Friday, October 16, 2015

For Christians Regarding Israel & the Warfare

I want to talk to Christians who love Israel, want to see Jews enter the faith of Yeshua and are especially concerned by all the violence and chaos erupting to threaten Israel at this time. Please stay with me here if that describes you.
Those who study the history of war and military will tell you we have entered a whole new level of warfare with terrorism. The same thing they see from the perspective of military/war strategy, we need to understand that spiritual warfare has likewise gone to another level.
IN ISRAEL Yes, there are terror attacks increasing and nations surrounding Israel in the most brutal of Islam-on-Islam wars. Everybody knows that the only thing that unites these brutal sects of Islam is hatred of the Jewish state, so there is good reason for concern and heightened, strategic prayer.
But I want to also caution some Christians who feel the time is now to pack your boxes full of Bibles and head off to evangelize the Jews in Israel. Please stop right there and understand this could be the most counterproductive idea you could possibly have!
I can hear the indignation from here. How could that be counterproductive? Because you apparently do not appreciate what goes on in the Jewish mind about Christians trying to convert them!
When a terrorist strikes setting off a bomb that kills many in a crowded area, first responders have learned from the past that a great danger exists for them as they rush in to help people due to a secondary explosion that is set precisely for the purpose of taking out the first responders and others who rush to help.
Now you might think that I'm telling you that you should not pack your Bibles and go on a mission trip to Israel because of the 'secondary explosion' but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that if you carry out your plans you ARE the secondary explosion!
God has been raising up the Body of Messiah in Israel - now reaching upwards of 20,000 Jewish believers in Jesus in over 160 congregations in Israel and many more in smaller home fellowships - which are congregations in the making!
GOD HAS A SPECIFIC PURPOSE FOR RAISING UP THOSE ISRAELI BELIEVERS: because they know the baggage Jews carry about Christians and what has been done to the Jews in the name of Jesus. They know as Jews what a hurdle it is for Jews to receive Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel.
Did you know that when Martin Luther started out after nailing the 95 theses on the church door that he was very pro-Jew, but when the Jews did not respond to his break from Christian anti-semitism and get saved, he became extremely bitter toward the Jewish people. In the latter part of his life Martin Luther was vehemently anti-semitic.
We have seen this happen to other Christians who felt they were called to the evangelize the Jews, but when the Jews did not respond by getting saved, the zeal turned to aggravation and bitterness toward the hardness of Israelis and Jews.
My friends, that is the satanic "secondary explosions" that are dangerous to Israel right now. In order to be a true Ruth in this hour to Israel as far as God's purposes for salvation, you MUST allow the Body of Messiah to take their God-mandated lead in ministering to their own countrymen.
For such a time as this God raised them up. You were raised up for such a time as this to come to their aid - in prayer and practical support, not to step into their God-mandated role. Selah.

I certainly don't want to discourage Christians from understanding that the day of salvation for Israelis is now - just that there is a protocol involved: Israeli believing Jews are the ones harvesting the fields in Israelis and Christians from the nations are only working the "corners" of the fields. 

We must come to grips with the understanding that our acts of kindness toward Israel are wonderful, but the ministry of the gospel to the Jews in Israel is mandated by God through the Body of Messiah in Israel. We are called alongside them as an aid to the labors, not thru presumption disregard God's raising them up in Israel with the anointing to carry the gospel to Israelis.

- Donna Diorio, October 16, 2015

UPDATE Oct 21 2015:  So I got an elicited response from an Israeli leader that I deeply respect that I was "a little harsh" on this commentary, but also that it is a "complex" issue.
I want to hear more on this from him, but I thought it was good just to add a new disclaimer on what I've written. When I learn more of the issues involved, I will update here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Church Realignment with the Body of Messiah in Israel

(From left to right) Grant Berry, Apostles Dan Juster, Eitan Shiskoff and Che Ahn recently signed an historic document on the spiritual reconnection between Jew and Gentile in the body of Messiah/Christ. (Photo credit from Charisma Magazine articleCourtesy of Grant Berry, Reconnecting Ministries)

Here is where I'm at. I am all in for the Body of Messiah in Israel as the most significant sign of the prophetic times we are in and it is a HUGE drag to me that so few in the Church get it. Both the Church and the Messianic Jewish Body have equal roles to play in the glory of the Lord that is coming to us in the midst of the darkness that is covering the people of the earth. BOTH.

