Archives For Isaiah 2

Do you believe that? Do you believe that God has favored you?

When I first came to Israel and started studying Hebrew, I learned a phrase that I absolutely love. It is all throughout the Bible—53 times to be exact: “If I have found favor in your eyes.” It was an expression used when you asked someone for something. 

Abraham used it when he asked his three visitors to stay: “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.” (Gen. 18:3) When Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was seeking the Lord, she said to Eli: “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” (1 Sam. 1:18) When David ran from Absalom, he said to Zadok the priest, “If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.” (2 Sam. 15:25)

Favor comes from the face

Favor, in ancient Israel, was always expressed through the face. The most famous blessing in the Bible is the Aaronic Benediction

The Lord bless you
and keep you; the Lord make his faceshine on you
and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace. (Num. 6:24-26)

Twice, in these verses, we see the word face: That His face would shine on you and that He would turn His face towards you. If God turns towards you, that is favor—that is blessing. The word turnand the word face actually have the same Hebrew root, PaNaH, because to turn to someone is to face someone.

Psalm 67, one of my favorite passages, highlights this. It speaks of God’s salvation reaching the whole world through Israel. How? Through God’s face!

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his faceshine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth,  your salvation among all nations. (Ps. 67:1-2)

  1. The word for gracious actually means to grant favor. 
  2. The psalmist borrows from the Aaronic Benediction and asks that God’s facewould shine on Israel.
  3. When God’s face shines on you, He grants you favor. Those that don’t believe can see it. This is how God draws people to Himself.

Testimony “I’ve never seen people who love God like this”

Earlier this week, my dear friend, Paul Wilbur, did a worship concert. The place was full. I had brought a friend who is not a believer. He is an Israeli—he is what we call “traditional.” That means he respects Judaism, goes to synagogue, but is not a super religious person. As he watched people from all over the world worship God through Yeshua, he was stunned. He saw the joy and light in their faces. He saw God’s favor upon them.

He turned to Elana and said, “I have never seen anything like this. I’ve never see people who love God like this.” All he knew was the synagogue and rote repetition. I was once with him, in his synagogue, on a holiday. The rabbi, bless his heart, was selling blessings to the highest bidder to raise funds for the congregation. I have nothing but respect for religious Jews, but I almost started laughing. And then, I was crying. What they so earnestly seek, they could have instantly by truly seeking God. 

But this is what my friend knew as ‘religion’—until last Tuesday. Now he is reading material about Yeshua. Please pray for “A.”

You have found favor in God’s eyes

Here is the good news! As a believer, the instant that you put your faith in Yeshua, God turned His face towards you. You found favor in His eyes. You need to believe that! You need to shout it and declare it: “I am the favored of the Lord!” 

The word favor in Hebrew is hen. The h is a hard, guttural h, where you might spit a little. It comes from the word to pardon: l’hon. When you honen someone, you grant favor to a prisoner and cancel his punishment. We have received favor from Yeshua and he has canceled our punishment. He paid the price and suffered in our place.

Now, when you are pardoned, there is no place for pride. You don’t say, “Wow, look at me. I am really special. I was pardoned.” No! You are a criminal—a sinner deserving of judgment. It was the mercy of the king that secured your pardon—not your specialness. 

Our attitude should be like Queen Esther before the king. He could have killed her, but chose to have mercy. He turned his face to her and granted her favor. But look at how she approached him. She fasted and prayed for three days. She humbled herself, recognizing what the consequences could be. Fasting is not a work or a formula—it simply says to God, I am humbling myself before you. I need you. I can’t do this without you. And this humility releases the favor of God on your life!

The king here is a type or a picture of God. Our fate is in His hands and, yet, He is prone to mercy and favor. There is no fear in His presence. Thanks to Yeshua, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Eph. 3:12)

Rejoice today, for you have found favor in His eyes. 

Next week, we will look at several Bible characters and how they received favor. You can unlock the favor of God on your life. 

