Tag Archives: zionism

What’s the Deal? Part 2

We had the amazing opportunity last week to do four hours of teaching with a group of 25 young adults in Federal Heights, CO. Our topic was the very subject we will be bringing to Las Vegas, Southern California, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Dallas as we continue on our five week long journey:

God’s heart and plan for Israel and the Jewish people and how we as Christians have a vital role in it.

As we have been journeying together with the Lord ministering to the Church and blessing the nation and people of Israel we are asked often: What’s the deal with Israel?

The following is an essay which was written about 5 years ago and can be found on the Zealous 8:2 website http://www.zealous82.com. There really is no need for me to rewrite it as it is written so well. I hope the lord sparks something new in you as you read it.

If you or someone you know is between the ages of 18 and 30 and would be interested in a tour of Israel designed for young adults please message me for information on our upcoming June tour.

Zealous 8:2 Young Adult Adventure Tour June 2012

What’s the Deal with Israel?

Why are so many Christians starting to get interested in the nation of Israel? Is this the Israel of the Bible, the Israel of God, or merely the result of human politics with an unfortunate name? Do we as Christians have a connection with the nation and people of Israel by virtue of our faith in the God of the Bible, the God of Israel? If you have ever asked such questions, then we have attempted to answer them, or at least give food for further thought. Our intention is to offer a resource to the honest enquirer.

It’s about God, not Israel

What I mean by this is that God’s relationship with Israel is primarily about Him and not about them. Whenever we make God’s dealings primarily about the people, we have put the cart before the horse. We have made man, not God, the starting point and primary focus of His work. God always takes the initiative when relating to men, because we cannot. He always relates to men on the basis of who He is rather than who they are. This is the principle of grace. The issue of Israel in the Scriptures is all about the character and of God. We cannot afford to lose sight of God’s sovereignty in His choosing Israel and the Jewish people, nor make this relationship primarily about them rather than Him.

It’s about His Glory

It is important to understand that God desires to bring Himself glory in the world, and this forms part of His motivation in every action He performs. (This does not mean that love, mercy, holiness, and the other characteristics of the Person of God are not also present in His actions, only that a desire for His personal glory is always present). Since God desires that all men know Him, His character must be displayed in dramatic visible ways. It is evident in His work of creation, the stars declaring the praises of God (Ps. 19:1), in the sending of His Son (John 17:1, 5), and in His action of saving people (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). The same is true in His dealing with the nation of Israel. Ezekiel chapter 36 speaks clearly of the return and re-establishment of the nation of Israel, and God clarifies His motives for doing this, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake” (Ezek. 36:22), that is, His reputation and glory. God is working in Israel for His own purpose and glory, demonstrating powerfully before the nations that He is faithful to His promises (Ps. 105:8–11); He is able to fulfill His Word. If the issue of Israel is this important for God, it should be for us as well.

It’s about Salvation

God used Israel to bring salvation to the world. All the major biblical characters, the people God used in His plan for salvation, were all of the people of Israel. Moses, David, all the prophets; basically, all the heroes of the faith came from Israel. Jesus (Yeshua), the Man Christians know as Messiah, was and is Jewish. All the apostles were Jewish. All the books of the Bible (save Luke and Acts) were written by Jews. The 120 people in the upper room on the day of Pentecost were Jews. The entire early church was Jewish. It was only later, under the ministry of Paul, a Jew, that the Gospel was taken in a substantial manner to the Gentile nations. As a person who is of European descent, I have to acknowledge that while God was dealing with Israel (and had been dealing with them for thousands of years), my ancestors were pagans, worshipping creation rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:20–25). God chose Israel to reveal Himself to the world, and if it wasn’t for Him choosing and using them, we would still be in this same desperate situation, without hope in the world (Eph. 2:12). The same is true for every nation and people on earth. God used Israel to bring salvation to the world. We see in this the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that, “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3).

It’s about Our Identity

The issue of Israel is about our identity as believers. While the center and root of our Christian identity will always be found in Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), the Scriptures teach us that we have become a part of redemptive history that precedes His work, which began with Abraham. In Romans chapters 9 to 11 Paul says that Gentile believers in Yeshua HaMashiach have been grafted into Israel, or, using his analogy, we as wild olive shoots have been grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel (Rom. 11:15—25). This olive tree has been cultivated by God, over millennia, by the following (Rom. 9:4—5):

  • “the adoption,” the fact that God entered into relationship with them, choosing them to be His special people
  • “the glory,” the wonder of being chosen by God to be His special people, out of all the earth
  • “the covenants,” those solemn promises which define the nature of the relationship between God and Israel
  • “the giving of the law,” which Paul describes as holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12), a revelation of the character of God, who is holy, just and good
  • “the service of God,” that Israel was called to be a priestly nation in service of the God of heaven
  • “the promises,” which God made to Israel
  • “of whom are the fathers,” the fact that all the heroes of the faith were of the house of Israel, including the patriarchs, the fathers whom God loves (Deut. 10:15)
  • “and from whom, according to the flesh, Messiah came,” that God used Israel to birth Yeshua into the world.

