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.

Do You Desire to Hasten the Lord's Return?

Early in his ministry, God made the apostle Paul aware of the significant need of support that Israeli Messianic believers would always have.  At the same time, the Lord was orchestrating events so that Paul would participate in the first Gentile outreach to meet the need.  Scripture makes it plain that Gentile believers are spiritually indebted to Israel.

Do You Desire to Hasten the Lord's Return?
Then get your eyes off the Temple Mount!
Israeli Fields "White unto Harvest" photo by Howard Bass
Originally written in 2004 by Donna D'Iorio
and published on my old website

"For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things." Romans 15:27

In his final trip to Jerusalem, Paul modeled for us the practical means of repayment of this debt.

The apostle Paul has been second-guessed and criticized for his insistence on returning to Jerusalem, past all warnings by the Spirit that he would be arrested there.  In fact, the offering he was determined to deliver in Jerusalem was Paul's way of fulfilling the commandment to bring a Shavuot (Pentecost) offering to the Lord.   There is good reason that Paul could not be turned back from his mission and the timing of his delivery of an offering from the Gentile Christians to the leaders of the Israeli believers in Jerusalem is not coincidental.  Rather the timing is accordance with the prophetic timetable contained in the biblical Feasts of the Lord.

Paul placed the greatest of importance - laying his life on the line - to go up to Jerusalem with the commanded Shauvot offering.  He understood what we must also come to understand about this prophetic offering, for God's command is clear:  "And they shall not appear before the Lord empty handed." (Deut. 16:16).

Paul's own testimony was that he was "bound by the Spirit" to deliver an offering before God on this feast more commonly known to Christians as Pentecost.  While the Church has embraced the significance of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that is not a complete fulfillment of the prophetic foreshadowing contained in the feast of Shavuot.  God fulfilled His part in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but our part the delivery of the Shavuot offering which God has required in response can only be fulfilled as we follow the Apostle Paul's example of bringing the offerings of the Gentile believers to the leaders of the Jewish believers in Israel.

Paul understood the type and shadow signified in the Shavuot offering of two leavened loaves as symbolizing Jew and Gentile in the Messiah -from two, one new man in the Messiah (Eph. 2:15).  His practical application of the Shauvot offering was made in terms of financial support, collected over four years and delivered with an accompaniment of representatives from the churches (Acts 20:23). This collection of alms, this offering symbolizing the two loaves of Jew and Gentile united in the Messiah, was long in the making and even more significant than we have comprehended for centuries!

God made Paul aware early in his ministry of the significant need the Israeli Messianic believers would always have.  At the same time, God was orchestrating events so that Paul would participate in the first Gentile outreach to meet the need.  What the enemy meant for evil in the persecution of the leaders of the believers in Israel, God turned to good by revealing to Paul through evil circumstances that the Gentile Church was spiritually "indebted" to the Israeli body of believers to minister to them in material things.? (Romans 15:27)  In fact, the apostle called it our "duty".   His one-time offering does not constitute a completion of this duty on behalf of the Church towards the Israeli Jewish believers.  He only modeled the required expression of it which we are to fulfill.

The events that awakened Paul occurred as the Antioch church sent Paul and Barnabas to the believers in Jerusalem with alms in response to a prophesied worldwide famine. Their arrival in Jerusalem coincided with Herod's execution of the apostle James and his subsequent arrest of the apostle Peter, "because he (Herod) saw that it pleased the Jews" (Acts 12).

We must believe in Divine timing when we see it!  Here Paul looked plainly into the eye of both the spiritual indebtedness of the Gentile believers to the Jewish believers (Romans 15:27) and also to the persecution of believing Israeli Jews by unbelieving Israeli Jews (Romans 11:28).  These events took place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the first of the three prophetic Feasts of the Lord that portray the salvation harvests of Israel. How could Paul escape what God was dramatically speaking to him through these events?

Acts records that the believers in Jerusalem, shocked by the execution of James, were terrified of what would happen to Peter, and what these actions against their leaders would surely also mean to all believers in Israel.  Intercession for Peter was going on day and night in Jerusalem.  This is the scenario that Paul and Barnabas came upon when they arrived in Jerusalem with alms from Antioch. How it must have impacted them!

