The attempt to harm Israel through boycotts is nothing new. Commenting on the BDS (Boycotts, Divestment,and Sanctions) movement against Israel Shira Sorko-Ram writes
Although the Arab nations have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, they now believe they are finally on their way to success. By pouring billions of dollars yearly into public relations with governments, the media, universities and churches throughout the world, Palestinians feel certain they are winning the war by turning world opinion against the legitimacy of the nation of Israel.
The Palestinian public relations war is bearing much fruit, especially in the West. One of their tools is launching campaigns to boycott all Israeli products and apply sanctions against international companies that do business with Israel.
One blaring hypocritical note is that a key component of the technology to produce that video is from Israel (i.e. Intel Pentium chip).
The action taken in Australia is modeled after an apparent ‘success’ from Ireland and Scotland where two malls removed kiosks representing an Israeli cosmetics company. As one activist gloated,
The products being sold on these stalls help to fund Israel’s war economy and their brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestine. It is also highly likely that these goods come from illegal settlements on Palestinian land, although it is routinely mislabelled as coming from within Israel’s borders.
These are typical statements made by young people at these proceedings, but can be demonstrated to be inaccurate and false. The statement quoted above is simply ones perspective not fact.
Have you ever thought of the scope of products that have originated from Jews and Israel? In exposing the misguided intentions of these actions, David Brumer writes, in order for the BDS crowd to be honest with themselves, this action
would include most computers, since Israel helped to develop the Intel Pentium chip, Windows MP, XP and Vista as well as Microsoft Office. They’d have to boycott Google and cell phones developed in Israel by Motorola, as well as voice mail and camera phones. Thousands of products that were developed through technological innovations in Israel, in agriculture, aerospace, energy, pharmaceuticals, and bio-medicine would also be off limits. But naturally, the self-righteous boycotters and their legions of supporters aren’t interested in such banalities.
In the last couple of years, many liberal churches have initiated anti-Israel campaigns – that is, they have resolved to withdraw investments from companies owned by Israelis, or that even do business with Israeli companies, and these churches suggest that all of their members do the same.
After all, what’s really happening in Israel at this time? The unemployment rate is at a 20-year low, last month the number of tourists who arrived in Israel was the highest in more than a decade, and the personal security situation is the best we have seen here in the past 30 years or so.
Generally speaking, people no longer fear terrorism as they did in the past and they also do not feel that they are about to lose their jobs.Meanwhile, immense reforms are being undertaken in the transportation and education systems, and in the communication market as well.
For now it appears the BDS movement has had a real economic impact on Israel. It is enjoying a sound economy and for that we are thankful. However we need to be aware of the broader goal of these actions in making modern Israel an illegal, illegitimate nation. This is the spiritual backdrop of the boycott Israel campaign.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A campaign to raise awareness of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah from Chosen People Ministries, which included billboards and a full page ad in the New York Times promoting a free book explaining the chapter, also featured a public open-mic debate with Dr. Brown at a Marriott in downtown Manhattan on July 15th. The debate began with a presentation from Brown on Isaiah 53, and followed with an opportunity for anyone in attendance to challenge his presentation. Below is a report from Dr. Brown, including live excerpts from the presentation and comments/challenges from some of those that came to the mic:
Reaction from Jewish counter-missionaries (those that actively oppose the message of the gospel being spread to the Jewish people) to the campaign and debate included the following from 5 Towns Jewish Times:
Last Thursday night, Chosen People Ministries held a poorly attended public debate at Manhattan’s Marriott East Side, featuring top missionary lecturer Dr. Michael Brown, author of a five-part book series which purports to answer Jewish objections to JC. Among the few Jews who attended were several countermissionary experts, including Rabbi Moshe Shulman, executive director of Judaism’s Answer (www.judaismsanswer.com). Shulman engaged Brown in collegial exchange and scored several points in refuting Brown’s scholarly allegations that Isaiah 53 definitively supports the messiahship of JC.
Commenting afterwards, Rabbi Shulman noted, “Debates with Jews about the messiah are not new. Over 500 years ago, the Spanish Jewish communities suffered such indignity as part of the Inquisition. Today it’s more subtle, and Jewish apathy is furthering missionary inroads into Russian, Israeli, Bukharian, Persian, and American Jewish communities. The Orthodox can no longer claim to be immune. And what’s happening here is equally unfolding in Israel with little resistance or outrage.”
The chapter, according to the translation in The Times, speaks of a singular “suffering servant,” which Glaser maintains is a reference to Jesus.
Isaiah 53 is a standard polemic text that missionaries use, said Rabbi Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism.
“Isaiah 53 is the fourth Servant Song which began in Isaiah 41,” Rabbi Singer explained. “In the first three Servant Songs it identifies the servant who suffers at the hands of the nations as Israel. Isaiah introduces the servant of G-d, both in the singular and plural, who endured tremendous pains, but who is ultimately vindicated in the Messianic days… The chapter [is] molested, ripped out of context and mistranslated and presented to Jewish people who know nothing about the faith that they are being asked to abandon.”
In response to allegations such as these from counter-missionaries that the campaign should elicit “resistance and outrage” from Jewish people, and that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is “molested, ripped out of context and mistranslated” by Messianic missionaries, Brown said the following:
When you hear almost hysterical charges like these from Rabbi Singer, you can only ask yourself why the counter-missionaries are protesting so loudly. Could it be that Isaiah 53 speaks for itself so clearly?
Really now, why would a Jewish rabbi get so upset when we tell our Jewish people to take their Bibles (in Hebrew or in a good Jewish translation) and read Isaiah 53 for themselves? Are we being criticized by professional counter-missionaries for encouraging fellow Jews to read their Bibles, pray, and think for themselves?