God has, by His grace, grafted Gentiles, who were outside the promises and without hope in the world (Eph. 2:12), into this rich heritage by faith in His Son, Yeshua HaMashiach. This rich heritage should therefore form part of our identity as believers.

It’s about World Redemption

We live in a day and age in which more prophecies are being fulfilled than any other time in history except for the first coming of Yeshua HaMashiach. These prophecies are focused around the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. These events, which were long foretold by the prophets and recorded in Scripture, are unfolding in our day and age. What do we mean? Let’s look at a basic outline of prophetic events:

  1. Isaiah 66:7—10 spoke of the birth of the nation of Israel in a day. This happened in 1948, the first time Israel was a sovereign nation since the exile to Babylon in 586 BC.
  2. Many prophecies speak of the return of the Jews from the four corners of the earth (Jer. 32:37–41; Ezek. 20:34, 34:13, 36:24; Zech. 8:7–8). Since the nineteenth century, millions of Jews have returned home to the land of Israel.
  3. Yeshua said in Luke 21:24 that Jerusalem would be trampled by the Gentiles. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 and AD 135, and came under Gentile control. This agonized the heart of the Jewish people who have always viewed Jerusalem as their spiritual home. However, thankfully, this was not the end of the story, for Yeshua added, “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” In 1967, during the Six Day War, east Jerusalem was recaptured and came under full sovereignty of the Jewish people for the first time in 2,600 years (Also see Zech. 8:7–8).

What does the fulfillment of these prophecies mean? Yeshua clearly linked these events to His imminent return (Luke 21:27–32). It is therefore an exciting time in which to live, for we are seeing the unfolding of prophetic events long foretold by God and recorded in His Word. God is fulfilling His Word and we are alive to see it.

It’s about you

The issue of Israel affects you. If we love God, then we should love what He loves. If He loves Israel, so should we. If God longs to see Himself glorified in Israel, so should we. If God is working in Israel, which He clearly is, so should we. Loving and supporting Israel isn’t primarily about Israel; it is primarily about loving what God loves, because we love Him. It is about choosing to embrace for ourselves what He has embraced for Himself out of our devotion to Him. We serve God by serving His plan and purpose for Israel.

Secondly, we need to understand that we are indebted to Israel (Rom. 15:27). God used Israel to show His great mercy to us. Perhaps we should be involved in showing them the same kindness we have been shown through them?

Lastly, understanding what God is doing in Israel (see the section, “It’s About World Redemption”) is about understanding the nature of the day in which we live. The New Testament clearly describes the signs of the times that will precede the coming of Messiah. These signs are most clearly seen when looking at Israel. We are not saying this will happen in the next 10 years, next 50 years or even our lifetime. We are merely pointing to the signs of the times. We need to hear the words of Yeshua:

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34).

Let’s shake off the cares of this world and pursue God with the passion and zeal that He deserves. Let’s be zealous for Him. Let’s be zealous for what He is zealous for.

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What’s the Deal?! Part 1

Patrick & me on the Mt. of Olives. Our first trip to Israel.

I’m sitting with my family of four in our tiny 2-door Honda Accord driving through Kansas City. Our car is loaded down with everything we need for five weeks of life and ministry. In the next five weeks we are schedule for over 20 meetings in six states. Just a few hours ago I was finishing up the last few of our dirty dishes before locking up our house to leave. I was listening to CFNI’s You Are Holy when I was overcome by the powerful sense that I was preparing to do the very thing I was born to do. I’m not talking about that thing that wedges itself into your heart and mind when an inspirational speaker at youth camp preaches a message about dreams. I’m talking about actualizing my role in God’s plan on the earth.

We will spend the next five weeks speaking to young adults about God’s heart for Israel. We will be teaching them what the Bible says concerning Israel and equipping them to stand with and bless the nation of Israel the Jewish people.

When Patrick & I first got involved with this ministry I was asked the same question by several people.  And even now, upon meeting new people, I receive the same question:

Are you Jewish?

No. I’m not Jewish. I’m Mexican-American.

Well then, did you grow up around a lot of Jewish people and Jewish culture?

No. I grew up in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods and can’t remember having even one Jewish friend while I was growing up.

Well, then why Israel? Why do you love the Jewish people so much? What’s the deal with Israel?

I love Israel and the Jewish people so much because when I was four years old I met and fell in love with a Jewish rabbi named Yeshua, Jesus. At the same time I met and fell in love with His Bride, the Church. And as I learned to walk with Jesus I also fell in love with His Word. And as I read through His Word I find that from Genesis 12 through Revelation 22, God is speaking to Israel, about Israel, or giving us instructions for living because those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior are grafted into the Olive Tree, Israel.

