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.]

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