Archives For Isaiah 2

Obama came to power and promised a new beginning. He went to Egypt in 2009 and proclaimed a new beginning between the Arab world and the West. He apologized for American arrogance. For this he received the Nobel Peace Prize. But in reality we got Benghazi and ISIS, whom he mocked as the JV terror team.

Trump says all the wrong things, he is a bull in a china shop, he goes off script and can be tone deaf in sensitive situation. Yet, he was the one who defeated ISIS and is bringing Arab states to the peace table.

Obama felt that his unique position, being raised in the midst of Muslims, spending much of his childhood in Indonesia, would give him the ability to relate to the Muslim world in a way that no US President before him could. It makes sense, but it didn’t work at all. They saw him as weak.

Trump, on the other hand, has very little experience with Muslim culture, but he is the one who brought Israel and UAE together (and some say, Bahrain and Oman are on the way) to sign a peace treaty.

There is a lot I do not like about President Trump. But he gets results. I would love to see his demeanor change, but I cannot deny results. No one expected a peace treaty between Israel and several nations, and yet, he did it. We could talk about the economy too. No, he is not as smooth as President Obama, but he took the Obama stagnant economy and turned it into one of the best ever. Of course, Corona changed that a bit, but no one anticipated that.

So, I will be voting again for President Trump; not because I am in a Trump cult, but because I can’t argue with results.

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I received so much response from my first article on this that I felt it would be good to share a little more, addressing some specific questions. I hate to be misunderstood. I felt the need to expound, particularly, on issues beyond mask-wearing.

You see, there’s a huge difference between being told to wear a mask to protect other people around you, and being told as believers that we cannot gather at all, or in the most extreme and ridiculous case, which is in California, “you cannot sing.” When is it time for civil disobedience?

What about the American Revolution

First, let me address a couple of things. More than one friend brought up the issue of the American Revolution. Why was it okay for them to rebel but not for us, in regards to the mask-wearing mandate? (To be clear, if mask-wearing is not mandated in your state then it is up to you to follow your conscience.)

The American Revolution was, in my opinion, a case of justified rebellion. You had 13 colonies that belonged to Great Britain, but were situated on another continent. They had no representation within the British government. I would encourage everyone to read the text of the US Declaration of Independence. I think it is one of the most profound and impacting statements ever written.

In it, Jefferson makes the case for establishing a new republic. His reasoning is simple: the King of England has abused his power against the laws of God. The colonies appealed to the king and he either ignored them or rejected them.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

The King had abused his power and violated the rights of the citizens of the colonies. Therefore they set out to create a more perfect union, as the U.S. Constitution states. There was a struggle of many, many years leading up to the 1776 Declaration of Independence. The UN recognizes the right of self-determination. US President Woodrow Wilson said after World War II:

“National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self determination’ is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action.”

We are not talking about leaders trying to do the best they can in the midst of an unexpected pandemic. To equate refusal to wear a mask to the American Revolution is like comparing a cup of water to the Mediterranean Sea. They’re just not equal. I dare say that the courage of the revolutionaries was tested far more than the courage of those who refused to wear a mask.

Another person who objected to my article wrote that Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Richard Wurmbrand are turning over in their graves, so to speak, as pastors acquiesce to the government. Comparing two of the greatest heroes of the 20th century, one who stood against Hitler, and the other, who stood against communism, to people resisting the wearing of masks is almost comical, and an insult to both Wurmbrand, who was beaten in prison for 14 years and Bonhoeffer, who was martyred

Some said that Jesus would not wear a mask but would heal the sick. Amen! And my guess is that if you have that kind of faith and are healing people dying from COVID-19, then no one is going to have a problem with you not wearing a mask either, as you continue to see them healed. But I’m going to guess that not one person who wrote that has actually laid hands on somebody with COVID-19, while not wearing a mask, and seen them instantly healed.

When to Take a Stand

Having said that, there are times for civil disobedience. I was arrested 30 years ago while blocking an abortion clinic. Technically, what I did was illegal. But I, and the 30 or 40 other people with me that day, may have saved a human life—and that’s the higher law.

Right now in Israel, the government is bungling the ordinances for COVID-19. Yesterday, they closed all restaurants at 5:00 AM only to reopen them at 10:00 AM. On Friday they shut down all restaurants for Saturday, only to overturn that later in the day, after many restaurants had already gotten rid of their food. We see infighting in the same parties where members are accusing each other of taking a position to benefit family members.

Here there has been very little help for small businesses and their workers. Some restaurants have chosen to open up no matter what. Is that justified rebellion? In my opinion, yes. When governments cease to act and there is a consensus among the people that a certain action must be taken, you are left with no choice. I tend to support the restaurants in their civil disobedience and the protesters who were gathering on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demanding some common sense from our leaders.

