Archives For Israel

Once again, proving that it is morally bankrupt and anti-Semitic, the United Nations voted 120-8 in favor of a passed a one-sided resolution, calling for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population. Somehow, they failed to condemn the one group most responsible for putting Gaza’s civilian population in harm’s way: Hamas! Instead they blame Israel, for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force in our efforts to stop terrorists from storming the border and killing Israelis..

In case you have not been reading the news, or live in a cave, Hamas has been urging citizens of Gaza to storm the border with Israel, so they can enter and commit acts of terror. This has been going on since Israelis celebrated 70 years of independence in mid-April.

Not a Peaceful Protest

Hamas has told the world that the protests would be peaceful. Not only does Hamas not believe this, but many of the nations, who condemned Israel yesterday, know it is a lie. They don’t care. They hate Israel—pure and simple.

Presented by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, the measure won a decisive 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions. (source)

No Place for Nikki

Nikki Haley, the fiery United States Ambassador, tried to include language that would bring a modicum of balance to the one-sided resolution.

“For some, attacking Israel is their favorite political sport. That’s why we are here today… the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing. Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the US-led effort to address Hamas’s responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza. We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side. By their votes, those countries recognized that peace will only be achieved when realities are recognized, including Israel’s legitimate security interests, and the need to end Hamas’ terrorism.”

One thing is for sure, Nikki Haley has become (in just over a year) the most outspoken, pro-Israel UN Ambassador in history. Once again, she held nothing back in pointing out the UN’s hypocrisy when it comes to Israel.


Unfortunately, it takes a two-thirds majority to add the amendment. So, even though they had over 50% of the nations condemning Hamas, it was scraped. Even more shocking, is that 58 nations refused to condemn Hamas, a group that has not only terrorized Israel, but has:

  • thrown Palestinian leaders off buildings,
  • chopped off the heads of suspected collaborators with Israel (and then dragged their dead bodies through the street on motorcycles as a warning to others),
  • Islamized a secular community, arresting people and torturing them for heinous crimes like wearing jeans or hair gel,
  • And enacting policies that have all but destroyed the Gaza economy.

In this recent peaceful conflict:

  • Hamas bribed families with $100 per family to come to the border protests.
  • They threatened those who didn’t come with the possibility of being accused of collaboration with Israel—a death sentence.
  • From the border, Hamas operatives are flying “terror kites” fill with petrol, causing 198 separate fires in Israel.
  • A terrorist killed an Israeli soldier, in the West Bank, when a massive marble slab was dropped on his head from a height of three stories.
  • Hamas operatives have sought to blow up Israeli tanks at the border.
  • They’ve forced bus drivers to drive civilians to the border.
  • Hamas makes innocent people rush the borders, resulting in the death of Gazans!

And that is their goal. They know they cannot beat Israel militarily, so they sacrifice their women and children, and rejoice when one is killed. They cry on TV and celebrate in private at the public relations jackpot.

“We are asking for a simple thing,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the UN assembly. “We want our civilian population to be protected.”

Well, Mr. Mansour, maybe you could start by demanding that Hamas stop taking civilians to the border and goading them, if not forcing them, to risk their lives by storming the border. But Mr. Mansour doesn’t dare challenge Hamas. He’d be a dead man.

Israel Loves Nikki

Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, gave praise to the US for standing with Israel in a tweet.


Danon had strong words for UN comrades:

“The backers of this resolution are “colluding with a terrorist organization…empowering Hamas. You are the ammunition for Hamas’s guns. You are the warheads for its missiles. This session today is about our right to defend our people. It is the international community’s attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense.”

“The resolution before you today does not protect innocent Palestinians. It does not protect innocent Israelis. It does not condemn, does not even mention Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization directly responsible the violence in our region.”

Netanyahu responds

“The UN’s incessant focus on Israel not only brings shame to the organization. It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community. Israel appreciates the Trump administration’s steadfast support for Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley’s strong statement today exposing the hypocrisy of the UN’s bias against Israel.”

