OFFENDED by CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS

By Daniel C. Juster, Director

A Messianic Jewish leader's wife came up to me in tears. A major Christian Zionist prayer event had just concluded in Jerusalem. Why was she crying? Shouldn't we all be rejoicing that this event had taken place, an event where Christians from around the world, including some who were internationally known leaders, prayed together and took a stand for Israel? The reason for the tears? Messianic Jews were not part of the program. Only Christians and Jews who were not followers of Yeshua were included. The sense of rejection, of being relegated to "the back of the bus," was very wounding to this dear sister.

Why Messianic Jews are Offended

Many Messianic Jews are offended at the Christian Zionist leaders and organizations. They show support for Israel and world Jewry while at the same time distancing themselves to varying degrees from the Messianic Jews. I have argued in the past that this distancing is not necessary and that the Jewish community, which needs Christian support, will back down from requiring this separation. However, this is not certain. Jewish religious leaders who partner with Christian Zionists are sometimes under terrible pressure from other Orthodox leaders in Israel. Some claim that these Jews are compromising with idolaters. Others claim that Christian Zionists are not seeking only to support Israel, but that their efforts are a ruse to soften Jewish hearts for an eventual evangelistic thrust. (This of course is not their intent.) Yet, at the same time, Messianic Jews, who are brothers and sisters in Yeshua, find it quite strange that they are not the first priority for support from their fellow believers among Christian Zionists.

Understanding Christian Zionism Today

How should we respond? First of all, we should define Christian Zionism and then note that there is great variety among Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists are those Christians who believe that the Jewish return to the land of Israel is of God and that the Jewish people have a right to dwell in their ancient land and govern themselves as a state. They see this as a fulfillment of prophecy. Some Christian Zionists believe that Israel should take all the Land now. Others believe that Israel is in a process of redemption and due to the present state of unbelief among the great Jewish majority; such a course would be unwise. The very pressures caused by the current tension over occupational rights to the land are part of God's plan to draw Israel to Himself.

Some Christians Zionists have made their support of Messianic Jews their first priority. They do this publicly. This includes such well-known leaders as Coach Bill McCartney of Promise Keepers and the Road to Jerusalem. Others think such public support is imprudent. Why show public support for Messianic Jews when Jewish sensitivities are so great? So instead they provide support behind the scenes; sometimes in very significant ways. Then there are those who simply will have nothing to do with Messianic Jews. Yes, they think that the Jewish people will respond to Yeshua at the end of this Age, just before or after the Second Coming. Their love will be part of this occurring. However, overt evangelism now and support for Messianic Jews, in their view, undercuts the whole program.

Understanding Christian Zionist History

There is a history of Christian Zionism that goes back to the Puritans in the 17th century. Before the Holocaust, Christian Zionists were in favor of overt witness to Jews, and they were not rejected by the Jewish community for such a stand. From the early Puritan beginnings, Christian Zionist influence continued to increase; in the mid 19th century, England, Germany and Scandinavia took steps to foster the return of Jews to the Land and to see an Anglican Jewish expression established in Jerusalem. On the other hand, very few believed that Jews who came to faith in Yeshua were still called to live and identify themselves as Jews. (The Moravians under the famous Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf did embrace this idea.) Christian support for Zionism continued into the 20th century with many key personalities playing major roles. Examples are Lord Balfour, the author of the famous Balfour declaration, and Major Orde Wingate, who trained the people who formed the Jewish Defense Force.

After the Holocaust, Christians were terribly embarrassed by the complicity of institutional Christianity in Anti-Semitism and the relative lack of Christian resistance to the Holocaust in Europe. Christians no longer considered evangelizing Jewish people as a credible activity. This trend influenced Evangelical Zionists who empathized with Jewish sensitivities. Jewish leaders were clear they did not want support from those who desired them to embrace Yeshua. In response, many Christian Zionists supported the idea that faith in Yeshua for Jews was something for the end of the Age when God would supernaturally open their eyes. They embraced supporting the Jewish restoration as part of fulfilled prophecy, but not the restoration of belief in Yeshua. The emergence of a vibrant and expanding movement of Israeli Messianic believers challenged the theological presuppositions behind this sort of support.

A Righteous Messianic Jewish Response to Christian Zionism

Messianic Jews need to respond to the Christian Zionist-Jewish partnership by first dealing with their hurt and sense of rejection. We have to bring our pain to the cross and allow God to heal us. There is nothing to be gained by walking in hurt over our situation and anger over the fact that the great bulk of Christian support goes to Jewish organizations that not only do not embrace Yeshua, but in some instances persecute Messianic Jews. We should not be angry at Jewish religious and political leaders who have been successful in raising support. Instead, we need to come to a place of gratitude that there is Christian-Jewish cooperation for the sake of strengthening Israel even if we are left out.

