Happy New Year! On the evening of September 29th, the Jewish New Year of 5750 will begin.
During the past decade, we have filled our Maoz newsletters with both factual," information of what is happening in Israel, and with the prophetic significance of unfolding events as we understand it. But we feel that the subject mentioned above is of such importance that in this New Year's issue, we wish to summarize again some of the main reasons that Christians should be supporting Israel.
In this issue, we have gone "heavy" on the Scriptures, so that you can have at least a couple of strong Bible references for the major points covered.
With Scripture, we can relate our beliefs with a confidence that we cannot have if our stand is based on emotions or even instinct alone. It is true that there are people, especially new believers, who without much knowledge know in the Spirit many truths about Israel.
But it is the Word of God that will make our feet sure. We then can not be swayed by every wind of doctrine or by new political events in the Middle East. So here goes!
THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE
In referring to Israel, God's prophets have always spoken of a "dual" salvation in the last days: a return to God and a return to the land.
Time and again, God promised that He would circumcise Israel's heart in order that the Jews would be His people and He would be their God. (Ezk 36:28) The Jewish nation is to be redeemed spiritually through the blood covenant of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah as the prophets foretold. Behold your King is coming to you...
As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free... Zech. 9:9,11 (see also Jer. 50:5-7)
But God also emphasized that this revival of a nation of dead bones would take place in the land of Israel
...Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel...
And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life... Ezk 37:12,14
We see then that when God speaks of Israel's return to Himself, He also speaks of her return to His land. Just as surely as she is to be redeemed spiritually, so shall she be redeemed physically by being restored to the land of Israel. Why God places such significance on Israel's physical redemption may be less easy to understand then the promise of her spiritual redemption. However, that is God's plan and we say with joy, "So be it Lord Yeshua."
MOST JEWS TO RETURN TO ISRAEL YET IN SIN
The Bible states that many Jews will return to Israel in unbelief. It is there, back in the land, that the people will be shaken by revival.
As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I will be King over you.
And I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out. Ezk 20:33,34
...Thus says the Lord God, It is not for your sake, O House of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the the nations where you went.
For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.
Then, I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezk 36:22, 24-27
Indeed, as we wrote last month, the physical return of the Jews from Russia and all the countries will be so dramatically fulfilled that the day will come when the Jewish people will nearly "forget" the first exodus from Egypt, because of the far greater miracle that is coming.
Therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Lord when it will no longer be said, As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them. For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. Jer 16:14,15
BORN AGAIN JEWS ALSO TO RETURN TO ISRAEL
But the Word of God also specifically speaks of Jews who are first saved in the exile and who, after returning to God, then immigrate to Israel:
So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse (of the Law) which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return (repent) to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity and have compassion on you and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Deut 30:1-4, 5
We believe that these born again Jews, these Messianic Jews, will have a great part in the revival that is coming to Israel. For the Scriptural principle, "How shall they hear without a preacher?" is just as true concerning the Jewish people as any other nation.
Indeed, already the Messianic Jews who have immigrated to Israel have had a significant role in the amazing growth of the born again community there.
Yet, the number of Jewish workers able to go to Israel, become part of the land and minister to its people has been few. The hardships of Israel and the tremendous obstacles set before an individual or a family in the land as new immigrants are no less than overwhelming.
A believer must establish his credibility as a citizen and earn the right to witness in a foreign land, in a somewhat hostile environment to a people already well versed--in the original tongue--in the Old Testament.
GOD'S PLAN TO REDEEM HIS PEOPLE SPIRITUALLY AND PHYSICALLY
Do the Scriptures hold any clue as to how God has planned to bring His Jewish people back to the land of Israel? In fact, He does. Isaiah prophesies that the Gentiles will play an important part in this whole scenario.
...Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and set up My standard to the peoples; and they will bring your sons on their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
And kings will be your guardians,
And their princesses your nurses...Isa 49:22, 23
And it has happened even as Isaiah has foretold. The people (government) of the United States have invested billions of dollars to recreate the State of Israel.
But surely God's main goal is to realize His plan of establishing a holy and righteous nation through acceptance of His Lamb slain for Israel's sin. Is it not the spiritual kings and spiritual princesses among the Gentiles which will "carry" the Jews back to their God?
Obviously, no one is going to be interested in seeing Jews in the Diaspora saved and then re-established in Israel except born-again Christians and other Messianic Jews. Just so, no one but Bible believing Gentiles and Jews have any desire to share in the promised revival that will take place in the land of Israel itself.