If I had to pin-point one specific time when I began loving Israel I would have to go back to some of my earliest childhood memories growing up in church. I loved hearing the Bible stories taught each week in Sunday School. And I especially loved the flannel graph pictures. One of my favorite stories was the story of Peter’s restoration over breakfast after Jesus is resurrected to life. I remembering thinking about how great it would have been to be alive during Bible times living in all of the places I heard about from my Sunday School teacher. I remember the excitement and jubilation that always enveloped our church during the Easter season as we prepared for our annual Easter production; the costumes and music, and the massive sets constructed to turn the entire sanctuary into a Jerusalem market place. It was all so exciting! Little did I know that the Lord was beginning to plant the tiniest seeds and that one day they would flower and bear fruit.

There were sporadic times since then when the Lord brought my heart back to Israel. But the one moment that stands out to me was when I was 19 years old. I had just moved back home after a year of discipleship and ministry training in Phoenix, AZ. It was my first Sunday morning back in my home church – an elementary school cafeteria. For some reason I had the hardest time entering into worship that morning, so I sat down with my Bible on my lap and began reading the first page it opened to. My eyes fell on Psalm 122:6 –Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…

I had read that verse and heard it quoted thousands of times since I was a little girl. There was even a popular song on Christian radio when I was kid that said “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” So I’m sure I had even sung those words before. But this time I knew that something significant was set in motion when my eyes fell on those words.

I’d like to say that I immediately began studying everything I could about Israel and Jewish culture and that I even began taking courses in conversational Hebrew. But I didn’t. The truth is, I didn’t do one single thing in regards to Israel for a lot of years. However, I always knew Israel would play out in some way in my life.

I spent the next 12 years of my life working for and directing an intense discipleship and ministry training school for young adults. I met and married my husband and we had our two daughters and we worked hard and gave of our time and energy and resources to discipling young people.

We loved our ministry and the young people we ministered to very much and never would have chosen to leave it or them. However, in 2007, the Lord used a series of painful events to show us that our time there was done. We graduated our last class that May and instead of sending our resume` out to other churches we believed we were to wait. Wait for what? We were not sure except that we knew God would direct us.

We spent some of the darkest days of our lives from 2007-2009. We experienced what felt like the death of our ministry, a horrible miscarriage, painfully critical words from people we loved, and destructive, invading lies from the enemy during that time. I can recall many dark moments with my face buried in the couch as I screamed at God for abandoning me. And then I would feel so heavily condemned for those thoughts that I’d end up with my face in the couch again, this time begging God for His forgiveness.

It was at the end of this dark period, when we were sure that we would never do ministry again, that we were introduced to Bridges for Peace. We were invited to attend a conference in Florida. We had every intention of going, but then time got away and our lives got busy. Our oldest daughter started school that fall, my grandfather got deathly ill and we had to drive to California, and then there was the constant lack of finances. About one week before the conference, as we were packing to go to California to say our good-bye’s to my grandfather, we got a phone call. The gentleman on the phone began telling me that funds were raised to fly both me and Patrick to the conference and to cover our conference registration, which included an evening at Disney World. After a quick conversation where I was told to expect another phone call where I would be given flight information I sat on my couch thinking Who are these people?! Funds were raised? By people we had never met before?

A few days later, and still under a very dark cloud, we found ourselves in Cocoa, FL hearing a message that we had never heard before. We were hearing and reading scriptures and passages that we had read and heard since we were both children. But we had never had them presented this way. And the more surprising thing was that they were making more sense to us than ever before. We received hours of teaching and never grew bored. We were the foolish ones sitting at the edge of our seats with our mouths wide open in awe. I felt, for the first time in my life, the Word of God as a double-edged sword. I could almost physically feel it piercing to the division of my soul and spirit. It was just the Word. But it wasn’t presented as symbolic or allegorical. It was presented as the history of an actual people and an actual Land. And it was presented as prophetic word concerning an actual people and an actual Land. And I was taught that it was my history and prophetic word concerning me because I’ve been grafted into that people. The Word became more exciting to me that night than ever in my life.

The next morning we were in a time of prayer for Israel. I’ll be honest, I was a bit intimidated. I hoped we wouldn’t have to lead out loud. I had been in church my entire life and now I was wondering How do you pray for Israel? I knelt at the altar silently listening to the prayers in the room. And then, feeling no pressure to, I began crying out to God. I don’t remember what I said word for word, but it had to do with all the years that I spent discipling young adults and how I had missed a vital part of God’s Word – His heart for, words to and about, and His plan for Israel and the Jewish people.

Patrick & I decided that if God ever chose to put us in a position of influence with young people again our focus would be the entirety of His Word; which from Genesis chapter 12 to Revelation chapter 22 is centered on Israel.

So, here I am watching the sun set over the plains of Kansas heading to Colorado.

The Eastern Gate from the Mt. of Olives. Jesus will return here and enter the city through these gates!

The Western Wall.

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