Thursday, August 18, 2022

Was Acts 2 44_45 just a misguided experiment in socialism by the early church? I don’t think so but many Christians do.

 Was Acts 2:44-45 just a misguided experiment in socialism by the early church? 

I don’t think so but many Christians do. 


by Donna Diorio

This week I read a short piece by a Christian minister whose Facebook posts have really been blessing me. This one by Garris Elkins, “You'll Own Nothing and Be Happy” was on the money in my view—with the exception of one point.  I do not agree that in Acts 2 the early “church” was experimenting with socialism but soon gave that up.
     I've heard that before, like when I returned to faith and to church in 1983. It is apparently a common Christian way of explaining what was really going on in Acts 2. Like the Word of Faith preacher I was listening to in 1983, many misunderstand the point or what was happening and why it is important to us to get it right today instead of dismissing it as the Apostles leading in a wrong direction.  
     Garris Elkins is an anointed prophetic minister, but it is misinterpreting what the account is when he writes
that "people coming to the temple and giving their money, products, and personal property to the apostles to dispense to those in need. It sounds great until you realize the dispensing of those goods was not by force, but by the exercise of the free will of the donor. While the experience of Acts 2 was a noble experience, it did not last long. Persecution soon came and dispersed the Church across the globe enabling her to fulfill the Great Commission."
     I have been writing about what was really going on there since God first began to show me these things in the first years of the 1990's. I recognize there is a timing to Christians getting the revelation. That is obvious to me seeing so many believers who are entirely devoted to God continuing to miss it. Even when it is explained clearly, still there remains a blindness to the truth of these matters.
     There is no intention to pick on Garris Elkins because many other Christian leaders, prophets included, share the same understanding, but here are the issues I contest:  The first misunderstanding in what Garris wrote is that AFTER THESE THINGS "Persecution soon came and dispersed the Church across the globe."
     The persecution was already there and that's why the "people" - in reality the Jewish believers in Jesus - were bringing their wealth to the Apostles. It was to pool their resources for the care of the whole body of Messiah in existence at the time of Acts 2. It was BECAUSE of persecution that they did this, not some kind of misguided exercise in socialism. It was spiritual family helping spiritual family, not some "noble experience" or socialism experiment. It was the recognition among the Jewish believers that they had to stand together and help each other. If one suffered, in reality all suffered. This was not going to be a faith where only the wealthy or the well to do were going to be able to survive.
     God is going to develop the care of the Israeli Messianic Jews even more so through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, in his writings and his life. It is no coincidence that Paul himself was at first a Jewish persecutor of the Jews who followed Yeshua in faith. In his last trip to Jerusalem, where prophets were coming out of the woodwork to tell Paul he would be arrested and placed in chains if he kept going, he kept going. He was compelled by the Spirit to set an example to all of the gentile churches he had founded. He wrote about this mission to nurture the care of the believers in Israel in his letters to the churches. They were to take up offerings in each of the churches and he would deliver them to the apostles in Jerusalem, It was for the distribution of the persecuted body of Jewish believers in Israel. It was not favoritism of Jews and it wasn’t an experiment in socialism, it was by the command of God on Paul’s life to establish the example that would be needed in the last days. These days we are living in.
     What better man could God have picked for this mission? Before he became the Apostle Paul, he was a fierce persecutor of Jewish believers in Jesus in Jerusalem. Saul held the coats of those who stoned the first Jewish martyr
 of the faith. Then years later as he was pursuing Jewish believers fleeing Jerusalem to Damascus, God intervened by revealed the Messiah to him. Saul had been blinded to the truth that Yeshua was Israel's Messiah, but God showed Saul he was persecuting the body of Israel’s Messiah on the earth. What he had failed to recognize after years of religious training God showed him in a supernatural experience that would change him for life. It is what God is going to do to countless other Jews, and in fact, He has already begun to do so.
     The Collection for the Poor in Jerusalem | In Acts 11, after Barnabas had retrieved Paul from Tarsus, brought him to Antioch to minister the Gospel with him, after one year a Jerusalem prophet came who spoke by the Spirit that a famine would be coming on the whole world. In response to Agabus' prophecy, "Then the disciples, each according to his own ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they did by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."
     Why did they send donations to Israel? Why didn't they just take up a donation for their own city, or their own region? Because the famine would be more acute to the persecuted followers of the LORD in Israel. They were ostracized from their own people because of faith AND they were the birthplace of the shared faith in Yeshua/Jesus. It was a recognition of the reality that we Jews and Gentiles in Messiah are of one body, and we owe it to each other to help each other. Those who have more minister to the need of those who are persecuted for the faith.
     When Barnabas and Paul arrive in Jerusalem to give famine relief before it happens, it was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Herod had just killed James the brother of John, and "because he saw that it pleased the (unbelieving) Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also." (Acts 11:26-12:3) The whole ekklesia (congregation, often translated church) in Jerusalem were reeling and in fervent prayer for Peter.
     Paul views this with the understanding of a former persecutor of believing Jews. The Holy Spirit is speaking to him— through the prophetic warning of famine that brought him to Jerusalem in the first place and also through the persecution that brought death to one of the apostles. Peter was released from the threat of death by a supernatural act of God. When it was over, Paul left Jerusalem beginning to understand that God was commissioning him for a specific purpose. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but his purpose toward the Messianic Jews was no less significant! He was to establish among the churches by his own example of sacrificial care toward the body of Jewish believers in Israel. It was going to be a necessity that the Gentile Christians embraced the Israel Messianic Jews family.
     Look carefully at the letters to the churches Paul wrote after that experience in Jerusalem, and you will find him urging the churches to take up an offering that would be delivered “to the poor.” This was not the generic poor, but a direct reference to the poor at Judea. That's also how the council of apostles told them in Acts 15 to tell the churches, to remember the poor. The poor in Israel are the believers in Israel. There is a temptation to chalk up this remembering of "the poor" to a non-specific "poor" rather than "the poor at Judea." It is God’s plan to unite Jew and Gentile in Messiah, and this is going to be a major way He does that.  
     If we look at the context of Paul's use of the phrase "the poor" in scripture, we see that in four out of six uses of the phrase, "the poor," Paul is clearly referencing the poor of Judea, and one is a reference to himself. (Ro 15:26, 1 Cor 16:1, 15; 2 Cor 9:1; and 9:12-13). He is crystal clear in who "the poor" are in Romans 15:26-27. The issue he was addressing of the collection being taken among the churches becomes even sharper in focus: "For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things."
    
