Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Prophetic: A Coming Shift

by Donna Diorio
Because of a good word I heard from Joel Osteen's service yesterday proclaiming that a shift was coming when the things that hadn't budged in a long time were suddenly going to shift overnight, I realized that "a coming shift" is the key phrase I've been picking up by the prophets over the last few weeks. Joel Osteen is not someone I would think of in connection to the word prophet, and he himself even said as much, but clearly he was also impressed by the prophetic nature of what he was speaking.

Now, as far as the prophets, I'm not one that follows after particular prophets. This one has a word that resonates with me, and then that one does - and in between times they couldn't be any further apart in what they are seeing for us. This troubles me, so I take a guarded approach to prophecy. If it registers, I listen; if it doesn't, I don't. 

One thing I know about prophets and prophecy is something I heard Asher Intrater speak last decade at an Israel gathering at Mike Bickle's KC-IHOP. Asher was addressing the fact that true prophets were all over the place with their prophecies because they did not know what the end game is.

If you don't know where God's plan is supposed to end up then your trajectory of prayer and prophetic understanding is going to be off. That's why we have prophetic words all over the map. There is an essence of the word that is true, but all prophecy is interpreted through the current understanding of the prophet so the prophets may all be shooting in the same GENERAL direction, but not zeroing in on the bull's eye of God's intentions.

God has been restoring truths, gifts and ministry offices back to the Body. Starting with Martin Luther's revelation that salvation is a free gift of grace by faith, God is restoring all that we lost so quickly after the first century A.D.   All the Divine benefits are being restored to a Body that is being matured to handle them. The five-fold offices are also being restored. 

Now here's a second thing that I know: Although the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet has been restored, it has not reached the equilibrium of Divine stability.  It cannot until the prophets lay hold of the significance of Israel in God's grand plan, and specifically the significance of the role the Israeli Body of Messiah plays toward that end.

So, we have many who think of themselves as apostles, but the place where God raised up and established the apostolic office in multiple men, is Israel. They came from different parts of the country but Jerusalem was where the counseled/council-ed together for the believers in Israel and the nations. Until the apostolic office is restored in Jerusalem, I do not expect to see a mature expression of the office of apostle in the rest of the nations - certainly not in terms of wide general acceptance of the validity of the office.
It will take the acceptance of the significance of those Israeli Messianic 'our-generation' apostles and what they have to share before those apostles in the nations come into their full stature. It is the same thing with prophets.
Here it is in a nutshell: The Church is not operating independent of what God is doing ultimately in Israel through the Body of Messiah in Israel. The Church cannot fulfill the vision of completeness and harvest apart from entering into the vision that God has for the restoration of the LORD's Body in the nation of Israel.
When the prophets and the apostles of the nations embrace the Kingdom vision of the Body in Israel, then the prophets will begin to see their trajectory zero in accurately. When the apostles of the nations begin to esteem the apostles of the Body in Israel and what they bring to the table spiritually, then the office of the apostles in the worldwide Body will begin to firm up, established by God in the eyes of the saints. 
Not until. The Church will not get to the end without embracing God's purposes in the Israeli Body of Messiah.

"For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. . . .For if thou were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" Rom 11:16, 24

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christian Giving "to bless" Israel

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed BY 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 generosity. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and 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'.
  2 Cr 8:1-4

“Whoever keeps the fig tree
will eat its fruit”

4 out 6 New Testament references to "the poor" are made by Paul speaking specifically of the donations he was raising among all the churches to deliver to the BELIEVERS in Jerusalem.   (Ro 15:26, 1 Cor 16:1, 15; 2 Cor 9:1; & 9:12-13)  The donations from the churches were collected over at least a 3-year period and when it came time to take it to Jerusalem with ambassadors of the churches in tow, the prophets came out to make it clear that Paul would sacrifice his freedom to deliver it.  There is great spiritual opposition to establishing the Church in support of the Kingdom vision of building the body of Messiah in Israel.

Most people think the apostle was encouraging Christians to give to the generic poor, but Paul was very specifically urging Christians to intervene in the poor circumstances of the Jews who follow Jesus in Israel. What's more, this is not something that was just for that day. It is positively, absolutely the necessity today. When the Church wakes up to this and quits lavishing donations on the anti-saints of Israel, then we are going to see an explosion of salvation in Israel. It takes financial resources to minister a vision as big as "all Israel shall be saved."

The whole 8th chapter of 2 Corinthians is the apostle to the Gentiles discussing Christian giving to the Body of the LORD in Israel. It is not about generic giving to the poor, but specifically about what he called in Romans 15:27 the "duty" of the Christian churches to minister to the material needs of their spiritual brothers - the believers in Jesus in Israel.