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Last week I wrote about the danger of supporting Orthodox Jews in the establishment of a third temple. It generated quite a bit of interest and some requested that I continue to share on this subject. One gentleman wrote:

“I agree with most of this article except the part about the third temple. Yeshua will remain in heaven until all things are restored. Without the restored temple, how does Yeshua defeat the antichrist and rule and reign from Mt Zion?”

Facebook User

First, the Bible does not say, “Yeshua will remain in heaven until all things are restored.”It says, “until the times comes for God to restore everything.”(Acts 3:21) Some things God has already begun to restore. In the church, we can see that tongues, revival preaching, purity, immersion in the Holy Spirit and the power of God have been and are being restored. Restoration to Israel includes the rebirth of the actual nation, Jerusalem, a place of leadership among the nations as a light of technology, military leader, and the believing remnant of Jews. Yes, God is restoring!

But not everything will be restored before He returns. He remains in heaven not until allthings are restored, but until the time comes for the restoration.

The Third Temple is the Temple of the Antichrist!

But is the third temple a part of that restoration? Simply put, no. The third temple is absolutely a part of end-time prophecy, but that doesn’t make it a blessing. The antichrist is part of end-time prophecy, but I am not praying for his appearance! And I am certainly not excited about it, or giving money to his campaign, as many believers are to the Third Temple Institute. The third temple will be a temple of deception, leading Jewish people back to a pre-Yeshua sacrificial religion. 

How the Third Temple is Built

You see, I am excited about the fourth temple. I’ll address that in a minute. First, how will the third temple come about? Well, looking through a glass darkly, this is how I see things. 

1. A world leader will arise, possibly out of the massive Israeli military victory prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and bring peace to the Middle East—beginning the seven-year tribulation. This leader will make provision for the rebuilding of the temple. My guess is that the Muslim mosques on the Temple Mount are destroyed in this war.

[The antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ (seven years). In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

(Dan. 9:27)

Refer also to Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, which seems to speak of the antichrist putting an end to sacrifices in the third temple. 

In order for him to “put an end to sacrifice,” there must be a third temple. This rebuilding will lead to a Jewish revival and, probably, the persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel. 

2. The second part of the verse says that he will defile the rebuilt temple, “he will set up an abomination that causes desolation.” We see this confirmed by Paul. 

[The antichrist] will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 

(2 Thess. 2:4)

3. The antichrist will suffer (or fake) a fatal wound, but will rise (or appear to) from the dead at this time (Rev. 13:3). This will give him the cred to simply declare himself to be God. He will defile the temple and take it over, causing the Jews at the temple to flee. 

So, you can see why I am not encouraging people to get behind the restoration of a Yeshua-less revival in Judaism. I am looking for the end-time prophecies that speak of the Jewish people turning to Yeshua (Rom. 11:26; Matt. 23:39), not to the blood of bulls and goats!

Some have argued that we should get behind the third temple because it will lead us closer to the coming of Yeshua. Personally, I find that disingenuous. That is like loving the Jewish people, just because you know that Jewish acceptance will lead to the Second Coming  (Rom. 11:15). Yes, we should long for the Second Coming, but our love for the Jewish people should stand alone, being grateful that the gospel came through them. 

Yeshua’s Temple

As temples go, there is one coming that will be amazing! But it is not the third temple. The Bible speaks of one that will be built in the millennial kingdom. Scholars refer to it as the fourth temple or the millennial temple. It will be constructed only after the Messiah returns, while the third temple is clearly built before the return of Yeshua. (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4)

The most detailed description of the Messiah’s Temple (as I call it) is in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel. Ezekiel who witnessed the destruction of the first Temple is taken captive to Babylon. There he has prophetic visions. He is given a tour and instructions by none other than the builder himself, Messiah Yeshua. In chapter 44, He is referred to as Yahweh. 

Nations Will Come

It appears that this fourth temple will be a learning center for the nations to be discipled. Isaiah speaks of this:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The Torah will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” 

(Isaiah 2:3)

The gospel will be preached during the Millennium. The “survivors” from the nations will need to learn the Word of God. From Jerusalem, the Word will go back to their communities. People will be born during this time and need the message of salvation! 