In reality, the greatest evangelistic tool we have is not our gospel literature or our arguments or our debating abilities. It is just the text of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures. Countless thousands of Jews have embraced Yeshua as the Messiah based on their study of Isaiah 53, and we are confident that many thousands more will come to faith as well.
Editor’s Note: A guest article from N. Scott Rabinowitz.
On May 14 the nation of Israel celebrates its sixty-second birthday. Despite insurmountable odds, Israel has not only survived, it has prospered.
The United States has played an enormous part in that prosperity—at least until now. President Obama has demanded that Israel reset the Middle East history button.
On March 10, Obama dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to demand that Israel halt renewed building in East Jerusalem. The trip resulted in what Israeli ambassador Michael Oren called the “most serious crisis since 1975″ for U.S. and Israel relations.
That assertion was dramatically confirmed on March 23 when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington to meet with the President. Failing to acquire concessions from the Prime Minister, Obama – in a breach of protocol, left Netanyahu to dine alone.
Despite extraordinary pressure from the White House, Netanyahu remains resolute regarding Israel’s right to build in East Jerusalem.
There are two reasons for this. First, Israel has a historical claim to the territory, a fact recognized by the international community. Second, Israel fought a series of defensive wars over the territory and the current borders are legitimate under the rules of international law.
Obama and other opponents of Israel’s sovereignty need to acquaint themselves with the history of Jerusalem and international law regarding the annexation of territory captured during a defensive war. If they did, they would discover the following:
The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine recognized Jewish national rights to the entire territory in 1922. While recognizing the need to protect the rights of the territories’ Arab inhabitants, the Mandate declared that “recognition has been to the historical connection of the Jewish People with Palestine and to reconstituting their Jewish national home in that country.” When the UN replaced the League of Nations in 1946, its charter specifically stated that the UN must uphold the terms of all existing international instruments ratified by the League of Nations. In other words, the UN—and President Obama—are obligated to recognize Israel’s legitimate claims on Jerusalem.
That obligation would be less clear, however, had the Palestinians agreed to UN Resolution 181—the Partition Plan of 1947. Conceding that the creation of a single Jewish state was impossible, the resolution was a non-binding recommendation that called for the partition of “Palestine” into two separate states, with Jerusalem existing temporarily under the administration of the UN.
For over half a century, the Palestinians rejected a two-state solution. They did so because they were confident that their Arab neighbors would intervene and destroy Israel militarily. That never occurred and Palestinian dreams of statehood never materialized.
Resolution 181 was a non-binding resolution and more importantly, it was one that the Palestinians rejected. Moreover, the Arab aggression that ignited the 1967 war irreversibly changed the territorial landscape and made a return to borders that existed nineteen year earlier impossible. In 2004 President George W. Bush acknowledged this fact in a letter to Prime Minister Arial Sharon. “In light of new realities on the ground,” Bush wrote, a return to the armistice lines of 1949 is “unrealistic.”
The Palestinians discarded UN Resolution 181 more than sixty years ago but they now wish to resurrect it to legitimatize their claim to Jerusalem.
President Obama also wishes to hit the reset button. He chooses to ignore Israel’s legal claim to Jerusalem, the fact that the Palestinians rejected UN Resolution 181, and that the U.S. has acknowledged current geo-political realties make a return to previous borders impossible.
Despite adamant claims to the contrary, East Jerusalem does not meet the criteria of an occupied territory. Following the 1948 war, Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and expelled its Jewish community. By the standards of international law, Jordan’s nineteen year occupation of Jerusalem — not Israel’s — was illegal.
Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in a war of self-defense makes it the legitimate claimant to the territory. Former Chief Judge of the International Court of Justice of the United Nations, Stephen Schwebel wrote in 1970 regarding the matter: “Where the prior holder of the territory had seized the territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense, has against the prior holder, better claim.”
Why has the President turned on America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East and embraced the revisionist history of Israel’s enemies? As long as the U.S supports Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, Israel’s enemies will remain our enemies. President Obama has chosen to appease our enemies rather than stand by our ally.
About the Author: Noel Rabinowitz is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The King’s College in New York City. You can contact Noel via his faculty profile located here.
“I brought you into the fruitful land to eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, and My inheritance you made an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me…” -Jer. 2.7-8a
The situation with Judah in Jeremiah’s day was desperately grim. The once holy functions of the temple had been tainted with hypocrisy and idolatry, and the leaders of the nation, along with the nation itself, had been lulled to sleep by the spell of sinful pleasures. Jeremiah was one of a remnant of souls who still valued the word of the Lord, but even though the Spirit of God was resting profoundly upon him, and even though he had been praying and prophesying with clear statements from heaven, his words were not being heeded by the priests, the prophets, or the rulers of Judah. The nation’s response to his life and ministry is here summed up by Dr. Michael Brown:
…. despite forty years of incessant prophetic ministry by Jeremiah and clear indications that his words would be fulfilled- his people remained deaf to his warnings, suffering crushing defeat and exile.
(From his forthcoming commentary on the book of Jeremiah; Zondervan Publishing)
Verses 7 and 8 of Jeremiah 2 are a picture of the dramatic contrast between the fickleness of Judah’s leaders, and the unwavering faithfulness of the Lord. We see here a remarkable view of His kind intentions toward His people, and His plan to bring them “into the fruitful land to eat its fruit and its good things.” It becomes obvious that His desire is to bless them with a revelation of Himself, to crown them with lovingkindness and mercy, and to set them apart as His own Beloved people, a “light unto the nations.”
Tragically, as is elsewhere found in her history, Israel fell totally short of the Lord’s glorious intentions, and the downward spiritual spiral was so steep that the land, its leadership, and the nation itself was shot through with idolatry, presumption, indifference, and deception.
The priests had become so numb and accustomed to apostasy that they weren’t keen-hearted enough to ask, “Where is the Lord?” The glory of God had departed from the temple, but they were no longer jealous for His honor, no longer hungry to know Him in a vital way, no longer eager to come into that which He had desired for their lives or for their nation.