In 2 Corinthinians 8, Paul again urges the Church at Corinth to continue in the giving, saying, "It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have."
    
In this 8th chapter of 2 Corinthinians, Paul address many issues surrounding the collection. How some gave generously even out of their own poverty. "Brethren, we make know to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
    
Paul spoke in the same chapter to the Corinthinians, "I speak not by commandment, but by the occasion of the diligence of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. . .And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you. . . .For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, and that their abundance also may supply your lack--that there may be equality."
    
Paul was not merely referring to financial abundance in one group supplying for financial lack in another as need fluctuated between the churches. Paul surely must have seen that the need for relief among the Jewish believers in Israel would remain unchanged until the time that "all Israel shall be saved." Was there any other potential? There was not and there is not still to this day. As long as the Messianic Jews in Israel remain a minority in Israeli society, there is a need for the Gentile churches to prove the sincerity of their love through the ministry of financial contributions for relief.
     So the Acts 2 "church" made up entirely of Messianic Jews who received and followed Yeshua as the Messiah were not experimenting with socialism, they were doing what was required for the body of Messiah to survive becoming social outcasts because of their faith. Believe me, if they had not banded together to care for each other, we Christians would not be here today because if they were unable to survive, we would never have come to faith. This is the debt that Paul refers to that we owe - and we still owe that debt! "For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things."

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Confusion in OUR Camp!

 


Confusion in OUR Camp!

by Donna Diorio, October 26, 2021

Anti-Messianic  “superstar” activist Tuvia Singer must have thought he hit the jackpot when Shannon Nuszem showed up because the former Houston pastor’s daughter has turned into Singer’s most valuable player. Nuszem’s aggressive new non-profit Beyneynu specializes in exposés that seek to provoke new rounds of persecution of Israeli Messianic believer ministries. Several of her latest reports have been to expose Christians who are engaged in false impersonation, deceitfully passing themselves off as traditionally religious Jews. 
     Splashy headlines follow, and not just in Jewish publications, but also in some of the major international newspapers. One reason non-Jewish news publications pick up on the stories is because of the hysterical terminology of anti-Messianic (antimissionary) activists, who say repeatedly that they consider Christians who present the gospel to Jews are “worse than terrorists.” The use of counter-terrorism terminology is standard procedure in the hysterical accusations against Israel’s Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus. Demonizing believers in shrieking accusation helps create an urgency to destroy with all haste.
    