The Dead Sea Lives

Last week, I was at the Dead Sea. It is drying up. It is stunning to see the former shoreline and how far you must now walk to get to water. However, when Yeshua comes back and builds the fourth temple, the Bible speaks of a river coming out from under that temple that will flow all the way to the Dead Sea, making it live! There will even be fisherman!

“This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah (desert next to the Dead Sea), where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” 

(Ezekiel 47:8-12)

I have a theory: The more the water evaporates at the Dead Sea, the closer we are to the coming of Yeshua. 

Earthquake

What happens to the third temple? How do we know we will not simply convert it or renovate the structure? I don’t think Yeshua will use the antichrist’s leftovers.The temple will have been utterly desecrated. It is what the Bible calls, “the abomination that causes desolation.” 

Furthermore, we see many references to a massive earthquake in Jerusalem at the time of His coming. One passage (Zech. 14:4) says His touchdown will cause the Mount of Olives to be split in two. The Mount of Olives faces the Temple Mount. Revelation 16 speaks of Jerusalem dividing into three parts. 

It is reasonable to assume that the antichrist’s temple will be destroyed along with him, making way for Messiah’s temple. 

Conclusion

It is this author’s belief that the third temple is the antichrist’s temple–even though it will be built at the place of the previous temples. It will begin with a Jesus-less Jewish revival and is then taken over by the antichrist. At no time do I see where this temple is used to honor the Lord. Therefore, I cannot see why any believer would send money or pray for its construction. It would be far better to sow those funds into feeding the poor or evangelism. Supporting it is misguided religious zeal. It is the fourth temple, the Messiah’s temple, for which we should be longing.

Footnote: End-times prophecy is never crystal clear. After writing this there was one thing that troubled me. In both 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1, the Temple is called “the Temple of God.” How can it be of God when it erected by anti-Yeshua unbelieving Orthodox Jews and then taken over by the antichrist?

I could not find much written on this. One theory is that even though the Temple will not have much to do with real worship, it is built in the place where both previous Temples stood, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—thus making it the temple of God. Or, just as the Bible says in Romans, Orthodox Jews are enemies of the Gospel and yet beloved on account of Abraham. So too the third temple can have this dual sense of divine destiny, and yet, corruption. Remember, Paul speaks of the Jewish people having a true zeal, but missing the key component (Rom. 10:1-2)

Either way, it will be the fourth millennial temple to which the nations will stream in the age to come. I am longing for that!

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Tomorrow is the big day. I will be driving up to the Sea of Galilee in the morning and then swimming 3.5 kilometers. I am doing this to raise funds for our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua. We are trying to raise $10,000 in monthly support so we can continue to reach Tel Aviv with Yeshua! Praise God, we are more than halfway there! Check out the video below and my cool breathing contraption!  Or just go straight to: www.roncan.net/swim.

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by Moti Cohen

A few months ago, my good friend, Ido (a new believer at our congregation) had to give a speech in the framework of a course he was taking. During his speech, he decided to share about the process of deliverance he had experienced at Tiferet Yeshua. Even though de did not mention the name of Yeshua, it was clear that there would be people from the audience who would ask him for more details at the end of his speech.

Noa, who was visibly Orthodox, approached Ido after his lecture and began asking him questions about the congregation and what he meant by “deliverance.” Ido joyfully told her about his faith in Yeshua and invited her to come to the congregation.

First time in Tiferet Yeshua

Noa came to the congregation and loved learning about Yeshua. She loved the praise and worship—it is so different than the repetitive liturgical singing in the synagogue, where every aspect of the service is dictated by a strict, traditional format. Slowly, Noa began to understand that faith in Yeshua was not a “foreign import” but, rather, a faith that is firmly rooted in Judaism, that all of the first believers were Jews and our faith is based on the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament—a book also written by Jews.

Discipleship

Noa began a discipleship course I lead, which delves into the fundamentals of faith in Yeshua, such as Yeshua’s sacrifice, repentance, Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures, the importance of studying the Word of God, and, finally, the importance of water immersion.

