirit of prayer? This is not to say that we will cease to enjoy good tasting things. That is not the point at all. We know the difference between enjoying a meal with grateful hearts, and having a lawless blowout of a meal that dulls our spiritual senses.
If we have given our bodies and souls over to excessive eating and drinking, it can be certain that we have robbed ourselves of the kind of divine clarity, holy knowledge, and revelational insight that the Lord only gives to those who “set their hearts” upon Him. It is not an issue of asceticism, legalism, or striving in a fleshly religious sense. It is an issue of being set apart in the inner-man for the eternal purposes of God.
Daniel’s dogged determination in the area of food clearly played a role in opening his spirit to the realm of God, and it will be no different for the believer in these last days. There is a sharpness and priestly coherence that comes to the one who pushes away Babylon’s overflowing plates and chalices, and gives himself to the Danielic mode of being; namely, a life of joyful restraint, prevailing prayer with fasting, and living ultimately for the glory of God.
If we would overcome the spirit of this age and glorify the Son of God in these days, we must adopt this mode of being. There is no other way to come into the prophetic and apostolic reality that the Scriptures have set forth. And a Church which lacks that reality has fallen short of the glory of God.
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: daniel, food, gluttony, Hebrew, Jerusalem, King, Norman Porteous, Scripture
Ministry today is often viewed as a profession, a career and an occupation. We have been reminded quite often that “the laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7) and that we should not muzzle the ox when he is working (Deut 25:4). When I preach about the call of God into the ministry, the first thing that most people think of is a paid position and the first question that they have is about financial support. It seems that most people automatically connect ministry with a paying full-time job and I wonder sometimes how much interest there would be if there were no possibility of financial reward.
When Malachi was sent by God to Jerusalem shortly after the temple had been rebuilt, he was appalled by the apathy of the people and especially of the “clergy”. He made the observation that the priest seemed to be motivated by what they could get out of their service rather than by sincere love for God and a desire to build His Kingdom. “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nothing?” he asks. “Neither do you kindle fire on my altar for nothing. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts; neither will I accept an offering at your hand.” (Mal 1:10)
I have no problem with ministers who make a living from their work in the ministry…I am one of them in fact. But if financial remuneration is the incentive and motivation for ministry, there is a real problem.
I started preaching when I was 14-years-old and ever since then, in many different capacities I have always worked in “the ministry”. Most of the time I have been in ministry it has been totally volunteer and has even cost me dearly. I have had to work secular jobs to support my family. Even as a senior pastor I took no salary and never felt entitled to anything. If there were no money in ministry I would still be doing it today and for the rest of my life. Why? Because I love Jesus and because it is what He has called me to do. I cannot imagine not ministering. Ministry is not my job…it is my life. I AM a minister…it’s not just what I do. I am amazed sometimes to think that today I am able to make a living doing something that I love so much.
Jesus told his disciples, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 4:34). He was saying, this is my reward…this is my remuneration; to do the will of God” And then he gave this exhortation, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.” (John 6:27) As ministers we work not for money or for food, but we work for Jesus. Money will follow ministry and as you seek first the Kingdom of God all these things will be added to you.
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: Jerusalem, Jesus, Ministry, money, Pastor, preaching, profession, secular