Two-State Solution

Some of my friends and followers here may be confused about the idea of a two-state solution, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace.  Twenty years ago, the majority of Israelis were in favor of a two-state solution to preserve the Jewish majority in the Jewish state and a way for Palestinian Arabs to have their own state where they could live with full national identity among the nations.   Many Messianic Jews in Israel supported this solution, but many did not.  Many were optimistic that this would happen.

Some Messianic Jews agreed with the right-wing nationalist Orthodox who looked at the book of Joshua and saw that Israel had a mandate to take the whole land.  Only by exercising faith and taking all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean can we have the blessing of God on Israel.  Palestinians who desire to live in peace and live with some level of autonomy but not citizenship can stay, and those who do not want to live in peace on this basis would have to leave.

Other Messianic Jews rejected this view called maximalist.  Why?  Because Israel has not repented of sin and come to fully embrace the Bible’s teaching on morals and life.  We have not come to Yeshua but even more, the state supports abortion, the LGBTQ agenda and so much more. Of course, the Orthodox Jews do reject these orientations.  We Messianic Jews believe in Israel and the return to the Land, but a counsel of taking the whole Land now may not have God’s favor.  It might bring destruction as the Zealots in the first century brought Roman destruction on Israel.  This is still a debate among Messianic Jews in the Land.

However, today the majority of Messianic Jews and the great majority of Israelis reject the two-state solution, at least for now.  This is not as wrongly perceived in the West because of the domination of the right-wing national Orthodox.  Rather, the Israelis are disillusioned with the Palestinians and the two-state solution. It is not religious reasons that drive them.  Here are the reasons.

  1. Israel sought to have a two-state solution under Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. What happened?   The first big attempt was during the time of Yassir Arafat.  He rejected the plan negotiated with President Bill Clinton.  When he walked away, Clinton said to him, “You have made me a failure.” Prime Minister Olmert negotiated even more generous terms, terms that no Israeli government could go beyond.  He offered 97% of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem for a Palestinian State.  He offered land swaps for the 3%. He offered a right of return to near relatives of Arabs living on the Israel side of the new border, but other refugees could return to the new state.  Mohammed Abbas rejected the plan.  Again, later there was another violent intifada uprising. Israelis became convinced that the Palestinians did not really want a two-state solution, but it was only a game played for the West.  Maybe Abbas was afraid of the radicals like Hamas and thought if he accepted peace, he would be killed.  Remember Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
  2. Secondly, Israel under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was pro-settling Judea and Samaria, came to believe that two-states were necessary to preserve Israel.  He withdrew all Israeli settlements from Gaza and turned this completely over to the Palestinians. It was a grand experiment.  There was no blockade.  They were totally free and were encouraged to make Gaza a great place.  This was very controversial.  Sharon’s desire was for them to succeed. If they did then he could withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria except for the big settlement blocks needed for Israel’s territory depth for defense and security.  He said he wanted to draw the border.  Because he did not think the Palestinians would accept any agreement, he decided that unilateral withdrawal was the way forward.

Gaza then came under Hamas rule. They killed Palestinian Authority government leaders and took over.  The population supported Hamas. Hamas did not want a two state solution but wanted to destroy Israel.  They turned Gaza into an armed military camp with offensive weapons galore.  This is the background for the present war.

  1. After this, the left wing parties declined and never again came into power. Labor that had been so big dwindled to  be a tiny party.  Why?  As Israelis looked at this history, they came to believe that there was no real partner for peace.  Palestinian education was anti-Semitic.  The Palestinian authorities gave big support stipends to terrorists who were jailed or killed. This is called pay for slay.

Contrary to Western perceptions, Israel’s rejection of a two state solution was not due to the religious fanatics, but due to a hard evaluation of the history and the present situation.

Only a change of heart among the Palestinians can lead to lasting peace under any scenario.