Interestingly, Ido joined some of the lessons and even took part in discipling Noa. Although he is a relatively new believer, it is clear that Ido has a gift for evangelism and discipleship. For me, it was a very special experience to see a man, who just recently became a disciple himself, lead someone to faith in Yeshua and begin discipling them.

The First Prayer from the Heart

It is important to understand that for religious Jews, praying means reciting prayers written in the prayer book called theSiddur. In Orthodox Judaism, prayer is central and important, but there is no such thing as simply talking and communing with God through prayer. Every prayer in Orthodox Judaism is written out in a pre-prescribed format, determining when and what one should pray throughout the day.

Religious girls are exempt from some of the mandatory prayers that observant men must pray throughout the day. However, every morning when Noa woke up, she would recite the prayer “Modeh Ani,” a prayer thanking God for waking up in peace. After each meal Noa would pray “Tifilat Mezuman,” thanking God for food. There are many more prescribed, mandatory prayers in Judaism, some of which are profoundly beautiful, but none of which come from a personal, spontaneous heart-cry to God.

At Tiferet Yeshua, Noa was exposed to a different type of prayer, one that she had never experienced before; having only ever read prescribed prayers from the page. Noa loved how we prayed in the congregation, but she did not succeed, at first, in praying spontaneously. However, all that changed during one of our services. Towards the end of the sermon that day, the entire congregation divided into small groups in order to pray about a number of topics—and also to pray for one other. Noa was in one of the groups and really enjoyed hearing the spontaneous, personal prayers that people in her group prayed. When her turn came, she simply opened her mouth and, for the first time in her life, began to pray directly from a heart overflowing with love. She was overjoyed that God had given her the ability to pray a personal prayer from her heart!

Praise God! One more Israeli knows how to petition heaven!

Baptism

Last week, we went to the Jordan River near Tiberias where Noa would be immersed in water. She was so excited about this special day. Ido came with us, along with two cars full of witnesses. It was important that Ido immerse Noa with me because he was the one who led her to Yeshua. We explained to Noa that at the time of baptism, we identify with the death of Yeshua, signifying the death of the old man, with all his lusts and sinful desires. And, as soon as we come out of the water, we identify with the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead (Romans 6: 6) and begin to live, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a new life (Romans 6:4).

Noa proclaimed that she was dedicating her life to the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua. She thanked God for her new salvation and went into the water. It was a powerful and holy moment, and there was a strong presence of the Holy Spirit at the time of her immersion. God filled us with joy, which was a sign to us of how happy He was that this “daughter of Zion” had made a decision to follow His ways. We sang and prayed together and returned all the way to Tel Aviv with great joy and peace in our hearts.

Moti Cohen is an Israeli believer and serves as the assistant pastor at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. He is also on the leadership of Katzir, Israel’s national Messianic youth ministry. 

 

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I was recently in the boardroom of a well-known ministry. I was only there to visit a friend who had a meeting there. Every chair was the same and there were no nameplates indicating who was supposed to sit where. When one of the board members of this ministry walked in and saw my wife sitting in the CEO’s chair (which again, looked like every other chair), he flipped out in fear—“Move quickly before [name of leader] walks in. He/She will not be happy to see you sitting in his/her chair.”

He didn’t mean to be rude, but his fear of offending the leader, even though he was a board member (and therefore an essential leader in the ministry) paralyzed his normally delightful disposition.

Jezebel and Eunuchs

Jezebel (and insecure leaders in general) surrounded herself with eunuchs—disempowered men, meant to serve her. New Testament leaders are to surround themselves with empowered men, meant to serve the Lord’s purposes for the people of the congregation, not neutered men. Jezebel ruled by fear and intimidation, surrounding herself with people who would say what she wanted to hear and do her bidding. A New Testament leader creates a warm environment of love, and surrounds himself with people who will speak the truth.