One UK newspaper picked up on the inflammatory accusation of the most recent incident Beyneynu exposed. The Daily Mail wrote in their headline, “Arizona father and son are accused of being a 'sleeper cell' of fake Orthodox rabbis who are actually Evangelical Christians: Any rituals they performed like weddings and washing the dead could be invalid.”  The article goes on to report, “Some rabbis fear they are Messianic Jews whose ultimate goal is to bring about the second coming to the Holy Land.”
     Did you catch that wild leap from the
bad acts of Christian-wannabe-Jews to the Israeli Messianic believers?  You see, to the anti-Messianic activists, there is no differentiation made between non-Jewish Christians and Jews who believe in Jesus. To them, if a Jew believes in Jesus he has ceased to be a Jew. It is much the same as the long standing but erroneous belief of many Christians that it is not possible for a Jew to believe in Jesus and remain Jewish. 
     There is a difference between the followers of the Messiah/Christ who are Jewish and those who are non-Jewish Christians and it is similar to the difference in God’s calling on male and female. The trouble here is that by not making the differentiation of a non-Jewish Christian passing themselves off as Jewish rabbis, the anti-Messianic activists can whip up more persecution against Israel’s Messianic Jews who are not being deceitful about their faith in the least.
    The latest Beyneynu expose is of an America Christian family who has been passing themselves off for years as Jewish, and not only Jewish, but the father has been passing himself off as a rabbi. The report also circles back to include making a native Israeli Messianic leader ‘guilty by association’ of knowing the American family.  The Israeli Messianic leads a congregation in his birthplace and is from a family of rabbis. Now I have known the leader in question for twenty years or more. He loves his people, fellow Israelis, and has never hidden his faith in Yeshua even from the hometown rabbis or city officials that govern the city. City officials have come and gone, but they have all welcomed the humanitarian aid provided for the needy of their town.
     Beyneynu would like to destroy all relationships Messianic congregations have with Israeli municipalities. They would cut off the aid Messianic congregations give to forgotten Holocaust survivors and poor immigrants without the any hesitancy.  
 Anti-Messianics in Israel first stir up the religious to apply pressure to whatever group is working with Messianic Jews, which are many. The Messianic Jews of Israel are exemplary citizens, but  continual and ongoing hysterics among the anti-Messianics, sometimes intimidates municipalities and organizations into dropping relationship with them.
      That is what makes it all the more urgent to address how we got here and how we defend the falsely accused, provide necessary back up for them and stop just watching Christians morph into a Jewish identity that is not a healthy identity for them take on and is trickery when they present themselves as Jews to unsaved Jews. We have so much confusion in the camp over Jewish identity because we have not taught a scrupulous biblical differentiation in the callings of Jewish and Gentile believers. When Christians became fascinated by all things Jewish, we did not guide them away from spiritually unhealthy attempts to become Jews themselves. It is like the gender confusion we see so much of today as first there is cross-dressing, then the person tries to make themselves into something there are not biologically. It is essentially the same identity confusion at work.
     How that Works | First we have the evangelical Christian pastor’s daughter who became so fascinated by the Jewish roots of the faith that she started sitting at the feet of the renowned Jesus hater, Tuvia Singer, who convinced her to embrace Judaism and reject of Jesus. Singer’s teachings also convinced her pastor father to identify as a Noahide (I assume this means rejecting Jesus, too).
     I don’t think it is a coincidence that Shannon Nuszem’s testimony is in an exact reverse of the apostle Paul’s in Acts 9 where Paul goes from “breathing out threatenings…against the disciples of the Lord” to being knocked off his high horse and asking Yeshua, Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  Shannon says not all Christians are the “enemy” but she most definitely breathes out threatening to the Messianic Jewish believers and any evangelical Christians who know that the Gospel is meant for Jews too.
     Even without Tuvia Singer confusing Christians who become Israel-fascinated, there are many Christians who travel that road. Some go to a Messianic congregation and next thing you know they are imitating the outward appearance of ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews.  It seems to me we are far past the time in American Messianic congregations where the identity issue confusion should put to rest with scriptural teaching: Christians are not to become Jews and Jews are not to be Christians in Messiah. Both identities are valid and necessary – just like male and female. 
     The encouragement of Christians seeking to be supportive of Messianic Jews, to themselves present as “Messianic Gentiles” is really not a kosher idea according to the first Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Perhaps some of these cases of Christians deceiving Jews into thinking they are Jewish would not be taking place if we started having “the talk” with Christians in the early stages of transforming into appearing to be Jews. It may not create big problems here in the US, but it surely does create major repercussions for the Messianic Jewish community in Israel and we have some accountability for that.
     In the most recent case of a Christian passing himself off as a Jewish rabbi, the man and his family moved from Michigan, to Houston, to Phoenix.  In Houston he was the director of the Kashrut organization that does Kosher oversight and certification!  Beyneynu became suspicious of them in the process of scouring the internet for Messianics…just like counter-terrorism groups do in search of potential terrorists before they go operational. Beyneynu wants to root out any Messianic believer who potentially could try to immigrate to Israel. 
    So in scouring the web they came across an event featuring the (Dawson-Isaacson) family who touted their connection to an Israeli Messianic leader saying they had “the privilege of working with” him involving “humanitarian aid.” They also claimed he was a “close family friend.”
     The Messianic leader named told me that “
my last contact with them was 8-9 years ago.” He also told me that he emphasized to them that “salvation does not come from converting to Judaism” and not to renounce Yeshua to fit in among Jews.
Shannon Nuszem also finds fault with the Messianic Jews providing humanitarian aid to Israeli Holocaust survivors calling it “Deathbed Evangelism.” She see evil in the good works of those seeking to feed Holocaust survivors the 1/4th of Israel’s Holocaust survivors living below the poverty line. Shannon accuses Messianic ministries, who almost all provide humanitarian aid to Holocaust survivors as seeking “to take advantage of the elderly who are vulnerable, fearful of death, and feelings of loneliness in order to convert them to Christianity in their dying days or even last moments.” 
     These are evil accusations and an outright lie in my knowledge of twenty years of associating closely with Israeli Messianic ministries. The Israeli Messianic Jews are not living deceitful lives instead they are open books – “living letters” of Messiah’s love for the Jewish people.
      I know we have all heard the urban legends of the great many Jewish rabbis in Israel who “secretly” believe in Yeshua but just don’t want to reveal themselves lest they get kicked out of their congregations. Personally, I have never believed in this and in fact think it would be an incredibly deceitful way for anyone to live in any honest measure of faith in Yeshua. The Israeli ministries I know of, not one of them live in closeted existence which is a betrayal to God and man of hiding their faith. They are openly believers in Yeshua, and willing to share their faith with any who are seeking to learn of Him.
     Which brings me to another point of Christian confusion in the camp about Jewish identity: In researching to write this article over the past couple of days, I saw a news article about the first Christian Shannon Nuszem blew the whistle on for false impersonation of a Jewish rabbi. The man was sitting on the TV set of an American prophetic figure. I have many questions about how this all unfolded, but one thing that was reported was that the prophet’s ministry had been donating $500 a month to this Christian posing as a Jewish rabbi. 

