Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Word Play in Prophecy Unfolding Now?

David & Martha Stern are enjoying the first blooming Almond trees
from the window of their home in Jerusalem  Feb 2019

A Word Play in Prophecy Unfolding Now?
The almond trees are blooming in Israel. This is the view outside the window of David and Martha Stern's home in Jerusalem. The blooming of the almond trees are a reminder that the God of Israel is watching over His Word to perform it

The Hebrew for almond is shaked, which is from the Hebrew word shakad which mean "to wake, watch, awake, be alert". It is called almond or shaked because it is the first of all the trees to awaken from winter to bloom. God makes a play on words with showing Jeremiah the almond (skaked) branch and then telling him He is watching (shakad) over His Word to perform it. 

The calling of the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 1 verses 4,5,10-12:
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms
to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“I see the branch of an almond (shaked) tree,” I replied.
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly,
for I am watching (shakad) to see that my word is fulfilled.”

The Israeli prophets such as Jeremiah were called to speak God's prophetic word over all the nations, not just their own people and their own nation. Exiled from relationship with God for these nearly 2,000 years, the long winter of Israel's exile from the land of Promise is over and so it is the timing of God's promises to return to Israel with great mercies to remove the veil from their eyes so they may see the Messiah.

Throughout the times that the nations (gentiles) have been entering into the relationship with God through Jesus, prophecy has been more of an in-house type of prophecy to build up and encourage the body rather than to declare God's word over nations and kingdoms — "to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” It was not time for that type of prophecy. 

Now that there is a body of believers in Israel which is increasing day by day, it is now time for the return of the prophets in the same calling as Jeremiah. The Bible is full of the promises of God to Israel which are yet to be fulfilled and it comes by the joining of two — Jew and Gentile — in "one new man" in Messiah.

It is time for the full measure of prophetic anointing - to speak to the body of believers strengthening and encouragement in an ever darkening world, and to speak the word of the LORD to the nations and kingdoms BOTH to build and plant, and to uproot, tear down, destroy and overthrow.

Are we witnessing this in the rise of righteous Israel-loving Christian leaders in South America as the kingdoms of despots like Maduro in Venezuela are being thrown down? Or in the shifting sands of the Middle East? Whoever would have believed Sunni Muslims would or could overcome the Israel-hatred to form regional alliances with Israel?

It is not only the Israeli or Hebrew prophets who may operate in this returning level of prophetic utterance, but the point is that until Israel was restored as a nation, and until there was a restored remnant of faith within Israel it was not time for the unfolding of this New Dimension of Prophecy for the days of the "one new man". 

I invite you to watch the video by Asher Intrater, who gives a more complete explanation of this new level of prophecy we can enter into today because of the restoration of the faith in Yeshua within Israel. These are the days that the apostles and prophets longed to see. If we align ourselves together, we have the honor to fulfill all that is in God's heart to do in these last days. 
Donna Diorio

Friday, February 1, 2019

Important Allies

Israeli IDF Paratroopers and US Army training together 

Important Allies: When Israeli spokesman Hananya Naftali posted this picture of a US army unit training with IDF paratroopers it really spoke to me of the spiritual parallel. Not only are the defenders of the nation of Israel in need of strategic alliances on a international political level, the alliances also extend to military cooperation like this.

For us this is a picture of our own spiritual alliance with the community of faith in Yeshua/Jesus in Israel. The alliances of the international Church with the Body of Messiah in Israel are a powerful alignment that defends and protects the believers of Israel so they can live and thrive and bear spiritual fruit in their own nation.

I struggled this week with what to focus on because Sunday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Placing the focus on the strategic alliance of Christians praying with and for the body of believers in Israel is my way of saying, "Never Again" in the midst of rising worldwide Antisemitism and anti-Zion/anti-Israel public opinion.

You see, I understand the cry that came out of the human ashes of the Holocaust, "Never Again," but with my own eyes I am seeing a world that does not respond to that cry. And how could it? It is a spiritual war that targets the Jews and Israel — wholly unnatural and beyond reason.  It is a demonic hatred that opposes God's plan and purposes: the coming of Zion. That is exactly why Israel is opposed with a vengeance among the nations. The Allies of World War II were called the United Nations; now it is the United Nations that seems to place all its hypocritical energies on turning the whole world against Israel by lies and deception.

That's where we come in. If you are part of this mailing list, then you are among those that God has revealed the great significance of how He is raising up the Remnant of faith in Yeshua within Israel to defend and protect until "all Israel" is saved; until Jesus Himself returns to defend Zion and sit upon His throne in Jerusalem.

