THE INCENSE OF PRAYERS – Feb 2006

(Written for IsraelPrayer.com .  Slightly edited here.)

Replacement Theology began a long time ago, when first Jews and then Christians went to the left or to the right of the Spirit of Truth of God the Father’s Word.  We replaced the commandments and promises of God with traditions of men and hope in this world, which opposes the Kingdom of YHVH God and of His Anointed One.  The Messiah and Son of God Himself has taught us to pray firstly for the sanctification of our Heavenly Father’s name, and that HIS will be done…on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (I’m writing English, and this name honors Him), we are commanded by Him to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.  (If I may turn aside for a moment after what I’ve just written:  if born-again belieiving Christians get involved with all kinds of very unprofitable nonsense over the name of our Lord and Savior, we can certainly not expect much favor from God.  In this we show ourselves to be like the Jewish people who, too, have made a mockery of The Name of the God who chose us! – All in the interest of sanctity and reverence!)

For all her significance and importance in God’s plan and purposes, Israel is not the focus in His sight:  Jesus Christ is.  He (or the nation) who denies that Jesus is the Messiah is the liar, or, in other words, the false prophet.  He (or the religion) that denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist, or, in other words, the one who would both take the true Messiah’s place (replacement theology?) and also oppose Him.  The Messiah is anointed to be the Prophet greater than Moses; the High Priest according to YHVH God’s word to Melchizedek; and the King of kings, heir to the throne of David and to the Father’s.  Those who do not believe in Jesus/Yeshua for who He is do not have the Father either.  This is no small matter, and it is a very big matter when it comes to our prayers, which are offered as a sacrifice to God on the basis of Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins and the sin of the world.  Do we know that we are forgiven?  Is the world crucified to us?  Are we crucified to the world?

Those who do not worship God in the way which HE has prescribed are idolaters, whether they profess to believe in only one God or not.  Jesus is the Way, and He has shown us the way.  Israelis still under God’s righteous judgment despite being partially re-established in part of the land promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants forever.  Israel/the Jewish people still resist the Holy Spirit of God and persecute Yeshua and His church, especially when Jews are part of the composition or are the object of the good news of God’s grace and righteousness.

On the other hand, Christians who currently believe and understand God for His purposes regarding Israel– as relevant and significant as that is – are not deemed more righteous in God’s sight than some other believer who, at present, does not.  There are many believers (and even unbelievers) who stand with Israel, but are missing His mark in other vital areas pertaining to standing with Jesus and manifesting fruit of holiness and righteousness in their life.  And, likewise, there are some dear saints and prophets of God who, for whatever reason at present, just don’t see it, but are precious to God and to many others.  Humility (in bold letters!) is the woof and web of our God our Father’s character and of His Son.

Everything that is taking place in the Middle East and the rest of the world must be seen and understood in the light of the revelation of Jesus Christ; that is, His coming again to judge the nations – including His chosen nation Israel – and to rule them in righteousness and justice.  (These terms are related, but are not synonymous, and are too often confused and misused.)  Without this perspective, our prayers and intercessions will be short-sighted or wrongly motivated.  The fervent and righteous prayers of the saints which God has been “collecting” — until the appointed time to begin answering them – have to do with the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Lk 18:1-8; Rev 8:3-6). 

When we grasp that the justified believers from all history who will have part in the first resurrection will be reigning priests with Messiah over Israel and the other nations, then it is evident that neither is the Church Israel nor is Israel the Church!  Replacement theology has made void the manifold promises and blessed hope of all creation with false expectations and fables!  Jesus asks if He will find the faith in God’s own elect (us!) when the Son of Man returns?

The religious and secular who trouble the believers in Israel (and elsewhere) are a mixture of God-fearers who really believe they are doing God’s will, and of “worthless, lawless people” (bnei belial), or rabble rousers.  By the grace and power of God, some (many?) of these will ultimately repent and be saved, and many not.  Better to be saved NOW through repentance and faith and to have part in that blessed and holy  first resurrection, than to wait in uncertainty whether God will show mercy on them or not.

Under the Torah, a false prophet was to be killed.  According to rabbinic Judaism, Jesus is considered the false prophet deserving of death.  Therefore, we who believe and follow Him in our worship of God are likewise under a death sentence.  As the Lord informed us, there will be those seeking to kill us, thinking it to be God’s will.  This is what the “great” Jew Saul was doing before he “saw the Light”, and became “little” (Paul, translated in Roman/Latin, which was his native citizenry) in his own eyes.

While God has warned that He will judge those who divide HIS land, He also allows room for its being divided as long as the Jewish people are unrepentant and refuse to return to Him through Jesus, whom He sent to restore not only the tribes of Jacob and the preserved ones of Israel, but also the Gentiles who are called by His name.  “Stumbling will come, but woe to him through whom it comes!”  The Israeli Jewish people do have claims of sovereignty in the land from the LORD.  But without receiving Jesus, who alone comes in the name of YHVH, they have no blessings and no peace or security.  The Arabs do have a right to live within the State of Israel and to be treated justly. 

The “strangers in the land” are those gentiles (non-Jewish Israelis) who are with the people whom God has chosen and who honor the God of Israel.  The “alien, or foreigner in the land” is a “thorn in the side”, ones who do not join themselves to the calling and destiny of Israel.  The Arabs and other gentiles have no claims of sovereignty over the land of Israel, but the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is offering both Jews and Arabs much more in Christ now than what both sides are in fear and conflict over now.  This is our message to them:  the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah and the Kingdom of God as they receive the forgiveness of their sins, are baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, and receive the free gift beyond all imagination of eternal life with God the Father and with Jesus His beloved!

Our prayers and intercessions for the salvation of Muslims – who deny the Father and the Son – is of major concern to God.  Being gentiles, the one true living God will give them a new heart and a new Spirit with which to show mercy to Israel and to provoke Israelis to jealousy for their God.  What a deliverance from darkness to light, from revenge born of bitterness to love born of the triune God!  The gospel is the power to save both Jews, Arabs, Greeks, Iranians, Americans.  Christians are not Israel’s savior, but are witnesses of the One who is, and are serving Him in God’s wondrous plan of redemption.

What we are facing in Beer Sheva, in Arad, in Rishon LeZion, in the Galilee around Tiberias is not something strange.  Many other believers in Jesus as Lord and Messiah have suffered – and are even now suffering – for His name’s sake.  The enemy is waging a war of attrition to wear down the saints.  Praise God for Jesus in Whom we have the victory through His resurrection and the hope of our ultimate redemption!  May we all be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to love and to bless those who now hate us and curse us, even as we pray and proclaim the truth.  We want to be faithful to Him who has shown such love to us, and be so used of God that the Holy Spirit will convict them of righteousness, of sin, and of judgement.  Let our salt be salty, our light shining, and our fragrance of Messiah.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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