     Did the prophet think the man was really Jewish, a “secret rabbi” or did he know he was a Christian posing as a Jew? I don’t have the answer to that yet, and whether I ever get a direct answer on that question, this is one thing I do know: far too many Christians assume that they can sort out who to financially support in Israel and it is pretty clear most do not have a clue. If they did, they would be supporting the leaders of the body of Messiah in Israel and consulting with them any time they considered giving regular support to someone in Israel.
     All the statistics show that Christians financially supporting things in Israel are supporting the Israel Messianic Jewish believer ministries the least
—by far.
     Not only would we stop supporting people who are operating deceitfully in Israel (and I can think of other examples over the past years including outright conmen!) but also we would not have Christians aligning themselves with nationalist-religious settlers who indoctrinate Christians to think of any Jew in Israel who believes in Jesus as belonging to “a cult” and/or being “an enemy of the State of Israel.” That is what they did recently when they convinced a high-profile Christian supporter of Israel to condemn the Messianic ShelanuTV network all the way to then Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. It consequently forced the cable TV network that approached the Messianics in the first place to pull the plug on airing their own channel in Hebrew. Her anti-Messianic campaign stopped the Gospel in Hebrew from airing on Israeli television. An America Christian woman did that and she thinks she did God a favor.
     It is not a crime in Israel to believe Yeshua is the Messiah. These are issues of identity confusion and we need to do better.  This is only the first article I will be writing on this issue. There is a lot of ground to cover and I hope both Christians and Messianics take those issues to heart — especially for the sake of the LORD’s body in Israel.