It sounds fantastical, but all of our spiritual energy and devotion to our alliance with our brothers and sisters in Israel is every bit as important as the alliances that Israel has been making government to government. In fact, if it were not for the Israel-supporting believers who have propelled people into top leadership positions in the U.S., Brazil and other nations, would we even see this backing in the nations taking place? I don't think so. It is the praying Christians in the nations who are impacting these alliances.

Yours, and mine, is one prayer before the throne of God, for His purposes to be established for Israel, for Israelis and for the Remnant of faith in Israel. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Love of the Truth

By Donna Diorio
This morning I was wondering if we lived in a time where the truth was more threatened than any other time in history. I know there were dark times in the dark ages, when people where grossly ignorant  but that because of ignorance — they were kept in darkness. The Word of God was kept away from the common people, so how could they dwell in anything but darkness? They couldn't.

In the beginning God created Light. It was a Light that was different from the light of the sun, moon and stars. I believe it was the Light that is also the Truth, that brings the ability of mankind to see and choose the truth. In darkness men cannot make informed decisions because they are locked in the ignorance of darkness. John 1:1 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So we see Yeshua, who is the Truth, the Light and the Word intertwined and inseparable.

In this day and age the Word of God is everywhere, yet there is a real battle for the truth around the world. Truth-believers appear to be in the minority. I am not just talking about the Gospel-truth —the capital T— but all truth is battling to be believed in the face of lying deceptions and false narratives. Truth is being overwhelmed in everyday life by those dedicated to propagandizing with lies. There is a battle for the truth on every level of life.

Why are so many people sucked into false narratives? I'm talking about Bible-believers. Why is deception having its way with people who should be able to discern the truth?

We live in a time that even the elect are being deceived, unable to tell the difference between facts and false narratives. They are getting swept up in the abundance of false narratives and are choosing that because they don't want to be bothered with the facts. They like the ground they've already staked out too much to let facts get in the way.

We live in a time spoken of by the prophet Daniel (12:4) "But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Our knowledge is through the roof! It is everywhere, but ironically there are much fewer who love the truth.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 the apostle Paul wrote, "The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them." So "every wicked deception" is "directed against those who are perishing". Why? Because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them.

I have pondered this for many years now as I have been so disturbed over how many believers are so attached to conspiracy theories. It is vexing because lying deceptions are much more than just a difference of opinion. Facts do not care about opinions. We must be dedicated to a love of the truth - to the facts - not in placing our stake in the ground of opinions, of which many opinions are just false narratives.

I have followed news about Israel for near three decades. There is no greater victim of false narratives threatening the facts, the truth than Israel. No amount of countering the false narratives which are endless and relentless, has ever moved anyone who has chosen to believe the deception instead of searching for the facts and the truth. If they don't have a love of the truth, if God does not break through with a revelation of His thoughts about Israel, then they remain addicted to the lies they have been told about Israel.

In those three decades, I have seen this deep spiritual sickness spill out of the realm of Israel's existential battle, into the whole world. Truth is being battled on the streets and in the headlines on every continent at this point.

Even though we represent a minority of the people, we must choose a love of the truth and pursue it at every turn. This means not just in the big choices ('Do I believe in Jesus?') but also the little choices, do I believe prevailing narratives, or do I love the truth enough to search beyond the talking heads to learn the truth? Am I a fact-seeker?

Revive Israel's Asher Intrater, spoke a few years ago about a vision he had in 2009 about a cloud of deception that covered the earth which Yeshua was battling to get through. When he said this was the basis for Yeshua's question in Luke 18:8 ("... when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”) it was the first time that question made real sense to me.

As Asher explained it the cloud cover was formed by the demonic strongholds in the thinking of the people in that location. Where there was a heavenly mindset, there was an opening in the heavens (an "open heavens"); but where there was a demonic mindset in the people in that location, the clouds of deception were so thick it was as a deep spiritual smog.

This is what Daniel was praying through in Daniel 10 as he was trying to understand the spiritual warfare of the last days. Asher also pointed to Isaiah 25:7 "And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations."

We are battling through a spiritual smog to reach people with the Truth. I have seen how it is a worthy thing to be a fact and truth teller in battles where false narratives have been promulgated. Those who love the truth will come to the facts, but those who are "in danger of perishing" are those who will not come. Not without something more. The only way to reach them is in the same way Daniel approached it: praying for the Light to break through the heavy smog of deception creating a veil over all the nations. This is our charge.

