Sunday, June 28, 2009

More to Israel than Ruins & Artifacts

This is a sort of a follow up to a previous blog post, I know what it takes....

More to Israel than Ruins & Artifacts

There is a report that needs to be corrected
that has been circulating in the past few days
among Christian intercessors who have a love for Israel.

It is based on an article that appeared on World Net Daily a few days ago ‘Ark of the Covenant’ about to be unveiled? Ethiopian patriarch tells pope he will show artifact to world.

That article was posted on June 24 and by June 26th, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was already back-peddling on its plans: Hark! Where’s the Bible Ark? Ethiopia’s Orthodox patriarch cops out on revealing plan for public viewing.

One claim reported in the second article to have been made by the Patriarch is scripturally inaccurate: "The state of conservation is good because it is not made from man's hand, but is something that God has made." That should be a huge clue to us as to the authenticity of the claim.

The Biblical Ark of the Covenant was fashioned by men according to specifications God gave Moses (primarily recorded in Exodus). Additionally, it was only a representation of a spiritual reality. The blood on the mercy seat represented the Blood of Jesus (Lev 16:14). We have in spirit and truth what the mercy seat in the Ark of the Covenant only foreshadowed.

Claims to possession of long lost Temple treasures like the Ark of the Covenant should always be greeted with a wait-and-see attitude even when made by ancient Christian denominations. Rarely do these claims turn out to be the truth – similar to the many claims that tingle and sway Christendom by the often claims of some to know the date of the Rapture.

We should be careful about looking backwards for an artifact that was prophetically pointing to a spiritual reality that we already possess through the Blood of Jesus. It may well be that the Ark was “lost” accidently on purpose by God so it would not be worshipped or in any way distracting our focus from the spiritual realities it was meant to prophetically communicate.

Even the rebuilding of the Third Temple which so many eagerly look into with excitement, is problematic because according to 2 Thess 2:3-4 this rebuilt Temple will be inhabited by a false Messiah. Is this really good news for us or Israel?

Which brings me to another problem with the emails circulated over the past few days, because information was added to the original WND article reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had just announced to the world that the temple will be rebuilt. This report is in error.

In reality, a leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah ACCUSED Netanyahu of planning to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount. In a Israeli newspaper report on June 17th covering a speech made a Haifa University by the Sheikh, reported:

“Salah claimed that the government continued constantly to dig tunnels under the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and that Netanyahu was planning to complete during his current term what he did not complete during his first one – ‘to dig additional tunnels under al-Aqsa and rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount."

Additional confirmations from legitimate news sources: Weekly Standard and Jerusalem Post.

The accusation was meant to cause trouble for Israel and for Netanyahu, and it is not something that Christians should be excited to hear. As Christians, we have been listening far too much to the extreme religious viewpoint in Israel that seeks to rebuild the Temple no matter what the cost to people of Israel. Some readers may not like this, but unreliable religious sources include Arutz Sheva’s Israel National News and the frequent Christian TV guests, the Temple Mount Faithful. Yet Christians flock to those sources for news.

Even in the INN (Israel National News) coverage of the false accusations Sheikh Salah made against Netanyahu trying to create an uprising – yet another Islamic intifada – against the Israeli government, INN noted in its final paragraph:

“Jewish religion commands the Jews to rebuild the Temple as part of a Divine plan for the salvation of the Jewish people and the entire world, but Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is not considered observant, never has associated himself with efforts by Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.”

It is not like we are without spiritual brothers and sisters in Israel who are well informed on the true issues and developments. Why should we depend on those who oppose Jewish faith in Jesus to faithfully communicate to Christians what the important events and issues in Israel really are? Would it not make more sense for our prayers to be directed by the requests of the believer ministries in Israel rather than by the often religious misrepresentations of Israeli religious un-believers?

Even World Net Daily pays too much heed to sources in Israel who consistently report nothing more than quotes like this from Sheikh Salah that misrepresent the facts. The purpose? To influence Christians with the agenda of the Israeli religious unbelievers – those very same ones who actively oppose Jews in Israel who believe in Jesus. We should not allow ourselves to continually be stirred up by false reports and misinformation for the agenda of unbelievers in Israel – even if they are religious.

Isn’t it about time we started seriously considering the source of the reports we are heeding out of Israel?

