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As a Jewish citizen of Israel, I must confess that it is sometimes hard to maintain God’s heart of love for those who seek our destruction. There is no question that the radical Islamic ideology is a danger to Israel and the whole world—including the Arab nations. However, I am not talking about the ideology today, but, rather, the people.

I had the privilege last week of spending several days with Egyptian-born prayer leader, David Demian. He demonstrates the love of God towards all nations in a way that moved me. He not only sees and honors God’s role for Israel and the Jewish people, but he is also contending for God to fulfill His will in the sons of Ishmael.

Love for my Arab brothers

The more I listened to him, the more my heart was filled with love for my Arab brothers. When I say brothers—I mean, after the flesh. We are both sons of Abraham.

But wait Ron, Ishmael was mistake—and after all, not even the son of Sarah, but Hagar.

That is what I thought. My dear brother Bassam Adranly, an Israeli Arab pastor (and optometrist) who loves the Jewish nation, explained that in ancient cultures, if a woman could not bear a child, it was common to give her servant to her husband, in order for her (the servant) to bear a child with her husband—for the barren wife. We see that with both Rachel and Leah. Listen to Sara—then Sarai:

Now Sarai Avram’s wife had not borne him a child. But she had an Egyptian slave-girl named Hagar; so Sarai said to Avram, “Here now, Adonai has kept me from having children; so go in and sleep with my slave-girl. Maybe I’ll be able to have children through her.” (Gen. 16:1-2)

Did you see that? Sarai doesn’t say to Avram that merely he would have an heir, but “I’ll be able to have children through her.” Legally, Ishmael and Isaac were brothers, not half-brothers.

And if the Lord has disdain for the Arabs, as we sometimes act, why didn’t He just let Hagar run away? When she fled from Sarai, the angel of the Lord—Yeshua in the Old Covenant—went to find her. And when He did, He blessed her greatly with a promise.

“I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnantand you will give birth to a son.You shall name him Ishmael.” Gen. 16:10-11)

Notice he doesn’t say you will have a son, but merely you will give birth to a son. Why? Because the son would belong to Sarai and Avram. Next, He speaks of the complicated life Ishmael will have.

“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (Gen. 16:12)

I don’t think this is a prophecy about his destiny, but more about the fruit of being born into a highly dysfunctional family and dealing with severe rejection. Why do I say this? Because Yeshua (the angel of the Lord) said to Hagar, “for the Lord has heard of your misery.” He was comforting her—so it makes no sense that His very next words would be, “Oh, and I am going really curse the boy.”

No, he speaks of the fruit of the wound Ishmael carries to this day. And it stemmed from Sarah’s, and later on, Abraham’s, rejection. When Isaac is finally born, she becomes suspicious of Ishmael:

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned, Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” (Gen. 21:8-10)

The Lord looks out for the abused

Notice the change in her language: …and her son…that woman’s son… Legally, Ishmael was Sarai’s son, but she despised him and rejected him. She disowned him. I have a dear friend who told me of a similar story with his family. No matter how hard he tried to be accepted, they would just trample on him. He suffered severe abuse. But instead of searching for revenge, he longed for normal family relations—parents who would love him and siblings that he could enjoy.

In his darkest moments, the Lord would visit him and encourage him that everything would work out for him. Now, he is a world-changer.

Like my friend, Ishmael was devastated. All he wanted was to feel like a real son and he was met with constant rejection. As he was dying after being disowned by his parents, Ishmael cried in the desert heat. And just as with my friend, the pre-New Testament Yeshua came to his mother and said:

“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” (Gen. 21:17-18)

Many wonder, why didn’t God just let him die? Look at all the bloodshed that has come through the Arab world. We’d be better off, many think. But we have to stop thinking of Ishmael as a bloodthirsty race of fanatics, and see him as a rejected child, dying in the wilderness, after being banished by his father.

Time to love Ishmael

Can you feel God’s heart for Ishmael? Can you see how that spirit of rejection has been passed down through his bloodline? The root of Arab rejection and hatred for Israel is not Radical Islam (not that I am downplaying that evil ideology), but it is rejection from Abraham and Sarah.

This past week we had a small gathering of leaders from our Tikkun Global Messianic Family and invited leaders from around the world, mostly to pray and hear the Lord. After David Demian shared about the wound of Ishmael, one brother stood up and said in repentance, “My attitude has always been toward the Arabs—save them or kill them.”