Prayer points:

  1. Pray for the innocent victims in Gaza being manipulated by Hamas.
  2. Pray for protection for our dear soldiers defending our country.
  3. Pray for revelations of Yeshua to come to the Hamas terrorists.
  4. Pray for the IDF, that even in frustration, there would still be self-control.
  5. Pray for the Jewish citizens of the cities in the south, particularly the traumatized children.
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I woke up yesterday on a Boeing 777 on my way back to Israel. I checked the news and was happy to see that Kim Jong Un has agreed to the full denuclearization of North Korea. Now, I am no dummy…and the President was very clear that no sanctions would be reversed until this was fully carried out. I just assumed there would be praise from the left and right.

I, too, was a little concerned about the President’s “Rocket Man” diplomacy and threats of “fire and fury.” But, then again, as I shared with panicking friends, “nothing else had worked.” What had Obama done in eight years to stop Kim from getting nukes? Bush and Clinton thought they had deals, but Pyongyang either said there was a misunderstanding or just flat-out reneged on the agreement.

So, when I saw that President Trump had gotten Kim to make this stunning commitment, though skeptical of what Kim might or might not do, I was thrilled. North Korea is the greatest threat to world. They have the ability take out entire US cities. So, hats off to President Trump for taking action.

Praise from all corners—not!

I naïvely assumed there would be approval from the left and right—even with a “wait and see” attitude regarding the final outcome. Maybe even praise from Alec Baldwin or Robert Di Nero…I was way off!

  • CNN posted the headline “Kim Reaps Reward at Little Cost”
  • Left wing pundits are grilling the president for not making human rights a major issue.
  • Rachel Maddow opined that Trump’s concessions are exactly what Putin wants.
  • Even Ben Shapiro, someone for whom I have the highest respect, criticized Trump’s praise for Kim, while 25 million people are in prison. (Note to Ben: I am sure the president was very tough in private, but understood that buttering him up in public was the best way to help those 25 million individuals in the future.)
  • Nancy Pelosi said the President gave North Korea concessions in exchange for “vague promises” without a “clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.”
  • And Chuck Schumer went to twitter to whine:

If it were Obama!

Obama secretly sent $400 dollars to Iran on day hostages were released.

Obama in strange pose with Cuban Dictator Raul Castro

I could go on, but you get the sense of it. And it is utter hypocrisy. It is feigned disappointment. The same pols and pundits who praised Barack Obama when he went to Cuba and sat down with its president and dictator, Raul Castro, attack President Trump. The Castro regimes have oppressed their people, limited religious freedoms, thrown political prisoners into prison without trials and Obama sought peace with them, while getting NOTHING in return.

Where were these pundits when Obama negotiated one of the most ridiculous one-sided deals in history with Iran? Did they report that he, Obama, secretly and illegally flew 400 million dollars in cash, with another 1.3 billion promised, to get hostages out? Kerry even admitted that some of the funds would be use in terror operations!

I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” Secretary of State John Kerry

Let me be clear…US dollars are funding terrorism because of the Obama/Kerry Iran deal.

(And while everyone is saying we got nothing from North Korea, there are three former hostages that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought home a few weeks ago who would disagree. And it didn’t cost $1.7 billion!)

So Much Better than the Iran Deal

Iran is one of the most treacherous, repressive nations on earth—equipped with torture prisons, secret political police and secret religious police: imprisoning citizens, and even killing them, without trial is par for the course in the Islamic Persian stronghold. They are ruthless and regularly call for the destruction of Israel and death to America. But that did not bother the left who wanted to enshrine Obama for the deal that was good for Iran and good (in the short term) for the pockets of European countries; and bad for America, Israel and the rest of the world.

But here, President Trump has gotten the leader of the most dangerous (because of the real possibility and desire of using their weapons cache) nation to begin this process and to commit to getting rid of nukes. This will be verified–and that is critical! Trump has said: No sanction relief until verified denuclearization.