Instead, they had found a dubious niche in a self-serving paradigm, and the Lord of Creation, as He had revealed Himself, was excluded from their loyalties. Yahweh was grieved beyond measure, and so was His prophet Jeremiah. Hear Walter Brueggeman regarding the condition of Judah in that day:
No healing is possible. The sickness is too deep. The idolatry is too pervasive. Judah refuses the medicine that is available. The poet (and God) are pressed by this awareness to a new wave of grief.
…. The hurt in the face of Judah’s death requires and evokes more grief, more crying, and more tears than his [Jeremiah’s] body is capable of transmitting.
(A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile & Homecoming, Walter Brueggeman; Eerdmans Publishing, 1998; p. 94)
“Oh that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (9.1)
The prophet Jeremiah, and Yahweh all the more, had been shattered with sorrow over the condition of Judah. The Lord had lavishly offered the blessing of Himself, and His people- unwilling to rightly value His ways- had fallen headlong into sin, and made His inheritance into an “abomination.”
How is it that an inheritance, something which God Himself has initiated and given, could be distorted to the extent that it becomes an abomination? How can land that He has made holy and given so freely become a defiled land, if He Himself is the Author of that covenantal gift? True to His word, He will keep His promises with Israel, and all that He has intended for them will be fulfilled once and for all when He has His way in the hearts of His people. But the tragic reality is that in Jeremiah’s day, the vast majority of those who had heard His name and been touched by His promises had allowed the power of sin to snuff out the presence and word of the One who had given Himself to them so unselfishly.
“Yahwism,” as the OT scholars call the faith of Israel’s patriarchs and prophets, required an ultimate consecration of the heart and life to Yahweh. He had revealed Himself to Israel as the One true God, and He required an allegiance of the utmost kind. Any measure of affection given to other gods was an abomination in His eyes. “Yahwism” became too much for a people who desired to cling to their sin, and the events leading up to Judah’s judgment and exile are filled with backslidings, the hardening of hearts, and a turning away from the reality of worship. O.T. scholar Adam C. Welch had these remarkable thoughts to add to the picture, suggesting that “Israel trades gods because this One is too demanding”:
…. Israel forsook Yahweh, because the relation to Him was full of ethical content…. Yahwism had this iron core in it. The iron core was that Israel could only have Yahweh on His own terms…. Yahwism was no colorless faith which was simply the expression of the people’s pride in itself and its destiny. It laid a curb on men, it had a yoke and bonds. The bonds were those of love, but love’s bonds are the most enduring and the most exacting.
(Jeremiah: His Time and His Word; Adam C. Welch, Oxford: Blackwell, 1951; p. 183, as quoted in Brueggeman’s Jeremiah)
The history of Israel is marked with awesome demonstrations of the nature and power of God, but in Jeremiah’s day, they had set aside the revelation of the Lord to follow after gods of wood and stone. The prophet was a lonely, weeping figure, calling them back to Yahweh, back to holy ethics, and back to the primacy of whole-hearted worship. Catastrophically, the majority of the nation rejected Jeremiah and his message, and by doing that, rejected God Himself.
This is the horrific result of what becomes of a people who are being led by priests and rulers that handle the law, but do not know the Lord. To know the Lord is to be overcome with His kindness and mercy. To know the Lord is to bask in His ways and to relish in the place of prayer. To know the Lord is to tremble delightfully at His word, and to despise that which grieves His heart. To know the Lord is to desire the setting forth of His Son in the darkest places of the world. To know the Lord is to long for justice to “roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Am. 5.24)
I am afraid we are facing the same grave conditions in the Church of modern America that Judah was facing in Jeremiah’s day. We have swept aside the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles and replaced it with a message that is less requiring, less demanding, and altogether inglorious. Our congregations are often made up of souls who are not willing to “have Yahweh on His own terms.” We want to have a packaged religion, one that we can control, that will never surprise us, and that is devoid of the element of inward consecration. The glory of God has departed from the temple, and scarce few are discerning or truthful enough to ask, “Where is the Lord?” We have grown content with something so far beneath the glory of His intentions that we hardly know how to hunger after Him.
So many of our pastors have lost a value for the Scriptures, and are relying on all kinds of methods and novel ideas to enlarge their congregations. The “iron core” of “Yahwism,” which is whole-hearted worship and obedience, and the clarion call to righteousness and selfless love can be seen on precious few occasions. Idolatry is mingled throughout the Body, with saints gawking at American Idol, chasing after greater and more pricy possessions in entertainment and fashion, and our bellies are our gods. Fasting is a rare phenomenon in most places, and buffets are hit the hardest on Sunday afternoons. We know very little about self-control, and it raises a question as to how deeply we have really been immersed in the Holy Spirit. The nation is perishing under the weight of sin and rebellion, and we are often paying its way, having bought in to the consumeristic lie.
The word of Jeremiah is the same to the American Church as it was to Judah:
“Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (2.12-13)
I am convinced that we have hewn up broken cisterns for ourselves. We have settled for a few hours of religion a week, while the abiding life of Christ is neglected in the realm of real life. We get an emotional lift in a church meeting and think we are doing God a service, but we have shirked off the true call of the cross, which Jesus said His disciples would take up daily. Our compartmentalized Christianity- this pathetically broken cistern- does not hold Living Water, and the lives of the saints show it. We need to break loose from the bonds of this age, shut down the distracting forces and all that robs our affections from Him. We need to return with all of our hearts to the Lord, the Fountain of Life.