John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Haredim and Hilonim in Israel & the Next Stage of Jewish Evangelism

Two iconic figures representing the
polar opposite worldviews of Israel:
Religious politician Aryeh Deri 
& Secular atheist Amos Oz

The Haredim and Hilonim  in Israel
& the Next Stage of Jewish Evangelism

A Guest Essay by Jim Melnick

Israeli author Amos Oz’s passing at the end of December has served to highlight the importance of understanding the two worldview ‘poles’ or extremes of Jewish life today in Israel. These are between the haredim (the ultra-Orthodox) on the one hand and the hilonim (secular) on the other.  Indeed, the daily struggle in Israel between these two polar opposites largely defines the tempo of political life in Israel today.

Many secular Israelis have come to hate the
haredim even while acknowledging that the latter comprise what they suppose is ‘true’ Judaism.  Likewise, many of the haredim hate or despise secular Jews, whom they barely even consider to be Jews even though it was mostly secular Jews who founded the modern-day State of Israel. Secular Jews were the most ardent Zionists and even now put their lives on the line every day to protect the ultra-Orthodox and to preserve their way of life in a Jewish state. Talk about ingratitude! Or at least, that’s how many secular Israelis look at it.

Haredi Jews for the most part see secular Israelis as usurpers who jump-started creating a Jewish state that they think should only have been established by the Messiah. This is the tension of daily life in Israel and that tension is at the heart of the ongoing political struggle for the soul of Israel.
In this massive internal struggle, the Messianic movement and believers in Israel are mostly onlookers, a minority operating on a different plane. At the same time, believers sometimes end up becoming the tip of the spear in this struggle, as in what has occurred in Arad. In Arad’s case, Messianic believers have been harassed and persecuted there for many years, but they have not been the only target, just one of the most vulnerable.

The Gur Hasidic sect has wanted to turn Arad into a mostly haredi city, and some of the secular are fighting back.  Serious violence between the haredim and secular Israelis broke out there, for example, in September 2017 (4 arrested in Arad clashes between ultra-Orthodox, secular residents). In some ways, this violence represents a microcosm of the antagonisms that exist between the two groups throughout the country spilling over into open conflict.

As an outsider who observes Israel closely, but from afar (so accept or reject my views as you will), I believe that understanding this dynamic is crucial to taking evangelism in Israel and intercessory prayer for Israel to the next level.

The very religious and the very secular are both growing at rapid rates both in Israel and in the United States. Those trends are continuing to deepen. At the same time, in terms of outreach and ministry, both groups remain the most unreached by the gospel message from the Messianic movement and the Jewish missions community. There are obvious reasons for this –both are extremely resistant to the Gospel. These are the hardest spiritual nuts to crack, so to speak. 

Yet it is here, I believe, that we need to focus more of our energies, resources and prayers. I believe that the Lord will open up new doors of opportunity in Israel as well as in the U.S. and elsewhere, as we are faithful in trying to reach out to these very difficult-to-reach segments of society. Even if our initial attempts seem quite meager and not very hopeful at first, it is good to begin to develop a heart for reaching both.

How do we do it? There are new steps underway in trying to reach the haredim both in the U.S. and in Israel, but those steps are in their very early stages. As far as trying to reach secular Israelis and ‘Jewish atheists’ such as how Amos Oz described himself, I am not aware of anyone who is systematically engaging the latter, at least not the ‘thought-leaders’. If anyone is, I would love to hear from you!

I am nearly finished writing a new book on Jewish atheism and secularism, and I have been stunned in doing my research to learn how extensive and varied these secular worldviews are. While God is sovereign and the Holy Spirit can break even the hardest individual’s heart, in general we still have much to learn before we can adequately engage this group on a level where they will listen to what we have to say.

I remember a time, and I’m sure many of you reading this do, too, when we could pass out vanloads of Bibles and other literature in Israel to Russian Jewish immigrants eager to receive them! That was an amazing time, but that time has passed.   Subsequently, though, praise God, we saw the emergence of Russian Messianic congregations and home groups, and the establishment of Russian-speaking leaders and elders in congregations all over Israel. These are now doing outreach among their own communities which are receptive to them and bearing fruit for the kingdom. We are now in another phase in Israel’s spiritual life.

I believe that now is a time to focus on the two opposite “poles” of Israeli society – the two poles that are either most hostile or most indifferent to our message. These two mission fields are certainly ‘white unto harvest’!

The task is very much uphill and certainly much more difficult than passing out Bibles on the street to those who were receptive to receive them! Nevertheless, I believe that if we invest more in these difficult areas of ministry - even if we don’t see a lot of fruit right away (but maybe we will?!), God will surprise us, as we all await that Day when “all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11: 26)

Amos Oz:  A Tribute by Jim Melnick

Amos Oz died on December 28, 2018. Reuven Rivlin, the President of Israel, wrote in tribute, “Amos, our friend. How dear you were to us... How dear and important you were to the State of Israel, to Israeli society, to the world of literature.” Prime Minister Netanyahu called him “one of the greatest authors of the State of Israel,” who “contributed a huge amount to the re-birth of the Hebrew language.”