It is easy: Turn your ear to our spiritual brothers and sisters in Israel who not only follow and report the important, reliable news, but who can also give you the spiritual eye-view of what the Lord is doing in the Israeli harvest.

If you are interested in such a thing, please review Arrows from Zion at my blog Israel Prayer Dot Com or sign up to subscribe via weekly email reports of Arrows from Zion with an expanded attachment of actual excerpts of prayer request from a diversity of Israel Ministries, with photos, contact information, links to teaching articles, news items and more.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Sunday before last I sat listening to a pastor talk about his walk with the Lord and marveled over the many ways our experiences were similar.

We both came to the Lord as children in Baptist churches, then in the same year - 1982 - both of us entered into another experience that radically changed our walk. As he put it, ‘I can’t explain what happened; all I know is, "I was blind and now I see."

That’s what happened to me, too, when I was introduced to the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). The Word of God came alive to me. Suddenly I could actually understand what I was reading!

I had to laugh listening to this pastor’s story because we also shared the experience of having difficulty receiving our prayer language – praying in the Spirit, or praying in other tongues. He said it took him about six months after receiving the baptism of the Spirit before his prayer language finally broke through.

For me it was more like three months, but I was just as perplexed and frustrated as it sounds like he was. We were both open to receiving and really, as Baptists we had never even been taught against speaking in tongues, so we didn’t have to battle through any preconceived notions. Like him – and he was a pastor’s son – we just had never heard about praying in the Spirit or “tongues” at all.

Like him, I really wanted my prayer language, but it didn’t matter how many times people prayed for us, there was something going on that just blocked that release. He speculated that maybe it was his logical male thinking processes that blocked the flow, because he liked to have everything figured out mentally. Maybe. I can certainly relate to that approach to things in my life too.

Whatever it was that blocked the flow, it certainly wasn’t anything I did when my prayer language finally began to flow. I remember distinctly sitting at the drawing board in my bedroom doing some art project while listening to a praise tape when suddenly my prayer language just bubbled up within me and poured out of my mouth. It was a language I didn’t know and words I'd never heard. My prayer language came pouring out when I wasn’t even thinking about it and - WOW! - I was so excited. It was joy unspeakable.

This Saturday I attended Shabbat worship at a local Messianic Jewish congregation. It was my first time to attend their worship services but we sang the familiar songs of worship to the Lord that I have enjoyed over the past almost two decades in the Messianic Jewish movement.

I am always moved by the reverence of Messianic worship; it is a holy reverence. Very pure.

We began to sing a song, Holy, which I have since found out was composed by Christian inspirational composer Grayson Warren Brown, which goes,

“Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hoshi'ana! Hoshi'ana! In the highest.”

In Messianic circles, we sing the Hebrew “Hoshi’ana” instead of the transliteration “Hosanna” found in the passage of Matthew 21 that this wonderful praise hymn is based on.

As we were singing the chorus above, that’s when I remembered that when I got in my prayer language back in 1982, in the first string of words that was the word “Hoshiana”.

I remember it so clearly because I was so excited about finally receiving my prayer language that I immediately wrote down the words phonetically, "So I wouldn’t forget them." I had no idea that the word was a Hebrew word or what it meant, only that it was a beautiful word to my ears – like the word “ocean” only, o-she-ana.

It was many years later before I realized it was a Hebrew word, and it is not until now that realize there was surely significance to this being a first word in my prayer language. It is the only word in that first string of words in my prayer language that I can remember 27 years later. It is still a word that bubbles forth at times when I am speaking in my prayer language.

In the Hebrew “hoshi a na” means “save us!”
– it is a salvation that is understood to come through the Messiah. In Psalm 118, a prayer that is recited on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles - a feast in part that is symbolic of the indwelling of the Spirit in the Body of Messiah), "hoshi'ana" is the cry of Israel for the promised Messiah to deliver them, to fulfill salvation for them as a nation.

Psalm 118: 25-26
(Hoshi’ana) Save now, I pray, O LORD;
O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

Notice that the same words follow (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”) that the crowd proclaimed to Jesus in what is known as His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem:

Matthew 21:5 “Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Isaiah 21:11 and Zechariah 9:9 are prophecies that were fulfilled in the exact words of the cries of the multitudes as Yeshua entered Jerusalem before His last Passover.