The Spirit of Depression and Encouragement in a time of War

We’ve recently passed 100 days of war here in Israel.  Some of my Israeli friends are down.  This includes followers of Yeshua.  Why wouldn’t there be depression?  Here is a list of twelve reasons why many are depressed:

1.  The terrible slaughter of over 1200 Israelis. 

2.  The mistreatment of the Israelis, the rape and torture of so many just before their deaths. 

3.  The hostages that were taken captive, some tortured and almost 300 Israeli soldiers killed.

4. Over 1500 injured; what injuries are long-term and life debilitating? 

5.  Over 10,000 Gaza civilians probably killed.  This is not intentional but adds to the depression because Hamas set things up so they cannot be defeated without such civilian casualties. 

6.  The response of the pro-Palestinian Arabs in many nations who now have demonstrated in favor of the terrorists.

7. The response of the “woke” left who identify with Hamas, though Hamas would kill them if they were in the countries that support them.  It is devastating to Jews who were liberal and now believe their political allies have turned on them, and they have. 

8.  The division in Israel between those who want to fully defeat Hamas and those who would stop the war to get the hostages back.  Most Israelis want the war to conclude with a full defeat of Hamas and a pullback by Hezbollah in the North in submission to U. N. resolution 1701. 

9.  That many on the left have accepted the lying narrative that Israel is a colonial settler state and should never have come into existence. The messaging of Hamas has been much more effective than Israel. 

10.  For Messianic Jews, that the Bible and its teaching on the election of the Jewish people and the promise of this Land to our people is ignored, and even by those who claim to believe the Bible but ignore these passages. 

11.  The trauma of missiles form Gaza and Lebanon that have displaced over 200,000 people counting both the north and south. 

12. The proceedings of the International Court of Justice of the U. N. where Israel, the victim of genocide, is being accused of genocide due to civilian causalities in its war against Hamas.  Hamas should be blamed.

Well, you get the idea.  However, God is never defeated and ultimately, He will be victorious.  In Psalm 83, Israel fights against enemies who perhaps would wipe them out in a genocidal war.  The enemy says of Israel, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation. Let Israel’s name be remembered no more.”  v. 5.  This sounds just like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad.   The Psalmist prays that these enemies would be defeated.  But then though praying that the enemies perish, the Psalmist gives a glimmer of hope in the important verse, “Cover their faces with shame so that they may seek your Name.” (v. 17).  Also, we note v. 19, “Let them know that you alone—whose Name is Adonai—are El Elyon over all the earth.”

Some years ago, Lee Smith wrote the book The Strong Horse.  In it he tried to get westerners to understand the Middle Eastern mind.  There is a deep tendency to be in alliance with the strong.  For the more primative mind, the winner at war shows that their God, or their religion is more powerful.  Accommodating radical Muslims will bring about positive change, but their utter defeat.  In Psalm 83 the defeat leads to the confession of the Lord.  Can we believe for a harvest into the Kingdom as a result of this terrible war, this terrible time if Israel is victorious?

The good news is that ultimately the enemies of God will be defeated.  Yeshua will return and put all things right.  We have to maintain this perspective in all times of trail and fight depression with hope.  This is our ultimate hope.  However, there is also much hope that God will bring good in the interim out of these trials.  As we pray for victory for Israel in all these trails, the false attack and so much more, can be not find hope in the present prospects for the advance of the Kingdom?  I think we can.  We see in Heidi Baker’s amazing book, Always Enough, that the worst apparent setbacks led to great advances for the Gospel.

What are some other signs of hope?  First, Israel is recognizing more than ever before that the Evangelical community is her strongest supporter.  This helps overcome the stronghold of the mind that faith in Yeshua and the New Testament leads to opposition to the Jewish people.  It is just the opposite when the Bible is truly believed.  Jewish people are and will also be more open to the Gospel.   We see an advance with both Jews and Arabs.

Secondly, the war is exposing hearts in the West and in the leadership of nations.  Now the bankruptcy of the radical left is being revealed.  Jewish people in the nations as never before are reevaluating their political alliances.  This is a very good thing.   The hearts of the radical left are being revealed as perverted.  There is exposure of the anti-Semitism in the culture, the Ivy League schools and more.  It is not too late for many are now seeing this and strongly rejecting this.  Congressional investigations on anti-Semitism are starting.