So far I have only read a little over half of Amos Oz’s famous 500-plus-page work, A Tale of Love and Darkness. A reviewer in the Guardian called it one of “the funniest, most tragic and most touching books” they had ever read. I agree. I have found it extraordinarily moving, but almost too intense to take in all at once. It is better to digest it in smaller segments, especially about his growing up years in Jerusalem, as well as the joys and sorrows of Jewish life back in Poland and Ukraine. In 2015 the book was also turned into a film.

Oz indeed had a profound impact on modern-day Israeli society and culture. Though many disagreed with his politics, he was a leading voice in the Israeli peace movement. He served in the Six-Day War in 1967 and also in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and walked with a slight limp due to a war wound.
Oz lived for many years in Arad. Lura and Eddie Beckford, who ministered in Arad for years, often saw him and sometimes spoke with him at Ali’s Café. Ali is Bedouin and his café is usually avoided by Orthodox Jews and some secular Israelis, but Oz made a point of spending lots of time there. In a 2000 article he said that he was referred to as the town’s “Arab lover,” A Postcard from Arad. A man who thirsted for justice, I wonder what he thought about the harassment and persecution that raged in Arad against Messianic believers by some of the haredim?

In 2012, Oz and his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger together wrote Jews and Words, a book in which they both blatantly proclaimed their atheism. They said: “First, we do not believe in God…our Jewish identity is not faith-powered….As Jewish atheists, we take religion to be a great human invention.” They described themselves as “Atheists of the Book” and claimed that there “are, to date, more Bible-wise atheists in Israel than anywhere else.” The mindset behind these words is, I think, key to understanding much of secular Israeli culture today.

In 2016, Oz published the novel Judas, contending that Judas was not really a betrayer but that he actually “believed in Jesus more than Jesus believed in himself.” I won’t try to unpack that bizarre view, but the book does chronicle Oz’s fascination with Jesus. He considered Yeshua “one of the greatest Jews who ever lived,” a fascination that began during his teenage years. Oz’s great uncle was Joseph Klausner, author of the famous book, Jesus of Nazareth. (Amos Oz: ‘I love Israel, but I don’t like it very much’)But Oz’s fascination with Jesus was as far as it went.

I regret that during my many visits to Arad over the years, I did not know until the last few years who Amos Oz was. I did not know that he lived there for some time. I had not yet read any of his books. Otherwise I would have loved to have asked sometime to sit down with him at Ali’s café to discuss his worldview, his life in Jerusalem during those early years and his views about Yeshua. Being the kind of man he was, I think he would have said yes. 

We so desperately need windows into the minds and souls of secular Israelis and secular Jews worldwide in praying for and sharing the Gospel with them. Through his writings, Amos Oz provided one of those windows. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Cave of Adullam & the 3 Anointings of David

This is not meant to be a doctrinal statement or to be understood as the primary
contextual meaning of the verses in this article, but rather is my personal sense
of what the Spirit is speaking 

The Cave of Adullam
& the 3 Anointings of David

In 1 Samuel 22:1-2 "David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him."

That is the exact opposite of what most faith teachings emphasize to us today, where we are all supposed to keep upbeat and positive: 'No Debbie Downers, please!' So isn't it interesting that David, who had already been anointed by God in the sight of his family to be the King of Israel, would be immediately joined by in his hideout by those who had witnessed his anointing to be king, but also by 400 men, "all who were distressed or indebted or discontented."  This man on the run, drew men who were looking for a leader which they recognized as David's anointing, so they rallied themselves to his stronghold hideout in the cave of Adullam.

David didn't get to stay in that Messianic cave for long because, "the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth." God did not anoint David to hole up in the safe place of a cave stronghold; He anointed him to go out and fight the battles of kings - recognized by many or not.

The Messianic movement emerged in the United States in the late 1960's-70's Jesus Movement. Indeed many of the young Jewish men and women who came to faith in the midst of that counter-culture generation of Baby Boomers, went on to form "a new thing". Many in the Christian world have not seen any good reason for a "messianic movement" to exist preferring that all Jewish believers merely lose the Jewishness and become good Christians.

It was God who was forming this new thing of identifiably Jewish followers of Jesus: "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

Those young American Jewish men and women were God's building blocks for what He is doing in these last days. Many of them established congregations and ministries in the United States, but then He called a great many of them out. They were to leave the American safe place —  the cave of Adullam — and immigrate to Israel. There they would continue in their calling as ministers of the gospel of Israel's Messiah Yeshua. Are you tracking with me?