In the midst of this pandemic our Prime Minister took up a whole day of the Knesset’s activities in order to get a two hundred thousand dollar tax break for himself. Meanwhile businesses are shutting down and people can’t feed their children. As a millionaire, He could have donated that money to Corona relief.

So what about gatherings? Should Messianic congregations and churches close their doors because the government asked them to, making the case that it’s for the safety, not only of the people in the congregation, but everyone they may come in contact with afterwards? Let me answer that in two different time periods.

  1. At the beginning of this pandemic it seemed right to most pastors I know to obey the request to suspend meetings and move to online services. This was not persecution of the church, and it was not them acquiescing to government officials. It was them trying to do the best thing for their congregation and society around them, the people to whom we are called to be a witness.
  2. However, now that things have opened up and there are mass protests all over America and Israel, it may be time for civil disobedience in this regard. My feeling was very simple: As long as you are requiring the same thing for weddings and funerals, synagogue gatherings and other events, we should abide by the ordinances. But the situation in California does call for civil disobedience, in my opinion. You have a governor who on the one hand is encouraging thousands of people to protest together, most of whom are not practicing social distancing; and on the other hand he is telling believers that they cannot sing in their congregations. That’s a double standard, and if I were a pastor in California, I would not comply.

Jefferson wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

There are certain rights that are not given by the government, but by God. And the right to gather for worship is one of them. Moses appealed to Pharaoh to let the people come out in order to worship. Pharaoh said no. And I think you know the rest of the story.

As believers, I don’t see where we are supposed to protest for our rights. We are dead. We belong to Jesus. But that does not mean that we are to tolerate injustice. We are called to speak up for the rights of others, whether it is racism or the killing of the unborn. And our most sacred call and commission is to reach our fellow man with the message of Yeshua.

Don’t get mad 🙂

But here’s where I see a little bit of hypocrisy. And please forgive me; I’m not trying to hurt or condemn anyone. Many who have not shared their faith with another person in ages are suddenly ready to display their faith by refusing to wear a mask. If one’s first experience of civil disobedience is protecting their right to not wear a mask, and they’ve never fought for the rights of the unborn or shared the gospel in a hostile environment … thenI have to wonder about their priorities .

It comes off as a bit selfish. I’m not willing to do too much to fulfill the Great Commission or rescue widows and orphans or those caught in human trafficking or to stop the killing of the unborn, but God-forbid you make me wear a mask that might actually save the life of someone around me.

A time is coming…

I do believe things are going to get more intense. I do believe that very soon believers are going to have to disobey governments in order to obey God. I do believe that this is a little bit of a dress rehearsal. Jesus called it, the beginning of birth pangs. I believe that God is giving us an opportunity to learn how to meet together without a building, because the day will come when it will be outlawed to meet to worship—just like in the days of Moses.

I’m in Jerusalem right now writing a book over the next few days called birth pangs. I believe God is calling us to get ready for what is to come. If we are really in the beginning of the end, then the cost of being a disciple will be far beyond refusing to wear a mask. It may even demand that some of us give our lives, as He did for us. May God give all of us the grace to stand strong in the day of evil. He who stands firm to the end shall be saved. (Matt. 24:13)

 

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The other day a friend of mine asked a very timely question online:

Would Yeshua and the disciples wear masks issued by the Roman Authorities? If you believe that they would have, do you think that they would wear the masks in Synagogue while they read the Torah and worshipped? Would Yeshua have worn a mask also while he was healing the sick and raising the dead? Would the disciples have worn masks while preaching the good news of The Kingdom?

Theology over Opinion

I loved the question because he wasn’t asking, What is your opinion about mask-wearing, but instead, does the bible speak to mask-wearing. We have to look to the bible and not our ‘sense’ or ‘feelings’ for direction. Not surprisingly, many gave their opinions in online comments, some with scripture reference, some without.

Several said that God has given us authority, so we do not have to obey other authorities. One said this:

“Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God, not men.’” Acts 5:29

But friends, this is not a valid answer, because Peter was being told to disobey God. Being asked to wear a mask to protect others, is not even close to being threatened with bodily harm for sharing your faith.

Another comment said it was the slippery slope to the mark of beast. It was stated as a fact, not an opinion. By this standard, being told to wear a shirt and shoes in a restaurant could also be a slippery slope to the antichrist. There was no actual data in the comment, to make the connection with the beast. And if it is, so what? The gospel prospered under Roman oppression and religious persecution after the resurrection. Today the greatest revival in the world is in Communist China. I am not worried about the mark of the beast. I am concerned with bring people to Yeshua!

Another said, “NO. It hasn’t sat right with my spirit from the get-go. Neither has ‘social distancing’ or any of the nonsense our MSM pushes in the states.”

First, and this is fact, Israel was down to seven cases a day before opening up (which we had to do for the economy!). Now, we are moving quickly to 2,000 a day. Based on data—not the witness in my spirit—social distancing slows down the virus dramatically. This fact may not sit well with our spirit, but it’s just common sense: You are less likely catch an infectious disease if you are not around it.