We also now see the evil of the leaders of nations.  We see Russia and China ally with Iran, the sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah. Turkey and South Africa say Hamas is not a terrorist organization.  It is good for us to know that these leaders are evil and that the present war has revealed their hearts.  We hope this changes Israel’s policies and the policies of other nations.

Israel is an instrument of revealing God to the nations.  We believe that this is taking place.

Therefore, despite the 12 reasons for depression, let us look up to Him and have hope that God is mightily at work.

The Anti-Missionary Campaign and the Jerusalem Post

For many years I have observed the anti-missionary groups that attack Messianic Jews and Christians who share their faith with the Jewish people. Years ago, the well-known Messianic Jewish apologist, revivalist, and cultural critic, Dr. Michael L. Brown, debated their leading figure.  That anti-missionary was bested so badly that the word went out to not debate Dr. Brown.  There are Rabbis and even some Orthodox ones, who have treated Messianic Jews fairly, honestly presenting who they are, what they believe, and why they disagree.  We had good relations with conservative Rabbi Matthew Simon in the Washington D. C. area and the head of the Rabbinic Council in Washington, Rabbi Joshua Haberman.  Rabbi Haberman even read my book Jewish Roots and asserted that we should be accepted in the Jewish community but that it would take another generation or two.  I am used to the anti-missionary diatribe, and it is almost boilerplate, stereo-typing, and misrepresenting.  One canard is that Messianic Judaism leads to assimilation and is a danger of destroying Jewish identity.  Yet, the foundation of Messianic Judaism, in which I played a somewhat formative role, is a faith commitment that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews, as part of their people.  Messianic Jews are much more Jewish observant than the majority of Jews.

The article in the last Friday, Dec. 29, edition of the Jerusalem Post Magazine section, entitled, “Uncovering missionary efforts.” was the same boilerplate but more troubling.  Why?  It was the timing.  Messianic Jewish congregation leaders in Israel have listed over 1000 Messianic Jews who are serving in the war, both in Gaza, in the north against Hezbollah, and in the West Bank.  I am personal friends with some of these Messianic Jews.  Their patriotism is stellar.  In the midst of the war, the Jerusalem Post editor approved a boilerplate article full of misrepresentation of Messianic Jews, fostering mistrust and division.  Where on earth was the editor’s mind or wisdom?  Do they ever seek a Messianic Jewish response?  They slandered good people by name!

The writer, Atara Beck, gives some credit to Christian Zionists who are supporting Israel in this dark time, but even then undercuts this credit by discrediting one such ministry that requires all that come to serve with them to sign a statement that they will not seek to share their faith with Jewish people in Israel while working with them. So much for the leading of the Holy Spirit in this ministry. However, even this ministry is slammed because its leader hopes that their acts of unconditional love will eventually lead to the Jewish people softening their hearts and embracing Yeshua.  And this is so terrible?  This is total hypocrisy from the writer.  Why?  Because Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, and Messianic Jews all believe that one day all will embrace the true Messiah and Israel and the nations will be one under the rule of Israel’s true Messiah.  Orthodox Jews believe that this is not Yeshua/Jesus but will be a yet-to-be-revealed person, but they believe all will convert to faith in the true Messiah and become Noachides.  Messianic Jews and Christians believe that the true Messiah is Yeshua/Jesus.  For Evangelicals and Messianic Jews to not believe that someday Israel will confess him would be to deny their own faith.  Isn’t this obvious?  Not to the anti-missionary who is blind to the contradiction. Even the Catholic Catechism, paragraph 674, puts out the faith statement that one day Israel will confess Him and that this will lead to his return.  Yet, the Catholics have rejected an explicit missionary effort to the Jews.  This does not mean that Catholics think that Jews coming to faith is wrong.  Such Jewish believers are embraced, like the late Jewish Cardinal Lustiger of Paris who called himself a Messianic Jew.

The anti-missionary does not engage with the Messianic Jewish arguments and respond honestly after showing that he or she has understood it.  They cannot present it objectively but have to resort to diatribe and propaganda. When they present their apologetic against faith in Yeshua it is a pile of distortions an misrepresentations as fully shown in Mike Brown’s masterpiece six volumes, Answering Jewish Objections.