Prophetically, these leaders left their nice, safe American congregations and ministries to enter the land of Promise — the promise that their new life in Israel would be taxing! There would be much greater religious opposition, less financial stability and more challenges than they would ever come up against in the nice, safe stronghold of their 'cave of Adullam' of the Messianic Movement in the United States.

Instead God called them out to go into the wilderness of Israel: 1 Samuel 22:5, "... So David left and went to the forest of Hereth." There is something interesting about this word Hareth. First, there is no meaning given that I could find, but the word stems from another Hebrew word, Charath, which means to engrave. Charath is only used once in the Bible and that is in Exodus 32:16, "And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven H2801 upon the tablets."

Living Stones. Living Letters. Living tablets engraved by the writing of God, and a work of God Himself. God did not want the Messianic Jewish faith to remain in the stronghold, in the places where it was safe to be a Jewish believer in Yeshua. He wanted them out in the wilderness of Israel where they would walk as living engravings, the work of God in the midst of a people God promised to return to with grace and favor. God wants to reach the Jews where ever in the world they are, but there is special significance attached to raising up a Jewish body of faith within Israel.

Now David was anointed three times to be the King of Israel before he actually became the king over all Israel. The first time David was anointed it was in the presence of his own and having witnessed the prophet Samuel anointing David, they were the first to join David when he was forced to flee from King Saul. But there was a second group that recognized the anointing on David for kingly leadership, so afterwards "All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander."

That description kind of sounds to me like so many of the Christians who have joined themselves to the Messianic movement in the past few decades. I know as a Christian when I joined myself to the Messianic movement back in about 1992, I certainly fit the profile! I was like that song from the U2 Joshua Tree album, "And I still haven't found what I'm looking for." I was distressed, in debt and discontented!

Many Christians who have attached themselves to the Messianic movement have come in distress, debt and discontent with what they received (or didn't receive) in their former church experience. They represent an opportunity to Messianic leaders for the same kind of healing, deliverance and vision that David was able to minister to those who came to him. That's why they came to David, they saw his anointing for good leadership. That's why they come to the Messianic movement, seeking anointed, solid biblical leadership.

Some in the Messianic movement have also seen this as their calling in Yeshua to fulfill the prophetic call to bless "all nations on earth" (goy/nations/gentiles). But many Christians who join the Messianic movement get stuck in bad feelings toward the Church because of Christian history against the Jews...unfortunately, many Messianic Jews are stuck there too.

The horrible history of the church toward the Jews is an important history to know, but we have to move beyond that basis of relating to Israel. David did not cultivate anger against Saul; he modeled respect for God's anointed. In our day this should translate two ways: the Messianic movement should model respect for Israel and respect for the Church. Unlike Saul, God's anointing does rest on the Church despite the failing of many to walk in it throughout history.

That may be why the really cutting edge of anointed, prophetic Christian ministries have looked down on us spiritually — both the Messianic movement and those of us Christians who have joined ourselves to them. Could be. We don't look to them like we're something they want to be part of.

Yet God is doing something magnificent in the Messianic faith and I believe we can also see that progression paralleled in the three separate times David was anointed to be King.

The 3 Anointings of David

The first time he was anointed David was just a teenager of about 15 years old. That same year is the year he killed Goliath and from there he began to serve King Saul for 7 years, even marrying Saul's daughter. Saul's jealousy at the anointing that was upon David finally drove David into hiding when he was about 22 years old. After that David was continually on the move both hiding from Saul and battling the enemies of Israel. This went on for 8 years.

David was anointed to be king as a teenager, but Israel already had a king, so David gladly served King Saul leading men in the routing of Israel's enemies. The people recognized David's anointing so much so that it stirred great jealousy in Saul who became increasingly dangerous toward David. Finally David had to get out of Saul's reach but God did not intend for David to stop fighting Israel's enemies.  

Then in those years of serving Saul, and fighting for Israel while hiding from Saul, God was preparing David to be the kind of king that God wanted for Israel — a man after God's own heart. He spent those years on the run, fighting for Israel and hiding from Saul. Saul wanted to harm David, but David did not want to harm Saul. David recognized that even though Saul was a true enemy, He was also God's anointed.

God had rejected Saul, but God had not removed Saul, so David's level of integrity was that he would never lay a finger on Saul even when the opportunity presented itself. Sound familiar? It does to me. It sounds just like how the Israeli Messianics conduct themselves in Israel, even in the face of truly threatening religious jealousy and opposition.