No, Trump does not Admire Kim and More than Obama does Castro

Yes, Trump has praised Kim as part of a negotiating tactic. Do you really think that Trump went home that night and said to himself, “Wow. This guy is really misunderstood. He is a great leader. Dennis Rodman was right!” Of course not! He knows he is dealing with a slimy, dishonest killer who just happens to have the capability of taking Manhattan off the earth.

You are not going to get this process started by telling him he is a worthless despot and demanding that he empty his prison camps. Did Obama even think of doing this with Cuba, where he had far more leverage (Cuba has really nothing to offer us other than beaches, rum and cigars)? Why was this not an issue with Iran?

Let the Process Run its Course

Yes, in the end, it may all be a ruse. We can have troops back on the Korean Peninsula in two minutes. But, at least, let the process play out. Unlike with Iran, we have nothing to lose.

What if it ended with North Korea getting rid of its nukes, opening up to the west and granting relief to its citizens. Sadly, it appears that this is the last thing that Nancy Pelosi, Jim Acosta and Rachel Maddow want—they would prefer that the President fail and people die, than the President  succeed. No, they will never say it like that—but it appears to be true.

Nothing Changed in Cuba

They claim they care about human rights in North Korea, when all they really care about is their own powerbase and agenda. Again, where were the protests over Obama being treated like a rock star in Cuba? “Finally, the times are changing,” claimed Mick Jagger during Obama’s trip in Cuba. Really, Mick? What has changed for the Cuban people since then?

The Rolling Stones were sure, and for good reason, not to be critical of the brutal regime in Cuba when they played there. Why offend them when it looked like reforms were on the way? I get that. But they claim President Trump is weak because he didn’t call out Kim on all his violations.

Two years after Ben Rhodes negotiated the Cuban deal, nothing has changed for the Cuban people. They are still oppressed and still live in fear. “[There has not] been any progress on improving Cuba’s human rights records and changing its one-party, communist-run government,” according to a USA Today article. But Ben Rhodes has no problem criticizing Trump over the Singapore Summit.

Nobody is ready to give Trump a Nobel just yet, but let the process play out. It can’t get any worse, only better. Patience, friends. Who would have believed that just months after their Twitter war, the two men were speaking face to face and come to a denuclearization agreement in mere hours?

It was Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, who said, “The hardships of peace are preferable to the sufferings of war.” This is the man who made a lasting peace deal with another ruthless regime – Egypt. Let’s allow things to play out before we decide it was a huge success or a dangerous failiure.

 

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When I was writing my book Identity Theft, I came across this verse and it struck me as odd. At your first reading, unless you come from a Jewish background, you might not agree. But I will clarify.

Peter, speaking at the home of Cornelius, said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of [these Gentiles] being baptized with water.” (Acts 10:47)

Isn’t that hilarious? Let me explain.

Traitor!

Growing up Jewish, we were told that to be baptized in water was the ultimate act of treason against our people. To publicly go into the waters of baptism was to reject your heritage, your people and your God.

And, yet, here is a Jewish man, Peter, not proclaiming that it is okay for Jews to be baptized, but that it was okay to baptize Gentiles. Since when has it ever been controversial to baptize Gentiles? Yet, if not for the facts that:

  • Peter had a vision symbolizing that Gentiles could be cleansed by the blood of Jesus;
  • God told Peter to go with the Gentiles who would come for him at Simon the Tanner’s house;
  • The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles, causing them to speak in tongues;

Peter would have never been in the position to recognize that Gentiles could be baptized.

Baptism was Jewish!

You have to understand that baptism, in the New Testament, was the way that someone confessed faith in Yeshua—it was, if you will, the sinner’s prayer of the New Testament. In the beginning, it was exclusively Jews being immersed in water.

Now, two thousand years later, we tend to think that baptism is foreign to Jewish life and culture. Not so. The reason that God chose baptism as the way to identify with the Messiah’s death and resurrection is precisely because it was so familiar to the people.