So the very charismatic part of the Church tends not to see a significance to what God is doing among Jews, nor ESPECIALLY the significance of Him restoring the community of Jewish believers in Israel. This group tends to see everything good that is coming from the Church in the end times as coming from those like them, basically the charismatic branch of the Church, Jewish believers being an basically insignificant minority that tries to be different but really are just part of the Christian church - no distinctions required.

Then there is the Israel-loving Church which despite loving Israel has been warned off of the "cult" of Jewish believers in Jesus by the unsaved Jews they connect with in Israel. The religious traditional Jews have used their love of Israel to blackmail many of these Christians into ignoring the profoundly significant Body of Messiah in Israel. The proposition has been that they have to reject evangelism of Jews, and steer clear of Israel's Messianic Jews if these Christians want to have good relationship with humanitarian projects in Israel. Many of these Christian leaders have justified doing exactly that thinking they are going to "make Israel jealous" by such actions. (How is Christian rejection of Jewish believers in Jesus ever going to make unsaved Israel jealous? ...I have the strongest urge to add the word dingbat here.)

So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a minority of Christians who have looked past their own interests and seen that God has planned all along to restore Israel - not only as a nation, but as a Jews choosing eternal salvation in Jesus.

God has hidden the details of how the non-Jewish Church and the Messianic Jewish - with special emphasis on their presence in Israel - in many places throughout the Hebrew scriptures AND it is not so hidden at all in the New Covenant scriptures. Paul wrote about it in many places, but somehow Christians who pride themselves for seeing the hidden treasures of scripture are stone, cold blind to what the apostle laid out about God's plans for Jew and Gentile in the last days.

So here's the thing. God has made it so neither side - not Messianic Jewish and not non-Jewish Christian, not Israel-rejecting Christians nor Israel-loving Christians - are going to see the promises of God to us all in these days by ourselves. We either join ourselves to His plan - which is to bring the Church to the assistance of the Messianic believers in Israel to fulfill their mandate of bringing the message of redemption to all Israel - or we will continue to delay ALL the blessings promised. Like the blessings of powerful waves of salvation worldwide.

The Church cannot fulfill its end time mandate without opening its eyes to what God plans for Israel through the Living Stones of Israel - the remnant of faith already at work among the people of Israel. And this remnant cannot fulfill their mandated work from God in this harvest without the help of the international Church.

When will the Church quit thinking they have all they need without having to see the gift that God has placed in this remnant of faith in Israel?

Ephesians 2 "one new man" does not mean the homogenization of Jews into a Christian expression that repudiates Jewishness. (Daniel Juster had an excellent word on this in the video teaching here from the Restore 2015 conference)

Is Jesus going to be too Jewish for you when He comes back as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne"?

You think that is just flowery descriptive language? Huh? That's reality! As the apostle Paul wrote, I say then, Has God rejected His people? God forbid! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew."

It's the faithful plan of God to restore the nation of Israel - first the natural and then spiritually. My goodness, Church! Open your eyes to the mighty work of God going on right now & get with God's plan for our role in it. The blessings of our doing so are beyond imagination.

* Here is the video message of Pastor Che Ahn of HIM speaks at the Tikkun America RESTORE Conference. "Apostolic Declarations of Blessing". 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blind Spot

As an Israel supporting Christian, I have known for several decades that as soon as you say something about Israel, Christians who don't grasp God's incredible faithfulness to Israel's salvation even to this day will automatically get defensive with their perception that you don't care about Arabs. 