David was about 30 years old when Saul died after being mortally wounded by the Philestines on Mt Gilboa. After Saul's death, the men of Judah recognized David's anointing to be king, so they anointed him before God for the second time. David then became the king of Judah in Hebron. After Saul's death Judah and Israel were still separated from each other — as Messianic Israelis still are from unsaved Israel. But after a few years of internal conflicts, the elders of Israel also saw that David was anointed to be king of all Israel.

Now for the third time David was anointed by all Israel to be their King.  When they acknowledged David's anointing as King of Israel, then David was able to battle for Israel, recapturing Jerusalem from the Jebusites — a root verb that means "to tread down or trample."

Do you see what I see? In the first anointing young David is like the pioneer generation of Messianic ministry leaders who came to Israel to serve Yeshua in the building up of the Living Stones of Israel. They excelled, increased and grew in much "character building" spiritual maturity facing all the challenges of Israel — the jealousy of the spiritual establishment.

In 1948 there were only 23 believers in all of Israel. After 1967 with the birth of the Messianic movement in the USA more Messianic believers began to immigrate to Israel with the calling of God to get out of their safe cave and get into the wilderness of Israel, because that is where God was going to bless them with fruitfulness.

While there is still spiritual battle going on between 'Judah and Israel' (Messianic Israelis and unsaved Israelis), yet many Israelis are recognizing the anointing that is upon the Messianic 'Davids' who are the work of God written on living tablets, living stones who are the temple, or the body that is being raised up in the likeness of Messiah Yeshua.

Yeshua said, "For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai." 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'

When Israel recognizes the anointing that is on the Messianic believers of Israel, this will open all Israel up to receive the King that God has wanted for them all along: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

For God made a covenantal promise to David as represented in all those Jews in the faith of Messiah who exist today and who have continuously existed since the first century: "But My loving devotion will never depart from him (David) as I removed it from Saul, whom I moved out of your way. Your house and kingdom will endure forever before Me, and your throne will be established forever.”  2 Samuel 7:15-17

We may have resembled a rag-tag group of people — "broke, busted and disgusted" as the old song lyric goes — but there is a progression taking place that ends in "all Israel" anointing Yeshua as their King. All of these "David's" — men after God's own heart, standing in the spiritual ancestral line of David. It is the anointing that comes by faith in Yeshua.

 I see the Messianic faith being like that - how the covenant God made with David was fulfilled in Yeshua, then extended to those Messianic Jews who believed in Him in the first century - passed on now by Jewish faith placed in Him. So that is the first anointing of His kingship. Through the ages there has always been a remnant of Jewish faith in Yeshua until the re-establishment of the nation of Israel when God has released the season of reestablishment of faith in Yeshua in Israel.

Israel is not to be just a physical restoration of the state, but a spiritual restoration of Israel to God through His Messiah Yeshua. This is like the second anointing of David, where he began to walk in a limited measure of the kingship God intended for him and others were being added to him.  The believers are like an extension of Yeshua in the Davidic line - by faith. 

The Jewish believers will continue to increase in followers of the One who will be crowned King of Kings. This Yeshua whose throne is Jerusalem, who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant God made with David, "In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is the name by which she will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. For this is what the LORD says: David will never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel" Jeremiah 33:16-17

Today there are 30,000 Israeli Jewish Believers according to a "conservative estimate." Some believe the actual number is double that amount. Despite all the challenges, opposition, and often the spiritual isolation, these are like David in the period still fighting Israel's enemies and hiding from Saul.

While not all the church has recognized them as a significant thing God is doing, many other international believers worldwide do recognize the anointing. I see this to be like the point in the progression when David's second anointing occurred. When "only the men of Judah" anointed him as king. That recognition of the anointing of Messiah Yeshua is increasing year-by-year in Israel, among the Jewish people and increasingly paralleled in the international church.

Soon the time will arrive when even the elders of Israel will see the anointing of the Davidic King that rests upon His Israeli Messianic Jewish people who are called by His Name, walking in His anointing. At that time all Israel shall be saved, they will declare Yeshua as the KING of Israel.

This final anointing will mean Yeshua will return to capture Jerusalem as David did: Nevermore will it be tread down and trampled by the Jebusites. It is coming and I want to be a part of this blessing that reverberate throughout the world.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Temple Mount Faithful or temple mount Faithful?

Continuing the theme last week about Temple Fascinated Believers, this article I wrote fourteen years ago:

Temple Mount Faithful

or temple mount Faithful?

Voice of Judah's Israel Pochtar posted this early morning photo taken on Yafo Street in Jerusalem. 
Later in the day this road will be filled with all sorts of Israelis who need the Lord. They are the ones God is calling to become Living Stones in His Temple in Israel. Do we have a heart for the real spiritual work God is doing in Israel, or just for a 3rd stone temple?