Messianic Jews and Bible believing Christians have different views on approaching Jewish people, but all agree that Yeshua is the Messiah and by definition this means that Israel will eventually embrace him. However, other than that they have different views on  practical engagement with Jewish people.

  1. Most believe in a legitimate witness of sharing faith with Jewish people as led by the Spirit with the hope the Spirit will enlighten and bring a change of heart and faith in Yeshua.
  2. Some believe in overt public witnessing and proclamation in streets and in media and some do not.
  3. A minority believe that only Jews should share their Yeshua faith with Jews since if Gentiles share it could lead to assimilation.
  4. A minority believe that the Jewish people have their own covenant status and acceptance with God if they are committed to God and that sharing faith should be avoided.  If Jews come to faith, it should be by a supernatural act without a witness from another follower of Yeshua.  This seems to be the case with the leaders of one of the ministry leaders described in the Jerusalem Post article.

Unlike the implication of the tone of the article, Messianic Jews are not stupid people who just bought into propaganda. That is what you would conclude from the article.  On the contrary, many are intelligent and thinking people and a larger and larger number of Messianic Jewish scholars are doing great work. They have Ph. D’s from Duke, Cambridge, Emory, New York University, Tel Aviv, Hebrew University, Bar Ilan and other famous schools.  For all, believing in Yeshua is by revelation of the Spirit and sometimes a response to real miracles. For many, they have responded to overwhelming evidence (see my book, The Biblical Worldview, An Apologetic)

We are grateful for those Jewish leaders who though they do not believe in Yeshua, engage with Messianic Jews with honesty and seek an objective engagement.  A few have even written books arguing for mutual respect.  (See Rabbi Cohn Sherbuck, Messianic Judaism.

The Revelation of God and the Miraculous

The older I get the clearer it becomes that the primary revelation of God is through the miraculous.  It is not speculation about the nature of the universe, time and eternity, first causes, or other philosophical approaches.  There are some such verses in the Bible.  Romans says that the creation reveals God’s power and divine majesty, (Romans 1, Psalm 19).  However, the idea may be that the perception of the universe itself and our existence in it is perceived as miraculous.

The Hebrew Bible

In the Bible, God is known for doing great miracles and then by the prophetic word that interprets the miraculous.  The flood and the deliverance of God have miraculous features.  Its meaning is interpreted by God’s prophetic words to Noah. The call of Abraham and Sarah’s pregnancy is a miracle.  God speaks to Abraham and gives him an understanding of this miracle. The plagues and the Exodus from Egypt are miraculous.  Moses and Aaron interpret these events.  Then there is miraculous provision in the desert.  The miracles continue in the phenomena at Sinai.  The miracles are the context for giving the Mosaic constitution, Exodus through Deuteronomy.  They prepare the way to accept God’s word, a constitution for the nation of Israel. Jericho’s walls fell down, a miracle. Jehoshaphat is sent with worshipers and the invading armies kill one another (II Chron. 20:18-23). Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and God reveals himself in the miracle (I King’s 18).  We know who God is and what He is like through His miraculous interventions and the interpretation of these events by the prophets. God is known by the biblical narrative of the people of Israel and the history of their history of miracles and their interpretation.

The Ministry of Yeshua on Earth

With the coming of the New Covenant, the fulfillment of prophecy itself is sometimes miraculous and is interpreted prophetically.  The progress of the ministry of Yeshua is through a plethora of miracles.  Yeshua is the great prophet who interprets these miracles.  He calls people to believe in Him based on his miraculous works (John 10:37, 38).  The resurrection was the great miracle that was interpreted by Yeshua and his disciples after his resurrection.  The Gospels are the interpretation of meaning from the miracles of compassion and deliverance from Yeshua and his apostles during the day of his life on earth.

