Not Only God, But The Civilized World Has Spoken – 30 Mar 2014

A case study of sovereign legal rights to Jerusalem — in particular East Jeruslaem, and more specifically the Old City with the Temple Mount:  a thesis by Dr. Jacques Gauthier, an international lawyer and human rights attorney:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf8cF1HYqN8

Today’s peace negotiations are a battle of narratives less grounded on facts and more on historical fallacies and revisionist history, personal and national emotions, and increasing lawlessness (recognizing no law as binding).

Would You Come To This Conference? – 17 Mar 2014

The “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference has ended.  There is tension within the ranks of the Body of Messiah here in Israel.  We pray for healing of strained or broken relationships through humility, repentance where necessary, forgiveness as commanded, transcendant love for our heavenly Father and our Lord Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ.  This is all part of our sanctification, and is also a part of God’s righteousness to nullify our own.

I was thinking about another conference, but with an opposite orientation.  If such an imaginary conference were planned, would you come?  Taking the 12 points of the CATC Manifesto as a basis, I have changed some of the wording to plan this ‘what if’ conference:

1.  The Kingdom of God has not fully come, and will not until the return and revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven:  Yeshua said that His kingdom is not of this world; the devil is the prince of this world; the whole world lies under the power of the evil one; the Kingdom of God is not now by observation, but within those who believe; the animals are not at peace; Israel is still the enemy of the gospel, and beloved for the fathers’ sake.

2.  Reconciliation recognizes and willingly submits to the sovereign will of the Father, and also recognizes the image of God in every person.

3.  The Jewish and Israeli people, as the descendants of Jacob, are those to whom the Promised Land of Canaan is given by YHVH God for an everlasting possession.

4.  The Church — the Body of Messiah/Christ — must continue to bear witness to the truth of God regarding His land, and to intercede and act on His behalf for His will to be accomplished.  This witness and testimony began in Israel and has continued to this day.

5.  The Scriptures (the  Old and New Testament) are clear regarding God’s exclusive ownership of the Land of Israel, and He has promised it to the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob — to the “all Israel” that will be saved when iniquity is removed from “Jacob”.

6.  Sovereign nations have the moral, God-given responsibility to justly use the power of the sword in protection of its citizenry, and of its borders.

7.  Israeli believers in Yeshua must not lose the capacity of self-judgment in the light of God’s Word if they want to be prophetic.

8.  There are real injustices taking place within Israel and the Palestinian Territories by those who refuse to accept God’s covenantal promise of the Land of Israel to Jacob and the Jewish people, whom YHVH God is bringing back to this very land, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, in these last days.  This promise is confirmed by the resurrection of Yeshua from among the dead, and without belief in Him, no one will receive the birthright and blessing.

9.  For all people, unbelief and lack of reconciliation towards YHVH God and His Word are the core issues of the conflict.

10. Any challenges of the injustices taking place in the Holy Land must be done in Christian love, and with a prophetic voice calling for repentance to our respective leaders.  Care must be taken not to add to or to take away from the whole of the Word of God as written to us in the Bible.

11. Respectful dialogue between Israeli and Arab believers in Jesus must continue with the centrality of the cross and the pesonal coming again of the Lord to rule and reign taking precedence as a framework for discussions, as we learn to obey the commandments to love and to forgive for Yeshua’s sake and the gospel truth to the world.

12. Christians must understand the Jewish objections to the gospel due to historical Christian excessive harshness and self-righteous accusations against the Jewish people and nation.   Although the Jewish leaders and people have borne false witness against Messiah to do Him evil, and although this has returned upon our own heads, we identify with our Jewish people and find them justified for their refusal to repent and believe the gospel and the New Covenant in which God forgives them of their sin, transgression, and iniquity against Him, whom they pierced.  Although we did not believe in Yeshua before there was a predominantly Gentile Christian church, nonetheless we hold Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and their disciples and followers as the main cause of stumbling for our people to change our minds and attitudes towards God.  And even though the name of Christ is upon all who believe in Him as Lord and Messiah, we want to be identified, not as Christians, but only as Jews, Messianic or otherwise, so that we might find favor in the eyes of our people.

Does this “manifesto” promote truth and understanding?  Could there be a fatal flaw in these underlying assumptions that betray some confusion or self-orientation?  Is there a mixture of truth and error here that ought to be lovingly confronted?  Would I need to look a little deeper regarding my own need to repent, that I might better appreciate the great need of my Savior, going outside the camp and bearing His reproach?  Would you — dear Jewish, Arab, or Gentile believer in Yeshua — participate in such a conference?

The Holy Spirit is working to bring to pass all that is written in the Scriptures, that every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD!  Praise His Name!  The prayer of Yeshua for true love and unity within His own body of born-again believers will be answered, fully realized in the first resurrection.  Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

Christ At The Checkpoint – 4 Mar 2013

Next week the 3rd biennial CATC conference will begin in Bethlehem.  This has once again stirred heated discussion and debate within the Messianic/Christian evangelical community in Israel.  This public expression is good in that it helps all to ‘hear’ the depths of feelings which this conference arouses.  It is also good for those from the Messianic community in Israel who do go, whether as invited speakers or whether as part of the gathered conference-goers, to go in the light of what others of their brethren think and feel, so that they may take it all into account while there.  Even though each may be going ‘in his own name’, yet, nonetheless, they do represent more than themselves.  We pray for salt, for spiritual discernment, for wisdom, for the right words in season, for protection from being overwhelmed in the atmosphere of the conference, for God to bring forth out of this conference something which is HIS.