August 2004: Recently I stood by listening as someone asked an Israeli Messianic leader about the Temple Mount Faithful. It was obvious that the person had expected an approving response to that group's recent latest attempt to place the cornerstone of the third temple in Jerusalem. The questioner was truly surprised when the Messianic rabbi responded with immediate displeasure upon hearing that name, "I usually try not to comment on Israel's religious groups, but that group!"

The Israeli leader went on to explain how the Temple Mount Faithful-a religious group that enjoys wide support among Christians — and even some Messianic Jews living outside of Israel — continually place their religious zealotry to rebuild a physical third temple above all else, including the national security of Israel and all her citizens.

To tell you the truth I couldn't tell you exactly what the rabbi responded to this man's question after that because I was too busy reeling that such a question would asked by someone who serves in a Messianic congregation.

How is it that in all our efforts to present an authentic Messianic Judaism and to reconnect Christians through teaching to the Judaic roots of their faith, that we are failing to educate on such critical subjects as this? At this late hour is it still something we consider too hot to handle? Too controversial to rock the boat of Christian support of Israel?

I doubt that there are many Messianic Jewish believers in Israel cheering on the efforts of groups like the Temple Mount Faithful as many Christians are.  No one wants to dissuade Christian support of Israel, but Christian support of Israel should be extended to the body of Messiah, not to the unbelieving religious groups who persecute them! Our support shouldn't be extended to the religious zealots who threaten Israel's very national security, therefore every citizen in the Land. This ignorance is not bliss, it is dangerous.

It is amazing that most Christians who support these types of religious groups in Israel are clueless of the danger they pose to the nation and to the true household of faith in Israel. What is really amazing is that there is so little done to educate Christians in these matters.

Why is that? From the perspective of the body in Israel, I understand they are bearing the burden upon themselves in order not to dissuade Christian support of Israel and likely, in order not to bring an avalanche of backlash persecution for being the ones to blow the whistle on this. And why should they be forced to be the ones to whistle blow? Are they in this alone, or are we in it with them?

It may not be the time to press into the Church being able to discern between the builders of the spiritual temple of God and the natural temple of religious Judaism. I don't really believe that, but so many keep silent, I say this so as not to exclude the possibility that there is a timing that I'm just not being sensitive enough to.

So much of Christianity that recognizes the need of the Church to support Israel is focused on the rebuilding of a physical temple. They see it as the necessity of prophetic fulfillment for Christ to return in His Second Coming. Too bad they don't understand that it is a spiritual temple that Jesus is currently building by His body in the land of Israel.

His ministering body in Israel could use Christian support of their efforts.  Only Israeli citizens are legally allowed to evangelize.  So what are your Israel-support dollars being channeled toward?Some projected temple made by human hands is not what God is focusing on. So in many ways the uneducated support of Christians towards Israel is downright counterproductive.

At what point will the misplacement of Christian support of Israel outweigh the overall benefits of the spiritual building of His kingdom? Why must the body of Messiah in Israel bear this burden alone through the lack of teaching going on about such matters? Whose place is it to begin the process of educating the Church-teaching those who will listen? Can we stand the heat for the sake of our brothers and sisters who have been going this alone?

Instead of Christians aligning themselves with God's focus and throwing their considerable Israel-oriented resources toward the building of His spiritual temple in Israel, those resources are being diverted from the body to the persecutors of the body. That is beyond sad—it really is a disgrace for so few to understand these things at this hour and instead to be thrilled by every minute detail of the preparations for a flesh-built third temple.

The fleshly response is always to build the natural instead of the spiritual. Take Peter's reaction to the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Yeshua as He was transformed on the mount. Yeshua was "appearing in glory" before the eyes of Peter, James and John, who were "heavy with sleep" (Luke 9:32). "Heavy with sleep" or spiritual slumber is exactly where much of the Church is today regarding the temple that Jesus is building and the reality of His body—the spiritual temple of Messiah in Israel.

Matthew 17:4 Peter said to Yeshua, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

At the sight of the glory of God upon Yeshua, a spiritually drowsy Peter was nevertheless ready to spring into action to build three tabernacles with his own hands. God was preparing instead to build a new and living Temple through His Son. He interrupted Peter's nervous chatter saying, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

Those who are listening to the Son know that God never has been that interested in any temple that man could build for Him. Take God's response to David when he expressed his desire to build the first temple. Yes, Nathan the prophet said, "Do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you," but what did God say?

2 Samuel 7:4-7 "But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, "Go and say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD, "Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?''

God's promise to David was about a spiritual house, not a house of wood and stone. He would allow the building of a physical, natural temple because it would serve His ultimate purposes but this is not what God was most interested in building. It wasn't then and it isn't now.