Without the heart of God on the matter—it is understandable to have such a desire. These people want to destroy us! But once you see God’s heart—how much He loves his son Ishmael and longs for him to fulfill his calling, it breaks your heart. I must confess that I have tears of love in my eyes, right now as I am writing, for my brother Ishmael—but these tears have been few and far between. I have spent most of my time in the save them or kill them camp, not realizing that I was cursing my brother. My prayer was far from God’s heart.

A Needed Rebuke

Asher Intrater, my colleague and mentor, once wrote to me:

“Ron, I think you are the best we have writing on current events, but there is one area you need a bit more understanding—our relationship with Christian Arabs. Your references to the Arabs usually miss that there are true believing, Israel-loving, Yeshua- loving Arabs within those countries. It may be just a slight tweak for you, but it is an important tweak.”

Ouch! What an awesome, loving rebuke. I needed to hear it.

As Messianic Jews, we need to reach out to our Arab brothers who believe and express to them: We repent for what Sarah did. We love you. We need you. You are our brothers. We do not reject you. Come back into the Abrahamic family. Our mother Sarah rejected them, but we want to reverse that and reclaim the Arab people as full brothers.

Roots of Jewish Rejection

I suspect that many in the Arab Christian world who seek to deny God’s hand in modern Israel through replacement or fulfillment theology, suffer (whether they know it or not) from rejection not only from the Israeli nation, but also from Messianic Jews. And, to be honest, I have been an outspoken opponent of what I believe is false theology to erase God’s plan for Israel. I stand by every word I have written, I just lament that my eyes were dry, as I wrote.

Ari Sorko-Ram once explained it like this. God has surrounded Israel with Ishmael. As Jews, we have lamented over this. To make things worse (for us), they have been given oil. Yet in God’s heart, His design was to surround Isaac with his big brother Ishmael, to protect him. But, in our severely dysfunctional family, we seek to kill each other. We think in terms of nations, but remember the roots—this is a story about a family:

  • Sarai couldn’t have a baby.
  • Hagar birthed Sarai’s child.
  • Sarai rejected the child for years.
  • After Isaac’s birth, she had Abraham banish Hagar and Ishmael, and they nearly died.
  • Abraham was torn because He loved Ishmael—but in Ishmael’s eyes, he was a coward for sending them away.

Paul Knew how to Pray

My prayer is for Ishmael and Isaac to be one again—to be brothers. And it must start with Jewish and Arab believers. When we pray a save them or kill them prayer, we are not praying the heart of God. God doesn’t answer such prayers. Paul goes deeper. The Jewish leaders were seeking to kill him and his prayer wasn’t a save them or kill them prayer, but,

“For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Messiah for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” (Rom. 9:3-4)

This week at our gathering, as Messianic Jews, we told the Arab believers at this gathering, “You are our brothers! We claim you back into the family.” But these gatherings of repentance and confession between Arabs and Jews must grow larger and larger—until there is a critical mass that leads to revival in the Jewish and Arab nation.

Wait a Minute

Doesn’t the Bible speak of all nations attacking Israel in the end and of there being war, famine, etc.? Good point. But, at the same time, it also speaks of unparalleled revival. Before Yeshua returns there will be more Jewish and ex-Muslim believers than ever before. You can read about the coming end-time awakening in my free eBook by the same title. Just click here.

 

 

 

 

Living in Israel, all the exciting stuff happens when I am sleeping: Iran bombs Israel and Israel destroys Iranian infrastructure in Syria, the Super Bowl and NBA Playoffs, etc. etc. And last night was no different, because at 3AM Netta Barzilai (known here as simply Netta) won the yearly Eurovision competition for Israel.

I woke up 6:30 am and realized we were out of milk. I groggily walked to the gas station and bought chalav. I picked up the free Israel Today newspaper, when a cabby asked me to give him a copy. I threw it through his window and grabbed another. The headline in Hebrew, “Next year in Jerusalem.” That is what we say every year during Passover, but this was speaking of Eurovision.

What is Eurovision?

If you are from the U.S. I know what you are asking, “What is Eurovision?” But in Europe and even in Israel, there is no one who does not know what Eurovision is. It is an international song competition that started in 1954. It is cheesy, annoying and I mostly ignore it. Israel has won the competition three times before.

But given the fact that we are the most hated country on earth, I didn’t see us winning again until at least the millennium—though I hope one of the first things Yeshua does when He returns is to abolish it!

