Response to the God TV dilemma
I am deeply concerned about some of the responses regarding the recent God TV dilemma. Did the God TV brother express himself in a way that is insensitive to this whole issue? Perhaps so, but please do not let this drive any of us away from our covenant Jewish brothers and sisters in the Messiah. Imagine yourself back in the times when the New Covenant scriptures were written. Can you imagine coming against Peter or Paul who were aggressively active in bringing the gospel of Yeshua to the Jewish people?
Do we want to face eternity not having prayed for and worked toward the time when, as Hosea 3:4-5 tells us, “they (the Jewish people) will return trembling to the Lord and to His blessing in the last days?” Surely we do not want to find ourselves on the wrong side of this issue when the Jewish people begin turning en masse to their Messiah, as Isaiah 6:8-13, Ezekiel 36:24-26, Romans 11:26 all indicate! Paul was speaking of his own kinsmen when he said, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” And Paul expected the return of the Jewish people to bring “greater riches” to the whole world, like “life from the dead (Romans 11:12,15).
I wholeheartedly agree that we must be sensitive to the inexpressibly wicked things that so-called “Christians” have committed against the Jewish people. As a member of the “Toward Jerusalem Council II,” I roamed the earth with a group of fellow Jewish and Gentile believers a few years back, all through Spain, including the room where Ferdinand and Isabella signed the godless decrees against God’s host people, to Rome, to Nicea, to the concentration camps of Poland and Germany, taking upon ourselves the sins of “our” people as Daniel and Ezra and Nehemiah did in the past, asking for God’s mercy and wisdom as we walk in repentance and wisdom, but also praying for the redemption of Israel.
I wholeheartedly agree, as one of you recently said, that we are called to “unconditionally loving, serving and defending them (the Jewish people) and their rights to their God-given, ancestral homeland.”
I wholeheartedly agree that we must work faithfully to turn the tide of anti-Semitism that still is rampant in the world.
But does this include an unwillingness to tell our beloved fellow Jews about their own Messiah whom we now serve? Or are we really serving their Messiah if we refuse to speak to them about Him?
Sensitivity, yes, but if Yeshua is indeed the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the prophets who gave us the Tanakh, then we cannot cease to pray for and desire that they come to that revelation.
How is it possible to say, as another one of you posted, “The idea of bringing the “Gospel to the Jews” in their own language is actually an all-out assault against the Jew’s God-given identity?” An assault!? How is that an assault? Was it an assault to your identity to have the gospel brought to you in your own language? Have some of us drifted so far from Scripture, that we no longer believe the Jewish people need their own Messiah? Do we not remember Paul’s passionate cry: “I could wish myself were cursed and cut off from [Messiah] for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel… My heart’s desire and prayer to god for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 9:1; 10:1)? Do you feel that way?
We are not talking about “converting” the Jewish people. The Messianic brothers and sisters I walk with have not “converted.” They are still Jews, reading the Torah, believing the Tanakh, worshiping their own Messiah. They have not converted to Christianity. They have not joined another religion. Rather as Paul so ably tells his Roman hearers, we Gentiles are the ones who have “been grafted among the others and now share in the nourishing sap of the olive tree,” rather than their being grafted into a Gentile “Christian” tree. We are the former pagans who now believe in and serve the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Jewish people.
No, we are not sent to “proselytize” the Jewish people into becoming Christians. Yes, through the centuries when the church was persecuting Jewish people so horribly, any Jewish person who came to faith in Jesus and needed fellowship, had no alternative but to become a part of the church, since both the Jewish community and the Christian community no longer considered that person to be Jewish. How absurd! As though a Japanese believer is no longer Japanese! Thankfully, since the Jesus Movement that has changed.