2 Samuel 7:11-13 "The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever."

Thanks, David, but My house is a spiritual house and it will take My Son to build that house. That is the spiritual house, the spiritual tabernacle that is "not made with hands."

1 Peter 2:4-6 "And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua. For this is contained in Scripture: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
There is no cornerstone that the Temple Mount Faithful can ever lay that should command more attention from the world wide body of Christ than the house that He is in the progress of completing for Himself in Israel.  The Cornerstone has been laid already by the real temple mount Faithful, our Father.

Today it is the living stones of the spiritual house in Israel that should command our attention because His attention is fervently focused on them, not red heifers and not some block of stone the radical rabbis try periodically to drag up for placement at the Dome of the Rock.

If your understanding as a Christian is that the third temple must be built before Jesus returns, then it is time to recognize that it is a living temple that God wants built made up of Israeli Jews and Arabs.  The third temple referred to in prophetic scripture is a spiritual temple; it is Jesus' body in the land of Israel. Everything else we've been talking about here pales in comparison to them.

If you as a Christian have been following the developments of the wrong temple builders in Israel, please take the challenge to acquaint yourself with the real temple builders who are the sole focus of this site (ministry).  Jesus will not be glorified by the unbelieving religious groups of Israel, but He is being glorified everyday through the lives of His body in Israel.  We are called first to support them.

Hanukkah, the Abomination of Desolation and the Third Temple

With so many Christians supporting the current rebuilding efforts of a physical 3rd Temple in Jerusalem, I consider this  focus to be a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

On Monday, marking the end of Hannukah a group of orthodox rabbis claiming themselves to be the new Israeli Sanhedrin consecrated the altar for the Third Temple. It was a full-dress reenactment of the daily sacrifice and is something that excites many Christians even though it has nothing to do with God's plans for the Temple Yeshua is building in Israel.

The linked title above leads to an English translated excerpt from the Hanukkah message preached by Tiferet Yeshua pastor Gil Afrait at the Tel Aviv congregation. I hope you all will read it, as it communicates information that every Christian in our day needs to grasp about the end-times prophecies about the temple. 

DIORIO:  Afrait preached to the Israeli congregation in Hebrew, "Yeshua refers to the Temple in Matthew 24 as “the holy place”. However, it is unarguably clear that if a Third Temple is built in Jerusalem by orthodox Jews before the return of the Messiah, it will not be holy because the Spirit of the God will not dwell there. On the other hand, the New Testament clearly states that redeemed believers in Yeshua are the temple of the Holy Spirit: Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? ~ I Cor. 3:16.  One could argue, therefore, that the “Third Temple” is actually the collective redeemed body of Messiah."  

This has been my belief throughout the past 17½ years of doing the Weekly Summary of Prayer Requests from Israeli Ministries. It is the Living Temple of God in Israel that I believe we are to concern ourselves with - not the efforts of unsaved Jews to build a temple made of stone. 

The rise of Jewish salvation in Israel simply does not move those who have fixed their eyes on a prophetic interpretation that the sign of Jesus soon return is when the Jews rebuild the temple of stone in Jerusalem. They may well or may not at all rebuild a temple of stone in Jerusalem, and Gil Afrait point out in this message how that is possible. 

Could it be that for a long time Christians have been looking for the wrong temple to be raised up and now that the Living Temple is being raised up they don't have eyes to see it? That's exactly what I believe. 

Even if there will be a 3rd Temple built of stone in Jerusalem, it is a MUCH LESSER SIGN to the Christian world that Yeshua will soon return than the reality that Jews are coming to faith in Yeshua. We should be more willing to consider that and support those Israeli Messianic ministries who are bringing in the harvest, than in being thrilled & chilled by what an fringe group of Orthodox rabbis are doing. Let's get out of this 'temple-fascinated' interpretation of prophecy. 

Mercy! The Jewish spiritual Living Temple is being built in our day and we are to be playing a pivotal role in it! Father, we are praying for a breakthrough of spiritual revelation and understanding in Christendom of what YOU are doing by Your Holy Spirit as Yeshua abides in the hearts of those ministering the Good News to Your chosen ones in Israel. 

This morning as I work to wrap up this issue I see a new article about this group of temple-builders and how they are now taking donations to make a golden, jeweled crown for the Messiah to wear when He arrives. Little do they know that the jewels in the crown of Messiah Yeshua are not anything they could possible craft for Him, but His crown jewels are the people being saved as Israeli ministries well know. Don't waste your money on a crown that Jesus will never wear. God has His own crown chosen for the return of the Messiah — Zechariah 9:16
the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of His people; 
for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on His Land.