Progress through Yeshua’s Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets

The Gospel progresses in Israel through miraculous events interpreted by his New Covenant Apostles and Prophets.  This continues with Paul as he takes the Gospel to the nations. Miracles continue to be part of the cutting edge of extending the Gospel.  Those miracles then are interpreted and provide the occasion for proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The theology of the New Testament, the books themselves, are the teaching of the Spirit through apostolic writers given their foundational credibility by the miraculous as a foundation for belief.  Yes, the lofty nature of the teaching does give it credibility as well.

The First Centuries of Progress after the death of John the Apostle

This continues into the next two centuries after the death of John the last of the 12 Apostles.  It is the key to the growth of the early Church.  It continued into the fourth century.  After this, the miraculous was not as frequent but never ceased. Ramsey McMullen, a noted Yale historian of the Roman Empire, wrote an amazing book, Christianizing the Roman Empire, where he argued that Christianity progressed and overcame paganism largely through the plethora of miracles through this period.  Its miraculous power was demonstrated as far beyond that of paganism. One can doubt that the miracles really happened, but this is the testimony of the people who provided the records from those days.

The Testimony Today, the Story Continues

The testimony today is that on the cutting edge of the extension of the Gospel of the Kingdom in much of the world, especially Southern Global Christianity, the same pattern of miracles continues.  We are seeing a return to the biblical pattern of miracles being a key to the extension of the Kingdom. The writings of Dr. Craig Keener in his Miracles, two volumes of amazing documentation in almost 1000 pages, show that this is key to the progress of the Gospel.  Signs and wonders are key to the conversion of the peoples of nations all over the world.  God shows himself in the miraculous and his evangelists interpret these miracles.  God still heals the sick and casts out demons through his emissaries.  He still raises the dead.  Miracles today are not the context for a new revelation that is authoritative, but instead, confirm the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the authority of the Bible as our foundational book for how we are to believe and how we are to live.

Conclusion

Without the interpretations of miracles, we do not have sufficient revelation of God.  We find that God is a God of love, who seeks to give people eternal life.  He brings them into a loving community.  However, he is a God of declared righteous standards and judgment for those who will not submit to God’s lordship and the Lordship of Yeshua.  The God who heals the sick, cleanses the leapers, and raises the dead, also says that we are to live in fidelity in our marriages, raise our children in the faith, care for the poor and widows, and extend the Kingdom in sharing the Gospel.  He confirms the universal standards of the Torah for all people (Matthew 5:16-19).  The history of God’s miracles in the Bible is our narrative theology, or our theology is narrative.  The history after the Bible is the story of the continued advance of the Gospel.  This is why a true biblical theology is a charismatic theology.   Isn’t it wonderful to live in a day of miracles?!

We foster this kind of Gospel of the Kingdom movement in Israel. Our new Bible College will be a school that teaches and fosters the supernatural miraculous Gospel of the Kingdom movement in Israel.

How did we get here? Israel’s policy mistakes and one American policy mistake

Israel made many bad decisions historically and appeased their enemies.  This is one reason for the terrible war now and the dangerous state of affairs. What I write here is not my playing Monday morning quarterback because I was deeply grieved and saw the error at the time of those decisions. We are dealing with two primary entities, the state of Lebanon and Gaza.  The Lebanon problem is older so I will deal with that first. Here is my list and explanation.  These views of the events were formed at the time of the decisions.

1.  The withdrawal after the First Lebanon War, 1982.  In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon to end the attacks from the Palestinians.  The campaign was known as Operation Peace in Galilee.  The Christian Maronite militia allied with Israel.  The terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization was expelled.  The hope was to see a Christian government under Bashir Gemayel that would make peace with Israel.  Many things went wrong.  For one thing, this leader of the Lebanon government was assonated.  His brother who came to leadership was weak.  Secondly, the Maronite army perpetrated a massacre against civilian refuges in two of the camps.  Israel lost her heart for the war after this and withdrew.  However, she should have continued to see full victory and then to ensure a Christian government in Lebanon.  Israel still had the Southern Lebanon Army Christian Zone that was controlled by the SLA with Israel’s support.  There was still a buffer.