Paul was in a unique position to understand God's purposes through his own past failings. He understood that the mindset which thought itself to be in full compliance with God's will to persecute the "unfaithful" Messianic Jews would never change until the appointed time that God reveals His Son corporately to Israel.   These powerfully connected events surely brought Paul to a mighty awakening at how the Gentile members of the body of Messiah relate to the Jewish members will be critical to the survival of Messianic Jews. He was experiencing firsthand how the Jewish brethren in Israel were suffering without any practical assistance from believers outside of their borders.

The Antioch church was prompted to send relief to the brethren in Israel not because the Jewish brethren were "special" in themselves, but because they lived and ministered in a more gospel-hostile environment than most of Gentile churches.  To keep the Israeli Jewish brethren from suffering excessively for the sake of the gospel, Gentile believers must minister special care towards their needs.  The situation for Messianic Jews in Israel remains the same to this day.

Today in Israel, Messianic Jewish congregations have been fire bombed by ultra-orthodox religious persecutors - people just like Paul before his Damascus road experience. Messianic Jewish evangelists are often beaten, street witnesses threatened, and congregations surrounded by angry mobs of religious zealots.  Employment is especially challenging for Messianic Jewish believers, and congregational shepherds often must hold secular jobs alongside their full-time pastoral ministry due to a lack of adequate financial support.  And because of their faith, the 7,000 Messianic Jews of Israel must continually fight attempted legislative restrictions leveled against them by religious-political groups.

Although persecution comes in many forms, Messianic Jews love their people and their nation.  They understand they are in a spiritual battle and hold the same vision for the salvation of Israel as the apostle Paul.  (Romans 9:3) They understand that those who persecute them today, may be the ones God has planned save.  That He is able to intervene in their persecution through the same means He intervened when He turned Saul from misguided religious persecution of the believers in his day (Acts 9).

In an environment of religious persecution, the body of Christ worldwide must respond with help.  This practical assistance is no less needed or truly required for the body of believers in Israel.  We cannot look at Israel as merely a historical reference point of our faith for within its borders is a community of the household of faith who need the brotherly love and care of the Church.

Scripture makes it plain that Gentile believers are spiritually indebted to Israel.  In his final trip to Jerusalem, Paul modeled for us the practical means of repayment of this debt.  We see from his letters that he repeatedly urged the churches to contribute to this need? need that continues to exist.  As he told the church at Corinth in direct reference to their collection of funds earmarked for the Jewish brethren, "and in this I give my advice:  It is to your advantage".

This practical expression of love and unity is a fundamental ingredient to the witness that will bring the national salvation of Israel!  If you have ever wondered what would make unbelieving Israel "jealous" of our gospel, wonder no more.  This is powerful witness of love and unity -the evidence of "the sincerity of our gospel" that unbelieving Jews must see to believe our gospel.  When the Gentile Church releases such care, concern and provision for the Israeli ministries the harvest will be released to abound.

When God sees the required Shavuot offering made - the Gentile believers' expression of love and unity toward their Jewish brethren - great blessing will be released on the harvest of salvation among Israeli Jews.  Likewise, what testimony will the harvest of souls in Israel be to unbelievers throughout the world?  The Jewish Messiah accepted by the nation of Israel?  Can such a witness be ignored? 

Just as the original Jewish believers of the first century went out to preach the gospel among the Gentiles, so now the Gentile believers must provide resources for the proclamation of the gospel among the Jews, by Jews.  Only Israeli citizens may legally witness in Israel.  The Christian ministries in the land of Israel are forbidden by law to proclaim the gospel.  Most that want to maintain a presence in the Holy Land do not engage in evangelistic outreach.  If your heart's desire toward Israel is the same as the apostle Paul's, that all Israel might be saved, then you must reconsider how your Israel-support resources are allocated.

Paul wrote extensively in his letters addressing the very issue.  He did not advise setting up missions in Israel from the churches in Corinth, Ephesus or Antioch.  What he did was advise the churches to collect ministry funds to be sent to the Jewish believers to finance their ministry needs.  This is still the most effective means and the only workable solution for ministry outreach in Israel!