Saturday, July 3, 2021

Hope Deferred | Pregnant with Zion

 

Hope Deferred | Pregnant with Zion

by Donna Diorio

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12

When we live for a long time with our hopes deferred (postponed, delayed or held to a future pointed date) in time our lives can become conditioned to low or no expectation. Instead we begin to face our days waiting for the other shoe to drop, because that is what "heart sick" means. 

     Before anyone gets on their faith high horse, some of you have not lived in a situation where your hopes were postponed, delayed or held to an appointed future date. You just haven't. We ALL have our trials, but some of you have not endured long standing "deferred hope" that drags on and on with a deferred hope that is big enough even in a person of faith, to establish a "heart sickness" like Proverbs 13:12 is talking about. Be glad you have not, but don't gloat thinking your faith is superior — just stronger and better, because it just hasn’t been equally tested. 

     In Revelation 12 the apostle John sees a dragon, a serpent that releases a “flood” like a “river” to “sweep away "a woman clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and crying out in the pain and agony of giving birth."

     Everyone pretty much realizes by now that the flood of water is a flood of words - evil words, words meant to tear down, steal from or destroy the target of the serpent’s words. A flood - a relentless, powerful torrent sweeping away everything in its path, carrying everything off to utter destruction. It sounds like the last 2,000 years of Jewish history to me.
     Some have interpreted the woman in Revelation 12 as being the Church because she is clothed in the sun; others believe the woman represents Israel, the Jewish people because she is wearing a crown of twelve stars representing the 12 tribes.  I believe the woman is both: the One New Man in Messiah made up of a Church that is in one-unity with the body of MESSIANIC BELIEVERS.  The church is the mid-wife interceding for Israel's salvation and actively helping their Israeli MESSIANIC brethren to bring salvation to birth in Israel.
     Israel is pregnant with God's salvation. It is going to take the midwife of the Church helping the pregnant Israeli believers in Israel to bring forth this only awaited salvation of "all Israel," to bring forth Zion.  It is God's end game as the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2, to make of two (Jewish and Gentiles BELIEVERS) one new man in Him, Messiah, Jesus/Yeshua.  This is Zion in the making.

     But the dragon, the serpent, has been dragging on and on what is hoped for : Zion.  So the Church gets the message to love Israel, but continues to fail to fulfill GOD's DESIRE to fully unite with the Israeli MESSIANIC body, so this pregnancy can come to full term, and all Israel be birthed into the kingdom of Messiah.

     Even many Messianic Jews have such "hope deferred" over the Church failing to see what God wants from us that they have become heart sick. The expectation of change, where the church isn't focused on the wrong things, but on the spiritual pregnancy of Israel, they have almost – not quite — lost hope about their Christian family. God will not let them lose hope entirely because He will revive hope for His desire will be fulfilled at the appointed time. We sure seem to be in the contractions already.

     When the spiritual birth comes in Israel it will be a "tree of life" not only to those whose hopes have been so deferred for so long, or to the newly saved, but it will be a tree of life to peoples in all the nations. When Israel comes at long last to the spiritual birthing that God has held back to these days in front of us - the appointed time – the nations will see it and rejoice that in their own nations too they are seeing so great a salvation.

     I relate these things on a personal level and also on the level of being an advocate for the Israeli Messianic community. I believe God has shown me that He has a certain end game for Israel where Israel comes to faith by Messiah Yeshua, and He has made me understand through the things I have experienced in life, many aspects of what Israel has gone through to get to this very pregnant stage of His plan.