That's wrong. It is not only wrong concerning me, it is wrong concerning almost every Israeli ministry leader I know - down to the man (or woman). 

Israelprayer has always endeavored to raise prayer for the Christian Arab ministries too. I am not able to publish as many of the ministry prayer requests of the Christian Arabs, due to their own personal safety issues. Many must fly completely under the radar. Their personal safety issues have to do with life-threat from Islamists, not Israel! 

There are also those Christian Arab ministries that I choose not to publish because they are pushing a theological concept that God does not have any more use for Israel as a nation in His Divine plan. That is just wrong, and is it any wonder that Christians in the nations who believe the same way are the very ones who get so upset with their perception that you don't care about Arabs if you support Israel? 

God knows what is going to happen within the Church that thinks God eliminated His vows toward Israel when the Church came into being. I know precious people who love God, are faithful believers and ministers, but they have this incredible blind spot to exactly how faithful to His Word God actually is. Some of them 'humor me' but I have to say, I also humor them. When they come rebuking me for my beliefs, I do not humor that. 

I do have great concerns about when this blindness gets removed from the half of the Church that does not believe what is already unfolding - the redemption of Israel. I am sure many will gain the ability to see what is clearly written about these things, but I am not so sure all will. This concerns me because I do believe this issue of Israel is pretty much the last dividing asunder line between sheep and goats. 

Israel as a nation today stands alone as nations divide up against it - ignoring what is honest, just or right, so why wouldn't Israel also be a central spiritual defining issue among believers, as well? I believe it is the issue - for believers and for the nations of the world. Shouldn't believers be smarter about this choice than the unbelieving of the nations? 

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 11:17-21, 23-26, "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. . . .And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved."

What do they think that means? The MYSTERY is hidden from those who are arrogant against Israel. From how I read it, God is judging individuals and nations on that basis.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

IDENTITY Issues | A Spiritual Application Based on Current Events

A Spiritual Application Based on Current Events

By Donna Diorio

I am not sure how this applies in the rest of the world, but in the United States we have been rocked lately by what the news media calls “Identity Politics”.  The best definition I’ve found for this is that Identity Politics is “political activity or movements based on or catering to the cultural, ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or social interests that characterize a group identity.”

Apparently Identity Politics also creates wannabe’s – people who reject their authentic identity to become identified as something they are not.  Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner recently traded his male identity in for a female identity – and since the LGBT movement is a cause célèbre for the “enlightened” Jenner’s rejection of the sex God made him is applauded by those outside of Biblical faith. 

We have also witnessed a rise in those who lie about incidents or circumstances in their lives in order to identify themselves, such as campus rape victims who are not even ashamed when the facts emerge that they were not raped.  They are not shamed because the ‘politics’ of their lie was motivated by a desire to give evidence of a non-existent “crisis” of rape on US campus. 

Speaking of US campuses, these are the breeding place of the anti-Jew, anti-Israel movement that is being instigated and propelled forward primarily by Muslim Students associations that are in reality of the American radical Islamist network.  Their appeal on American campuses is great because the cast themselves in a victim role – an essential element of Identity Politics – while casting Israel in an aggressor role.  In Identity Politics, it is necessary for the victim to identify a victimizer, and with complete disregard for the facts to paint their ‘enemy’ as devilish. 

Identity Politics claim the high ground of social justice – it’s just not Biblical social justice, but a God-less version of justice that is not intellectually honest with the facts.

I’m a believer in what we witness happening in our society is a reflection of a spiritual issue within the Body of the Lord.  Now don't go crazy on me here, but considering the major blow up being discussed by the political Left and Right over the white woman, Rachel Dolezal, who as the prominent head of the Spokane NAACP was passing herself off as black, what might that be saying to us is occurring spiritually among the Church?