For the Church to fulfill its spiritual duty toward the Israeli Messianic Jewish body is also the desire of God's heart or He would not have made it a factor in the prophetic foreshadowing of the Biblical Feasts of the Lord.  When this Shavuot offering to Lord of the double loaf is made ready, it is only then Yeshua can return to take up His Throne in Jerusalem.
Do you desire to hasten the return of the Lord?  Fulfill the spiritual debt to minister to the material needs of the Israeli ministries, who in turn will bless God for provisions to meet the needs of their congregations and to reach out into the unbelievers of their nation.

When the crop has matured, the Lord of the harvest will return for it.

Return of the Sanhedrin (Oy veh!)

If you know the Church is called to bless Israel do you also know our blessing is to begin first with Israeli believers? Why then have Christians contributed literally millions to Orthodox groups in Israel while ignoring the indigenous Israeli ministries? Our brothers proclaiming the gospel suffer need while we donate millions and millions to their persecutors who are enemies of the gospel.

The Sanhedrin trial of Jesus
Return of the Sanhedrin (Oy veh!)
Originally written in March 2005 by Donna Diorio
and appearing on my old website

March 2005: If there is anything I have learned in a couple of decades of Messianic and Israel studies, it is that coming to an understanding of what God is doing in Israel is not all that easy for non-Jewish believers. Our learning curve is incredible!

We often wander around a bit overwhelmed taking in all the new and unusual sights because we have entered a whole new world and don’t have a clue what it all means. All we really know is that God has placed a love for Israel in our hearts and we are drawn to Jews and to Israel with a deep spiritual yearning.

As uninitiated Christians, we can spend years traveling down paths that are far off the mark when it comes to understanding what God is doing in Israel. This is mainly because we don’t know who God is working through and who He is not working through! We just take all Israelis, all Jews as our brothers.

All Israel is going to be saved, but not all Israel are currently our brothers. We need to distinguish between those who are laborers in the Lord’s harvest and those who the persecutors of Yeshua’s laborers. There are some also that fall in neither category.

If you will stick with me here, I’m going to tell you some things that most of the prophecy teachers out there aren’t telling you. These are things that are important for people connected with the Messianic movement to know. They are things I wish every Christian who loves Israel knew.

The main reason that it takes most of us so long to figure out what God is doing in Israel is because it takes us that long to begin to listen to the Israeli body of Messiah. If we want to know what God is doing in any given place, our priority has got to be to listen to the input of believers who live there.

If we want to know what God is doing in Israel does it really make sense for us to run to Israeli unbelievers—even if they are “religious”—to input our perspective?

We also can’t depend primarily on the prophetic commentators—who may be experts about Israel, but if they don’t live there and don’t have fellowship with the indigenous believers of Israel, then they can’t have the inside view on some of the most important issues they’re commenting on.

Most of the popular prophetic teachers and commentators seem to have a lot more contact with the unbelieving religious community in Israel. That is not a very good idea if we want to hear about what God is doing in Israel.

Most of Christianity ignores the fact that there is a growing Messianic community in Israel. You would think that their existence would be big news to the prophecy teachers and commentators, but instead these folks would rather talk about what the unbelieving religious community in Israel is doing.

There is always a lot of talk on the prophecy programs and web sites about what Israel’s religious extreme are up to—and the talk is always like these are our most natural allies in Israel! That is not true. In every nation—Israel included—the people that we as believers have most to do with are those of like precious faith. Why should Israel be any different? It isn’t.

Christians have been making a big mistake by ignoring the Israeli Messianic community while teaming up with Israel’s religious right. I don’t say that to condemn anyone, but we need to wake up to the reality of this.

Why in the world would Christians run with the religious unbelievers like they are our spiritual brothers, while ignoring the existence of our true spiritual brothers in Israel? What could possibly explain that?

It is exactly like the apostle Paul said in the first century: by and large Israel’s Religious Right are “enemies of the gospel.” Judeo-Christian ethics notwithstanding, there is a deep chasm between Israeli believers and Israel’s religious unbelievers. We need to keep in mind that Israel’s Religious Right are “beloved for the father’s sakes,” but we cannot afford to forget they oppose the gospel.

Like the Messianic believers of Israel today, Christians should hold a hope for the salvation of “all Israel” but for the sake of those in Israel who already believe in Messiah Yeshua, we just can’t keep turning a blind eye to those who persecute them.