We need desperately to enjoin our hearts with the prophet’s cry before it is too late for our nation. If the Church doesn’t come into the reality of faith, truth, and consecration, our witness and testimony will become a mere religious opinion; a harmless spiritual option among many; a diluted, powerless consideration, rather than an apostolic Gospel which, when proclaimed, will cause men to turn “from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thess. 1.9-10)
Can we break off the mingling of our hearts with the lies of this age, and plunge headlong into the Fountain of Living waters? Can we shatter the broken cisterns of compromise and timidity, and allow the Lord to make us into vessels of the abiding Life? Can we cease religious performance and twice-a-week emotionally based Christianity, and take up our crosses daily, following the Lamb wheresoever He goes? O, for a total consecration of our hearts to Him! O, for love that springs always from the Fountain of Life! O, for holiness that burns brightly in this crooked and perverse generation. O, for God to be glorified in His Church, and an apostolic witness to “turn the world upside down” again!
Why have Jewish people been so hated and persecuted through the centuries?
I devoted much of my book, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood, to the subject of anti-Semitism, and on several occasions I have delivered lectures on the question of why anti-Semitism exists. Out of all the hatreds in the world, anti-Semitism is unique.
At the invitation of Christian campus groups, I spoke on this topic at both Yale and Columbia universities, two of America’s most prestigious centers of learning, each time fielding questions from the listeners for better than an hour. My challenge was simple: I have a supernatural, biblical explanation for the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, one which even includes the devil himself—not the most popular theory on a university campus! “Do any of you have a better answer?”
After each lecture, I listened carefully to proposal after proposal, and despite the educational background of many of those in the audience, which included students and graduates of these universities, not one proposal could fully explain the “why” of anti-Semitism. In fact, the best theory that anyone offered was that, perhaps, anti-Semitism was due to aliens! (For more on “alien anti-Semitism,” stay tuned. I’m actually going to address that shortly.) What then makes anti-Semitism such a unique hatred?
First, it is the longest hatred of all time, dating back at least 2,300 years (and even longer if the book of Esther is included). As expressed by the Catholic scholar Edward Flannery, “Antisemitism is the longest and deepest hatred of human history. . . . What other hatred has endured some twenty-three centuries and survived a genocide of 6,000,000 of its victims in its twenty-third century of existence only to find itself still intact and rich in potential for many years of life?” Today, Anti-Semitism is at its highest levels since immediately before the Holocaust, equaling, in fact, those pre-Holocaust levels. How can this be?
These words penned twenty-five centuries ago, still ring true in the hearts of many anti-Semites today: “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples . . whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey [international] laws; it is not in [our] best interest to tolerate them” (Esther 3:8, with slight modifications made to make this more contemporary). Why has this hatred and fear of the Jews persisted for so long?
Consider this attack on the Jewish people made in Ezra’s day, also roughly 2,500 years ago:
The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations. Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and the royal revenues will suffer. Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place of rebellion from ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. (Ezra 4:12-15)
To this day, Jerusalem remains the center of international controversy, the only capital city not recognized by the rest of the nations. Why Jerusalem? Why the Jews?
Second, anti-Semitism is the most widespread hatred of all time. It can be traced from the Greco-Roman world to Christianity (yes, Christianity, including vicious comments from some of the church’s greatest leaders); from Islam to Fascism to Communism (intense anti-Semitism links Muslim terrorists, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin!); from White Supremacists to Black Supremacists (yes, both groups bash the Jews); from university campuses to the world press; from the philosopher Voltaire to the historian Arnold Toynbee; from the composer Richard Wagner to the car designer Henry Ford; from Japan to Russia to Iran. Why the Jews?
A few years ago, a very bizarre group made a big media splash when they claimed to have produced the world’s first human clone. The group, called the Raelians, is a UFO religion, led by its founder Rael, who claims to have been enlightened by aliens. (This is the literal claim: “On the 13th of December 1973, French journalist Rael was contacted by a visitor from another planet, and asked to establish an Embassy to welcome these people back to Earth.”) After hearing the cloning report, which was universally dismissed by scientists as a cheap publicity stunt, I went to the Raelian website, purely out of curiosity. (As of this writing, the site was available in more than twenty-five languages.) To my utter amazement, the featured message from Rael was laced with anti-Jewish sentiments, including the charge that “Israel is engaged in State terrorism” and the claim that “a small handful of the millions of American Jews are holding the rest of the 250 million Americans hostage.” Even the Raelians were polluted by an anti-Semitic stream! Why this widespread hatred of the Jews?
Third, anti-Semitism is the most vicious hatred of all time, and both the incredible violence and the depth of animosity against the Jews defy rational explanation. The enormity and depravity of the Holocaust alone is testimony to the viciousness of this hatred, and yet the Holocaust is simply the worst of countless acts of Jew hatred over the centuries. This horrific crime included several nations and led to the cooperative and systematic execution of six million Jews, including 1.5 million babies and children. So depraved were the Nazis (and other Jew killers) that Jewish infants were sometimes thrown into burning pits alive in order to save a bullet, leading to the oft-quoted dictum of Rabbi Irving Greenberg: “Moreover, summon up the principle that no statement should be made [about the Holocaust] that could not be made in the presence of the burning children.” Nothing more needs to be said.
Fourth, anti-Semitism is the most irrational hatred of all time. The absurdity of the anti-Semitic libels simply defies rational explanation. When the Black Plague decimated Europe, Jews were accused of starting the plague by poisoning the wells with a mixture made of spiders, lizards and the hearts of Christians mixed together with the sacred elements of the Lord’s supper. Outraged mobs slaughtered thousands of Jews as a result of this pernicious rumor. When the Catholic Church declared in 1215 that the elements of communion literally became the body and blood of Jesus, Jews were accused of stealing and torturing communion wafers, leading to whole Jewish communities being burned at the stake. In the Muslim world today, it is still believed that every year, Jews kidnap and torture a priest (or other victim), using his blood to make Passover matzah (unleavened bread). The Muslim world also takes seriously the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forged document from the nineteenth century that claims to report the secret plans of a hidden group of Jewish leaders who are poised to take over the entire world—ultimately bringing it into subjection to the Hindu god Vishnu! (To quote from the Protocols: “Our kingdom will be an apologia of the divinity Vishnu, in whom is found its personification.”). Jews have also been blamed for the spreading of AIDS as well as for orchestrating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (several Muslim cabdrivers in New York City explained this to me with real conviction, not realizing that I was a Jew). Jews have even been accused of controlling the Catholic Church!