I have been in congregations (and seen many more) where there were no other five-fold (Eph. 4:11—Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) ministers, other than the leader. Everyone else on staff was there to support the leader. Elders were for show only, had no real authority, and had no intention of challenging the senior leader. As a result, years would go by and anyone with a genuine gift for leadership would move on to another pasture, out of frustration. There was no room for multiple giftings, such as we see in the book of Acts. The ones who stayed long-term were either yes-men—spiritual eunuchs—or those with hidden agendas.

I understand that some ministries are not built to make disciples and raise up leaders. Some traveling ministries minister to groups through teaching or empowering, and a support team is needed. But, even in the case of the great evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, as he got older, he began to mentor young evangelists in a yearly gathering and, ultimately, choose his successor, Daniel Kolenda  Long before Bonnke would retire, he was pouring into him so he would be ready when the time came. And, before he chose Daniel as his successor, he was surrounded with powerful five-fold preachers like Peter Vandenberg.

New Testament Government

In so many congregations, when a new leader is needed, they have to look outside for a pastor. In denominations, they call the district superintendent. A young man, sometimes fresh out of seminary is chosen and sent to the congregation. It is very unnatural and often unsuccessful. The kingdom of God is built upon relationships. And, ideally, the congregation would have a relationship with the new senior leader long before he is installed. But, most often, the former leader never identifies or raises up his successor.

The model of government that we use at Tiferet Yeshua (The Glory of Yeshua) is based on the Acts 13 model of team ministry.

Now in the congregation at Antioch there were prophetsand teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen … and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3)

Here we see not merely a senior leader making every decision, but a leadership team made up of the different gifts that we see in Ephesians 4.

So Messiah himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastorsand teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… (Eph. 4:11-12)

On our team, we have an evangelist/teacher (me), two with pastoral gifting, another evangelist and our overseeing apostle, who is also what I call a prophetic teacher. As the senior leader, I choose to greatly rely upon our apostle to help me lead. He has kept me from making silly mistakes. I am so grateful for our three elders, two of whom are very pastoral. Moti will meet people and patiently listen to their needs. And he is a servant. If someone is moving, Moti is there to help. Gil is so good at helping broken people rebuild their lives—both in terms of inner healing and in building systems of accountability to break old habits. And David, who leads our young adults, is a real evangelist, always reaching out to unbelievers.

No Rubber Stamp

When I became the lead pastor, I was not previously one of the elders. Prior to this, I was involved mainly in traveling ministry from Israel and writing. But, once I was asked to assume leadership, I went to each one of the present elders and told them, “If you are going to be an elder, you need to have teeth. I am giving youteeth. I am not looking for a rubber stamp, but for your true opinion and discernment.” My goal was to make sure they knew that I wanted to keep them empowered and continue to build a strong team of elders, as did the senior leader before me, Ari Sorko-Ram.  I was not seeking “yes-men.”

Now to be clear, there have been a few times that my flesh regretted that decision because they embraced my commission. Over the past three years, we have butted heads on a few occasions where I thought, “It would sure be easier if they just let me do what I want to do.” During those times, I remembered what my friend, Steve Erickson, once told me:

You can build faster by yourself.
But you can build further as a team.

Sadly, many congregations function on the word of one leader. Often, he feels that he is the visionary and no one has a direct line to God like he does. But what he fails to see is that his “direct line” is filtered through his emotions, wounds, pride, impulsiveness, immaturity and often, a lack of practicality. That is why he needs true men of God around him to help him discern. Not to constantly tell him no, but to help filter out all the parts that are not of God in order to see what the true vision—God’s vision—is.

And, in our case, it has all been for the good of the congregation. While I did not always get my way, I am confident that in more than 95% of decisions that had to be made, we made the right decision. Elders need to know that it is safe for them to disagree with their senior leader and the senior leader needs to invite this. If you are reading this and you are a senior leader, you know this is true—you know this is biblical. But it takes real faith to believe that these other men are really there so the ministry can succeed. It’s not that they are there to hold you back.