What was true in the first century is true again today. Israel’s religious community opposes the gospel of Messiah Yeshua. We need to awaken to that reality. What we are talking about is more than just the fulfillment of prophetic signs but has real-time dangerous consequences for believers in Israel.

We must begin to recognize this about many of the organizations Christians give so freely to: they are enemies of the gospel! This doesn’t mean we hate them or rail at them, but we don’t naively pour finances into their coffers either! Our support, financial and otherwise, belongs to the household of faith.

There are a lot of people saying a lot of things about Israel and the End Times. How can we know what is right and what is wrong? I believe the most important thing we can do is to tune into the body of Messiah in Israel.

Too many Christians are getting input only from prophetic commentators who have no inkling or concern of what it means to be a follower of Yeshua living in Israel. It is a life of greater sacrifice than most of us comprehend.

Our other primary source of information is from un-believers in Israel. We especially heed the input of Israel’s religious unbelievers, and I must include in this the religious news sources like Arutz-7. Too many of us are forming opinions about what is happening in Israel because we are following, sometimes unknowingly but almost exclusively, religious news perspectives. And when I say “religious,” I don’t mean believers in Messiah Yeshua!

Religious Jews in Israel are not the best source for Christians to gather their news about the important things happening in Israel. We have had it backwards for too long. We need to stop listening to religious unbelievers and start listening to believing community if we ever hope to direct our support of Israel toward the things God is in!

Remember what Yeshua told the chief priests and elders of His day? “The tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” A tough statement that I doubt is any less true today. It was a religious spirit that rejected Yeshua in that generation, and so far, in this generation it is still the religious strata of Israeli society that is most resistant to the gospel of Messiah Yeshua.

As Christians, we can’t let our fascination with the prophetic signs of the End Times cloud over the realties on the ground in Israel, which is exactly what many of the prophetic commentators and teachers have done. What I mean by that is that we get so caught up in the thrill of analyzing the news and spotting the fulfillment of ‘signs’ in prophetic scripture that we fail to see the human impact of real current events.

This is not the sequel to Star Wars. Real life people are affected by what religious extremists in Israel—often supported widely by Christians—are doing.

Case in point: the newly re-formed Sanhedrin.

I spent a little time researching what was said on the web about the fact that in Fall of 2004, a group of right wing religious scholars appointed themselves as Israel’s Sanhedrin. 

It is appalling to me that some of the most renowned Christian prophecy teachers are reporting this in the most glowing terms. One of the most famous called it a “remarkable development” and failed to cite even one way it promises to negatively impact the body of Messiah in Israel. 

Let me make it clear what the negative impact to believers would be: greatly increased persecution. 

The body of Messiah already suffers persecution at the hands of religious persecutors in Israel. Christians may find this hard to believe but it is the secular, non-religious citizens who are less likely to persecute them and more likely to request to hear the gospel when they see believers being persecuted by Israel’s religious right.

So many Christian prophecy teachers seem to be exalting Israel’s religious groups. They just don’t know or don’t care that these groups are so often a threat to the secular democratic nation and to the religious freedom of the followers of Yeshua in Israel.

One Christian commentator wrote recently: 

“The Sanhedrin is Israel's supreme religious authority -- an authority so sacred and so revered that it remained disbanded for 1,600 years, waiting until the time of the coming of the Jewish Messiah before being reconstituted. As such, its rulings carry tremendous weight.”

Excuse me? This is a ridiculous statement through and through! 

These are not the folks who will be validating Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah! Just as the Sanhedrin was comprised mostly of enemies of the gospel in the first century Israel, so this tribunal remains in that same mindset today. 

At present the Sanhedrin holds no power whatsoever in Israel except over those right wing religious supporters who followed their guidance before they proclaimed themselves the new Sanhedrin. Why should Christians be adding to the myth of their power base?

The power this Sanhedrin is reaching for is absolute power, and the result of them gaining it would not be unlike the power the Taliban exercised in Afghanistan.

