Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why Stand with Israel?

Why Stand with Israel?:  Reasons why it is important to stand with Israel and the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
On August 4, 1991 I boarded an American Airlines flight for Uppsala, Sweden to attend Livets Ord Bibelcenter.  It was a pivotal moment for me as I left behind everything that was familiar to follow the call of God knowing I would never return to life as it was.  As a Bible School student I had the wonderful privilege of devoting an entire year to studying God’s word, solidifying the foundations of my faith, getting acquainted with my unique identity in Christ, and ultimately reaching back to my heritage as a Jew, but more on that later.
A few years prior to my moving to Sweden, the Lord began to open my heart to the fact that Israel is very much in His heart, and it was during the year in Sweden that I began to understand God’s heart for Israel and how important it is for the Church to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and stand with the Jewish people as well as to pray for all nations to support Israel.  In the years since, there has been little else that has so captivated my attention than what is happening in Israel today, piecing together Israel’s miraculous history, understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity, praying for Israel and seeking the Lord for direction as to the role He cast me into in this unfolding drama.
Why should we stand with Israel?
God stands with Israel.  The Bible is so clear about God’s faithfulness to the covenant He entered into with Himself, with Abraham as witness, pertaining to the land and people of Israel.  God spoke to Abraham saying, “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2,3)  God later reconfirmed this covenant with Abraham’s son, Isaac, when He said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you.  I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the sake of My servant Abraham.” (Genesis 26:24).  Yet again, God reconfirmed His covenant with Jacob saying, “…I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.  Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:13,14).  God, in His kindness, personally reconfirmed His covenant with succeeding generations so that they would know how serious He was about this covenant.  God didn’t just leave it to oral tradition to pass it down; He did it Himself.
Tom Hess, the founder of the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations, in his book, “Let My People Go,” lists over 700 verses of Scripture stating God’s commitment to the land and people of Israel.  It is often said that if someone repeats something more than once they really mean it.  I think God means it!
Jesus is Jewish and is returning as the Jewish Messiah to a Jewish Land.  I truly believe that in an effort to be “New Testament Believers” many Christians discount the validity of the fact that Jesus is in fact Jewish.  He lived a Jewish life.  He fulfilled Jewish prophesy.  Embracing Jesus’ Jewishness enlightens our understanding of Scripture.When we come to understand the Jewishness of Jesus we will come to know Him, understand Him, and experience Him in such a deep way.
As a Christian, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Jewish people.  The Jewish people, in their tenacious zeal to hold onto tradition, have preserved Scripture, kept their generational bloodlines pure for the Messiah to be born, preserved their unique cultural identity even in 2,000 years of exile, and have served the nations of the earth as a light and as priests (which is their calling).  It is through the Jewish people that Messiah Jesus came to earth, and their preservation of God’s covenant made it possible to recognize Him.  It is as I begin to understand Jewish traditions and who these wonderful people are that I can truly experience and understand who Jesus really is and what He came to do and what He is coming back for.
As a Christian, my heart burns to vindicate Jesus’ Name as there were many atrocities committed against Jews in the Name of Jesus, but not in the character of Jesus.  It sickens me to know that there was a time in history when the Church was the leading terrorist organization in the earth.  Atrocious acts were perpetrated on the Jews in the Name of Jesus.  Killing.  Torture.  Destruction.  All done in the Name of Jesus, and it is because of these atrocities that there are many Jewish people who have vowed never to accept the Gospel of Jesus because they believe it would be a betrayal to their identity as a Jew.  We in the Church need to come to terms with our history, repent of anti-Semitism, and reach out a genuine loving hand to the Jewish people.  I also pray for the Jewish people to see our sincerity to right the wrongs committed against them, and that they would see and experience the true Jesus through us.
Watchmen on the Wall: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Jerusalem:

Where was Love and Mercy?: Christian Anti-Semitism, Overcoming the Curse, by Clarence Wagner

As a member of the human race, I owe the Jewish people a debt of gratitude for all their contributions to humanity.  What other people group has made so many contributions to humanity in so many fields such as technology, medicine, agriculture and the arts?  I daily use my cell phone, Windows XP, and see drip irrigation systems in the fields surrounding my home.  During my first trip to Israel in 1992 I was surprised to learn that Israel exports more than they import, even supplying tulips to Holland, and they are the major supplier of fruits and vegetables throughout Europe.  When I read about all of the inventions that have come from the creativity of the Jewish people, the technological and medical advances made that were developed in Israel, and the number of Jewish and Israeli Nobel Laureates, it makes me smile.

God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people is still playing out.  We are continuing to witness the fulfillment of prophesy as we pay attention to the current events in the land of Israel and with the Jewish people in all nations.  Some of what we see isn’t pretty, and we need to stand and pray and support and love them.  God is by no means finished with them, and the culmination of His plan for them will have such incredible blessing for all of us.

“For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?…And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.”  (Romans 11:15, 23)

I am Jewish, and as a Jew, I cannot deny my heritage.  Earlier, I alluded to the fact that my year in Sweden was a time when I reached back to my heritage as a Jew.  Here’s what happened:

My father was a Jew, albeit a secular Jew.  My mother was raised in a Methodist church.  When they married they agreed that God would never be spoken of in our home.  Christmas was all about Santa Claus and Easter was the Easter Bunny.  To make a long story short, my father, upon receiving a diagnosis of malignant melanoma, called out to the Lord and received Jesus as his Savior and Messiah.  My mother too received Jesus.  I already received Jesus a few years prior thanks to the witnessing of one of my school friends.  My father died one year later when I was twelve years old.

