Friday, March 4, 2011

The Two "Messianic" Movements in Israel

Here is an enlightening view of how secular Israelis think: Decline and fall of Israel’s Messianic politics by Carlo Strenger in his Haaretz column March 4, 2011.

First thing you need to know is that he is not talking about Israeli believers in Yeshua when he speaks of "messianic" Israelis. He is referring to the religious right zealots who are not only persecuting our spiritual family, Israeli believers in Israel, but also leading the rebellion against the Israeli government in nationalistic settler movements.

This is why, when I wrote the article about the attempted murder of the Ortiz family by a religious-nationalist settler, Jack Teitel, I was critical of Mike Huckabee going on junkets into Israel paid for by the far right religious settlers. Huckabee didn't know there was a problem, and frankly that is a problem.

(See Huckabee Hobnobs with Hilltop Youth at Moskowitz’ Shepherd Hotel, scroll down in Part 3 of the Expose' article.)

John Hagee also. Hagee gives to organizations that are doing good works among Israelis, but the problem is that some of those organizations are also actively waging against the Israeli Body of Messiah.

For instance, in 2011 Hagee gave to a synagogue in northern Israel whose chief rabbi personally looked the local Messianic pastor in the eye and "told me clearly that he will do all he can to persecute me at every opportunity."

John Hagee should not be funding any rabbi or Israeli organization that says such things to the believers, and the ONLY way he can avoid doing so is to QUIT IGNORING the believers in Israel and start relying on them to help him navigate unknown waters. Will his pride of relationship with Israel let him do that? I have seen many big names go the same route - connecting with unsaved Israel while ignoring the existence of saved Israel - and each time they eventually fell, and fell hard.

We cannot dishonor the House of the Lord in a nation - even if it is Israel - and think that God will not correct the situation. The phrase, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" comes to mind. There is a spiritual protocol that some seem to think is exempted when it comes to Israel. Not so.

In Decline and fall of Israel’s Messianic politics, Strenger conveys how secular Israelis see the harm that is being done to Israel by the religious-nationalists:

There is not much difference in the radicalism of the extreme religious-nationalists Israelis and the Taliban. They both think they have a right to force their version of God on everyone else, and that everyone else is just a heathen/infidel whose life and opinion don't really matter. God offers every human being a choice, but extreme religious sects believe they have a right to force their beliefs.

Both extremes of Judaism and of Islam also manipulate Christian supporters - and this is so ironic. At the polar ends of belief about Israel among Christians there is a vulnerability to being manipulated by extremist sects of Judaism and extremists sects of Islam.

The Islamists manipulate Christians who do not have a revelation of God's continued purposes with Israel by portraying Israel as Goliath and the Palestinians as little David.

The extreme religious-nationalist Jews exploit the lack of understanding among Israel-supporting Christians about how His purposes in Israel are being fulfilled by His Body within Israel. The connection between the Church and Israel is supposed to be taking place between saved Christians and saved Jews. The stream of donations (and all forms of support) flowing from the U.S. and other nations into Israel is almost completely by-passing the BODY of the LORD in Israel.

Find your way back to balance Christians!

You need to understand that when the rabbis and anti-missionary group, Yad L'Achim met last week surrounding the Messianic congregation in Ashdod, the things they said amounted to declaring "Hunting Season Open" on Israel's Jewish believers in Yeshua.

Quoting an eye witness report: "The chief rabbi of Ashdod said that the Messianic Jews are like Hitler (no less) as a crowd of one thousand (the paper said) ultra-orthodox religious zealots flocked around the facility of a local Messianic congregation, yelling accusations of missionary activities there."

Newspapers reported: Chief Rabbi of Ashdod compares the Messianic Jews to Hitler The Messianic Jews are often accused of being worse than Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to Israel's demise.

A flier distributed in Ashdod to call people to the demonstrations read: "the goal of the Messianics is clear, they want to convert all of us Jews to Christianity and not leave any trace of the Jewish people. The Arabs want our Land, and they want our souls."

In the demonstration the Rabbi said, "The missionaries want a final solution to the Jews, in the name of the same cursed name that created Christianity (he meant Jesus). That is what Hitler wanted. We are sending out the cry: "Who is for God, come to me (he was quoting Exodus 32:26)."

Just to refresh your memory, verse 36 is Moses calling for people to come to his side and away from the worship of the golden calves, and then verse 37 is Moses telling them to take out their swords and begin to slay all the ones who did not respond to that call.

You can say you are non-violent all you want to, but if you say things like that you are inciting violence against the Messianic believers!

Let's get serious. If you are citing this verse, you are just calling for your followers to carry out the next verse in a way that doesn't come back to you and in a way where you don't get caught. This wink-wink-nod-nod game has been going on for a long time. It even was the defense that overturned the lawsuit brought by the Beer Sheva Messianic congregation when Yad L'Achim and Rabbi Deri sent a mob to disrupt the services several years ago.

This is also exactly what the case is with Jack Teitel, who has admitted that he worked with and took orders from Yad L'Achim. This is why they would rather say he is mentally unfit to stand trial, so the truth will never enter the public realm.

There is a growing Talibanesque religious zealotry growing in Israel. The secular writer of the article that prompted these posts from me only gets a fraction of how this will develop out. But there is no reason for Christians not to see these things clearly and begin to do the right thing - and to refrain from aiding and abetting those who target our spiritual brothers - Messianic Jews who follow Jesus - in Israel. This really has to stop.

In Israel there are two ways of understanding "Messianics". The first way is speaking of these extreme religious-nationalists who believe that no matter how many nations come against Israel, they are going to be the last men standing and then the Messianic age of Israel will begin. That is why they have no regard for how many Israelis might lose their lives if they are ever successful in blowing up the al-aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. They regard the sinful Israelis as no more valuable than the Arabs they are fighting to remove from Israel.

If you read the book of Acts, you see exactly the roots of the anti-missionary persecution of Israel believers.

The second understanding of "Messianic" in Israel are the believers in Yeshua/Jesus. Galatians 4:29 says it all, "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."

Now we believe that MANY of those who are now enemies of the gospel in Israel are going to be saved
- just exactly like the apostle Paul was. He referred to himself as a premature birth - one born out of due time. He came early. I believe he knew by the Spirit that those who held views like him - those who "breathed out threats" against the believers as he did - were also going to be knocked off their high horse and see the blinding light of Yeshua when it happened.

Mostly the Israeli Messianic community does not talk clearly their religious persecutors. They do not share the extent of what goes on in because they are not sure the Christian community is able to hear the truth yet without losing a heart for the salvation of those same religious persecutors. They are afraid that we will not have the same heart for their brethren of the flesh that they do. It is a position that only mature, Christlike believers can honestly adopt because it taxes us greatly to love our enemies. To pray for and bless those that persecute us.

Are we spiritually mature enough? I know I have my challenges with it because I am straddling between trying to make known the true situation our believing brothers in Israel face, which means not pulling any punches about the serious threats against them, and making sure I convey at the same time that our hope is for the salvation of the persecutors.

But if we're still in the grips of denial about how the religious Jews are treating our spiritual family in Israel, and we seem to want to remain there, then I don't think we really are spiritually mature enough.

My prayer is that we want to hear the truth of the matter and to prove we are ready to stand in defense of our spiritual brothers, without hardening into hatred of their persecutors.

The day will come.