I know this is hard, but we have to bear the particular cross that is ours; standing in the difficult place of being Messianic Jews in the context of the terrible history of our people. Some will reject us as traitors to our people and an impediment to good relationships among Jews and Christians. It is our glory to embrace this criticism for the sake of the truth of the Good News. Once we find our healing at the cross, we can begin to deal with the issues of righteousness. The primary way to deal with these matters is through prayer. I am glad for those Christian Zionists that have gone public with their support for Messianic Jews. They are an important testimony to the Jewish community.

I cannot say that those who support Messianic Jews behind the scenes while being public with general Jewish support through Christian Zionist organizations are wrong. Maybe they should be public in their support, but on the other hand, maybe their quiet support is wisdom. The Jewish community is so very sensitive. I choose to embrace these folks and show gratitude for them. They do pray for and give financially to Messianic Jews, but their support is discretely given where it cannot be seen in public. We wish that this did not need to be so, but let us be grateful for the support we have and again for the general Christian support for Israel. I believe Christian Zionists, including those who do not support us at all, open Jewish hearts to the Gospel even if this is not their goal. We share the Gospel in the Land and sometimes without our mentioning Christians, Jewish friends have told us that they know that Evangelicals support Israel. This is amazing and has made our work easier.

Lastly, we can seek for the greater righteousness that I believe is required to move those who will currently have nothing to do with us to at least come to the place of quiet support. One Christian Zionist organization recently did make such a move. We can pray and exercise faith that God will change hearts so that most Christian Zionists will support Messianic Jews in the Land and in the Diaspora.

In addition, let us come to the place where we trust God for our finances. When our faith, giving and maturity are sufficient, God will more than adequately provide for our needs. God will give as much funding as we can wisely handle. Our provision is not in the hands of men, but in the hands of God who moves upon those who are to partner with us. Walking in forgiveness, healing and generosity are the keys to God's provision.


ANNOUNCING: TWO NEW BOOKS BY DAN JUSTER
(published by Lederer-Messianic Jewish Publications)

"That They May Be One, A Messianic Jewish Introduction to Church History"

"A Brief History of Christian Zionism" (to be released this spring)

By Daniel Juster


Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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Comments:
14:27 05Jan10 Pelham Gross -
Is not God always shaking and sifting right up to Yeshua's coming and reigning in order to purify and qualify servant-leadership Messianics who will rule with him? Another aspect of this, it seems to me as a grafted-in gentile, is that God does a Romans 8:28 on all those who are too "wise" (my word is "blinded" or "gutless") to openly support Messianics. He uses them as decoys to draw some Satanic fire away from Messianics. As you point out here, God is perfectly willing and able to do the money in the fish's mouth, and the loaves and fishes multiplication thing in order to "feed" His Messianics he is moving to their destiny as top and front sacrifice-leaders to bring Jesus back on the scene in Israel.

14:33 05Jan10 Linda Schauer -
While your comments are balanced and impartial, it is always a Believer's focus to seek Yeshua's Ruach Hakodesh in them. Our walk is not about religion but relationship. On many occasions I have had my own opportunities to share my faith with Jewish and Christian people. Maturity dictates love first, prayer second, letting the conviction and work of G-d move on them.

  -- Dr Juster replies: Yes, your approach is the right one.

15:09 05Jan10 anonymous -
I really don't know why The Israel friendly church does not want to have Messianic Jews present. I can only guess. Maybe they want to show Israel as a nation that the church wants to undo what was done in earlier times to the Jews and also as a witness to their faith. And they do not want to stir up controversy and anger the orthodox Jews, by inviting Messianic Jews who are like unbelievers to the orthodoxy. It really is a little hypocritical in a way on the side of the Israeli Jews, and cowardly and dishonouring on the side of the church.
It is like persecuting Messianic Jews all over again for being believers. I do not believe that the Lord can be pleased with this attitude. Why do some of the Messianic leaders not write to the leaders of the church like John Haggee, Billy Graham's son and Yonngi Cho of South Korea, and tell them how they feel about this and ask them if they feel that the church is doing the right thing before the Lord in this matter.

16:24 05Jan10 Phil Guse -
A question occured to me while reading this article: Why are Jews,who are disciples of Jesus, refered to as Messianic Jews and not as Christian Jews?