A few years ago, Charisma Magazine interviewed many of the Messianic leaders in Israel and highlighted their stories in one of their issues. Unfortunately the Charisma editors did not at that time understand this whole sensitivity and heralded their stories on the front page of the magazine by announcing: “These brave Christians are sharing the love of Jesus in Israel.” I was appalled when I saw it, since I knew that these Jewish believers would never have called themselves “Christians.” One of my Messianic Jewish brothers in the Land immediately wrote Charisma a response, which was gratefully included in a later issue. His response was entitled: “I Love Jesus, But Don’t Call Me Christian.”
One of you said: “Many of them (Messianic believers) have been influenced by replacement theology,” and are now “replacing the Jewish people with Christians, Jerusalem with Rome, and the Torah with Christian traditions.” I challenge any of you to name one Messianic leader, who believes “replacement theology” – that the church has replaced Israel. This is absolutely untrue.
Another accusation that one of you mentioned is that someone is trying “to prove Jewish persecution of Christians?” I have no idea to what or to whom that refers. I know of no case where Jewish people are persecuting Gentile Christians. But if you are speaking of some Hasidic Jews persecuting Messianic Jewish believers, I can tell you about multiple cases: a firebomb in a Messianic synagogue, then later tires being slashed during a Shabbat assembly at a congregation north of Haifa, a bomb placed outside a believing family’s house at Purim that exploded in the face of their 16 year old son who had to have multiple surgeries to survive, extreme harassment repeatedly, lining the entrance to the meeting place in Ashdod, sometimes spiting on the believers entering the meeting place, and much more. But in every case, my Messianic brothers and sisters are committed to loving, forgiving and praying for their persecutors. But how does this fit with your commitment to Jewish non-believers, yet turning against the Jewish believers who are being persecuted.
Yes, our God TV brother may have been insensitive in the way in which he expressed himself, but my highly esteemed brothers and sisters, please do not hold your relationship to non-believing-in-Yeshua Jewish rabbis and government officials higher than your relationship to Jesus and to the Jewish people who have received Jesus as their Messiah.
And in your relationship to your Jewish friends, remember the admonition of our brother Peter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in [Messiah] may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:15-17). Are you prepared to give them a reason for your faith in Jesus?
If you do this carefully and kindly, I guarantee you that the Jewish people will still respect you. I know this is true because of my relationship to the Jewish community in Nashville. I was asked several years ago to be on a panel discussion at the Temple on “Was Jesus the Messiah?” I referenced Isaiah 53 and kindly declared my faith that He is indeed the Messiah of both Jews and Gentiles, but assured them that if they never agree with me, that I am committed to standing with them and loving them. They did not agree, but I am still an honored guest when I visit the Jewish community.
I remember what a very prominent not-yet-in-Jesus-believing rabbi from New York said to me, “I tell my evangelical friends that if they compromise their faith in order to be my friend, I don’t trust them. What else will they compromise in order to be loved?”
May God grant wisdom to us all!
Yours for the King and for the Kingdom!
What about those blood moons?
(with a correction regarding the meaning of a lunar eclipse)
Monday evening, April 14, 2014, is the beginning of Passover, this year, the 14th of Nisan on the biblical calendar, and the first of four consecutive blood moons on biblical feast days.
A “blood moon” occurs when there is a total lunar eclipse – the earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, the sun’s rays shine around the earth on to the moon, often turning the moon into a red hue. A total lunar eclipse can only occur with a full moon.
The potential importance of blood moons finds its origin in Genesis 1:14, God said that he had put the sun and moon in the sky “as signs to mark seasons and days and years. Later Joel prophesied and Peter affirmed, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:30-31 & Acts 2:20). Four blood moons (lunar eclipses) and two solar eclipses will take place during this year and next – all on significant biblical holidays.
On the 14th of Nisan this year (Passover, April 15 – biblical days always beginning the night before) the first blood moon will occur, the second on the 15th of Tishri (Tabernacles, October 9, 2014) of this year. Next year will bring precisely the same occurrence. A blood moon will take place on Passover, Nisan 14 (April 4, 2015) and again on the first day of Tabernacles (Tishri 15, September 28, 2015).