2. The United States abandoned Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks.  The Marines were part of a Multinational Force providing security and peace after the Lebanon civil war. Islamic Jihad, akin to Hezbollah, a Shiite group, sent suicide vans to bomb the Americans and French. The U.S. Embassy had been bombed prior to this.  My desire at the time was that President Reagan would go to war against Islamic Jihad, and take out their leaders, and destroy their militia.  He did not. He withdrew.  This show of American weakness empowered terrorism. Now the Christian leader Gemayel had to deal with this.  Islamic forces were growing at the expense of Christians.   

3. Israel’s decision to withdraw from South Lebanon and to abandon the South Lebanon Christian Army.  In April 2000 Israel began to withdraw from Southern Lebanon.  Israel was not the primary fighting force but a support to the South Lebanon Christian Army.  Yes, Israel lost a few soldiers from time to time, but the brunt of the responsibility and dealing with the terrorist Palestinians was the South Lebanon Army.  Yet for Israel, their losses were too much.  Yet this withdrawal would lead to the loss of many more Israelis.  When they withdrew the South Lebanon Army was not strong enough to continue without Israel’s support, so many were allowed to move to Northern Israel.  My daughter was in Israel with a group known as Souled Out at the time and remembers the pain of the Christian soldiers.  They danced and entertained the soldiers from this army.  At the time I shouted inside, NO!  I knew the vacuum would be filled by Palestinian terrorists.  Israel had a great buffer against Hezbollah, a Christian Ally. As I and others predicted, the radical Islamists took over South Lebanon and made it a place of operations against Israel.

4.  Israel allowed Hezbollah to regroup and be rearmed after the 2006 Lebanon War.  After Israel went to war in Lebanon against Hezbollah she made a tactical mistake.  The head of the military was an air force man who pummeled the infrastructure of Lebanon including Beirut.  This turned many who were not anti-Israel against Israel. Israel waited too long to send ground troops. I remember watching the news with my brother in Georgia.  He had been an Air Force major and was quite dumbfounded that they were depending on air power for so long and delayed the invasion. Finally, when Israel invaded, world pressure sought a withdrawal before Israel could decimate Hezbollah.  The U.N. then agreed to send peacekeepers.  The agreement with Lebanon and the U.N. was that Hezbollah would not be allowed to re-arm. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called this a robust Chapter Seven U. N. agreement.  I knew at the time that the U.N. would not enforce this agreement.  Soon Hezbollah was rearming and not only that but importing missiles.  Today there are from 150 to 200,000 missiles, some of them precision ones that are geared to destroy Tel Aviv.  When it became clear that the U.N. would not enforce the agreement. Israel should have gone to war and then said to the U.N., “Until you enforce this agreement we will return again and again and will enforce this agreement.  Alas, Israel allowed this to happen under successive governments, but primarily under P. M. Netanyahu.

5.  When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, they turned over the government to the Palestinian Society.  They were released to be a free territory with open borders to Egypt and the sea.  Hamas rebelled and overthrew the Palestinian authority.  Some of its leaders were killed.  Since Hamas is a terrorist organization, whose charter is to destroy not only Israel but world Jewry, Israel should have invaded Gaza. Hamas was still weak.  They should have said, that Israel would not allow terrorist government on its borders.  They then could have reinstalled the Palestinian Authority.  However, Prime Minister Netanyahu had the idea that as long as the Judea and Samaria Palestinian areas are ruled by the P.A. and Gaza by Hamas, there could be no two-state solution.  Of course, Hamas could declare Gaza a state but will not do so since they want their state and rule to first include Judea and Samaria and then all of Israel.   Israel then set a blockade to prevent Hamas from receiving offensive arms.  This policy has failed.  The naval and border blockades did not prevent a terrible level of arms and missiles from being stockpiled in Gaza.  Israel should as a policy both for Gaza and the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria say that no government will be allowed that is terrorist.  Elections must exclude individuals and parties that are terrorists.  Netanyahu thought he could contain Hamas.  He was wrong.  In 2006 when Hamas came to power, I saw the handwriting on the wall.

These mistaken policies have brought us to this sad situation, but the good thing is I hope that Israel will not allow Hamas to rule on territory on its borders.

