Based on a report from Maoz Israel
Pastor Joseph Haddad is an Arab Israeli who leads a Messianic congregation in Nahariya, in northern Israel.
In recent years the congregation has included Lebanese Christians who had fought alongside of IDF troops in Lebanon for 25 years.
Five years ago, when the Israeli army withdrew from southern Lebanon, these Lebanese Christians who had stood with Israeli forces as the Southern Lebanese Army had to leave their property and possessions and seek refuge in Israel.
Haddad says that these Lebanese Christians had suffered many casualties in their willingness to lay down their own lives to defend the northern Israeli border against terror attacks.
We recall Yeshua/Jesus’ saying that no person has a greater love than the person who lays down his life for his friends.
Haddad speaks of the first Jewish person who came to know Yeshua in his congregation. His name is Yacov. He had been an underground fighter alongside of (former Prime Minister) Menachem Begin as they fought against the British in the ’40s to establish the State of Israel.
It was a Lebanese Christian refugee who last year invited Yacov to attend Haddad’s congregation. Yacov was 72 years old. He met and accepted Yeshua while attending.
Haddad reports that only two weeks after Yacov’s salvation, he had a severe heart attack. He managed to make it to a neighbor’s front door. His body was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
After repeated electrical shocks, he was revived, but he remained unconscious for three days. He opened his eyes on the fourth day. Doctors described his recovery as miraculous.
But Yacov had not been without awareness while he appeared to be unconscious. Like many who have survived near-death experiences, Yacov was given a tour by the best of personal tour guides.
He reports that he encountered Yeshua, dressed in white and radiating a dazzling light. Yacov says that Yeshua took him by the hand and they toured heaven together. Yacov reports that Yeshua spoke of the heavenly Jerusalem, our eternal home.
Yacov was new enough in his faith walk that he hadn’t read Revelation 21, but his description of what he saw confirms it. Yacov, like many who have had similar experiences, was disappointed to find himself back on Earth.
His one regret? “That I didn’t have a camera to videotape all the amazing beauty of the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Haddad described Yacov as the “first-fruit Jewish believer” in his Lebanese congregation.
He said a particular blessing to him in recent months has been seeing a young, former fanatical Muslim holding Yacov’s hand while they praise Yeshua together.
Increasingly in Nahariya and across the world, similar glimpses of the “one new man in Messiah” can be caught by those who have eyes to see.
Christine Colbert is a writer and editorial consultant who hails from Kansas City.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: christians, doctors, israel, Jerusalem, Joseph Haddad, Lebanon, messianic
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