Editor's note: In November 2010, Asher taught at the National Men's Conference in Gandia, Spain. The following article is based on his teachings at the conference.
Three historic events took place in Spain in 1492: 1) the Treaty of Cordova, 2) Columbus' setting sail toward the Americas, and 3) the Expulsion of Spanish Jewry.
In 640 AD, Muhammed began his new religion. In 700 AD the Muslims crossed into Spain and began an armed conquest. By 722 AD virtually all of Spain, except for the northern mountainous area, had been conquered by Islam. At that time the Spanish Christians (Catholics primarily) began to fight back in an effort to reconquer the land. This "Reconquista" lasted until 1492, at the signing of the treaty of Cordova, at which time the Christians/Catholics regained control of the entire nation.
It is difficult to interpret the spiritual implications of the Reconquista period. There were good and bad elements mixed together. There were evil elements of power and violence within the Catholic Church; yet there was also a pure and godly effort by many Christians to gain freedom for the Christian community from Islamic conquest. In the 1400s there was fierce persecution by the Spanish Inquisition against Jewish and Muslim converts; yet there was also a true and vibrant Church within Spain.
There were many Jewish converts ("conversos") during this period - some were forced; some were genuine. Many converts tried to continue Jewish practice. The Church became fearful of such "Judaizing" elements, and started the Inquisition to maintain the "purity" within its ranks. What percentage of those investigated by the Inquisition were forced converts concealing their rejection of Christianity, and what percentage were true Jewish believers who desired to maintain their heritage is impossible to determine. In 1492, the Spanish Crown and the Catholic Inquisition united together to expel the Jews from Spain.
In that same year, Columbus set sail toward the Americas, followed by two centuries of Spanish and Portuguese colonization in the "New World." This colonial expansion is also difficult to analyze in spiritual terms. There was again a mixture of good and bad elements. Part of the colonization was motivated by greed and political power; yet part was motivated by a pure desire for expanding the kingdom of God.
Many of those sailing to the Americas in those years were Jews from Spain and Portugal. Thus the colonization of America and the expansion of Christianity into the New World were closely accompanied by Jewish refugees. The fact that these three world-changing events: the Cordova treaty signaling the completion of the Christian reconquest of Spain, the beginning of the period of Spanish explorers started by Columbus, and the expulsion and dispersion of Spanish Jewry, took place in the same year is more than just a coincidence. The destinies of the Spanish-speaking Church and of the Jewish people are entwined together.
The New Covenant concept of the "Church" (Ekklesia; Iglesia) is difficult for most people to understand, and needs a revelation to be grasped. The Iglesia is not the Catholic, the Protestant, the Evangelical, the Pentecostal Church, or in fact, any identifiable institution. It is a group of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, who are born again through faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and led by the Spirit of God.
Many Jewish people, when they hear the word "Church," immediately think of the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, and Reconquista represent a stumbling block to understanding God's destiny for the true Church, not only for Jews and Muslims, but also for sincere, seeking Christians themselves.
To understand our destiny, we often have to look at our history. To be released for our future, we often have to be set free from our past. Every nation in the world has a group of true believers within it. They are the "remnant." They are the true Church within that nation. Together all the national Church remnants comprise what is called the "international or universal Church," the "Body of Messiah," or the "Bride of Christ." Each national remnant is different within its own culture and expression. All are united in common faith, love, and spirit (Revelation 7:4, 9; Ephesians 4:1-6).
The diversity and harmony together are what make the "Bride of Christ" such a work of divine artistry. Like the rainbow, the colors must be different, but they must be united into one over-arching design. God's ultimate purpose in creation was to create a group of people whom He could love (Ephesians 1:4), dwell within them (Ephesians 2:22), and be glorified through them (Ephesians 1:22; 2:7, 3:10; 3:21). This group is God's masterpiece and is still in the process of being created (Ephesians 2:10).
The historic Church of Spain has had good and bad elements. The vision of the Church, with both its positive and negative elements, has gone through a long "death" process. There was prophetic prayer and proclamation at this national conference to break the sins and curses of the past, and re-adopt their positive destiny.
We see a calling for the Church of Spain and of Latin America:
Please pray for revival and long-lasting fruit to multiply across the Spanish Church from this conference.
|By Asher Intrater|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: Religious Coercion and Liberty of Conscience|
|Eitan Shishkoff: What to Expect in 2011|
|Marty Shoub: "You Will Never Walk Again!"|