The last time four blood moons occurred on these feast days in two consecutive years was in 1967/1968 during the time of the Six Day War when Israel took possession of Jerusalem for the first time in many centuries.
The prior occurrence of four blood moons in consecutive years on these two feast days was in 1948/49 during the time of Israel’s War of Independence.
Before that time, we have to go back in history to 1493, the season of the Inquisition when the King and Queen of Spain were confiscating Jewish wealth, exiling or murdering Jewish people.
In the midst of these four total lunar eclipses are two solar eclipses to take place on the first day of the biblical calendar, Nisan 1 (March 21, 2015) next year, and on the first day of the civic year, Tishri 1 (September 13, 2015) next year.
Nisan 14, April 15, 2014 – Passover – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Tishri 15, October 9, 2014 – Tabernacles – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Nisan 1 – March 21, 2015 – beginning of the year – solar eclipse
Nisan 14, April 4, 2015 – Passover – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Tishri 1 – September 13, 2015 – Feast of Trumpets – solar eclipse
Tishri 15 – September 28, 2015 – Tabernacles – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
(Remember biblical days begin the evening before)
What does all this mean? Is this God’s proclamation that something extraordinary is going to occur during or just prior to the multiplicity of eclipses? It would seem so, since that is what has happened in the past. Does this mean war in Israel and the Middle East? If so, will the outcome be good, as in the 1948 and 1967 conflicts? Or is greater hardship indicated as in 1493? We cannot know.
Some suggest this could mean the rapture of the church prior to the great tribulation, but I find no biblical proof that we escape tribulation, and Paul tells us that the antichrist will precede Jesus’ return? Do we escape the wrath of God? Yes (See Romans 5:9), but we are continually warned to prepare for hard times, (See, for example, John 16:33 and Acts 14:22, both of which use the Greek word sometimes translated “tribulation”).
So what are we to do? Keep walking strong, pray for victory for all of God’s people, and that millions will come into the kingdom both from Israel and the Jewish people, as well as the nations. Surrender to Jesus! Listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit! Worship! Share the good news! Be prepared to stand strong whatever may come. We have the assurance that in the end all is well.
REMEMBER THIS DAY!
(Passover, the 14th of Nisan, beginning this year at sundown, April 14, 2014)
“Remember this day.” (Moses to Israel, Exodus 13:3)
“Do this in remembrance of me.” (Jesus to His disciples, Luke 22:19)
Passover is one of “the Lord’s appointed feasts” (Leviticus 23:4) for all of God’s children, feasts that still have profound prophetic implications for us. Before you begin the meal, go outside and look at the full moon. The 14th day of the biblical month of Nisan (also called “Aviv”), is always a full moon, always a light in the sky. This Passover is the first of four consecutive “blood moons” on Passover and Tabernacles during this year and next.
Some may want to enjoy the “Seder” (meaning “order) with a “Haggadah” (meaning “the telling”), but Scripture, remembrance, and freedom in the Spirit are more important than style. This day is the most important anniversary date on God’s calendar, a remembering of Israel’s release from centuries of slavery, but also the anniversary of the Lamb of God, Yeshua’s execution – followed three days later by His resurrection.
Begin with the “woman of the house” reciting the following prayer as candles are lighted.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Kings of the universe,
Who has delivered us from slavery and brought us into freedom through the Lamb of God,
Jesus/Yeshua, the Light of the world. We honor You, O God, in the lighting of these festive candles. Amen
Read aloud or tell the story of Passover night from Exodus 12. (Abbreviated version – 12:1-14, 21-42)
Read or tell the story of Jesus as reflected in John 1:29; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26
Like the annual Passover lambs, Yeshua was chosen on the 10th day of Nisan, examined for four days to be sure He was flawless. Pilate had the last word: “I have examined him… and have found no basis for your charges” (Luke 23:14). In other words, “He is a Perfect Lamb, ready to be killed.”