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Surely your salvation (yesha) is coming;
Isaiah 62:11

Even His name - Yeshua - is based on the Hebrew root word, yesha, which means "salvation." Isaiah refers to the Messiah as "salvation" and Zechariah refers to Him as Israel's "king."

Zechariah prophesies, (9:9)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Just before He ascended into heaven before the very eyes of his disciples they asked Him, Acts 1:6-8,

“Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Some have found fault with the disciples asking Jesus when he would restore the kingdom to Israel as if it were an inappropriate question, but the truth is this was a perfectly appropriate expectation for His Jewish disciples to have. For their expectation was for the promise, for Israel’s hope in the LORD. It was the Messianic expectation of the Son of David who would be Israel’s deliverer and salvation.

Jesus did not rebuke them for expecting the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, answering them that the timing or season for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was not for them to know but was the Father’s business. But their business was to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to become witnesses for Him.

In Matthew 23:37, Yeshua speaks to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

In this statement Jesus is saying that there is a time when Israel, in numbers large enough to be considered a corporate cry, will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” It will mark the official season that the Father will “restore the kingdom to Israel.”

This is what we are all pressing into, the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven and Jesus is saying that Israel will surely be included in that kingdom. It is the reason Isaiah 62 is a prophecy so close to the heart of every Messianic Jew and every Christian whom God has stirred with heart for the Jewish people to come to the knowledge of their own Messiah.

Isaiah 62
1 For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.

2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.

You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
3 You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;

But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the LORD delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

6 I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent,

7 And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

8 The LORD has sworn by His right hand
And by the arm of His strength:
“Surely I will no longer give your grain
As food for your enemies;
And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine,
For which you have labored.
9 But those who have gathered it shall eat it,
And praise the LORD;
Those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts.”
10 Go through,
Go through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people;
Build up,
Build up the highway!

Take out the stones,
Lift up a banner for the peoples!
11 Indeed the LORD has proclaimed
To the end of the world:
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Surely your salvation is coming;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.’”

12 And they shall call them The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD;
And you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ask of Me, and I will give you The gentiles for your inheritance

Ask of Me,
and I will give you
The gentiles for your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Psalm 2:8

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. Romans 15:26-27

Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and offering of gold to the LORD. Exodus 35:21-22

Monday, June 15, 2009

I know what it takes

I know what it takes to prosper in an Israel-focused ministry: don't stand with the Body of the Lord within Israel.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of offense (to God), considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. Hebrews 11:24-27

Christians don't want to hear about them because if you want to become persona non grata to the Israeli government leaders and rabbis then all you have to do is take a stand with the indigenous Jewish believers in Jesus who are citizens of Israel.

Christians operating in Israel know this. Christians leading tour groups to Israel know this. Christians whose ministries are all about defending Israel in their own nations throughout the world know this. The ones who don't know it, are probably not even aware that there are 10 to 15,000 Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel.

Here is a community of faith that is growing daily and steadily since the Jews returned from their long exile from the "Holy Land" that is virtually ignored by all quarters of Christianity. For those who see the intention of God to return to Israel with salvation through Jesus, and for those who think Jews are of no further consequence to "the Church" – both are content to ignore our Israeli spiritual brothers and sisters.

To me, both segments of Christendom are suffering from a tragic blinding of spiritual eyes, because neither see their spiritual brothers and sisters in Israel as a missing piece of their own Body. Neither understands that this is a member of their own Body that so often suffers because of the lack of significance their existence holds to the rest of the Body of Christ.

1 Cor 12:24-26 says, "But God has so composed the that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

It is amazing to me that in Christian circles, if one has a special heart for a people group it is accepted - EXCEPT if that people group happens to Jews. One group rejects that Israel has any significance whatsoever to * "the Church" today and the other group has been so misdirected from the real significance of Israel in God's plan today that it refuses to acknowledge the very work of the Lord that is happening in Israel - namely the harvest that is in progress.

This latter group has been misdirected to believe that God is primarily interested in the preservation of the borders of Israel or the politics of Israel in the international league of nations. I am not speaking against the advocacy of Christians for beleaguered Israel in the demonic hatred against that nation we see in international politics, but I am just saying as strenuously as I can: That is not God's first priority toward Israel - the salvation of the people is.

Photo/Graphic by Paul Lee for

If you put all the Christian organizations that support Israel into a pile and weighed them according to what their focus is - either concentrated near exclusively on political issues or those focused on supporting the Lord's harvest in Israel...well, let's just say that would be one overwhelmingly lopsided set of scales. Those who seek what God sees as the #1 issue among Israelis are few and far between.