They desire to exert the Sanhedrin to the position of the supreme judicial tribunal of Israel, not only nullifying Israeli democracy but also setting up a king of their own choosing from among themselves. They already have a rabbi singled out as a candidate for kingship who a recent Israeli newspaper notes is “known for his recent threats to place a death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.”

Remember what Yeshua told His followers who wanted to call down fire from heaven on some who had not received Yeshua? He rebuked them saying, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Religion makes the mistake of cursing others. There is a lot of this cursing going on among Israel’s religious right. If we are of the same spirit, then we need to let the words of Yeshua pierce our own hearts because the words still apply to us in our time and in these issues.

The Jerusalem Post noted in January that the 71-member Sanhedrin was a “group composed largely of (Rabbi Meir) Kahane sympathizers” (connected to right wing religious groups that were declared terrorist organizations by the Israeli Cabinet in 1994). 

Why should Christians be excited to hear the launch of such an organization? We shouldn’t!

We have a misunderstanding of the basic differences between the Religious Right of the U.S. and the Religious Right in Israel. The Judeo-Christian ethic that we share with Jews in the United States is not what the Religious Right in Israel is about. We think there is no difference, but we are wrong. 

There are many religious Jews in Israel, though the majority of Israelis are non-religious. Am I saying that all religious Israelis are extreme fanatics? No, but I am saying that many of the groups Christians are lauding do fall into that category.

The extreme religious right wing in Israel has set its goal to do away with democracy in Israel and set up a Jewish monarchy. If we don’t know what the character of these groups are, we might naively think that was a good thing; a return to a more biblically governed Israel. But we would be wrong. Religious man cannot institute the government God has purposed under King Yeshua.

We simply don’t know what Israeli religious factions really stand for—and some of them play Christians like a fiddle precisely because of our ignorance! 

They see that we do not stand by the Jewish believers in Israel, and know that they can get away with pretty much anything they want as long as they keep up the façade of our supposed shared Judeo-Christian ethic. Lately some of those groups are becoming bold enough to drop the façade. They are coming out of the closet about not even wanting Christian supporters. 

We need to know about these things. Not so we can get angry with them, or be fearful of them, but so we can come to the side of our real brothers and sisters in Israel, those people who we really do share ethics and faith with—the believers and followers of Messiah Yeshua.

Recently a ministry leader in Jerusalem wrote about the newly formed Sanhedrin in a prayer letter: 

“While the thought in present-day ‘democratic’ Israel of the emergence of a religious governing council in Jerusalem which would be ‘Judaism’s top legal assembly’ seems at first remote, even far-fetched, it may be wise to bear in mind (even as the ultra-Orthodox population in the Capital continues to burgeon) that in Yeshua’s prophecies regarding events in Israel preceding the final days before His return there appears to be a governance of power in place which will include Religious Judaism (see, for instance, the mention and use of the synagogue in Luke 21).

“While, as Believers, we will not be able to accept all of the conclusions drawn by our secular leaders, we must also be aware that the spirit behind the rise of a religious government in Israel is not a ‘Holy’ one. 

“The Holy Spirit of Truth was sent by the Father at the request of Yeshua to be a guide to those who loved and obeyed Him (John 14:15-17). In rejecting God’s Son, Israel’s religious leaders consequently rejected the Holy Counselor; instead of receiving a Spirit of Truth, they have embraced spirits of deception. 

“Ultra-Orthodoxy has thus not only replaced the Holy Word with the religious interpretations and traditions of man; it has also become laced with an occult mysticism in which ancient rabbis are often worshipped as re-incarnations of the holy Fathers. 

“Lastly, it should be mentioned that almost all of the mentions of the Sanhedrin in the New Testament refer to forums in which Jewish Believers in Yeshua were undergoing persecution at the hands of the religious Jews. The spirit behind any resurrected Sanhedrin will certainly be anti-Messiah (anti-Christ), and the rise in authority of such a structure will mean intense persecution against Jews who become believers. “

This is not a minority opinion among Israeli believers. The believers in Israel do not have the luxury of ignoring such realities—as many Christian prophecy teachers do—when it comes to groups who have set themselves as enemies of the gospel. 

It boils down to this: whatever power growth this new Sanhedrin is able to gain, the body of Messiah in Israel will be put in that much more danger from persecutors. It is that simple and clear cut. 