     Over the past couple of years, if there is anything that God has been working on me about, it is to break me from my heart sickness of low to no expectation because of hope deferred.  Repeatedly that has been His message to me as I experienced perils and unexpected rescues. He has used the repetition to speak to my hope-deferred-heart, because trust requires repetition. He has been renewing my hope so I could exercise my faith, that it is indeed as He promised:  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:11-12

     I say to the Messianic Jews of Israel who have experienced the heart sickness of hope deferred in seeing the Church truly come alongside you for your labors in God’s harvest field of Israel: Look up for Israel's redemption draws near: "For the vision awaits an APPOINTED time; it testifies of the end and does not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it, since it will surely come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3

     We are very close.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Unveiled Faces, Transformation & God's Purposes in Israel



 One of the things that I learned from Francis Frangipane is that God calls us to a love for others that is greater than what we can rise to without knowing His love in greater and greater measures.

I do believe this is the spiritual principle behind Psalm 84:7 "They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion." which finds its New Testament parallel in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
The reference to "unveiled face" hearkens back to Moses seeing God with an unveiled face, while all the children of Israel that Moses was leading to the Promised Land could not bear seeing the full glory of God, so they had to have a veil over their faces.
It was according to plan, as Deuteronomy 29:4 explains: "You saw with your own eyes the great trials, and those miraculous signs and wonders. Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear." And Romans 11:8 verifies it: "...as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see, and ears that could not hear, to this very day." To what end? Romans 11:31-32 "so they (the Chosen People) too have now disobeyed, in order that they too may now receive mercy through the mercy shown to you. For God has bound up everyone to disobedience so that He may have mercy on everyone."
In the story of the "Transfiguration" better understood as "Transformation" Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a high mountain apart for prayer. While praying Jesus was "transformed," "His face did shine as the sun," "and his garments became glistering, exceeding white, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them." Moses and Elijah appeared to talk to Jesus about His coming self-sacrifice.
Now Peter, James and John witnessed these things but they were not instantly transformed themselves as the rest of the books of the New Testament show. They still had imperfect love, they still argued among themselves, they still separated because of conflicts, but they were each on God's journey of transformation of perfecting them in love, as were the other apostles and disciples ever since.

The thing I learned from Francis Frangipane is that is our journey too.
We are not capable of just loving everybody as Yeshua/Jesus loves us, but we are able to commit to that journey to expand our love. Our first circle of love is loving those closest to us, our families. Some have more serious challenges with that than others, but we really cannot love the greater world if we do not find the way to love our own families with the love of the Lord first.
Our journey into loving like God loves is one that expands - strength to strength, glory to glory. It begins close and expands to include more and more. The key, if we go by what took place on the Mount of Transformation with Jesus, is that we go and pray for the ones we find it hard to love. God takes those prayers and transforms us first and grows our capacity to love others even farther away from us.
Yeshua, Jesus, laid down His own life in love for sinners, that we could join Him in being transformed by God from mere humanity, to people touched by God's love and glory, so we could reflect His glory through love to a people with veiled faces.
2 Corinthians 3:14-18 But their minds were closed (up by God). For to this day the same veil remains at the reading of the old covenant. It has not been lifted, because ONLY IN MESSIAH can it be removed. And even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Praying for the removing of the veil over Jewish faces, is in perfect timing with God's ultimate purposes now: that "all Israel shall be saved." If that is so, then also it is so that those you have desired to open their eyes of faith in Jesus is also in perfect timing.
P.S. It also needs to be said that too much of Christian time has been focused on these verses in 2 Corinthians about the passing away of the Old Covenant to make way for the New Covenant in seeking to feel superior over "the Chosen People" that it has blinded much of Christianity from seeing all of the passages that say it was GOD who blocked the Jews from seeing so He could extend to the rest of the peoples of the world, the ONLY pathway to God and His eternal life. Only when we take that into account can we truly love Israel as we ought, when we see it we will see also that God PURPOSES to bring the Jews into right standing ONLY through faith in Yeshua. They don't have some other deal, but God has executed His plan for salvation of humanity through distinct phases - and we are in the the phase at long last when "all Israel shall be saved" by faith in the Messiah Yeshua.

Friday, June 25, 2021

We are not Under the Law BUT Read the Verses You Didn't Underline

 



We are not Under the Law BUT
Read the Verses You Didn't Underline
by Donna Diorio
June 25,2021

I remember when I was first introduced to Francis Frangipane, he was talking about us taking a look at our Bibles to see what we had underlined, and then to focus our meditating on the Word to what we had NOT underlined. What I am going to say is a thought much like that.