Maybe nothing, but personally I believe that the IDENTITY issue may be the spiritual issue that God is putting His finger on right now.  For example among those Christians, many Millennials who have aligned themselves with the Identity Politics of radical Islamists claiming to be Davids fight Goliath. 

In the specific case of Rachel Dolezal, a naturally blonde woman of Swedish, German, Czech heritage who has been passing herself as a black woman, how have her lies discredited the claim that black in America is still a horrible racially victimized experience?  Do her lies, and the willingness of those in politics, news media and racial grievance movements to accept even her lying to them, have anything to say to us in the Church spiritually?

Since I have moved primarily in Messianic circles for the past two decades, the Rachel Dolezal incident reminded me of the many Christians that come to stand by the Jews who believe in Jesus and end up becoming so enamored of all things Jewish they being to transform their own identities into a Jewish identity.  Since the most obviously Jewish in appearance are Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox, I have personally seen many Christians go full-tilt frum after joining a Messianic congregation.  If there is a spiritual reflection of the Rachel Dolezal incident, I would have to say it is the Christians who have traded their God-given identity out of a desire to identify as Jewish.  This does not serve God’s purposes.

You know how anti-missionaries use the false accusation against Messianic Jews who believe in Yeshua that they are not really Jews? Well I am just wondering out loud how much of that has credibility with unbelieving Jews because of all the Gentile Christians who are wannbe Jews in the Messianic movement? Those who have taken on Jewish identities, instead of being what God made them to be: Gentile Christians who stand by the Jewish Body of Messiah completely?

Do we not have the same identity issues are Rachel Dolezal? Personally I believe that Christians who trade their identity in to self-identify as Jewish are not advancing the plan of God for the Messianic community in the redemption of "all Israel" and are not only hurting the credibility of Messianic Jews to the Jewish people, but also to the Church that has not yet recognized our place is to stand by the believers of Jesus in EVERY nation, including - and at this hour, especially - ISRAEL.

Now I understand how we started down this road in the Messianic movement, because the fledgling Messianic congregations needed the help and support of Christians within their congregations, yet also wanted it to look authentically Jewish to the Jewish people who came in. Fine.

That day is over. It is time to move on to be authentic in our identities as Jew and Gentile in the Messiah.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Interview with Korean BradTV about Believers in Israel

Last month I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Korean directory, Brad Kim about my Israelprayer ministry, which seeks to make the worldwide Church see the powerful significance of the Israeli believing community.  Watch 30-min interview here.

The existence of the Israeli believers is not a side issue that is trumped by more urgency of 'greater' issues to pray over concerning Israel.  No: the existence of an ever increasing community of followers of Israel's Messiah in Israel is the main issue!

How so?  First of all, this body of believers, which numbered around 100 in 1948, today number in the neighborhood of 18,000. There are an estimated 1 million Jews worldwide who believe in and follow Yeshua as Israel's Messiah, but those who are citizens of Israel are living in ground zero of the Lord's re-grafting the natural branches, as the apostle Paul wrote of in Romans 9-11. 

Also, they are the hidden blessing of Yeshua within the nation of Israel - salt, light and most definitely a preserving agent for the whole nation of Israel.

In Isaiah 65:8 there is a "Thus saith the Lord" that I am always reminded of when thinking about the Living Stones in Israel.  It says,
Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
Sometimes I see and hear people stressing that the hatred of Arab neighbors is going to destroy Israel, but I know the principle of God that will not allow it: "Destroy it not for a blessing is in it". 

It is the same principle we saw at work as God determined to destroy Sodom and Abraham interceded bargaining for the preservation if there were just as few as 10 righteous in the city.

The believers of Israel are a hidden blessing of Yeshua in the midst of Israel, not only praying for the Lord's protection against external and internal enemies, but also for the repentance of Israelis for their own sins, and return (tshuvah) to the Father through Yeshua. The Israeli believers are the light of the Lord set on the hill to bring Israelis into right standing again with Abba, to be put in the righteousness which is from Messiah Yeshua. 