In the next few years, I became familiar with the events of the Holocaust by reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Diary of Ann Frank. I read many other books on the subject as well as watched movies and documentaries to educate myself.  I was so fascinated with how such evil could be allowed by a seemingly civilized people.  As I learned about the tremendous suffering the Jewish people endured during that time, I always thought, “Those poor people.”

Then I grew up and learned a whole lot more.  There was a lot of teaching about this during my time in Sweden, and I continuously found myself struck by the many accounts of Christians who risked their lives to hide the Jews during this time.  One day, while waiting for a bus in downtown Uppsala, I found myself praying, “Do I have what it takes?  If Hitler were to rise to power today, do I have the character of Jesus to the degree that I would risk my life to hide the Jews?”  The Lord spoke to me, and what He said shook me to my core and completely changed my paradigm.  He said, “You’re Jewish.  You would have had to be hidden.”

That truly never occurred to me.  “Those poor people” could have been me and my family!

I have spent the greater part of the last 20 plus years studying to gain an understanding of all of this Scripturally and historically, and I feel that I’m just beginning to scratch the surface.

What is a Watchman? Part III–Sound the Alarm

“Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” Joel 2:1
This is the moment the Watchman waits for, what he’s been looking for all along…the moment when he can sound the alarm.  And, there are generally two reasons for a Watchman to sound an alarm:
  1. To warn of an approaching enemy
  2. To announce the arrival of the King
As a side note:  This past week, the Lord called me into a season of “purposeful prayer.”  There are several ministries and churches that He laid on my heart to hold before Him in intercession on a regular basis.  The demands of my life don’t allow me to spend hours in prayer or even to attend prayer meetings at this time, but I’m so grateful that the Lord gave me a strategy to participate with Him in prayer and in the unfolding of His plans in the earth.  Some of these ministries I pray for weekly, but most every other week.  I pray in tongues throughout the day and keep my ears attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to pray, and I’ve been amazed at how He has led me.  When I’ve shared with the ministry leaders what the Lord revealed to me, they told me that those things are exactly in line with how the Lord is leading them–and there’s no way I would have known that.  I really believe that this is a season of training for me.  The pressures and demands of life are not going to go away, and it is still possible to give myself to the work of the Lord while trusting Him to take care of the burdens of my heart.  I was even pondering that it is often easier to carry someone else’s burden than my own.
Back to the topic…
One of the clearest pictures of watchman intercession is the story of Esther.  And it is so appropriate for me to write about Esther now as it is the time for the Purim celebration.  Friday, March 18, 2011 is the date for the celebration to start.
I’ve heard so many allusions to Esther in the past few years.  People long to be like Esther–lavished with love in the palace of the king.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  However, I have a different take on the matter.  Let’s look at the Biblical account in Esther 4 and set the stage.  Esther is established in the palace.  She’s spent her night with the king, and he delighted in her and crowned her queen.  Outside the palace, Mordecai (who I believe is the true hero of the story) offended Haman, and Haman hatched a plan to annihilate the Jewish people.  Upon hearing of Haman’s evil plan, Mordecai and all of the Jewish people cry out in mourning over their impending doom–they sounded the alarm about an approaching enemy.
Where’s Esther?  In the palace, enjoying its luxuries, self-absorbed and completely oblivious to all that is happening outside the palace.  It was her servants who heard Mordechai’s cry and told her about it, and her first reaction to hearing about Mordecai in sackcloth and ashes was to be embarrassed by his behavior and send him clothes.  It was only after he refused them that she sent her servants to find out why he was mourning.  When she finally heard his true cry, and understood what was happening, she felt powerless to do anything.  She had a lot going against her.  Although she was queen, she had little to no power to influence or change anything.  She saw her predecessor deposed, and there was no reason for her to believe she wouldn’t face the same fate.  Mordecai admonished her, and his admonition shook her to the core:
Mordecai sent this reply to Esther:  “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.  If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”  Esther 4:13-14
Esther needed to become actively attentive to Mordecai’s cry, his admonition aroused her to a state of being awake, alert and aware of her responsibility.  She was also awakened to her identity.  Although she kept it hidden, now was the time for her to reveal who she truly was–a Jew.  And now that she was actively attentive, awake, alert and aware it was time for her to sound the alarm.  The “such a time as this moment” occurred when she sent her reply to Mordecai:
“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same.  And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king.  If I must die, I must die.”  Esther 4:15
She was so convinced of her responsibility to intercede on behalf of her people, that she was willing to lay down her life.  And we know the rest of the story.
Are we convinced enough of what God is asking of us to be willing to lay down our lives?  Yes, there are times to enjoy the presence of God and allow Him to pour out His great love for us, and for us to respond to Him in adoration.  Yet, there is also a time when we stand with him as covenant partners and work with Him to establish His Kingdom on the earth.
God has His watchmen placed in various places in the earth at this time.  We are called to pray purposeful, passionate, strategic and intelligent prayers as God imparts wisdom so we can partner with Him to accomplish what is on His heart.  Intelligent prayers–know what is going on around you.  Be up to date with current events and what God is drawing your attention to.  Study Scripture.  Develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep places of God’s heart.  Pray out those things that God highlights to you.  There is tremendous power in prayer, which is why the enemy does all he can to keep God’s people from praying!!
Finally, when all is said and done, watchmen get the awesome privilege of announcing the coming King.
“Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!”  Psalm 24:9