GOD'S PLAN REVEALED THROUGH CYRUS
In the first return to Israel, God anointed a heathen king to expedite the rebuilding of the temple and the nation. God Himself declared that Cyrus "will perform all my desires". Isa 44:28
What Cyrus asked his nation to do in order to help the Jews rebuild their temple is enlightening to us today, as we are in a somewhat parallel situation.
Now in the first year of Cyrus King of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus King of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his Kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Whoever there is among you of all His people, may His God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel, He is the God who is in Jerusalem.
And every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
And all those about them encouraged them with articles of silver, with gold, with goods, with cattle, and with valuables, aside from all that was given as a freewill offering. Ezra 1:1, 3-6
Why should the Gentiles be burdened with this assignment? For the same reason that the Jews were burdened in the First Century with the assignment to bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of the Messiah of Israel. Most Jews did not heed their call.
But some did, for which all Christians are eternally thankful.
GREAT BLESSINGS TO GENTILES FROM RESURRECTED ISRAEL
Besides, the promised revival in Israel will in someway, not yet fully revealed, be of great benefit to the nations. Paul stresses this truth twice.
Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Rom 11:12, 15
Perhaps a partial answer can be found in the prophecies which reveal that Israel in the last days is going to be a nation of mighty ministers of God to the peoples who have not yet received the Gospel.
But you will be called the priests of the Lord; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. Isa 61:6
And I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations...that have neither heard My name nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. Isa 66:19
At any rate, there is no doubt that the redeemed nations will rejoice in the benefits they receive from a spiritually resurrected Israel.
Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.
And many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. Zech 2:10-11
However, a spiritually resurrected Israel, reunited with her Lord and endowed with power to finish her appointed task on earth does not sit well with replacement theologians.
Replacement doctrines have their roots in the centuries old anti-semitism of the Catholic Church.
By insisting that the Gentile part of the church has replaced Israel, they are saying that God has forever rejected Israel-in direct contradiction to a great body of Scripture. For example:
I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! Rom 11:1,11
For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger, I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting loving kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer. Isa 54:7-8
INDIVIDUALS MAYBE, BUT NOT A NATION
Replacement theologians say God has no place for the nation of Israel, just individually saved Jews who will melt unidentified into the Gentile dominated church.
But Jeremiah, when he spoke of the life-changing New Covenant to be given to Israel-and in extension to the whole world-stated specifically, in connection with this New Covenant, that Israel would never cease to be a nation before God.
Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Jer 31:31, 36
THERE'S ROOM FOR ALL OF US!
Israel does not have to be cast off in order for the Gentile peoples to be given a place of great honor in the Kingdom of God!
Indeed, there is room in the Body of Yeshua the Messiah for both Jew and Gentile working together in the same Spirit! There is more than enough work for all of us to do! It is only if we work in harmony to do His bidding that we can succeed in fulfilling His Will.
We therefore, do not feel to occupy ourselves concerning which special places will be held by which person or group, male or female, Jew or Gentile. The hidden things belong to God. But with that which He has revealed, we wish to move ahead, with all possible purpose and speed.
We believe we are living in the last days, and Israel's return to her land and to her God is a definite sign of the closing of this age.
In the last dozen or so years, we have seen the number of born again Israelis rise from a mere handful to perhaps a few thousand.
Today, the principle difficulty is not to interest Israelis in the Gospel, or even to bring them into salvation. They are already hungry and open.
But we need far more Hebrew speaking leaders and strong laymen. The opportunities for discipling are unlimited, and the Hebrew speaking laborers are so few.
As we have said before, we believe that establishing a Messianic Jewish Institute of Learning in Israel is one of the most strategic moves for God that can be executed anywhere in the world at this time.
Yet, because of its importance, and because of the high cost of property in Israel's limited land space, it must be done with the Wisdom of God and the help of many of the people of God. Revival without balanced leadership can lead to tragic wildfire. But with grounded and trained leadership, revival can bring our nation from death to life!
OUR INVITATION TO OUR FELLOW BELIEVERS
We invite you to invest in Israel's salvation. An investment of prayer and financial gifts.
Opportunities are unlimited, but God is waiting for His people to share in the battle, so that afterward "He will divide the spoil with the strong." (Isa 53: 12)
The founding of such an institute in Israel is awaiting our prayers and our gifts. This ministry exists because hundreds of people share a like vision to see the Gospel brought to the nation of Israel, and they are doing something about it!
Many of you are called to participate on a regular monthly basis. Thank you for answering. Those who answer are also chosen!
In the Messiah's Service,
Ari & Shira Sorko- Ram