On traditional Passover tables: a lamb bone (you may want to serve lamb), “bitter herbs” (horse radish, also parsley to be dipped in salt water to remember the tears and suffering), “charoset” (a mixture of apples, nuts, & sweet wine) to remind us of sweetness & hope even in the midst of suffering, unleavened bread and wine.
Take the wine! Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the vine! And
who took the Passover wine and said, “This is my blood of the new covenant.”
(In the traditional celebration, there are four cups: 1) sanctification-cleansing, often accompanied by a ceremonial washing of the hands; 2) suffering-slavery/plagues; 3) redemption-freedom 4) praise-restoration. We may want to remember all four as we take the wine.)
Take the bread! Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brought forth bread from the earth
and from heaven (There are traditionally three “Matzah,” the center Matzah broken and hidden to be discovered at the end of the meal – for believers this tradition points to Jesus, who was broken, hidden and revealed)
Eat together! Enjoy the meal! Remember! Rejoice!
During the meal, lead conversations about
our own deliverance from slavery and bondage into the joy and freedom in Messiah
what it means to be “saved by the blood” of the Lamb, passed over by death
anything else the Holy Spirit stirs in you as you share the evening together
Some time during the evening read: “Remember This Day” (below)
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.”
“Remember this day!”
Passover – 14th Nisan
On this day, 3500 years ago, lambs were slaughtered throughout Goshen in Egypt.
Hyssop brushes stroked Jewish doorposts with lamb’s blood.
The children of Israel met quietly,
sequestered behind their bloodstained doors,
waiting to be delivered from 400 years of slavery.
On this night, 3500 years ago, the Lord went through the land looking for blood on doorposts.
There was a great deliverance, a pass-over.
Firstborn sons were slain in houses where there was no blood.
Wailing and mourning was heard when judgment came in Egypt.
On this night, 3500 years ago, freedom was proclaimed in Israel.
Firstborn sons of believing Israel were spared through the blood of the lamb.
The lamb’s blood painted on doorposts brought freedom.
The wealth of Egypt became the wealth of Israel.
Shouts of joy were heard as Moses led Israel out of Egypt.
On this night 3500 yeas ago, the exodus from Egypt came suddenly.
For 3500 years believers in God have remembered this night.
On this day, 2000 years ago, another Lamb was slain.
Human hearts were stroked with Lamb’s blood and freed from centuries of slavery.
On this day, 2000 years ago, the Lord began to look for Lamb’s blood on doorposts of hearts.
There was a great deliverance—a passing over.
On this day, 2000 years ago, wealth was restored to the sons of Adam,
Another Moses led another Israel out of another Egypt.
On this day, 2000 years ago, Lamb’s blood on the doorposts of hearts brought freedom.
Today…Lamb’s blood is still found on human hearts.
Deliverance is found behind a blood-stained door.
If the doorpost of your heart is stained with Lamb’s blood, have a glorious Passover season.
If not, grab quickly the hyssop and look for the Lamb’s blood.
The exodus will come suddenly and we will be ushered into a whole new glorious future.
The slain Lamb has risen and will return as King of kings and Lord of lords!
Have you read Ezekiel 37 lately?
I just prayed my way through it.
Oh, yes, there is a hint of the fulfillment when Judah returned from Babylon, but there was much more. Ezekiel speaks of a time when the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) and the southern kingdom of Judah, based in Jerusalem, will become one.
That promise is happening through the return of the Jewish people from the nations – without regard for whether they were from the northern tribes or from the southern kingdom.
But Ezekiel gave another promise. The breath (that’s the Spirit) of God will be blown into the regathered Israel. If He can perform the miracle of bringing the Jewish nation together again after centuries of being dead, then He can perform the miracle of breathing His Spirit into Israel!
I read through the chapter and then put my hand on the book and looked up to God. “Remember what You said? I’m standing here, along with thousands of intercessors all over the world, watching to see when and how You will do this.
I trust You to fulfill Your Word!