[Asher gave this message at the Christian Embassy Feast of Tabernacles 2007 in Jerusalem. There was some controversy regarding a Messianic Jewish leader teaching there. While Christian Zionist support of Israel is becoming acceptable in Israel, Messianic Israeli believers and the Gospel are less accepted by far.]

There are many scriptures from the Prophets sharing a positive destiny for "all the nations." (The word goyim can be translated as nations or gentiles.) These include; Isaiah 2:2, Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 3:17, Amos 9:12 and Zechariah 14:16

The Hebrew prophets play an important role as a bridge between the Torah and the Gospels. Neither traditional Christian nor rabbinic Jewish theology has had a clear understanding of the prophetic writings. The fact that there is a positive destiny for Gentile nations in the Hebrew prophets challenges both Christians and Jews to find their mutual destiny in the plan of God.

A fresh examination of the prophetic writings in the light of the reestablishment of the State of Israel demands a reevaluation of both Christian and Jewish thought. Any revelation from God involves a kind of thinking which is "out of the box." Here are a few examples on the Jewish side:

In 1881, Eliezer Ben Yehuda responded to a revelation from God to restore the "Language of the prophets in the Land of the prophets." In doing so, he became the father of the modern Hebrew language.

David Ben Gurion developed his own method of Bible interpretation combining a socialist and nationalist analysis of the Hebrew prophets. In doing so, he became the father of the modern State of Israel.

Rabbi Kook challenged almost all of rabbinic thinking by seeing the secular State of Israel as the first stage of development in the Messianic age soon to come. In doing so, he became the first Chief Rabbi of Israel.

On the Christian side, the reality of the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948, as well as the subsequent conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, demanded a revolution in theology. Classic Christian thinking saw the prophecies as merely symbolic and spiritual, referring only to the Church. When suddenly these prophecies were fulfilled in a physical and historical manner, the entire "replacement" theological paradigm was doomed.

Up Front!
In addition, the modern international Islamic Jihad, with its common hatred of both Jews and Christians, is forcing Jews and Christians into an alliance. Starting in the year 2000, Israelis began to say, "Our only friends in the world are the Evangelical Christians."

Not all of the Gentiles in the Scriptures are portrayed as having a positive destiny. Quite the contrary, the nations in general are seen in rebellion against God, against Israel and against the Messiah. Compare: Psalm 2:1, Zechariah 12:9 and Zechariah 14:2

Some of the Gentiles are good and some are bad. Israel must figure out the difference: Who? What? Why? Where are the "good" Gentiles going to come from? The vast majority of the people who read the Torah of Moses on a regular basis today are believers in Yeshua (Jesus). Part of the mission of the Messiah is to bring the light of the God of Israel to the nations of the world (Isaiah 42:6, 49:8). Israel must deal with this international community of people who both believe in the God of Israel and love the people of Israel.

The Church must come to grips with the fact that anti-Semitism and Islamic Jihad are not going to just "go away." They will be key issues right up to the Second Coming of Yeshua. How could it happen that "all of the nations will come against Jerusalem to battle?" First, there would have to be a widespread ideology calling for total destruction of the Jewish people. Second, there would have to be an international political forum to enable that kind of combined operation.

Christian Zionists celebrating at Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem
The ideology of destruction we find in Islamic Jihad. (A case in point is Ahmadinedjad's recent "world without Israel" conference.) The political forum we find in the United Nations. (Both these elements came together in Ahmadinedjad's address to the general assembly of the U.N. in September 2007.) For the first time in history, we see an ideology to provide the "why" and the political forum to provide the "how." It is certainly time for us to wake up.

The combination of Islamic Jihad and Secular Humanism (in the U.N.) is much more dangerous than Hitler's Third Reich ever was. The combination of the two seemingly contradictory worldviews (Jihad and Humanism) is reminiscent of the "beast" in Daniel, whose feet were described as a mixture of iron and clay (Daniel 2:41; 7:7).

Finnish believers marching in
support of Israel
The alliance of evangelical Christians and the State of Israel is not just a defensive reaction to Islam and anti-Semitism, but a proactive revelation of the plan of God. Ephesians 2 describes a marriage between Israel and the Church; Ephesians 3 describes the partnership between Jews and Gentiles in the kingdom of God. If we have one God, He must be the God of all people. We believe in one Messiah, Yeshua, who is both the head of the Church (Eph. 1:20) and the king of Israel (John 12:13).

Evangelical Christianity is a spiritual movement, whereas the State of Israel is a national government. They are different in function, like spirit and soul. Both have a purpose; both need one another. There is no reason for one to try and replace the other. There is no reason for Christian Zionists to push a particular political party or agenda within the government of Israel. There is no reason for a Christian to pretend he is Jewish.

On the other hand, Israel can trust Christians Zionists as true friends. It would be a tragedy to miss such widespread and well-meaning support. Also, there is no reason for Israel to limit religious freedom for the Messianic Jews. Israel should be proud to be a nation that allows for freedom of religious expression, including that of Jewish believers in Yeshua.

Christians for Israel
We Messianic Jews do NOT want to convert Jews to Christianity; nor do we want to convert Christians to Judaism. We are asking for a REFORMATION of the very foundations of BOTH. This is not a superficial issue of cultural sensitivity, but a loving and daring call for biblical reformation - one that will lead to the restoration of Israel (Acts 1:6), the resurrection of the dead (Romans 11:11), and the coming of the Messiah (Matthew 23:39).

Ezekiel 37:15-28 describes a symbolic act in which the prophet takes two sticks - one representing the children of Israel and one representing the whole house of Israel - and brings them together in his hand. This prophecy refers to unity of the people of God under the reign of the Messiah. It can be interpreted on two levels: first, literally, as unity within the people of Israel; and then, by spiritual extension, as unity between the remnant of Israel and true believing Christians around the world.

We stand in the footsteps of Ezekiel today. Let us pray for these two sticks to come together in our hands. Then there will be one king and one people (Ezekiel 37:22). Then His kingdom will be one and His name one (Zechariah 14:9).

 

By Asher Intrater


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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Building a Fence Around the Torah
Martin Shoub: The Year of New Beginnings
Leon Mazin: Turning our Hearts to the Fathers