Article Seventeen of the Hamas Charter states: “Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. These organizations have ample resources that enable them to play their role in societies for the purpose of achieving the Zionist targets and to deepen the concepts that would serve the enemy.” Even the Masons are controlled by the Jews!
So irrational are the lies told about the Jews that even an utter rationalist like Sigmund Freud had to say, “With regard to anti-Semitism, I don’t really want to search for explanations; I feel a strong inclination to surrender my affects in this matter and find myself confirmed in my wholly nonscientific belief that mankind on the average and taken by and large are a wretched lot.”
What then are some of the explanations offered to explain the phenomenon of anti-Semitism?
(1) “It all traces back to Christianity,” meaning that the charge that the Jews killed Jesus (see #45), thus making them guilty of deicide (killing God) has so permeated Western history and culture that “Christian” anti-Semitism provides a link between all manifestations of anti-Semitism. But this theory is seriously flawed. How do we explain pre-Christian anti-Semitism? And does Christian anti-Semitism adequately explain Islamic anti-Semitism? And what of Christian philo-Semitism, a direct result of the testimony of the very New Testament that allegedly produced worldwide anti-Semitism?
(2) “It is because there always has to be a scapegoat,” meaning that someone always has to be blamed for bad things that happen in the world. But this begs the question rather than answers it. Why are the Jews always being blamed? As George Orwell remarked, “However true the ‘scapegoat’ theory may be in general terms, it does not explain why the Jews rather than some other minority group are picked on, nor does it make clear what they are a scapegoat for.”
(3) “It is because of the Jewish religion, which makes the Jewish people different,” and so people attack what they don’t understand. The problem with this view is that secular Jews have often been singled out for persecution. In keeping with this, it has often been said that at the time of the Holocaust, most German Jews were more German than Jewish. Not only so, but the Nazis slaughtered Jews who were even “one-quarter” Jewish—meaning only one grandparent was Jewish—also murdering Jews who had converted to Christianity. There is also worldwide animosity toward the modern state of Israel, despite the fact that the nation is far more secular than it is religious. And why haven’t Muslims been universally hated for being different?
(4) “It is because the Jewish people are especially bad” (this was actually stated to me by a Pakistani cabdriver with whom I discussed the question of anti-Semitism)—but this theory hardly needs refutation, since Jews are often some of the most moral and ethical people in the world, and, to be sure, there are plenty of rotten Gentiles! So, to put it mildly, Jews certainly don’t have a monopoly on being bad.
(5) “It is because the Jews always have all the money”—which, in fact, is not a theory but rather another anti-Semitic libel! In any case, through the centuries, Jews have often been the poorest people in their societies, often because of oppressive laws passed against them. But they were hated and persecuted nonetheless.
(6) “It is because of Jewish guilt, leading to divine judgment”—a harsh-sounding charge, but with some truth to it, since the Torah clearly states that national obedience would be blessed while national disobedience would be cursed (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). But the hatred has been too intense, too vile, too destructive to be explained by this alone and even within the Tanakh itself, God often expressed His displeasure with the nations whom He used to judge His people, stating clearly that they had gone too far (see, e.g., Isaiah 10:5-19; more broadly, see Zechariah 1:14-15).
Clearly, all of these theories fall short in one way or another, failing to explain the intense, irrational and long-lived nature of anti-Semitism and failing to connect all the dots. What then is the explanation for anti-Semitism in the world? It is simply this: God has singled out the Jewish people as His instrument for world redemption, He has promised that they will always remain on the earth as a distinct people—despite their sins and failures—and the devil himself has marked them out for destruction. Ultimately, it is through the Jewish people that the knowledge of the one true God has come to the world, through the Jewish people that the Messiah has come, and through the Jewish people that the message of the Messiah went to the nations. And it is the Jewish people in Jerusalem who will ultimately welcome the Messiah back to earth to set up His kingdom (see Matthew 23:37-39). That’s why the devil hates them so!
As I wrote in Our Hands Are Stained with Blood:
Why does Satan so passionately despise the Jews? For one thing, it is a reflection of his hatred for God. The Jews are God’s chosen people! By hurting them he seeks to hurt the Lord and take revenge for his own sentence of death. His effort to annihilate the Jews is also an attempt to discredit the Lord, since He has sworn in His Word that they will never be destroyed. If Israel ceases to exist as a distinct people, then God did not, or could not, keep His promise. That would mean that He was either powerless or that He lied!
But there is another reason the devil despises the Jews: The salvation of Israel means the return of Jesus, the resurrection of the righteous, the revival of the Church and the restoration of the earth. The fulfillment of the Jews’ destiny will seal the devil’s doom. Yes, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20) . . . and he is beginning to squirm! The time to favor Israel is upon us and Satan is quaking with fear. The countdown has begun.
Understanding, then, that anti-Semitism is ultimately a spiritual phenomenon rather than a cultural, ethnic or even religious phenomenon, we can also understand that anti-Semitism has to do with God and His purposes rather than with the Jewish people themselves. That is to say, it is not because the Jews are better or worse than anyone else; it is because God chose the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring redemption to the world, the Messiah Himself being a Jew. In that light, it will be a bad day for anti-Semites when they realize that the all-powerful King coming in flaming fire is a glorified Jew.
This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.
But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’ That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?
You have lifted up the shrine of Molech
and the star of your god Rephan,
the idols you made to worship.
Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.’
Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them.
To begin with in this article, I am going to make a controversial statement: ‘The Western Church today is struggling in many areas of its ministry because it does not understand its Jewish roots!’
You may wonder how I can make such a statement, especially against statistics of unprecedented Church growth in the last 100 years or so. (Which even if it is the case, doesn’t validate or invalidate everything we do.) And what do I mean by Jewish roots? I do not mean becoming Jewish per se, or taking on another culture when you are not of Jewish decent. Rather, I mean the ways of God revealed to those key men and women of faith in Israel in Biblical history, of whom Jesus is the pinnacle in every way.
The Church can continue to be used by God, because His heart is gracious and wanting ALL to come to repentance. But His plan of salvation is more than access to heaven. It is about becoming a Kingdom people. That is why Christ came. There is a text, which demonstrates something of the difference between seeing God’s power, as opposed to those that go deeper to see His ways as well as His power.
Psalm 103: 7 – He made known his waysunto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
This for me is an interesting Scripture. God’s people can know His power without knowing His ways. It takes a unique person to find out God’s ways. Moses was such a man. He not only found out what God could do for the people of Israel, but what God wanted to do for them in terms of purpose and strategy. How we could benefit from doing such a thing!
It is my firm belief that with every reformation, revival, renewal and outpouring of any kind comes not only an intensifying of God’s power and presence, but a revelation of God’s ways. The same Lord who came to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob; the One who visited Moses at the Bush & Sinai; the One who led the people of God into the land of promise; the One who revealed Himself to David, Daniel and all the other prophets and kings – this God came in flesh and met with humanity. In particular, this God met with a people, and revealed His Son according to the flesh through and to a Jewish people, that through His death and resurrection Israel might reveal His Kingdom to men of every Nation. This was Israel’s unique call and destiny! This is why 12 uneducated men saw themselves as the beginning of that fulfillment. From them, and other early disciples, the people of ‘the Way’ continued to minister Jesus Christ according to a unique understanding. They saw themselves as an ‘eschatological people.’ They were a newly formed people of the age to come, foreseen in OT prophecy, living in the present and carrying the Kingdom because of the visitation of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. Yet they knew that it was not yet all consummated as the prophets had also foretold. Israel as a nation had not yet fully turned (many had rejected Jesus) and all the nations had yet to experience the Gospel of this inaugurated Kingdom. These things would have been central to the early Jewish believers and their mission. So was their understanding of the gospel and the Kingdom of God on the earth, which was steeped in Jewish history and Scriptures, even if Christ came to redefine what some of that would look like. It was a very Jewish thing to be a follower of King Jesus.
So when the same Spirit of God of the early Church visits today by outpourings of various kinds, He comes to restore the NT faith as prescribed by Jesus and then the 12. This can often be startling, even offensive, and bring a great shock to the system if God’s people today do not allow His Spirit to enlarge their spirit during such a season of visitation. You see, we westerners have put the faith into a mold and we view it through a certain western shade. Hence, Church history has known its fair share of turmoil. Yes, there have been splits due to the division of the enemy, or the spirit of rebellion in a people, or even an abuse by a key leader. But not all schism has come because of this. Some have come, because God has revealed who He really is, and a return to the NT faith & practice is required, and reformation has had to come as a return to His ways – it’s the only wineskin that will hold the new wine!
The theme of Jewish roots is a big subject and thus I will not have time to even scratch the surface of it. So with the above issues in mind, I would like to look at one particular theme, which I believe is absolutely crucial in the ongoing purpose of the Church. I believe if the Western Church grasps this in the near future (as I believe the Chinese Church has), we could be hearing of powerful transformation coming to people, houses, communities and nations. It is what I call the New Testament Exodus.
Recently, I wrote these words in a booklet I put together:
I am convinced that to understand the true meaning of the Gospel disclosed by the New Testament writers, we have to get a grasp and revelation of the account of Israel’s Exodus. Even more so, I believe the Exodus will have special spiritual significance in the life of the Church in these early years of this new millennium. Perhaps the Exodus is the key moment in all of Israel’s history. It is central to their existence and understanding of the one true God and their role as His chosen people. I am a deep believer that it was with the Exodus in mind, the Gospel writers understood the emergence of Christ and His powerful victory on earth. In fact on the mount where He was transfigured and the disciples saw His glory, it is recorded that He spoke with Moses and Elijah regarding His ‘departure’ or ‘exodus.’
I believe that there are vital revelations deeply ingrained in the Exodus for the New Testament people of God. And to add to that, they will bear special significance and power in the imminent move of God that is about to break into the Western nations.
Getting back to the basics.
You see, we have to believe that when Jesus came to this earth, and when the early Jewish disciples ministered before and after His resurrection / ascension, they saw everything in a particular light. All their words, actions and perception, were deeply grounded in the revelation of God and His Kingdom, progressively promised in the prophets, shown in glimpses through types and shadows, revealed and fulfilled in Jesus! Matthew really seems eager to lay hold of this theme. In chapter 2: 15 in quoting Hosea, Matthew says:
‘Out of Egypt I called My Son…’
Already here Jesus is being described in ways pertaining to Israel as a whole. Even as Israel, as a son, was called out of Egypt into the Land of Promise, Jesus – the Son fulfills and embodies Israel and fulfills her destiny. (Even Isaiah’s prophecies use the terms ‘son’ & ‘servant’ and they hold double meaning in the light of the NT.)
Then to add to that Jesus is baptized in Matthew 3. Why did the Pharisees get offended at such a thing? Because ‘washings’ were an important part of Jewish practice. To receive the ceremonial washings in Israel was to identify with the Nation; and even Gentiles, if wanting to become a part of the Nation, had to go through such strict washings. Yet Jesus, identifies not with the traditions of men but rather John the Baptist’s baptism, and with all those of a humble heart – sinners, poor, weak and those without hope. Luke records in his Gospel narrative that Jesus was baptized, ‘…when all the people were being baptized…’ What a gracious & merciful Master!