The parameters of this giving is spelled out in 2 Cor 8: For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack--that there may be equality. 2Cr 8:13-14

And in this I give advice: 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. 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. 2Cr 8:10-12

Today, the truth is that most Christians who give donations to Israel do so in an un-biblical way. They donate to and through the unsaved in Israel, the traditional rabbis who oppose the gospel and vehemently oppose the Jews who profess faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Or they give to the unsaved government leadership projects. Or they give to Zionist settler groups using often ungodly tactics in attempting to possess the Land.

Whether it is the unsaved rabbi building bomb shelters or "blessing" the chief rabbi of the city who has threatened to run the local Messianic congregation out of town, MOST Christian to "bless Israel" does NOT support the Kingdom purposes of God in Israel.

Both of these examples are what major Christian Israel-supporting ministers have actually done not knowing any better.  That is why the ideal avenue of donating to bless Israel should be to donate through the spiritual leaders of the Jesus-followers in Israel who possess knowledge of the best places to plant your seed in Israel.  The un-saved simply cannot represent the interests of Jesus in Israel.  

Unfortunately, most Christians giving to Israel through unsaved avenues REFUSE to listen to the truth of the matter. No one is going to tell them they aren't doing good by Israel.

Good deeds are not the same as God deeds. Wake up, Church and start giving to build the Kingdom of God's dear Son in Israel.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"delivered from them that do not believe in Judea"

By Donna Diorio
January 2013

"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

It was about 1992 when the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the scriptures that now motivate my ministry on behalf of the Israeli Body of Messiah. That is when I really got hold of the special "duty" of Christians to minister to the material needs of the Israeli believers.  I wrote what the Spirit had given me to a sabra Israeli ministry who was a pastor at Francis Frangipane's Cedar Rapids, Iowa church, and Reuven Doron included it in his groundbreaking book, One New Man. The whole first half of chapter 16, "The Poor in Jerusalem" is near verbatim what I wrote to him in a letter. 

Doron's ministry was instrumental in opening my eyes to the Israeli Messianic Jewish ministries because he put focus on them like no other ministry I had ever seen.  As God continued to reveal significant passages of related scripture to me, my own emphasis began to shift to the believers in Israel and my understanding grew.  Over the years at different times God has opened my eyes to the scriptures in the New Testament that relate to how the Church is supposed to be joined to the Body in Israel by supporting the ministries, materially in donations but also standing with them in brotherly moral support.

I found that analogy of the Word being like hidden treasure that one had to patiently mine to be true. Or maybe it is like Hansel and Gretel, I was following a trail of 'bread' crumbs because truly when I have found new insight into to this topic, it has been a surprise find along the way. The truth about what Paul was doing on that last trip to Jerusalem, the repeated emphasis he put to the churches to collect donations to minister to "the poor" and "the saints" in Jerusalem - these came as gifts with the Holy Spirit connecting the dots for me, no great brilliance on my part!  Those verses suddenly came off the page with Holy Spirit highlighting.

Over the years trying to communicate these things to others has been my challenge. That saying about a calf at a new gate comes to mind because there are two major views among the Church about Israel and neither one of them regards the Israeli Body of Messiah as a significant fact.

I have said all that to say this: The Holy Spirit just opened my eyes once again to a real nugget. As I was looking up scriptures about "saints" I saw this with new eyes for the first time. Paul is speaking in Romans 15 of delivering an offering to the believers in Israel from the churches in Macedonia and Achaia.

"That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea;
and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints."

The clear meaning of this is that Paul is telling the believers in Rome that he knows he is going to need to be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea in order to get the donations from the Macedonia and Achaian churches to the SAINTS - the BODY of Messiah in Israel.  Same difference today.  The book of the Acts of the Apostles did not end, it has just skipped ahead nearly 2,000 years and resumed. 

The action in Israel has taken up where it left off – with religious opposition to the gospel.  This time however, Paul says confidently in Romans 11:26-27, “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."

If you are a Christian typically ignoring the SAINTS in Israel and blessing those that do not believe in Israel, you have smooth sailing. You will even enjoy special relationship with Israeli government leaders and some of the rabbis of traditional Judaism. If you turn your back on the SAINTS in Messiah, then unsaved Israel will surely reward you with entrance into audience with them. Just sell out the believers and you can brag about what high levels of the Israeli government doors are open to your ministry.

If you make your stand with the Body in Israel, the saints of the Messiah, then those Israeli doors of favor will begin to close on you. Many who have desired to feel special to Israel have succumbed to this temptation to be highly favored by Israeli government officials and traditional rabbis.  In truth it is the man-pleasing route, not the God-pleasing way.  

Hopefully, God will open the spiritual eyes of even the major Christian Israel-touting ministries to see how this undermines Yeshua's kingdom building in Israel, and also how ignoring the existence of the Israeli Messianic Body of Messiah actually encourages religious zealots to further persecute believers in Jesus. 

Some mostly diaspora Messianic Jews are guilty of the same thing seeking recognition and acceptance from the Tribe rather than oneness of the Body.