Yes, Israel can be hurt by wars, terror attacks and hatred from enemies. Israeli lives can be lost in conflicts, but the preserving agent within Israel is the growing Body of the Lord among Israeli citizens. 

If our focus in the Church is sidelined to strictly political advocacy of Israel, and we are not at all interested in how the Israeli believers are ministering to their countrymen, then we have surely missed the heart of God for the Church in this hour - AND WE ARE NOT MAKING ISRAEL SAFER. 

It is the presence of the Lord within the people that protects, not mere political advocacy!

I hope you will watch this interview and perhaps glean some information that will help you to put the priorities on the spiritual welfare of Israel which will impact its physical welfare as well.  I don't consider myself an excellent speaker, in fact, just the opposite, but it does help that I know the subject matter pretty darned well.

The interview begins approximately 2:41 into the video after a promo for another program.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Christian Over-Fascination with the Rabbis

Why are so many Christians fascinated with making connection to Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox rabbis who do not believe in Jesus, and are not equally or surpassingly (not even remotely!) in making connection with the Israeli Messianic Jews who are leading the 15-20,000 strong Body of Messiah in Israel?

Ultra-Orthodox protest outside the private residence of a Messianic Jewish believer in Arad. The woman, a widow, was targeted for many years because she was a foster mom to the children of other believers who had passed away. The ultra-Orthodox did not approve of a follower of Yeshua raising the children.

It just makes me crazy to see Christian leaders and regular Christians flocking to the rabbis who do not believe in Jesus, and acting like the ones who do believe in Yeshua are no big deal. Where does that attitude even come from? Maybe from the grand illusion that your connection with them is going to result in their coming to Jesus.

Let me tell you this: in God's plan, Israel is being 'harvested' by His laborers in that field - like the laborers who brought in the harvest for Boaz in the book of Ruth. And what was the role of the non-Jew Ruth? Well she labored alongside Boaz's laborers.  She did not try to take over the harvest field and bring in the harvest herself. No, she labored in assistance to the main laborers.

When Ruth married Boaz, that did not restore the inheritance to her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. The only thing that could restore Naomi's inheritance in the people of God was the SON of Ruth and Boaz. See - only as Ruth labors alongside Boaz' harvest-bringer-inners, will the SON be brought forth who will restore the inheritance to those Jews who have no spiritual inheritance in the LORD. Get it?

So this week, I received an email from a concerned Messianic ministry family in Israel because they became aware through Christian churches and groups in the U.S. that these Christians were inviting a pair of ultra-Orthodox rabbis to speak in their churches. I have kept the Messianic family anonymous because they have had more than enough backlash and trouble as believers of Yeshua in Israel, but here is the report I provided from them in Israelprayer, including links to YouTube where these rabbis are speaking in US Christian churches.

"We received word in Israel from a reliable ministry source who we are keeping anonymous in order to protect them from any backlash, that there are two ultra-Orthodox Jews who belong to Bayit HaYehudi who are being promoted among gentile Christians in the United States.

In fact, Jeremy Gimpel (Israel Update) and Ari Abramowitz (The Land of Israel) are quickly becoming highly sought after speakers to Christian churches and groups, as they have been instructed how to speak to Christians as if their religious beliefs are exactly the same as Christians.

Our Israeli ministry friends say that they personally know Christian groups that these two men are being promoted among, and are concerned because the aftermath of speakers like them have led many believers to deny the Lord and convert to rabbinic Judaism.

This is a head’s up if you are not aware of these men, so that you may be aware. You can watch them speak on YouTube videos here and here Also this website in connection"

As Christians, our relationship with Israel is strongest when we link to the Body of Messiah Yeshua in Israel. We need them and they need us - and God made it that way for His purposes to be perfected by our mutual respect, care and alliance.