What is the connection with the re-formed Sanhedrin, the Temple Mount Faithful and many of the rabbis opposing disengagement by enacting curses and incitement against Israeli government officials? They share a hard-right religious perspective that renders them willing to go to life threatening extremes (other people’s lives endangered) to exert their will and interpretation of Torah over Israel. 

Regardless of what you have come to think about the current Disengagment plan, as a believer you are not to let your opinions be shaped by the opinions of unbelievers, especially religious ones who oppose the Messiah you serve!

Can you even begin to imagine the hell that would be released if the Temple Mount Faithful were ever successful in their plots to blow up the Dome of the Rock? (The late above-mentioned Rabbi Meir Kahane also served a sentence in Israeli prison for plotting to attack Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount.)

The Israeli Security Forces have to be on guard continually against the threat posed by the Temple Mount Faithful and similar right wing religious extremists, yet Christians are delighted to help them raise funds for their work!

Why? There is an incredible amount of deception going on by many of these groups toward the Christian community that would begin to be cleared out if we would just begin to listen to the Israeli believers in the Land.

(I have to make a distinction here between the Christian ministries operating in Israel, and those Jewish believers who are actually citizens of Israel. Only citizens can evangelize their Israeli countrymen. Christian ministries who operate in Israel do so under the promise not to engage in evangelism. For many of these Christian organizations there is increased pressure to keep silent on issues related to the indigenous body and evangelism.

Here is a good way to judge your sources: Take a tour of the websites of the most renowned Israel-loving Christian leaders. If you don’t find any articles about or links to the indigenous Israeli ministries, you are probably not going to be getting a truly balanced view of the issues Israelis face or what God is really doing in Israel. You can’t get that without getting input from the believers of Israel. If a ministry has no meaningful fellowship with Israeli ministries then their viewpoint is too limited and narrow.)

The ramifications of the reestablished Sanhedrin, and those who are occupied with preparing to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, has great impact on the people of Israel, among them thousands of Messianic Jews, Arab believers and other Christians living in Israel.

If our eyes are not focused first on the living temple that the Lord is building in Israel, then our eyes are focused on the wrong thing. They are why it is necessary for us not to merely get caught up in the ‘thrill’ of identifying prophetic signs. There is something much greater at stake here than seeking after signs of the times.

To truly love and support Israel as He has stirred our hearts, we have to discern who God is working through in Israel and that’s where our support should go.

Yeshua didn’t go just anywhere but He went where He saw the Father was moving. He wasn’t just moved by need.

God has placed in us the desire to express love to the Jewish people and to the nation of Israel, and we should. Yet in regards to our support of Israel we should hold ourselves to the same thing that guided Yeshua’s outreach: where is the Father moving? He is moving where the body of Messiah is touching lives.

The needs are great in Israel and men can do many wonderful works and good deeds, but only God can do a work that will change the destinies of men, women and children for eternity.

When we consider Israel, shouldn’t the ministries of body of Messiah be our first point of reference?

Israel's Living Temple

The Lord is already building His prophesied temple in Israel
and the Dome of the Rock poses no hindrance whatsoever to His building!

This article was written in 2004 and appeared originally
on my old website at

Sept 2004:That may be a surprising statement to many Christian supporters of Israel who for many years have enthusiastically followed and even supported the preparations of certain rabbinic groups in Israel who seek to build a Third Temple on the site where the Islamic Dome of the Rock now stands. That is not the temple that holds the Lord's attention in Israel! His heart is for an entirely different temple that is currently 'under construction'!

The temple in Israel that God is building through His Son Yeshua (Jesus) is a spiritual temple--a temple that is made of "living stones" who are His body and His witnesses in the Land. Today there are around 7,000 Jewish believers in Israel, their congregations and house groups meet throughout the length and breadth of the land. Each week brings reports of new believers coming to the faith in Israel. This is the prophesied temple that the Lord is building in the Land! Their existence in the land after 2,000 years is the greatest testimony of God's faithfulness to His people Israel.

Christians--even Israel supporting Christians--are mostly ignorant of the existence and the significance of the Lord's body in Israel. This ought not to be the case. Christian support of Israel should be first to the household of faith. That is not what has been happening. How that must grieve the heart of God.

