DOMINION – 19 Apr 2011

Today is Passover in Israel.  Most Jewish people around the world remember that YHVH delivered His people Israel out of slavery in Egypt to bring them liberty to serve Him in the promised Land of Canaan. 

Beyond that, though, YHVH demonstrated by His great power that He alone is the one true God.  He defeated all the gods of Egypt, and showed Pharoah and the people that none of their so-called gods can compare with YEHOVAH, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, and the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people out from the nations!  Jesus Christ has been given all authority by the Father — by virtue of His crucifixion and resurrection from among the dead — of things in Heaven, things on the Earth, things under the Earth and in the seas.  Jesus Christ is LORD!  The Lamb of God is risen indeed!

History has a way of repeating itself, perhaps with different clothing but with the same inner essence.  There is nothing new under the sun.  As the Jewish people at the time of Yeshua’s first coming wanted the Messiah to give them dominion now over their enemies and the nations, so too do many Christians today, as the day of Christ’s return nears, want Him to grant them the kingdom now as if His coming is either delayed or irrelevant.  Even those closest to Jesus, such as Judas Ishcariot, one of the apostles, seemed to be motivated in his betrayal by the desire to rule on his own terms what he clearly undestood to be God’s promises.  Judas took a truth and misapplied it.  Yeshua/Jesus Himself will come to restore the Kingdom of God back to Israel and over Israel and the nations.

But, in the meantime, there is a kingdom which we have been given authority to rule:  The Kingdom of God is within you.

It is written in Proverbs that “one who controls his/her own spirit is stronger than one who takes a city”!  Part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control/self-government.  Why should God give us control over other people and nations when we have not yet learned to control ourselves — our appetites, our tongues, our greed, our stubbornness, our anger, our presumptuousness?! 

God does not intend to give over again to sinful men dominion over the works of His hands, and Adam and Eve were not given dominion over other humans.  (Even though born-again believers are justified through faith, we still have our old man contending with the Spirit of God within us, and, sadly but true, we do find ourselves giving into it at times.)  The Son is still bringing many others into the Father’s household to give us together who are His the privilege of ruling and reigning with Him.  “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.  Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”    We, by His grace, shall reign WITH JESUS, not instead of or apart from His actual return and presence, or of our own personal bodily resurrection

There is for us a present kingdom and dominion:  control our self!  “…reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves alive to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.    For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

After the power and signs and wonders of the Passover; after the power and signs and wonders of the cross:  Does the Lord Jesus Christ reign in your heart and mind?

Surveys and Commentary – 5 Apr 2011

In recent days there have been interesting items in the news and opinion pages, which we as believers in Israel would do well to heed as realistic attitudes.  One is a survey of Israeli young people; the other a couple of paragraphs of an insightful commentary by Caroline Glick.  She found it pertinent to express her views about Messianic Jews in her article concerning a Jewish problem.

In an article published April 1 in the online JWR (Jewish World Review), “Jewry’s Jewish Problem”, Caroline Glick, whose commentaries I generally find to be very incisive, makes use of her perception — and that of most Jewish people everywhere — regarding Messianic Jews to make her point.  Here is an excerpt from the article:  

According to the AJC and Brandeis surveys, less than ten percent of American Jews tend to accept the Arab line against Israel. Given the wall to wall support for Israel among American Jews, why do American Jewish organizational leaders refuse to do what their members want them to do? Why are they taking Jewish communal funds to finance activities and causes that are offensive to the Jewish community? Why are they pretending that the call to end communal funding for anti-Israel activities is a call for an abrogation of free speech?

To get a sense of how unprecedented this is, it is useful to consider the American Jewish community’s response to Jews for Jesus. While Reform and Orthodox rabbis agree on almost nothing relating to Jewish laws and practices, since the emergence of Jews for Jesus in the 1970s, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis have been unified in their rejection of the Christian missionary group’s protestations of being Jewish.

Everyone understands that while Jews have a perfect right to change their religion, they have no right to force the Jewish community to accept Christians as Jews. That is they have no right to change the definition of Judaism to include people who worship Jesus. So-called Messianic Jews falsely call themselves Jews to undermine the community from within. But no Federation feels compelled to invite a representative of so-called Messianic Jews to proselytize on stage as part of a panel discussion in order to “welcome multiple voices.” Hillel organizations have rightly refused space and funding to Messianic Jewish groups.

But today, American Jews find themselves helpless when a marginal group of anti-Zionist Jews demands —like the Messianic Jews of their day—communal funding and space for their anti-Israel activities.

The anti-Zionist groups make the same arguments as the Messianic Jews. They call themselves pro-Israel even as they engage in activities aimed at harming, defaming, weakening and delegitimizing the Jewish state. They claim that refusing them communal funds constitutes a violation of their free speech rights.

Yet while communal leaders did not hesitate to call the so-called Messianic Jews’ bluff, they cannot find the way to expunge anti-Israel groups from their umbrella organizations. The explanation for this behavior apparently is apparently social. Federation leaders don’t mind disappointing evangelical Christians. But most of their friends are leftist. Consequently, the perceived social cost of taking action against groups like Theater J, J Street, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Jewish Voices for Peace is too high for many American Jewish leaders to bear.

As a present election of grace, we Jewish believers in Jesus are a proof of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises to His people, and we establish the truth that Jesus says He has come to fulfill all that is written in Moses and the Prophets.  We are not here to impose His Kingdom before the time, but rather to call people out to Him now, and be spared the wrath to come.  What the Jewish Israeli apostle to the Jews preached to all the people of Israel after he was baptized by the Holy Spirit at Shavuot/Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago still remains the essential message of God to His largely unrepentant people.

The other article of interest shows the attitudes of young Israeli people to what they perceive as the most important issues facing the county:

A survey carried out by a German foundation finds Israel’s youth has become more nationalist and does not expect peace. Some 1,200 Jewish youths and 400 Arab youths (not from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and not between the ages of 18 and 21) were polled. The survey shows that a third of Jewish youth in Israel say Judaism is the most important goal for the State of Israel – up from only 18% a year ago. Only 14.3% of Jewish youth said democracy was Israel’s most important objective. Over 40% of the Jewish youth identify politically with the nationalist parties, with another 20% expressing solidarity with the “moderate” right-wing. Only 11.5% identify with the left-wing. Among Arab youth, 35% said they “don’t know” their political affiliation – approximately four times more than in the Jewish sector.  Some 41% of the Arab youth said their most important goal was to build a happy family, and 3% said it was to contribute to society.  Among Jews, it was 65.5% and 8.5%, respectively. Nearly three-quarters of Jews felt that security concerns must “always” or “nearly always” take precedence over ideals of democracy if they clash. (INN)

There is a revival of religion and nationalism around the world.  When these two combine —  together with fear, envy, and hatred — an explosive and unprecedented outbreak of violence can be expected.  May the Lord help us “be still, and know that He is God”.