But what about, “not feeling right in my spirit”? We don’t get to weigh in our spirits what laws we will obey and which ones we don’t. No one can light a cigarette in a restaurant and tell the owner, the ban on indoor smoking just didn’t sit well in their spirit.

Friends, we have the word of God; and while it doesn’t give us specific detials for every current event, it does give us a guide on how to respond beyond what we feel in our spirits.

Here is my response with a few additions:

God Gives Governments Authority

Yeshua taught us to obey earthly authorities in matters where they have authority. Public safety is not a matter for the Church but the state. The Church, as a witness, should support the state in such matters. Whether right or wrong, contrary to what some have posted about the authority of the believer, God has given the government this authority.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1)

Listen to me, believer—God has established that authority. Your response in such matters is to obey. Anything else, is rebellion to God and His established authorities. Sure you can protest and speak out, if you disagree—the beauty of democracy—but you should obey. God said that. You think I am being too strong?

“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:2)

Some have posted about all authority being given to us, which is why we must look at the whole bible and not just “prooftext,” by taking a favorite verse out of context. If I take that verse out of context, I don’t have to pay taxes and can drive on the wrong side of the road! “Who are they to tell me how to drive, I have ALL authority.” Of course, that is contrary to Scripture and a misuse of the doctrine of the authority of the believer.

Yeshua Paid Taxes to an Ungodly Institution

Yeshua paid taxes to an extremely corrupt Roman system that oppressed multitudes, and he taught us to do the same. Surely, he was establishing a principle. Yeshua the revolutionary, God in man, a fearless human being, could have easily built a case to not pay the evil Romans. Imagine a society where believers refused to pay taxes because of evil regimes—what government isn’t corrupt?!

No, if we are going to look at the “all authority” passage of Matthew 28 in context, it is about reaching the world with the message of the gospel. It is as if Yeshua is saying, don’t fret over things like paying taxes and wearing masks. They are minor in comparison to the mandate I am giving you, which is to spread my message to the ends of the earth

And He even taught his disciples to literally go the extra mile for these evil people, as a witness.

“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If [a Roman soldier] forces you to go one mile (it was the lay the carry a Romans soldier’s equipment for one mike), go with them two miles.” (Matt. 5:40-42)

What about my rights!?

Believers are fighting over their rights and Yeshua is saying, just do whatever they ask. I find it interesting that people who do very little sharing of their faith on a day to day basis, are suddenly screaming that the government wants to silence them. We have already silenced ourselves. I would to God that we were as vocal over trying to rescue people from hell as we are over exposing the great mask conspiracy.

Our calling is not to fight for our rights but walk in love. What if I am asymptomatic and have coronavirus. Is it love for me to walk around putting others at risk? If course not.

Listen, I am not concerned about whether or not mask wearing is a trick of the devil or not. You are not your own; You’ve been bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Yeshua owns us. My job is to share His message and not fret about minor issues like mask wearing (which might actually prolong the lives of the people I’m trying to reach!)

Of course, there are times to disobey. Look at Daniel who prayed despite the threat of death. Or his three friends who chose death over idol worship. On other matters like preaching the gospel the bible is clear, “We must obey God, not men.” (Acts 5:29). We were recently told by those in the Israeli government not to share our stories of finding Yeshua on our T.V. station Shelanu. We said, “No, that would be a repudiation of all that we believe.” They were surprised that we didn’t buckle and they kicked us off. (Now are on the internet at www.shelanu.tv)

The problem is people are comparing the bold stance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to their refusal to wear a mask. The difference between the two issues is laughable. If someone in authority tells me that I cannot share my faith with others, I will not obey. If they tell me to wear a mask, something that takes little sacrifice on my part, to protect others and myself, I will obey with joy to be a good witness.

WWPD? WHat would Paul do?

I think if you asked Paul about this issue, he would have responded as he did to the elders in Ephesus:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Yeshua has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Let’s be vocal about Yeshua!

So, and let me be blunt, if you are willing to take a stand on the mask issue, by not wearing one, but you are not seeking to bring people to Yeshua, your priorities are out of wack. Sorry. But that is just good old fashioned bible truth. Between the racial tensions and the virus, the Church should be front and center, seeking to reach people for Yeshua. Instead we’re on Facebook arguing over whether or not wearing a mask is a violation of our biblical freedoms—even the mark of the beast.

So yes, I do believe that if the Roman authorities asked their citizens, including Yeshua and the disciples, to wear masks to protect others in the midst of a plague, they would absolutely obey, and also go lay hands on those infected and heal them. If they obeyed the authorities in other areas, such as unbearable taxes and carrying stuff for Roman soldiers, why would they rebel in something so minor.

We have to get back to the task at hand, our sacred commission of sharing His message.

 

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