What is God saying

So let me be serious for a minute. God is always speaking through world events. And it doesn’t mean that He condones everything about an event, if He speaks to those with ears to here, through it. The song is not particularly one I like, but the message was interesting. The song, Toy, is connected to the #metoo movement. Netta sings, “I’m not your toy, You stupid boy.”

But as a proud Israeli, she is also saying to the world, “We don’t care what you think about us. We will not be cowards.” Intended or not, there was a prophetic message released through her song.

70th Year

It is interesting to note that she won on May 13th, the day before Israel’s 70th re-birthday and the day that the U.S. will open its embassy in Jerusalem, a clearly prophetic event in my opinion. God is saying, “My favor is on Zion.”

Just this week, Iran sent 20 missiles at us and not one hit a target—16 didn’t even make it to Israel. God is saying, “I am Israel’s Watchman—Shomer Yisrael (Ps. 121:4).”

And though the nations rage against him (Ps. 2:1-2) as he favors Jerusalem, He mocks them in his laughter (Ps. 2:4), because, as Netta cried out after winning, “There is nothing like an Israeli party. You will find out next year. Next year in Jerusalem.” Yes, Israel wins the right to host Eurovision next year in our capital Jerusalem. She was a bold ambassador for Israel, “Israel deserves a reason to celebrate. I love my country.”

 

Praise from Netanyahu

Funnily enough, I thought I caught our Prime Minster make a typo on Twitter this morning when he wrote, בוקר טוי instead of בוקר טוב. The latter spells boker tov—good morning. Only later did I realize he was paying homage to Netta, as it say boker toy—the same of her song.

“These days, Jerusalem is blessed with many gifts. We received another one yesterday evening, with Netta’s suspenseful and shining victory,” Netanyahu shared this morning, “The gift was that Eurovision will be coming to Jerusalem next year, and we are proud to be hosting it.”

Yes, God is showing that His favor is on Zion—His grace is on Jerusalem.

 

 

A former Obama official, Steven Simon, is encouraging Europe to stand up to President Trump, even saying European countries need to kick out American ambassadors, because of Trump’s ignoring their wishes to stay in #IranDeal.
 

Everyone is saying, “Iran had complied. Why leave?” A few points:
 
1. Compliance doesn’t make it a good deal. By complying on the nuclear issue, we have allowed Iran to sow millions if not billions into destabilizing the Middle East and promoting terror. They are funding Hezbollah, which now controls Lebanon (more or less, winning the largest bloc of seats in the most recent election). They were building military bases in Syria, from which they could attack Israel. (Israel destroyed them all last week, after Iran sent 20 missile our way…thank you, world). Iran’s military budget is up 40% since the lopsided agreement. 
 
2. Stop feeling sorry for Europe. They care nothing for the stability of the Middle East and always think in terms of short term gains (Sure, Hitler, take Czechoslovakia, we trust you to stop there…) over long term security. All they care about is the billions they can make from doing business with Iran. That is what they are mad about. They care not that those dollars will be used to make bombs for Hamas and Hezbollah for acts of terror.
 
3. Some have said that the US must keep its commitments. There is a reason that this was called the Iran Deal and not Treaty. Treaties are binding on all future administrations. So why didn’t Obama go for a treaty? Simple, he did not have the votes in Congress, so he had to go it alone and make a bad, weak, dangerous agreement.
 
President Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize for giving a speech in Cairo. Since then, under his watch:
  • N. Korea got nukes
  • Libya has become an ungoverned failed stated
  • Our Ambassador to Libya was executed and the Obama administration sought to cover it up.
  • Russia took over large sections of Ukraine and Obama did nothing.
  • Syria has had a civil war that has claimed half a million lives, and when they crossed Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, Obama and Kerry did nothing.
  • He called ISIS the JV team, and didn’t take serious the most gruesome terrorist group in modern history.
  • When Egypt overthrew her government, Obama stood with the now-outlawed terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. When the military threw the MB out of office, Obama cried foul. Egypt is as stable now as it has been in years, despite Obama opposition to its present secular government.
  • And lastly, he all but destroyed Americas political relationship with Israel.

The fact is that Obama’s foreign policy was suicidal. It was dangerous on every level and made America weak and the world unsafe. I don’t know where we would be today if Hillary had won.

Trump, for all of his bluster, in just over a year, has the US on the verge of peace with N. Korea, defeated ISIS as a state, and repaired the broken relationship with Israel. He has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and tomorrow will officially open up the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Do you think that maybe Obama should just give his Nobel to Trump?