  -- Webmaster replies: Partly because of the extremely negative overtones this arouses within the mainstream Jewish community and partly because of the vision: the Christian Jewish or Hebrew Christian vision is mainly constructed around church life and with Jewish believers becoming a part of and therefore assimilating into church; the Messianic Jewish vision sees Jewish believers as a part of Judaism and remaining strong in their Jewish identity, a part of the mainstream Jewish community where possible and certainly retaining much of normative Jewish lifestyle and lifecycle practice.

16:34 05Jan10 Terry -
We are followers of Yeshua and must drop the partisan titles. Even the title "Christian" is also divisory. Why not just a follower of Jesus.

  -- Dr Juster replies: I think when we communicate we have to look at terms in our culture that are best used to communicate. This is not an easy choice. Someone suggested Yeshua/disciple. However this is a bit awkward.

17:02 05Jan10 Erik Ronneberg -
Perhaps a wife should be happy that her husband loves women in general but not her personally when her husband is having an affair with his secretary at work and is rarely at home with his wife. Some Christians are having a great love affair with unbelieving Jews, worldly Jews, while neglecting their brothers in the Spirit, not loving the bride of Christ. I hope their heart changes, pray the counsel of James will touch them, "You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is emity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4.
I know rejection is common, I believe as we weep as Hannah wept then a miracle will happen, Samuel will be born. We are being treated as a Joseph, not loved by our brothers, so we have to show mercy and forgive. YES, trust the Lord for finances, be content with the blessing of poverty and dependency on Jesus alone. (Sorry these brief comments cannot express all I feel about this)

17:18 05Jan10 Beverly Gibson -
I am so sorry. My husband and I strive to educate the Christians that He brings across our paths about Messianic Jews and most in our area have honestly never understood nor been told what that means. Once they are told, most have responded favorably with understanding and a desire to support. As Yeshua desires relationship, it is through relationship that we are trying to change how Jewish believers are viewed ... and prayer lives are changed also.

  -- Dr Juster replies: This is very good. May your influence expand!

21:55 05Jan10 Dore -
As I read this note, I remembered the times I've watched TV evangelists and Christian Zionists who are openly supporting Israel, just as you said. However, their "support" is to build hospital wings, support of a settler community, plant trees and olive groves to give Israelis a means of making money, etc., etc. All of these reasons for support are great, but what about supporting financially the spread of the gospel in these last days?! Living in Israel isn't the easiest or least expensive place to live in this world today; but, because Messianic Jews feel that G-d has called us to Eretz Israel and to Am Israel, we must come and stay. It would be fantastic if some of these TV evangelists would choose to send financial support to be distributed to help Messianic Jews living in Israel, but we must remember that G-d is our source ... He will provide even if He has to wake up some of those TV evangelists and Christian Zionist leaders in the middle of the night and tell them what they should be doing. He will provide and make a way for us to stay in the Land even when there is no visible way to do so. It hurts to be neglected, but we must remember we are chosen by Yeshua and have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this! Take heart and trust in G-d!!

  -- Dr Juster replies: Yes, these are my sentiments as well.

01:49 06Jan10 Rita -
This is very heartbreaking! I would most certainly think that a Messianic Jew is more in Christ than most so called Christians!

02:18 06Jan10 Sue -
It really grieves me that Christians are so insensitive to the Messianics when "Yes, they should be the First priority". There are so many mixed up people and they do great harm. Tell that Leader's wife that there are many of us that know the difference and love her and all of you. As Yeshua said, If they hated me they will hate you (my paraphase)

  -- Dr Juster replies: A good comment. I agree.

05:18 06Jan10 Bruce Alan Niles -
I guess I just don't get it. A commandment Yeshua gave us is to love one another. Love is not a feeling, love is what you do. The only way more people will accept Christians, zionest or not, is through the love we show. That holds true for other religions also. Exclude Messianics? Absolutely not.

06:01 06Jan09 Ruth -
I call myself a Christian Zionist and would like to take this opportunity to repent of any hurt caused to Messianic Jews - my brothers and sisters - by others who call themselves Christian Zionists, and ask forgiveness. I hope that I have not in the past nor do not in the future cause such hurt. I am ready to stand with you in times of persecution and to live up to my namesake.

  -- Dr Juster replies: Of course we forgive, and look to great fruit together.

08:33 06Jan10 Bev Schneider -
Yes, living in the USA once again, I find it heartbreaking to see how many religious and secular Jews USE the Christians Zionists for their benefit. In one way, I rejoice of their support for Israel. In another way, I personally know the struggle of the Messianic community in Israel and have to protect my heart against resentment. In my many years of walking with the Lord I have learned that God truly is our provider, not man. Bottom line in whatever it is that we are going through, God is asking us, "Do you TRUST Me?" He wants INTIMACY with us and to have that we must remove all obstacles to that intimacy with Him. Resentment or wounds will block that intimacy with Him. He wants to heal us of all wounds so we can hear Him clearly in those intimate, quiet times with Him. Learning to trust Him alone, because we KNOW His great love toward us in a personal way. No matter where we are in this world, He will supply all our needs.