When it is obvious to unbelieving Jews that the Church cares that little for the Israeli Jewish believers, it makes it much easier to act against believers with impunity.   Harassment, persecution, firebombings. Like the apostle Paul before his encounter with risen Messiah on the road to Damascus, the religious opposition to the 15,000 believers in Israel is still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.”  (Acts 9:1)

That’s not a sign that the Jews will never come to the LORD; the fact that they will is laid out clearly by the apostle Paul .  It is amazing that the truth is hidden in plain sight, yet even people who love the LORD can read over lengthy passages like Romans 9-15 without grasping the plain truth of those three chapters.  “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant
of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

The supporting passages of what Paul reveals of this mystery occur in Acts and in his letters to the various churches regarding raising donations for the support of the Israeli Body, and in his Ephesians writing on “one new man”. 

So, I also want to make a secondary application of the Romans 15:31 verse.  Those of us who are trying to awaken the Church to our brethren in Israel so they can better fulfill this mission to be witnesses in Judea and Samaria, we also run into those who "do not believe in Judea".

These are the Christians who don't believe that Israel is any different from any other nation since Jesus opened salvation to all the nations, or that there is any exceptional need to support ministry or evangelism to Israeli Jews.

They do not believe in Judea.

They believe God has abandoned any exceptional purpose or role for the Jews and the nation of Israel in His ongoing plan of salvation for mankind.  I'll tell you something, they may not persecute the believers like the unbelievers within Israel do, but the level of spiritual dismissiveness is extremely harmful and hurtful on many levels. 

The apostle Paul compares the connection of all believers to the human body, and in rejecting the role of salvation of the Jews in the last days we are effectively shooting ourselves in the foot.  Our own foot!

This rejection of the significant role of the salvation of the Jewish people as God’s plan for the world as it is moving to its consummation is not just detrimental to the salvation of the Jewish people but to the whole Body of Christ.  Those who claim to be the most focused on the final harvest of souls are rejecting the very key to releasing the abundance of the harvest: 

Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! . . . .For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  Romans 11: 12, 15

In the beginning I wrote of Paul’s prayer request of the churches as he was returning to Jerusalem to carry the donations from all the churches back to support the Body in Israel.  He wrote, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the LORD Messiah Yeshua, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints."

Today, we can add the second application to that verse, so from within the Body of Christ who do not “believe in Judea” as well as from the religious opposition within Israel:   Deliver me, O God, from those who do not "believe in Judea," who do not believe the great work You are doing in those harvest fields through the Israeli Body of Messiah! 

Jan 14th UPDATE:  I got a nice email from my friend Yonit Klein of Emmaus Way in Israel about my article on "them that do not believe in Judaea." She wrote to say "cool insight is the secondary reading" . . .then something I have tried to put into words for a long time finally tumbled out right in my reply to her. Sharing that below:

I was ready to send it out as the primary meaning at first, Yonit, because it came across so strongly to me that the mostly charismatic church did "not believe in Judea"! 

Yeah! That's it. They may be on the cutting edge of the restoration of healing, deliverance, the prophetic and all the spiritual gifts but the simple truth is they DO NOT BELIEVE IN JUDEA. In fact, they look down on the mostly pro-Israel evangelical church because it does not much embrace the restoration of healing, deliverance, the prophetic and all the spiritual gifts. 

So there is a GREAT many in the charismatic church has the attitude toward the Israel-supporting Evangelical church, 'What do you know anyway? We are on the cutting edge of everything God is restoring to the Church, so your Israel-support could not possibly a truth God is restoring or we would have it before you. Spiritually they see the evangelical church as the spiritually slow siblings, so their embrace of Israel must be a misdirection from what God is really doing.

And, for its own part in making it harder for the charismatic church to see what God intends in the restoration of Israel, the evangelical church has made missteps in direction thinking that they are only supposed to support Israel at large, but they are missing the mark, because the mark is they are supposed to be supporting the BODY in Israel. 

The charismatic church detects that evangelical church is 'off' in its Israel support. Neither of the two schools of thought about Israel in Christendom will be right and pure until they lock into HOW God is restoring Israel and through WHOM: the Body of Messiah IN Israel. 

[I have long believed that God gave the mainstream Evangelical denominations the insight to recognize His restoration of Israel and that He gave the Charismatic - for lack of a better identificaton - portion of the Church the insight to recognize His restoration of the spiritual gifts and ministry offices BECAUSE at some point He was going to use it to show both sides just how much they needed each other and how they could not get to the purity of what He is bringing us to in one, without respecting what the other is bringing to the table. And then there is the whole Messianic Jewish part of the Body and neither the evangelical nor the charismatic sides have yet embraced what God is doing in the restored witness of Yeshua in Judea. When all these three come into a unity that respects each other at the God-like level, then and only then will the Ephesians 2:15 of a mature "one new man" in Messiah be coming to completion of the Ephesian 4:13 Divine Goal: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.]