For one, I believe there is a defensiveness that a huge swath of Christianity has against accepting the true role that God has for the Jewish people even in the plan of the salvation of mankind and the revival of the last major spiritual harvest. I say that because instead of seeing that the Bible is full of promises to Israel by God, and laying out the plan by biblical prophetic and apostolic voices, many Christians only underline the "setting aside" part of the Chosen People, blind to the purpose of God in doing so.
When I left the Messianic congregation I was going to in order to go into churches to try to spread the understanding of God's One New Man plan, in one of the churches I found all the classic distancing maneuvers Christians use to deny the significance of the Jewish people and especially of the Israeli Messianic body of Messiah, in operation.
#1. Denial that the Jewish people, as a people, are still significant to God's plan in light of the new covenant in Jesus Christ that opened the Door of salvation to the Gentiles (nations). Some of the top level Christian ministers hold this idea to be true - I am talking about ministers who have lead in healing miracles, prophetic ministry - the top rung of Christian leadership. Yet when it comes to the place of the Jews in God's plans, they underlined the "setting aside" and "we are not under the Law" verses, instead of the scriptures that lay out God's plan for mankind's salvation developed over thousands of years, or how the Law (the teaching) of God is not evil, but is the stated Word of God on the level of righteousness He desires to see developed in us.
As Romans 2:13-15 - NEW COVENANT - says is:
13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. 14 ***Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law*** 15 So ***they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts,*** their consciences also bearing witness,*** and their thoughts either accusing or defending them…***
It's a perfect example of the scriptures that are not underlined by many Christians, even the current top echelon of Christian leaders. At that church referred to earlier, I ran across so many instances - like the instance where as soon as one mentions having a heart for Israel, the default distancing maneuver is to put up the unnecessary shield of having a heart for the Palestinians.
Reality on the ground: there is NO group of believers with a truer heart for the Christian Arabs ministering the Gospel among the Palestinian people and the neighboring Muslim Arab nations as the Israeli Messianic Jews. The reason most Christians don't know that FACT is because they listen to Israel-hating Arabs (both Christian and Muslim - and yes, there are Jew-hating Christian Arabs too who have not been delivered of the extreme indoctrination against Israel and the Jews they have been raised in.
Almost ALL of the Israeli Messianic Jewish ministries I know of are in relationship with their Palestinian Christian Arab brothers and many of them donate funds to help their brothers spread the Gospel among Arabs. But unknowing Christian who don't know God's plan for using the Israeli Messianic Jews in the last days, use their concern for Palestinians as cudgel to beat off any advocate of them having a heart for Israeli Jews.
Another perfect example, and it would be the straw that broke the camel's back for me remaining in that congregation, was when they had a well known teacher in for an extended weekly series on the book of Romans...and the man just completely skipped over the Apostle Paul's most extensive exposition of God's plan in the Jews that is given in Romans 9-11. Not only did he not underline those passages of scripture, he skipped them altogether. I could not bear to sit in a place that was so headed in a direction the opposite of what I knew God wanted me to travel.
None of the leaders or followers described above are beyond coming to the knowledge of the truth in the matter of Israel and the Jews. But one thing they must do is recognize that even as they accuse the Jewish people of spiritual blindness in part through arrogance, the same can be rightly said of much of Christianity through history and to this day.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

A Different Kind of Crisis

 


And the word of the LORD came to me, asking, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
“I see a branch of an almond tree
,”(shaqed) "the watcher" tree ] I replied. 
“You have observed correctly,” said the LORD, 
“for I am watching (shoqed) over My word to accomplish it.”
Jeremiah 1:11-12

May 18, 2021: There is an explosion of intercessory prayer being made for Israel right now. We are hearing about it from many different corners of Christianity. The rockets and riots from the terrorists in Gaza and those who have been indoctrinated by their hate inside Israel have put a sharp point on the prayers of the saints for Israel. This intersection of prayers and violence is awakening the Church to pray for Israel.

But there is a different kind of crisis going on that a great many of those who know to pray against the physical warfare do not yet understand is the urgent need of the body in Israel for financial relief so its ministries can minister the light of Yeshua to their communities. 

Covid restrictions in Israel have already put many of the congregations and ministries, including the Messianic run humanitarian outreaches into extreme financial stress. With the launch of war falling on the heels of Israel lifting Covid restrictions, there are many who are facing losing their facilities and other ministers are going with any income to support their families. There are things every ministry needs to continue ministering to the people. Israel is a special case and the apostle Paul knew that the body of Messiah would not be able to raise their own full ministry finances without the help of the churches.