This site is about and dedicated to the very real existence and presence of the body of Christ in Israel—Jews who know and follow Israel’s Messiah, in the modern nation of the biblical Holy Land. This site is about them and their labors in a field that is ripe for harvest. It is dedicated to declaring to the Church that there is something far more important going on in God's power for Israel than the raising up of a temple made of mere wood and stone.

What is a temple that human beings seek to build compared to the Israeli temple that God is raising up through the revealing of His Son? Will our focus as Christians remain engrossed with the activities of the unbelieving religious community of Israel at the expense of the Israeli body of Messiah that is being supernaturally built by God? Do we suppose that God's heart is set on the details of restoring a physical temple rather than the restoration body of believers in the Land?

There is a bumper sticker produced in Israel for tourists that reads, "ISRAEL IS REAL." That is the message of this web site as well. Israel is real. It is not a bible story or a museum of ancient holy things. It is a land of real people whom the heart of the Lord longs to restore in relationship through His Son. The Church has a part to play in that restoration. It is a part that cannot be fulfilled outside of recognition and support of the household of faith in Israel. is about Israelis: Jews who have met their Messiah and Arab Christians living in either Israel-controlled areas or Palestinian-controlled areas. This site is about how God is moving now in real lives that are being changed even in the harsh realities of the epicenter of the strongest spiritual warfare on the earth. 

It is time for the worldwide Christian community to awaken to Israel as something more than the setting of ancient biblical accounts and characters. Jesus is again walking in the midst of His people Israel. He is again revealing Himself to doubters and sinners throughout the Land. He is again performing miraculous acts of salvation, deliverance and healing of hearts, minds and bodies in the land of Israel. He is just doing it through His body, His servants who are laying down their lives to minister and proclaim the good news of Israel’s Messiah in the land of His brethren of the flesh.

This is not a Christian Zionist web site. It is not a site focued on Judaica. We support Israel whole heartedly but with understanding that New Testament precedent places the body of Messiah as the top priority for Christian support of Israel. We value the reconnection of Christians to the Jewish roots of the faith, but the Father desires more than fascination with all things Jewish to be fostered in Christians! God is seeking to awaken the true bonds of love and unity between Jew and Gentile in the Messiah.

Christians are related by our faith to the body of Messiah in Israel. When we consider Israel, it is the body first and foremost that should capture our attention. Everyone and everything else in Israel is secondary to the believers in Yeshua who are harvesting the ripening fields in Israel. casts our ‘lot’ with the household of faith in Israel and seek here to make the Church aware of not only their existence and significance, but also to our Christian “duty” (as the apostle Paul termed it), to minister to their material needs. What that means is investing in their ministries and allowing them to be the distributors of blessings that Christians worldwide are bestowing on the unsaved nation of Israel. Allowing the indigenous ministries to do the work of the ministry! 

God’s heart is still toward people. It is the people of Israel that He would have us turn our eyes upon, especially those thousands in the land of Israel who intimately know His Son. Far more important to the Lord than all the antiquities and relics, far more significant to the worldwide body of Christ than all the shrines and ancient churches of the Holy Land are the people Jesus called, "the least of these My brethren." 

Perhaps your theological perspective has not had a place for the half million Jews worldwide who have come to know Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel in the past one hundred years. Perhaps your denominational stance on Israel has not included the emergence of seven thousand Jewish believers in Israel in our generation. Perhaps your eschatology has not factored in the revival of the faith of Yeshua of Nazareth currently going on in seventy Israeli Messianic Jewish congregations. What will you do with the discovery of these realities?

This may be an even tougher question for those Christians who are staunch supporters of Israel. Will you take your eyes off of the rabbinic religious establishment of Israel and rest them upon Christ's body in the Land? Will you be able to face up to the realization that the very religious groups of Israel so often appearing on Christian television who are reaping the Lion's share of financial support from Israel-supporting Christians are in fact the persecutors of the household of faith, the believers in Yeshua in Israel?

For those who desire to know more about the Israeli body of Messiah and how the Church is called to support their ministries among Israelis, this site is being developed to bring that information to you.*

* I no longer use the website but post on blogs and continue to send out e-mailings weekly that are devoted to the Israeli Ministries