My ministry seeks to serve the Body of the Lord in Israel so it really doesn't much surprise me that I struggle with lack of support like the ministries I serve. For seven years, I would not even put an appeal for material support on my weekly emails because I did not want to take away from support that would be directed to Israeli ministries. There are enough ministries prospering because their focus is Israel but who never support Israeli ministries. I simply did not want to be one of them.

I know what it takes to have a prosperous ministry for Israel: simply tell Israel-loving Christians what they want to hear about Israel. What they deem to be the most important thing is supporting Israel politically. The "urgent" need they have been convinced is helping Israel survive in a world that mostly hates the Jewish state.

Once drafted into that mission, the humanitarian need is emphasized. Groups that adamantly oppose giving the good news to Israelis are the most Christian-funded organizations in existence by millions and millions of Christian dollars given each year. While the leading Christian organizations that bring in donations for Israel projects are doing primarily political projects...or planting trees.

Sometimes, when I go to a gathering of Christians who see no significance to "the Church" today of Israel in the plan of God for the salvation of the world, I can't help feeling a little put off by the party atmosphere. Everyone just celebrating in the coming forth of the kingdom of God in earth through Body.

It's not that I'm against celebrating that wonderful truth; it is just that they do not seem to ‘get it’ that it is not going to happen apart from the coming together of the WHOLE Body of Christ - which most definitely includes the ever increasing community of faith in Israel.

What? You think you are going to get "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" without them? The Body is going to come "to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man" without all of its body parts? I don't think so.

You may never think they are significant until you begin to see that we don't get to that level of kingdom living on earth without them.

One of the most outstanding observations I have heard on this came from an Israeli prophet, Asher Intrater, who was talking about why the Christian prophets are all over the place in predictions about the last days. They don't know where God is going with all this so they are aiming their arrows in every which direction. If you don't know where God has painted the 'bull's eye' then you don't know where to aim your bow and arrow.

When we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man - what is this perfect man but that which was referred to as God's intention in Jesus (Eph 2:15-16):

"so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross."

So, for those Christians who think they are going to enter the fullness of the kingdom of God without receiving the significance of what God is doing in Israel in terms of salvation of the Jews, think again.

And for those Christians who think that you don't have to worry about the salvation of the Jews because God is going to handle that Himself some by some other means in the midst of the Great Tribulation, think again. The plan of God couldn't have been more clearly stated in the Ephesians 2 passage - God is reconciling both Jew and Gentile "through the cross." There is no other way, just like Jesus told His Israeli brothers when He was walking among them.

All of the plan to bring salvation to Israel was known unto God from the beginning. When the gospel travels around the world from east to west, it ends up back in Jerusalem. The Grand Scheme of God has Israel in the beginning and in the ending, that is why Paul could explain the mystery it by revelation to us in Romans 9-11.

I started this piece by telling readers that I know what it takes to have a prosperous ministry about Israel, but I have spent my time telling you why that is not the most important issue to me. It is more important to me to stand shoulder to shoulder with my spiritual brothers and sisters in Israel who are living sacrifices to the purposes of Messiah among Israelis. Their reproach is going to be turned to great joy at some point. I want to be there rejoicing with them.

Back in the late 1980's when I didn't know anything about the existence of Messianic Jews or about Israel, Kim Clement prophesied over me that people will look at me one day and say, 'See she is as Miriam dancing with the Israelites.' I didn't know what it meant. Now I do.

Dancing with the Israelites at Tents of Mercy in the Haifa Bay Region in 2005

* Many Christians believe that “the church” was born in Acts chapter two, but the “congregation of the righteous” is a concept that predates the “ekklesia” of 120 that gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem in Acts 2. King David wrote in Psalm 1:5 about the “congregation of the righteous.” The “kehillah” congregation concept was certainly carried over into the “ekklesia” that is mentioned of the Jews who received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) in the Upper Room.

We Christians often think that the salvation plan of God began with us, but in fact, He initiated His plan as indicated in Rev 13, that the LAMB was “slain from the foundation/conception of the world”. From the beginning, God has been progressively revealing His plan to man. The Church is not God’s “Plan B” and Israel is not standing outside of God’s intentions for salvation.