I remember the day we landed in Israel. We were all depressed. And then years of learning Hebrew. Finally after seven years I preached my first message in Hebrew. We made this short video looking back on the past 15 years.

 

It is May 14th, 1948—exactly 70 years ago on the Hebrew calendar—and U.S. President Harry Truman comes into the Oval Office. He summons his trusted aide, Clark Clifford, who had been advocating for the President to recognize the soon-to-be declared State of Israel. However, Truman was under tremendous pressure from the State Department to refuse any formal recognition of Israel.

They were convinced that the 34,000,000 Arabs would destroy the 500,000 Jews in a matter of days. To allow Israel to be a nation would be potentially signing the death warrants of a half million people.

However, Truman told Clifford that he was leaning towards recognition, but wanted to wait a few days. Clifford’s heart sank. That would be too late. Boldly, he declared, “Mr. President, if we are going to recognize the country, it’s best we do it immediately.”

Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president and most prominent pre-nation diplomat had become friends with President Truman. Just days before, Truman had received a letter from Weizmann pleading with him for immediate recognition of the new nation. No doubt Truman was thinking of his friend when he blurted out, “Alright Clark, get a formal request for recognition immediately.”

Clifford straightaway called the head of the Jewish Agency to confirm that they were indeed planning to declare independence later that day. “I haven’t the slightest doubt,” came the reply.

“Then send me a letter immediately, requesting United States recognition,” declared the excited Clifford.

Eliahu Elat, the head of the Jewish Agency, was stunned. He was speechless. When he finally found his voice, he said, “I’ll send it by messenger right away.”

But there was a problem—as they were writing the letter, they realized, they did not know the name of the Jewish nation. The Jewish National Council (JNC) in the Holy Land had not yet decided. So they wrote,

“Dear Mr. President,

“I have the honor to notify you that the Jewish State has been proclaimed as an independent republic…”

Harry Zinder was given the letter and told to rush it over to the White House and give it to Clark Clifford.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, the JNC had gathered. They were never all in the same place at one time, lest the Arab forces could take them all out in one strike. But this was different—this was the Declaration of Independence. They gathered for a secret meeting in a Tel Aviv museum. They did not even want the British (who still controlled the region until midnight) to know, for fear they would shut it down.

The text of the declaration was with Ze’ev Sherf, who, after taking care of transportation for everyone else, forgot to arrange a ride for himself to the ceremony. He flagged down a car, which refused to take him. However, Sherf would not take no for an answer. On the way, they were pulled over for speeding and had to explain to the police officer that he was carrying the Declaration of Independence text!

He arrived at 3:59. The ceremony started at 4:00pm. They had to finish before the Sabbath. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion rose to the microphone and the State of Israel was declared!

“The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the Bible.

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Accordingly we, the representatives of the Jewish community of the Land of Israel, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British mandate over the Land of Israel…hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

Israel was reborn after more than 2,000 years.

When news came to the US that the name of the new nation was Israel, Elat sent his secretary to run down Zinder. She caught him before he entered the White House. Zinder, after learning of the name that had been chosen, took out the document, and with a pen, crossed out the words, “the Jewish State” and wrote by hand, “State of Israel.”

President Truman wrote:

“This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel.”

You can see in the picture of the President’s response, they did some editing themselves. This shows that the letter had already been written before Israel was declared.

Now, fast forward 70 years. Today, we celebrate 70 years of the rebirthed nation of Israel. Only God could have gathered the Jewish people back to her homeland, and only God could have protected us these 70 years, surrounded by our increasingly violent neighbors.

In honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary, would you considered a gift of $70 to Messiah’s Mandate as we proclaim the good news of the Yeshua to the Jewish people? Ezekiel not only prophesied that God would bring back the Jewish people to her land, but in the very next verse promised a spiritual awakening.

“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek. 36:24-27)

That sure sounds like receiving Yeshua! And we are seeking breakthrough. Your gift of $70 (or 70 EURO) will ensure that our team is able to continue sharing Yeshua, organizing evangelism training conferences and supporting our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, in the heart of Tel Aviv. You can give at www.standwithmmi.org or use the address below.

Thank you in advance for loving Israel and standing with us here in the Promised Land.

Sending a Check?
Maoz Israel
c/o Messiah’s Mandate
P.O. Box 535788
Grand Prairie, TX 75053-5788