That is why Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “Romans 15:26-27 “For it has pleased them of the Macedonia and Achaia churches to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It has pleased them truly; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in material things.”

As the Church is learning to pray for Israel, we must also learn of our duty to come alongside the Messianic Israelis with financial aid. 

One of the most powerful things Paul did, in complete surrender of his life to God's purposes, was his last trip to Jerusalem to carry the financial contributions he had the churches under his oversight collect over at least a 3-year period. As he made the trip, with a representative from each church accompanying him to witness what was done, prophets came out all along the journey to tell Paul he was going to be chained and imprisoned if he continued his mission. He believed them and was emotional about it, but he said he was prepared to take it all the way regardless. Even to this day there are second guessers who believe "he blew it" not heeding the prophetic word, but that is because they don't know that the prophetic words given were not meant by God to stop Paul, they were only meant to make sure Paul understood the full cost to himself to carry his mission to the full. This is the apostle that said,

Romans 9:1-5 I speak the truth in Christ; I am not lying, as confirmed by my conscience in the Holy Spirit. I have deep sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory and the covenants; theirs the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them proceeds the human descent of Christ, who is God over all, forever worthy of praise!

Paul willingly laid down his life to establish the fund of financial relief from the churches to the use of the Messianic leaders in Israel. He did not carry those funds to the Israeli government, the Sanhedrin, the Temple upkeep. No! Paul established the churches in giving towards the ministry needs of the body of Messiah in Israel. It went on for an unknown number of years but had ceased before 318 AD.

I believe that precedent Paul established is what was so important to God not only for then but for NOW. God did not let Paul make himself accursed from the faith, but He did allow Paul to fully sacrifice freedom and ultimately his life, to model for the Gentile churches what the Israeli Messianic believers needed to flourish under harsh circumstances - in the first century and in THIS season.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

We Are in a "Let My people go" moment



by Donna Diorio
 
For the fasting and prayers that have been going on probably worldwide by Christian and Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua, those who understand God's purposes in restoration of Israel in the end of this season, WE HAVE BEEN SEEKING GOD FOR AN OUTPOURING OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT LIKE WAS GIVEN AT THE TIME OF THE FEAST OF WEEKS IN ACTS 2. As always, there is a demonic manifestation coming at the same time: an outpouring of rockets upon the Israeli people in their towns.

We are praying for an outpouring of power like Yeshua promised in Luke 24:49 that would be poured out on the disciples He sent to Jerusalem to pray in the Upper Room, in order to witness with power about His salvation. "And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But remain in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

This outpouring is not a one-time thing - not in the personal sense of our lives and not in a historical-prophetic season. We must have fresh anointing in the seasons of our personal lives, and we also need a fresh anointing in prophetic seasons. We are in the midst of a dawning of a new season beginning, and a prophetic outpouring that again will be poured out in Israel first, then flow throughout the nations.

Yeshua's promise to the disciples in Luke about the outpouring that would take place in Acts 2 Jerusalem, was PART of the Isaiah 32:15-17 prophecy. But there is more to the Isaiah prophecy that was not fulfilled at that time of Acts 2 - but I believe refers to the time we are in at this exact moment - the moment of this Shavuot/Pentecost, of the outpouring again on Jerusalem and upon those who are crying out for Israel's salvation today:

Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Why would the enemy stir up such warfare against Israel at this time? Isn't it obvious? Because the outpouring of power is coming and the only way the enemy can stop it is to try to steal, kill and destroy those who will come into the Kingdom in Israel after this outpouring from God (which will trigger salvation around the world). And the only way we can stop the enemy's fury is with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power to stand. 

We are in a "Let My people go moment." As Pharaoh's false prophets came out to duplicate the miracles God was performing through Moses as he sought the release of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, so now we are all standing in unity with the believers in Israel seeking the outpouring like Acts 2 for the salvation of ALL Israel. This is such a major move of God coming, not wonder the enemies of God are pouring out rockets and inner city violence all of the Land to break the faith of believers that God's miracle is coming, and to try to kill as many Jews as they can before it comes. Keep up your prayers for we are in a truly holy war that we are going to be ultimately victorious in.