The Temple was surrounded with well over 50 immersion tanks (mikvot). These were used before someone would bring his sacrifice to the Temple. The Torah mentions ritual cleansing through baptism:

The priests had to be ritually clean (tahor) in order to serve at the tabernacle, and Israelites who had become ritually unclean (tamay) had to restore their situation with the passing of time and bathing their whole body in fresh, ritually clean (tahor) water, according to Leviticus 15. (One For Israel)

So what happened?

Good question! How did something that was so Jewish become perceived as utterly anti-Judaism? Why was it a local scandal in 1983, in the Richmond Jewish community, when I was baptized as a follower of Yeshua? It is a sad history.

The Church, as early as the second century, turned against the Jewish people. Over the centuries, Jews were accused of deicide—killing God, collective guilt, which deserved collective punishment; we were presented as being incurably lost.

“Take heed to yourselves and be not like some piling up your sins and saying that the covenant is [the Jews] as well as ours. It is ours, but they lost it completely just after Moses received it.”

Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 4:6-7 (between 130 A.D. and 138 A.D.)

“We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.”

Origen of Alexandria, (185-254 A.D.) – An ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.

These attitudes against the Jews continued to grow. In 325 A. D., Constantine and the Bishops of Nicaea outlawed Passover for Christians to celebrate the resurrection. It was replaced with Easter.

During the Crusades (1095 – 1291), Jews were butchered, raped and murdered by so-called Christians as they marched, on orders of the Pope, across Europe to fight Muslims in the Holy Land. These saints were told that if they died in battle, they would go straight to heaven. Sound familiar?

Then, in the Inquisitions (1492), the Jews of Spain were told to either be baptized as Christians or leave the country. Moles who worked for the church would spy on these “New Christians,” as they were called, to see if they would return to Jewish practice. (The other name they used for them was Spanish for swine!) Offenses included lighting Shabbat candles and refusing to eat pork, among others. The guilty would be arrested and severely punished—thousands were burned at the stake.

Now you see

It is thoughts of forced conversions/baptisms and persecutions that are conjured up in the Jewish mind when one mentions baptism today. They do not think of Jewish revival on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), when thousands of Jews were immersed in water in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Sadly, the historic church has done more to push Jewish people from faith in Yeshua, than any other force.

But there once was a day when a Jew named Simon Peter was stunned to see Gentiles receive the Jewish Messiah, and made the controversial decision to baptize these non-Jews into the kingdom. He was even attacked for this decision:

So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the [Jewish believers] believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (Acts 11:2-3)

Now you know why I think Acts 10:47 is the funniest scripture in the New Testament. And yet, I find myself crying.

Pray that the eyes of Israel would be opened.

 

 

 

Friday at Tiferet Yeshua (our Tel Aviv-based congregation), we were blessed to have a group from China, Korea and Japan with us. As we brought them forward to pray for them, Ariel Blumenthal, co-pastor of our Jerusalem congregation, mentioned something about the gospel coming to the Gentiles, first through Cornelius in Caesarea. I sensed the Lord begin to speak to me.

It started in Tel Aviv

You see the Gospel first hit the Gentiles in Caesarea, but it came from Tel Aviv. You may be thinking, “Tel Aviv is only 110 years old.” Well, technically, our city is known as Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa). It began as a suburb of Jaffa, and the New Testament reports a great revival here.

Peter was in Lydda, where Ben Gurion airport is today. He met a paralyzed man named Aeneas. Peter prayed for him and he was healed. From that moment, a Jewish revival broke out in what today is the greater Tel Aviv region.

“All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9:35)

We know it was a Jewish revival because the disciples did not yet preach to Gentiles.

Tabitha Dies

Peter was then summoned to Jaffa/Yafo because a dear woman, Tabitha had died suddenly. Peter came and raised her from the dead and the revival deepened within the Tel Aviv area.