In correspondence with a brother and friend who will be at the conference, and in a broader context of all that’s being ‘shared’ about the conference, here is my take about it that I have written to him, and to two of the speakers — one in a public forum, the other in a selected workship — who will be present:

“As I already said to you, I am glad that you will be at the conference. Your being there and my being there would convey different messages.  I am not praying against the conference, nor am I boycotting it.  I simply do not, nor cannot, endorse the conference.  And, as I let you know, I have told E and J out of my love and respect for them both.  But the extreme views of the film-maker of “The Stones Cry Out” — with her books and sites favorable towards Islam, but negative against Israel, and her presumptuous ignorance of God’s ways of working through men and nations in history — was the clincher.  You could say that, for me, she is the ‘Stephen Sizer’ of this year’s conference.

This conference has never been about reconciliation.  That’s why the first one was such a disaster, and brought so much rancor and division into the Messianic body here.  I am also aware that there are not a few Arab believers in Israel proper who also want to keep away from it.  (BTW, some of those closely involved with the conference have Israeli citizenship and passports, but do not generally want to be called Israeli, but Palestinian.  This is like so many Jewish believers refusing to be called Christian, even though they are in Christ.  God will not let either of these denials go through to the end.)

The conference manifesto, and Alex Awad’s telling of how this conference came to be, make it very clear that there are at least six underlying assumptions governing this bi-annual gathering till now:
1.  a re-write of history and of identity, to ‘blot out Israel from being a nation anymore’; to invent, deny, reinvent their own history; revise Yeshua’s identity; steal from the Israeli and Jewish people’s identity
2.  the Bible is not the basis of what we believe or of who we are
3.  weakening Biblical support among especially western evangelical Christians towards Israel in God’s plans, which they refuse to accept how this also affects His plans for Christians and the Body of Messiah
4.  weakening economic and political support for Israel among the nations of the world
5.  reducing financial assistance from Christians to Israel and to Messianic believers and congregations and ministries, in order to increase financial assistance to ‘Palestine’ and Arab churches and ministries, rather than seeking blessing of this kind to all (A few years ago already, I sent out to our entire e-mail list that they should not neglect the Arab and Palestinian believers (for we are one Body), not in prayer nor in financial giving, realizing that this could cut into what small support that we ourselves receive, whether personally or whether as a congregation.)
6.  modify the tone and tactics, but not the essence of what the intent of the conference is about, as plainly stated in their manifesto

All this reminds me of another scenario:  a conference of believers, most of whom deny the deity of Jesus, but claiming that salvation is still through Him/him.  They hold a conference which the outsiders don’t realize who and what is going on, but internally it causes an uproar within the Body of Christ here.  They hold another conference, and invite a couple of belivers who do believe in Yeshua’s deity, but who are sympathetic to these others for relational reasons.  They let these one or two speak what they believe, or on how important relationships are, but nothing is changed in the view that the ‘unbelievers’ have, and no one wants to be too judgmental because of its affect.  Another conference is held:  nothing has changed, but relationships are trumping truth.  And the ‘unbelievers’ want their unbelief and concocted narrative to be just as valid as the truth that the believers hold with Holy Spirit confidence.

I understand that there is a difference between who Yeshua/Jesus really is, and what lack of understanding of what/who Israel is.  The first is a salvation issue (even though the ‘unbelievers’ refuse to accept that); the other is not.  That is why we break relationship and fellowship with those who deny the deity (and the humanity) of the Lord, but with the second group we may only stop ‘walking together’ at times.  With the first group, we are not brothers in Messiah; with the second we can be.   Love, truth, and righteousness all need to ‘be there’ for true unity and peace.

Just as there is no common ground with those who deny the true Jesus upon which to discuss the many questions that do arise for true believers, so it is not really possible to discuss the real issues of covenant faithfulness and of [God’s] justice with those who refuse to believe God’s word about the restoration of Israel as a nation, and, ultimately of the Kingdom of God to Israel, and over the nations, and to the entire world and universe.  The entire creation is groaning until now for that day!

The last days will see an increasing deception, and the devil is after the elect, if possible.  Some of these brothers are deceived and deceiving others; some are deliberately fabricating and leading others astray to follow after them.  Some clearly love the Lord and the brethren.

I pray that you will have salt in you at the conference, and that the Holy Spirit will fill you to be a discerning, faithful witness regarding all things; and I look forward to hearing your reports.

Blessings,
Howard”

Also, here are links to two excellent analyses: one, of the factors behind the increasing weakening of evangelical Christian support for Israel;  and the second an outstanding research into the stated intentions of the CATC conference, and the subsequent results.  (In referring to these links, it does not mean that I agree with all that either ministry otherwise necessarily ‘majors’ in.)

http://www.meforum.org/3769/israel-evangelical-support

http://www.restorersofzion.org/LT_checkpoint.htm