Pleased to Crush
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
A profound statement of Scripture is found in the prophecy of Messiah as suffering servant:
"And it pleased YHVH to crush him." (Isaiah 53:10)
The root word here for "crush" is and is the same as "bruise" in:
"And he was pierced for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities." (Isaiah 53:5)
How could it be the will of God to crush or bruise the soul of His righteous servant?
The Messiah's soul was to be made a "guilt offering" (verse 10) and be "poured out to death" (v. 12). He suffered anguish in the process of redeeming us of our sins.
His pure soul had to absorb and feel the negativity, betrayal and hatred of our sins. The crushing and pain of His soul enabled our souls to be forgiven and purified. He allowed His soul to be crushed. His emotions were crushed because of us. His feelings were bruised because of His contact with us.
This "crushing" of the soul and becoming a "guilt offering" is a mystery. The "crushing" of a righteous person has redeeming influence. Yet when one is crushed, there is nothing to do but be crushed. It makes no sense. It is unfathomable.
Yeshua had to trust His heavenly Father while He was being crushed. He had to believe that His suffering would do good for others. We see this phenomenon in great heroes of the faith: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter, Paul, John and many others.
A crushed soul is free from pride and lust. A crushed soul seems to be totally ineffective. Yet God can work through a crushed soul as the person holds on to his faith and love.
It is encouraging here to know that the Lord is "pleased". God is not sadistic. If He is pleased, it means that He knows that much greater good will be the result. It is a comfort to know that the Lord can be pleased with us even at the time when everything seems wrong and all we can feel is pain. We can trust God that somehow a greater good will come out of what we are going through.
If God is pleased to crush us, then we can be pleased to be crushed. In this way we are becoming "conformed to the image of" Yeshua in the process.
Pleased to Crush
by , ,
At our recent Israel Chinese Destiny Conference (co-sponsored by Maoz and Revive Israel), we had the honor of meeting Zhang Fuheng, one of the five "fathers" of the underground church in China. Here are some excerpts of his sharing:
Part One - Testimony
In 1979 I became quite ill and could not move except for my mouth. I daily cursed my own birthday and considered suicide.
There were very few Christians in China at this time. One Christian man who lived in a village at some distance, had his twin daughters taken away from him and sold into servitude. When he came searching for his daughters (but did not find them), he heard about my illness and came to share the "good news" about salvation with me. At that time I received new hope in my heart.
I began to pray to be healed. I prayed day and night for a week. Nothing seemed to happen. One morning I woke and saw the blanket was on the floor and realized I must have moved. I sat up, got out of bed and went downstairs. Everyone was shocked. Everyone in the house received the Lord.
The next week we opened the house to tell people about what happened. Two hundred people showed up including Christians from the surrounding villages. Of that group, sixty people from our village received the Lord, and a house church was started overnight in our home.
We had no Bibles at all. Someone from another village lent me his "Bible" for one month. It was only part of the New Testament. Before I returned it, I copied the Scriptures that had been given to me, by hand.
(Just recently, 40 years later, the two daughters of the man who first shared the gospel with me were located, and their family reunited.)
Part Two - House Churches
In 1949 Mao had ordered all foreign missionaries and businessmen to leave the country. Local Christian leaders were jailed. 1949 to 1979 was a dark period with much suffering. People wept and prayed. In 1979 the new Chairman Deng Xiaoping started the "Open Door Policy" allowing some foreign business to return.
At that time there were two types of churches: those registered with the government (the "three self" churches), and those unregistered, mostly in the villages. We in the villages could not relate to the registered churches. Their structure seemed foreign and Western to us, and unbiblical. We did not know what to do; so we just started reading the book of Acts. There we found all the answers. We felt the new house church movement was restoring the original apostolic tradition.
(In recent years there has been much reconciliation between the registered and unregistered churches.)
We believed in Acts 1:8 to receive power and be witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. We had spiritual fire, healings and deliverance from demons. I traveled to many villages, sharing my testimony. Within 7 years, I started 200 churches with some 30,000 members.
In 1983 came a new wave of intense persecution. I could not live in my home village for 5 years and was only occasionally able to sneak in at night to visit. The elder Chinese believers were scattered and persecuted. Suffering became so much a part of their lives, that some of the younger Christians who had not yet gone to jail began to pray, "God, why have I not gone to jail? Have I sinned? Is there something wrong?"
Christian leaders in the villages were beaten, shot or hanged; many were jailed repeatedly; women were stripped. My wife used to say of me, "My husband has the spiritual gift of being jailed." Most of the pastors had no Bible or theological training.
As the gospel spread in the wake of the persecution surrounding the death of Stephen the first martyr (Acts 8:1), so did it with us. In 1979 there were 700 thousand Christians in China. Now our house church movement has grown to 70 million believers! That's 100 fold growth.
Part Three - Back to Jerusalem
The Chinese church is the largest in the world; the Israeli Messianic remnant is the smallest. Yet we see you as our "elder brother". The original apostles were the root which budded forth all the branches. We have come back to you. We are not "without hope" because we are one in the family of Jesus.
Why did the Jews suffer so much in history? You are a miracle. The restoration of Israel is an act of God; and so is the restoration of the Messianic remnant. Many Chinese tourists come to Israel and when they see what has happened, they become believers in Jesus.
There was an early revival in China in the 1920's. Those early Christians had a vision to bring the gospel "back" from the ends of the earth (China) to Israel. They dedicated themselves to this "back to Jerusalem" movement. They felt they had received eternal life from the Jews and wanted to return to them the same grace.
So a large group of them started out on foot to walk toward Jerusalem, but the western border of China was already closed after the Communist revolution of 1917. Since they could not leave, they set up a community in Xin Jiang Province near the border.
These young Christians prayed for decades with this vision. They grew older. When our pastors received the same vision, we traveled out to see them. Many had died. We told the elders who met us, "Take heart. We will go to Arabia and to Jerusalem." They wept and hugged us saying, "Now, Lord, Your servants may depart."
The Chinese Church loves Jesus, loves Israel and loves the Arabs. Today we are here, hugging you. Just as the Sun rises in the East and moves west toward Israel, so will this revival return to Jerusalem.
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