11:32 06Jan09 Daniel Buffenmeyer -
I am impressed to see a position of humility in the writing. Some Messianic Jews that I have known have tried to force their way to the front to become first among all of the believers. However, Yeshua taught the opposite. "The least of you will be the greatest." Yeshua himself lived his entire life at "the back of the bus."
This will not always be the case, however. One day the law will go forth from Zion. Personally, I would like to see more of that in our own times, but I suppose we must be patient and allow the Lord to do the work according to his schedule. Humility is always the best posture.

15:23 06Jan10 Carol -
As a supporter of Messianic Jews since the 70's, I was surprised to read of the prejudice toward them from some in the Christian community. I do believe, however, that the church is entering a time of shaking that will lead to a casting off of ignorant traditions and presumptions that have been a part of Christian culture for centuries. As another commenter pointed out, some of us are not even aware that these attitudes exist. As articles like this become more prevalent, they will help to educate all believers and bring the Body of Christ into the maturity she is surely destined for. God is at work in His beloved bride!

23:55 06Jan10 Doug Inghram -
There were all types of Zionists long before the Messanic Movement, William Blackstone being one, who have made signifiant contributions to Israel. There is no question that a great shift has taken place which is involving more Messanic Believers and the trend will grow. Be thankful for those who have paved the way. Now it is time to do your part as God leads & let yourself be subject to criticism as we all are in a fallen imperfect world.

11:43 07Jan10 anonymous -
For over 25 years our organization has poured thousands upon thousands of dollars in to Israel helping both the settlers and the Messianic Jews, our brothers and sisters in the faith. However, the Lord has re-directed our giving in the last few years and most all that we give is to help the Messianic Jews. We have also dis-associated our ministry from those in Christian leadership positions who will not include our Messianic brothers and sisters. You see, we are not working to make a name for ourselves or to be recognized by those in high positions. We would rather offend them, then offend a Holy God by slighting and or refusing to help those who are Jewish and bear the Name of Yeshua. We seek to please the Lord and not man. Abba takes care of His own today just as He did in the New Testament. Whenever Paul was traveling to Jerusalem, he carried gifts to the Believers in the Land just as we are told to do today. God has richly blessed us for allowing Him to direct all of our giving.

20:52 11Jan09 Annie Klein -
I am excited to know that our God is sovereign, His purpose to reveal Himself through the love of His people toward others cannot be thwarted, and it is precisely through knowing His love for ourselves that brings peace, joy and the ability to embrace without judgment. Trusting Him is the bottom line. Obeying His command to "love one another as I have loved you" and to forgive as we are forgiven are impossible commands without trust. And, in my experience, trust is strengthened when we run into His arms at the slightest recognition of emotional distress and stay there until our spirits are quiet. This healing/purifying work of the Spirit is hard, but in all situations, His grace is sufficient. Our God reigns!

17:46 13Jan10 Lynda Nedrow -
My friends were shocked when I told them that many of the Zionist organizations seeking to raise money for Israel are giving it to groups that not only aren't saved, but often actively persecute Messianic Jews. God help us as we learn to pray and give with more wisdom.

04:50 14Jan10 Kaytee -
This is helpful for any hurt and offense. We need to go to the cross for healing as Matt24 says "hearts grow cold"; we will keep our hearts warm and soft in His love for others.

09:32 07Feb10 Elizabeth -
Excellent ... thank you so much for speaking into this matter ... I have only felt in my heart something was amiss without knowing exactly what it is. You spoke out of a humble heart, which convinces me you have much wisdom in this matter. We should give to the household of faith first; our hearts are full of love for Israel and the people and we long to see the Jewish people become one with Yesuha! We pray for the body of Christ to wake up on this matter.

12:56 07Feb10 Dr Richard G Hanner -
This is a fabulous portayal of Gospel Centered approach to "leading through troubled waters". Dr Juster demonstrates continued wisdom by addressing the challenges and bringing to bear the Cross as the means of Christ Centerd life in controversy. Having had the opportunity to enjoy table fellowship while serving as a professor at CFNI and leading an inner city church that delighted in financially supporting Dan and Patti's Kingdom endeavours, I now yearn for that opportunity to be afforded again.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Marty Shoub: Two Cases, Not to be Dismissed
Avi: An African Israeli in Kenya
Holly Wallace: Embracing the Challenge
T.R.: The Intervention of Heaven