Archives For Israel

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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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?

In Hebrew the word for preaching the good news is mevaser. We have a city called Mevaseret, the female form of the verb. So, I was in the Gospel Mall today on my way to a meeting—meaning I was in the Mevaseret Mall—what better place to share Yeshua! I had to get something quickly. I was in the drug store when I noticed the woman in front of me point to her back, as if she was in pain.

Considering all the little things that happened to get me at that place, I assumed it was a divine appointment.

  • I only came to the mall because I made wrong turn.
  • Once in the mall, I decided to use the restroom first.
  • Then, seeing the long line at the counter, I went to the pharmacy hoping I could pay there, but that didn’t work.
  • I returned to the front and the women between me and the women in pain suddenly decided to go back and shop.
  • And then the women in pain, inexplicably stopped outside the pharmacy(as if God had her waiting for me to pray for her) while I paid for my item.

Clearly I was supposed to pray for her.

I ran out of the pharmacy just as she was finally walking away. “Slicha” (excuse me). “Did you tell the woman at the pharmacy that you have pain in your back?” She said yes. “Can I pray for you? I believe God will heal your back right here.”

She was a little stunned—I mean, who does that? …asking someone if you can pray for them that you don’t even know. But when you are pain.  Curious, she said I could pray.

I asked her if I could put my hand on her back and she said I could. I prayed for her in Yeshua’s name and asked her to check her back.  All the pain was gone! She was in shock. I explained that God healed her back because he wants to know her and for her to know him. She was very grateful and I asked if she could just wait a minute. I ran to the car and got my testimony booklet and Identity Theft—both in Hebrew. I wondered if she would wait.

I ran back in and there she was. She took both items and again thanked me. I explained that God loves her and the healing was just the beginning. He wants more. She had no idea what I was talking about, but now she has all the information she needs! Pray that she reads the materials and finds salvation in Yeshua.

The moral of the story is:

1) Without the healing, the woman, most likely, would not have been interested in hearing about Yeshua. When someone experiences the presence of God, or a small miracle like the healing of their back—they open their heart to hear the gospel. The woman at the well in John 4 was not interested in Yeshua until He, through the Spirit, revealed the secrets of her life. Nathaniel was not at all interested in Yeshua until Yeshua told him that He saw him in the spirit.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Yeshua saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:46-49)

2) God gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be witnessed for him.

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

3) We must be proactive about using them, not passive. Take a chance and you will be amazed at how God backs you up. He is more eager to use you, than you are to be used!

As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9:32-35)

4) There are hurting people out there who need to the truth. We are God’s plan to reach them. There is no plan B.

In this world we are like Jesus. (1 John 4:14)

This week in Israel, we celebrate the story of Esther. It is an all too familiar theme of a world leader seeking to carry out genocide against the Jewish people. I want to look at the three central characters and learn one thing from each of them.

Esther

When Esther heard through Mordechai that Haman was plotting to kill the Jews, she balked. She was not like Mordechai, who refused to bow down to Haman. She wasn’t naturally courageous. My friend Yakov Damkani is a Mordechai. He is a fearless Israeli evangelist, who has stood for Yeshua in the face of violent attacks. But Esther was not. Like most of us, if she was going to do this—risk her life—she was going to need help from above.

I think of those four policemen who did not charge into the school while 17 teenagers were killed. That is what you are trained to do. You put your life on the line for others. In Israel, it is second nature to run to the action, rather than run from it. On dozens of occasions, civilians have stopped terrorists. Last year, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, took down and knife wielding Palestinian with his bare hands.

I don’t judge the police officers in Florida. I don’t know what I would do in the same situation. But Esther had to overcome a similar fear. Probably shaking with fear, she approached the king. Her bravery saved thousands of lives.

Mordechai

We read in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is true and we can see that in the life of Mordechai. If God has determined blessing for your life, no outside element can stop it—not the devil, not Haman.

