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!

At Odds – 23 Feb 2014

In three weeks, two events are overlapping each other:  the Christ At The Checkpoint (CATC) conference in Bethlehem, and a day of praying and fasting preceding the beginning of Purim.  I have been invited to be present at both; I will only be at the Esther’s Fast day on Mar. 13 at Yad HaShmonah, organized by Revive Israel.  I will be leading the final prayer session for the hour before we conclude the day with the Lord’s Supper.  The focus will be God’s providential  protection of His wayward people, despite their unbelief and the continuing threats to destroy them.  (Remember:  the laws of Persia can not be changed; they are still ‘on the books’ sealed with the King’s ring, both to destroy the Jews, and for the Jews to defend themselves.)

With this, we stand in the gap as those who have been saved by the grace of God through repentance and faith in the gospel, knowing that we, too, were once alienated and exposed to the enemies’ schemes to destroy our lives through sin and God’s righteous judgments against us before we came under the blood of Jesus and the new covenant.  The Lord’s Supper expresses our thankfulness and our unity among all believers, for whom God is our Father through Messiah/Christ.

With respect to the CATC conference, I have communicated with the director from the Palestinian hosts, and with the primary leader from the Israeli Messianic contingent about my not endorsing the conference nor my participation in it.  The mandate of the conference is not one which I can approve by being there:
http://www.christatthecheckpoint.com/index.php/about-us/manifesto

While we can work on some projects together, and we do, I am not able to work together on this one.  I do pray that God will have His way at the conference, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to bring forth whatever good can come through this ‘process’.  There is not at all a consensus among the Messianic leadership here in Israel regarding this conference.  Reconciliation goes on, but not necessarily through any particular organization or conference.

It is the burden on my heart that we will see a breakthrough from God to set things right and in order on many levels and areas in our personal, congregational, and Kingdom-wide lives; that the sheep will come together in the truth, in a truer expression of unity and love for one another, all for the glory of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (in whatever language His name is great!), as we look to that glorious day of His return.  Then, there will be peace within and without and between.  Until then, for the believer, our Savior says:  “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ . . . .”

WHY THE SILENCE? – 6 Feb 2012

If the Arab ‘Spring’ is wintry, how cold is its winter?!  This is an exchange of e-emails with some Arab leaders in Israel and the Palestinian Authority that I had:

Shalom B, B, Y,

I looked on Come and See, hoping that I might see in writing what I am not hearing, but am both
disappointed and disturbed:  where is the Israeli/Palestinian (call it whatever you want) Arab Christian voice expressing outrage over what is taking place in Syria?!  

Why are only Israeli “injustices and human rights violations, etc.” condemned in the strongest of language
and emotion by you and other of my Arab brothers, when right next door one of ‘your own’ is ruthlessly
murdering its citizens and fellow human beings — men, women, children — without the slightest pangs
of conscience?  Where is the concern for the fellow Christians in Syria, not to mention all the other
Syrians who are oppressed?  Christian leaders there have even expressed support for the government out
of fear of their own lives and churches.  Where is the voice of their Israeli/Palestinian fellow Christians
to stand and be strong for the testimony of the truth of Yasu, not loving their lives even unto death?  Why
are you not calling on the ‘world community’ to put a stop to the bloodshed and oppressive policies of the
brutal dictators, who are clearly no true shepherds or friends of their own people and nation?

Not saying anything publicly — and in a manner that all can hear and see — is hypocritical in the face of
all the efforts to condemn Israel and to delegitimize her right to even exist or to be supported due to her
lack of righteousness and justice against you as you perceive it — rightly or otherwise.

Your brother and fellow laborer in the vineyard of the Lord,
Howard

P.S.  My opinion article on War was not written as a ‘theology’ of war.  We don’t have to make a theology
of every subject, but simply teach according to the Word of God, the knowledge of God and His ways given
to us in the Scriptures.  I would appreciate it if you simply title the piece as War.  The photo you put in is
also editorial on your part — adding to the suggestion that I somehow am in favor of war and its horrors.