No Other Structure for Government

That is the lie the enemy will feed you—they are holding you back. You could do so much more, if you could just break free of their shackles. And you may be tempted to get rid of them, but you would be going against the given order for congregational government.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, (James 5:14)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you (Titus 1:5)

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14)

There is no such thing as New Testament government, without having a team of elders. We do not find any one-man shows in the book of Acts. Even Paul submitted to the apostles in Jerusalem, when they told him to make a sacrifice to stop the rumors that he was teaching Jews to forsake Moses.

And there will make mistakes—like I said, 95% of our decisions were right. But, on the few occasions where you arrive at the wrong conclusion, the implications are minor when compared to the blessing that God will pour out on your team, for seeking to work as a team in covenant unity. God blesses unity.

How good and pleasant it is

when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,

running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard,

down on the collar of his robe.

It is as if the dew of Hermon

were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the Lord bestows his blessing,

even life forevermore.(Ps.133)

Even Apostles are Submitted

My primary overseer, Asher Intrater, serves not only as an elder, but also in an apostolic role over our congregation. When we embarked on this journey, one of the first things he told me was that if we are ever at an impasse or if I feel he had sinned against me: “Here are the names of the two men to whom you can appeal.”

Now I have known Asher since 1985, so there was already a deep foundation of friendship—a key pillar in successful team leadership. He has been a faithful mentor to me since I lived with his family in 1987-88—right up until I was married. But still he was making it clear that he, as the “apostle” is accountable to others. He is not a king, but a servant. And he has been an amazing example to me.

And these were not mere words. Once, we had a difference of opinion in direction. We tried to work it out between us but we were both strong on our position. At his insistence, he asked me to appeal to Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff—the men to whom he is accountable. He has served with them for nearly 40 years without division. This is so uncommon in the body of Messiah, where, so often, independence wins out over unity. When these two men sided with me, Asher submitted without hesitation. At that point, it wasn’t a matter of who was right and who was wrong. It was that the proper procedures were followed and the rest was in God’s hand.

My point is that elders/ leaders:

  1. Must lead as a unified team.
  2. Must be accountable.
  3. Must be empowered to disagree (without fear of reprisal or dismissal).

Restoring Your Manhood

And if you find yourself inheriting elders who had been in a Jezebellic relationship with the previous senior leader, your job is to restore their manhood. Remember how Jezebel died? Jehu rode into town and called up to her balcony:

“Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. (2 Kings 9:32b-33)

Biologically, these eunuchs would never get their manhood back, but, spiritually speaking, Jehu restored their manhood by giving them an opportunity to stand up against the one who dominated them and kept them in fear so many years. I can’t imagine the courage that it took for them to throw their master down to her death, but, when they did, the power of that spirit of intimidation was broken over their lives. We will speak more on this in the chapter on overcoming intimidation.

The royalsenior pastor is not a biblical model (or the royalcouple), where people idolize their senior leader or the senior couple. Often congregations like that revolve around the personality and gifting of the senior leader—as he goes, so goes the congregation. If he falls, many fall. People seek power by getting close to the “royal couple.”  People play politics, just as they do in Washington, to gain the leader’s favor. That is not a community. That is a show, based on the senior leader’s ability to entertain, manage and control.

A community is built upon the principles in the New Testament—worship, fellowship, outreach and the word of God. In such a community, the elders must be empowered. There is no place for spiritual eunuchs. As we move forward, we will share ways to become free and learn to speak the truth in love.

If you are a pastor and have been using fear, manipulation or guilt to control your board, it is time to change. Yeshua raised up leaders; he did not manipulate them to get his way.

If your elders are powerless rubber stamps for you to get your way (which can often be connected to expense accounts and perks), then it is time to restore their manhood or find new elders who will govern with integrity. If you are building your own kingdom, then this will be very hard. If you are seeking to partner with Jesus for His kingdom, then nothing could be easier.

If you are an elder or leader who finds yourself trapped in an unbiblical system where you have no authority to really govern, then you need to consider leaving. If your leader gives out favors based on what he gets out of it, then you need to confront the system or leave. Yes, it takes courage! But what is a leader, if not someone willing to take a stand for righteousness? It is time to restore your manhood!

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