“This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.” (Acts 9:42-43)

In short, he had a vision in which God told him to eat unclean animals. He refused, as he knew it was forbidden in the Torah for a Jew to eat such animals. He was told, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15)

Not about Pork Chops

The vision had nothing to do with food. And Peter knew that, hence, he “was wondering about the meaning of the vision,” when he came out of the trance. Later, he tells us the meaning; “But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28)

Meanwhile, God visited Cornelius the Gentile in Caesarea and told him to send for a man named Peter in Joppa. As the men from Cornelius arrived, the Holy Spirit tells Peter, “Simon, three men are looking for you.  So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” (Acts 10:19-20)

Jews didn’t Host Non-Jews!

You have to understand—Peter had never been in the home of a Gentile and had never hosted a Gentile. Peter invited these men into Simon’s house to be his guests. My speculation is that Simon may have had a mini-stroke. No Gentile had ever been in his home—certainly not by invitation. This went against Pharisaical law. But you see, Peter had just raised Tabitha from the dead. I am convinced that one of the reasons that God raised her up through Peter’s word, was to give him the credibility to oversee the massive earthquake in Jew/Gentile relations.

We don’t know what Simon the Tanner or the others who found out said—but it would have been hard to tell a guy who just raised one of your most beloved citizens from the dead, that God would forbid hosting the Gentiles. Peter had serious street cred!

The Trip that Changed the World

The next day, Peter went to Caesarea with these men. A day before, he never would have entered their home, but now he says:

“You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.  So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection.” (Acts 10:28-29)

As Peter shared the Gospel, God did something else to convince the Jews that Gentiles too, could find salvation in Yeshua.

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The [Jewish] believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.”(Acts 10:44-46)

The Jewish believers were stunned that the Gentiles were praying in tongues. And then Peter proclaims something that today would not be controversial at all—but then, it was considered heresy under their false understanding of God’s plan.

“’Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah.” (Acts 10:47-48)

Today it is controversial for a Jew to be immersed in water—but no one would blink an eye at a non-Jews receiving water baptism. How things have changed.

Prophetic word for Tel Aviv

From Caesarea, a Roman Gentile city, the Gospel went around the world. But now we are entering the end of “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) or what Paul calls, “the fullness of the Gentiles.” I believe that two things indicated this.

  • The Gospel has nearly touched every nation
  • Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands, under Israeli sovereignty (June 1967)

Now we are starting to see the beginnings of the Jewish revival in the last days before the return of Yeshua. It began in earnest with the Jesus Revolution in 1967, just as Jerusalem was restored. And with Israel’s 70th anniversary, the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem and the moving of the U.S. Embassy, things are speeding up in the spirit.

Blessing from “Caesar”

As those Asians where standing in our congregation, I sensed the Lord remind me, what happened in Caesarea (which symbolizes the Gentile world) began as revival in Yafo, which is now Tel Aviv-Yafo. Through Caesarea, the Gospel bore fruit among the nations. We have longed believe, there was more than one meaning to Acts. 1:11.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Yes, of course it means that He went up and will come down on a white horse (Rev. 19:11) to the same place, the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3-4). But it also means that even as it began with a Jewish revival that spread to the nations, Yeshua will return to a Jewish awakening that has come from the nations back to Israel. Yes! The Gentiles will play a major role in prayer, love and outreach.

Again I ask: Did [Israel] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. (Rom. 11:11)

It was through Tel Aviv (Peter at Simon the Tanners house) that the Gospel made its way out to the nations (Caesarea) and it will be through Tel Aviv that Gospel will make its way back into Israel. Jerusalem will always be the high mountain where God’s name resides, but the Greater Tel Aviv region, home to the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world—3.5 million—will receive a massive revival, according to the Acts pattern. This lines up with what Romans 11:25 and 26 teach—that after the” fullness of the Gentiles,” “all Israel will be saved.”

We asked one of the Asian leaders to pray for revival in Tel Aviv and he did with great passion.

Or at least, that is what I sensed the Lord saying.

Will you pray for Tel Aviv?

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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