Yes, there are tests and challenges in life. They are not contrary to the blessing of God, but sent to help us mature. Joseph was not ready to save the world from famine as a teenager, when he boasted he would rule over his brothers. But after being sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape and then thrown into prison, he was ready.

The trials developed deep character in Joseph—so much so, that when he was reunited with his brothers he was able to say in essence, “This was God’s plan for me, not yours,” as he forgave them. Just because you are going through a trial doesn’t mean God has forgotten you.

Look how things ended up with Mordechai. Haman hated him. He wanted to kill him. One night the king could not sleep and so he decided to have someone read him the chronicles of his reign. He discovered that Mordechai had once saved his life from an assassination plot. The next day he asked Haman, what should be done for the man that the king wants to honor. Naturally Haman was sure the king wanted to honor him. So he says:

“For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’” (Esther 6:7-9)

The king was pleased with Haman’s idea and told Haman to do it for Mordechai. Hollywood could not have written a better script. In addition, Esther was given Haman’s estate and presented Mordechai with his signet ring that he took back from Haman. If God has determined blessing on your life, then you can expect it. He will overcome the impossible to bless His children.

Haman

Fueled by pride and jealousy Haman plotted against the Jewish people. When we seek to harm others, we clog the funnel of blessing. Like Joseph, we must forgive those who hurt us.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt. 6:14-15)

And if we seek to harm others out of fear, jealousy, anger, pride, etc., we will bring curses on ourselves.

“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.” (Prov. 26:27)

This biblical principle states that the very vehicle that you seek to use to harm others will run you down. It is written in Esther, “when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head.” (Esther 9:25)

The King was informed that “a pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Impale him on it!” (Esther 7:9)

Conclusion

Let’s choose to be people of courage, walking in the blessing of God, forgiving all who sin against us.

 

 

 

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While I was sleeping in on Shabbat a few weeks ago, after an exhausting day of travel the day before, from Nepal to Israel, Iran sent a drone into Israeli airspace. Israeli officials called this a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

The drone was in Israel for just over a minute before an Israeli attack helicopter took it out just south of the Sea of Galilee. The drone was sent from an Iranian base in Syria’s Palmyra region. Israel responded with force.

Watch: Israeli Helicopter shoots down Iranian Drone

The Times of Israel reported that Israel targeted 12 sites and according to a military statement, it included, “three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.”

Syria’s air defense systems have been severally damaged and I am not sure that the IAF (Israeli Air Force) is finished. Many of the Russian-made sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries were destroyed. The IAF faced substantial anti-aircraft fire from Syria. For the first time in 36 years one of our F-16 jets was shot down. The two pilots ejected over northern Israel and survived, although one is in serious but stable condition.

Watch: Israelis video pilot parachuting from F-16 

 


Israeli forces targeted and destroyed the drone base from where it came. The Syrians cried foul, saying the base was only used to target ISIS. And yet, somehow, the drone crashed in Beit Shean, Israel, quite a distance from Syria.

The Purim Connection

The deep concern in Israel is that Iran now has military bases in Syria. Syria, a country devastated by civil war, causing half a million deaths so far, is in tatters. Iran is seizing the opportunity to use Syria as a proxy country. Iran’s border is about 1,500 kilometers from Israel. But Syria and Lebanon (where Iran has tremendous influence over Hezbollah) both border Israel. Iran hates Israel and wants to destroy her. As I am writing we are six days from the feast of Purim, where we remember that God protected the Jews of Iran (ancient Persia) from Haman’s genocidal plan. Yet the same anti-Semitic demonic forces are still working through the Ayatollahs of Iran, seeking to annihilate Israel.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for our political and military leaders to use wisdom in how we respond.
  • Pray for supernatural protection over Israel.
  • Pray for the peace-desiring people in Syrian, that they would have a democracy free from Iran.
  • Pray for a move of God amongst the Muslims of Iran and Syria.
  • Pray for a move of God in Israel.
  • Pray for the full recovery of the pilot.

 

 

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