He goes through a true baptism, not one of hypocrisy. He does it to fulfill righteousness. And what’s more, he is identifying with the people of God and the Exodus of the OT, and He is introducing a new Exodus. Paul, a Jew of Jews, in 1 Corinthians 10: 1 & 2 says:
‘For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.’
And later in verse 11:
‘These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.’
So, even in the act of Baptism Jesus is identifying with a people, ‘called out of Egypt’, and going through the waters, which signifies the cutting off of the old life, and entering to the new as a fulfillment people. Jesus really is making big statements even with His actions! How many times do we perceive in the West today, Baptism as just symbolic of an inward change? When whilst it carries that symbolism, it also has deeper significance in terms of our identifying with this glorious God-man Jesus and His end-time people. So then this was a very Jewish thing and an understanding of the early Jewish ‘Jesus -sect’ (as some would have called them) would have added a weightier meaning to this important act in response to faith. We as a NT people joined in union by Jesus, our Sacrificial Lamb, Deliverer and Apostle, have left Egypt (the world and its hold) and have become heirs of the promise – the Kingdom now and to come.
Now add to this Exodus viewpoint, there is also this thought coming through: Jesus is being baptized in the river Jordan, quite a dirty river, and indeed forbidden as a place of purification by early rabbinic tradition. Jordan was the second major body of water that the children of Israel crossed by miraculous intervention. After their crossing into the Land, 12 men were chosen to take 12 stones from the river and place them as a memorial for the 12 tribes of Israel. (Joshua 4: 1 – 9) The Gospel’s closely link the choosing of the 12 disciples / apostles in their narrative shortly after the Baptism & wilderness accounts. God is speaking in a significant way!
Now regarding the wilderness account in Matthew 4, Matthew then carries the Exodus theme further with these words:
‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights…’
Recorded here is how the Spirit leads the Lord into the wilderness (a place of significance for Israel.) There He is tried and tested, yet triumphs in weakness. He is there for a symbolic number of 40 days, without food, in comparison to the children of Israel who complained for lack of food. So the fulfillment of Israel’s existence and role is now starting to really take shape. Where a generation of the children of Israel under Moses did not go into promise because of unbelief and disobedience in the wilderness, this glorious Leader is different: He defeats the testing of satan in that wilderness and comes out filled with power of the Spirit! He has demonstrated that ‘man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’He did this in the power of God, and is making up for Israel’s unbelief in the God of their fathers. Israel’s glory and victory is in this glorious Man!
Now something quite phenomenal begins to take shape in the account of Matthew. From there he tells of Jesus going into the region of Galilee, or as quoted by Matthew from Isaiah – ‘Galilee of the Gentiles.’ In the OT, Israel when led out was given a unique mandate from heaven in Deuteronomy 7: 1 – 6, that they were to ‘drive out the nations… and burn their idols…’ and they were to then possess the land of inheritance. Jesus begins to demonstrate a whole new meaning to this. As mentioned earlier, He then gathers twelve young men to Himself (remember the symbolism.) However now, He begins to preach the Kingdom as drawing near, and it is recorded, ‘healed every disease and sickness… news spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering with pain, thedemon possessed…He healed them ALL. ’
Jesus is redefining to the Jewish people what their calling really is all about. It is to be a light to nations covered in darkness. As He drives out all the affects of darkness on a poor and helpless people, so too are they called to bring Light to the Nations. As He is delivering them from idolatry, which culminates in demon possession, so are they to reveal the One true God in His Son – Jesus, and a possession of His Spirit. As He deals with the tyranny of satan, so too are they to preach release to the captive and an entrance into a new Kingdom which is not of this world. They – the people of Israel, in Jesus, are to be a people who fulfill what their ‘Moses / Joshua led ancestors’ foreshadowed – drive out the works of evil, inherit the promise of God, bless the nations, and enter the rest of God.
Later on in Matthew, Jesus teaches ‘the sermon on the mount,’ (which is itself symbolic of Moses & Israel receiving the OT law on Sinai) He comes down from the mountain and does powerful signs of the Kingdom, even to a gentile centurion with great faith. Make no mistake, Jesus really is moving and fulfilling things in an unmistakable way to the early disciples, and the nation at large.
I believe what is being portrayed is powerful and glorious. Because it is then the 12 disciples, after Jesus demonstrating to them and teaching them His law and His ways, who are then ‘sent’ or ‘apostlized’ to do the very same thing – take the Kingdom message and power, drive out demons and proclaim ‘peace’ to the house that receives them. They are embodying Israel’s rediscovered calling. Initially, they are to go only to the lost sheep of Israel for it is firstly a matter of fulfillment and significance to them as a historic covenant people. But Luke later records, that the 12 were to become a group of 70, and no such geographical or racial boundary is given at that time of sending. Thus the prophetic call to Israel as God’s son and servant is fulfilled in the Messiah – Jesus Christ, and all those who attach themselves to Him. Therefore, it is a VERY Jewish thing for a Jew to embrace this glorious God-Man; it is a very Jewish thing to be a missionary for God; in fact it is very Jewish to be Apostolic, and it is a very awesome thing for a Gentile to be accepted as part of the people and share in that calling!
As I quoted earlier from my book, in Luke 9, Jesus speaks of ‘His exodus’ later on when on the mount of transfiguration. He is to die a terrible death and become Israel’s Passover Lamb, as well as their deliverer in leading the people out of bondage. But His death is not final, rather it is a doorway. He is to go to the depths of the grave, as Psalm 68: 15 – 18 & Ephesians 4 says, and lead captivity captive. And He is to lead that formerly sinful idolatrous people, (Jews & Gentiles alike) into His rest, through death, resurrection, reigning and granting us access and peace with God, through Himself! Hebrews 3 even likens the greater ministry of Jesus to the lesser one of Moses. In fact the whole of that epistle is about this theme. It really is awesome, this New Testament Exodus!
This is another mountain experience with God, as was the Sermon on the Mount. Again, God is alluding to the Sinai experience. This time it is not only about His law entering the heart of men, but rather Jesus now being the fulfillment of the Law & Prophets. His Jewish disciples were not to see the preparatory types and shadows as an end in themselves. God thus hides the two OT figures away after Peter’s desire to build tabernacles for them. God centers His will and revelation in His Son. After this powerful experience on the mountaintop with the inner circle of Peter, James & John, (not forgetting Moses & Elijah) Jesus goes down and finds a mess. The disciples cannot cast out a demonic spirit from a boy. There is a large crowd watching. Jesus gives a startling indictment against that generation (not just the apostles) that they are ‘unbelieving and perverse!’ He subsequently casts out the demon and the people are amazed.
This carries with it tones of what Moses faced upon his coming down from the ‘mount of God’ after receiving the law. He came face to face with demonic activity in the form of worship of a golden calf. He too faced an ‘unbelieving and perverse generation.’
The difference now with Jesus, as opposed to the day of Moses, is that our Lord has not failed to deal with the powers of the darkness that affect the nations. Moses may have destroyed the golden calf, but later on he is himself disobedient and filled with unbelief over the use of the rod of God. Moses did not go in to inherit. Jesus, full of faith and the Holy Spirit has overcome! He was perfectly obedient to the Father’s will. (Phil 2: 8 / Romans 5: 19 / Hebrews 5: 8 -9) He has inherited and will possess the Nations. The decisive victory at the Cross has been accomplished! He now has entered the rest for us, and we are to know of this inheritance also, now and in the ages to come.
The book of Acts shows how seriously the early Church took the words, mission and methods of Jesus, and how they perceived them. They carried on in that pilgrim spirit, exporting and sending, dispossessing and inheriting. Jewish disciples and apostles bringing people of all tribes into Israel’s inheritance of the Kingdom, through the message of Jesus Christ. God had revealed His New Testament Exodus to His people – how could they do anything but respond!
Now because of God’s grace revealed in His Son, we have inherited a Kingdom! We must pray much and examine the early Jewish Church life and practice. Pray for the same understanding of God’s ways, grace and power to be upon us. The first Jewish disciples saw everything in this light (as well as much more), and so too must we! We are a chosen race, as Peter declares, to declare the praises of God, who called us out of darkness. That’s Exodus type language. Paul says in Ephesians 3, the Church is called to ‘make known the manifold wisdom of God to principalities and powers…’ – that’s Exodus understanding!
So then people of God, Jew and Gentile alike, through faith in Jesus Christ, let us rediscover our Jewish roots. If we do, it will affect our understanding of who we are, and where we are heading, in this age and in the age to come. I thank God for the Jews, chosen and elect of God to a unique destiny. I thank God for the early band of Jewish disciples – holy radicals for Jesus who turned the world upside down. I thank God mostly for Jesus. Who by His grace brought me – ‘an alien’ by natural birth, and adopted me as a son. So that with the faithful remnant of Jewish brothers we can see an Apostolic witness of ‘sent ones’ taking the Kingdom of God, through the message of Christ to the Nations and the Nation of Israel.
Finally, I believe that as we see the day of the Lord approaching, the Church will more and more understand her origins and identity. In that moment she will become by the Spirit, all that God has called her to be. Israel needs to witness an authentic apostolic expression of Jesus Christ today, as prescribed in the early Church of the 1st Century. Only then can a jealous Israel, like Moses, turn aside and ‘see God’ in us earthen vessels – a type of burning bush, and come closer and believe. My prayer with Paul is for ALL of Israel to be saved, and for the Nations to join with her to form a ‘Jesus-people’. When such a ‘New Man’ is formed we will see Christ’s return. May I encourage you to pray for revival in the Nations, including the Middle East. And pray for revival in Israel, for as Paul says in Romans 9: 1 – ‘…my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit…’ – it is God’s desire!
Editor’s Note: For a list of pro-Hamas demonstrations around America and the globe, click here
Tom Trento of watchobsession.org posted this video of a December 30th pro-Hamas demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Israeli supporters are on one side of the street, with the Palestinian supporters on the other. The video shows the pro-Hamas crowd yelling “there is no Israel”, “nuke Israel, and “go to hell.” One young pro-Hamas woman can be seen yelling “go back to the oven” and “you need a big oven, that’s what you need” at the Israeli supporters, clearly referencing the Holocaust. Mr. Trento gives some opinion and analysis in the video, and be aware that it contains profanity: [Link to Video]
What could be behind such hatred?
In reality, there is only one way to explain anti-Semitism: The devil hates the Jews, and his demented nature is revealed in his treatment of the Jewish people. While many other nations and groups have felt the fury of his wrath, none have felt it so often, so consistently and so powerfully as have the Jews.
… Islam thrives on hatred of Israel. Arab nations eagerly await Jihad (holy war). There must be a scapegoat for the ongoing Middle East crisis, and Israel will certainly be blamed. Why should Asia and Africa side with Israel? Why should South America unite with the Jews? What will keep the U.S.A. faithful? Why should Russia befriend a nation that is an enemy of its Middle Eastern friends? The devil is convincing the world that Israel is the problem. It’s time to get rid of the Jews!
— Michael L. Brown: Our Hands Are Stained With Blood
This is more than just a political disagreement, this is the American manifestation of a spiritual battle taking place. Let’s pray that those caught up in this demonically-inspired hatred would be converted heart, mind, and soul to the Lord Jesus, and be awakened to the fact that “salvation comes from the Jews.”