War and Moral Relativism

As Israel prosecutes the war in Gaza, we reflect on the terrible hatred and atrocity of Hamas. When Israel left Gaza (Sept. 12, 2005), they offered Gaza freedom and development if only they would live in peace with Israel.  Instead, Hamas came to power and murdered the leaders of the Palestinian Authority.  They turned from the offer of liberty and self-determination to create a terrorist state that would be armed to destroy Israel.  Israel had no choice but to blockade Gaza to prevent offensive weapons import.  That blockade now shows itself to have been ineffective. Patrolling the sea and the borders did not prevent the importation of missiles and the manufacture of missiles.  How amazing that the leftists and apologists for Hamas describe the problem as Israel’s occupation and ignore what happened when Hamas came to power!  There would be no blockade in a peaceful Gaza.

The recent attack of Hamas shows us people under an ideology of hatred that pursues atrocities.  Despite this, on American University campuses there are demonstrations supporting Hamas and blaming Israel for the occupation and the blockade.  Such moral blindness shocks the hearts of those who have a moral sense.  These folks talk about Palestinian children who died in past Israel wars against Hamas.  They cannot distinguish between an Israel that seeks to not kill civilians but has no choice when Hamas uses them as human shields.  Hamas is responsible for killing their own women and children and then using it for propaganda. There are videos where they even admit this strategy.  The moral issue of intentionality is ignored.  So how did we get to this place of moral blindness?

The U. S. has Palestinians living in the country who demonstrate for Hamas. The most glaring example of the moral obtuseness of some of these is Rashida Tlaib, a congresswoman from Dearborn.  In this case, the moral obtuseness is due to ethnic prejudice and hatred that knows no boundaries. This leads to gross moral blindness.

However, what of the leftist university students and leftists on the streets of our cities?   The issue is moral relativism.  Since moral relativism now dominates the university faculties, moral bankruptcy is the result.  I remember studying Nietzsche in College. I was 19 and had lost my faith.  Meaningless hit me hard.  I cried as I read.  My quest for the next three years was to overcome both historical relativism and moral relativism and to find a place to stand.  I found it again in the Spring of 1970.  In knowledge relativism, there is no true historical knowledge.  There are only warring narratives and power assertions.  What really happened in Gaza in 2005 does not matter.  There is no facticity.  The left has chosen to designate Israel as a colonial state that oppresses the indigenous Palestinian people.  Therefore they assert that the atrocities are understandable.

Wow!  I was amazed that President Biden showed moral clarity in this fight.  He gave a great speech supporting Israel.   But I am grieved that the universities have removed moral and historical knowledge and now affirm a bankrupt morality based on power.  I will be writing more on this in the future  But I would like every person defending leftist anti-Semitism and anti-Israel, antisemitic and antibiblical, and anti-American views to answer two questions.  Do they believe that there is a historical reality and that we can approach knowing the truth of what really happened in history?  Is there true historical knowledge?  The second question is whether or not there are objective moral norms.  If they do not believe in historical knowledge or objective moral norms, we should shame them and not listen to them at all.  They have undercut the ground for moral behavior.

   

WAR IN ISRAEL!

We in Israel are now at war. We will be fighting the biggest war since Yom Kippur 1973. I wrote an article on Sukkah, Tabernacles, for our official Facebook Page, Justers, Restoration from Zion. I was looking forward to the 8th-day celebration, Shemini Atzeret, which in Israel is also the day of Rejoicing in the Torah, Simchat Torah. We were planning a great celebration in our congregation and a fellowship dinner afterward. Then the sirens sounded in our town, just West of Jerusalem. The service had to be canceled.

Our bomb room is very small. I don’t know how the inspectors approved a bomb shelter like this for a larger house that we share with my daughter’s family. There are 6 Moores, Patty and I, and my son Ben and his wife Lorena and youngest son Andrew (16) who are visiting. So we had 11 for our little bomb shelter. Some of us decided that the stairway area on the bottom floor is also good. So we eventually spread out and used both areas. One missile struck just up the block from our house and made a great hole in the street and damaged several cars with shrapnel.

I have a very different view than many friends about the wars since 1973. I think Israel’s leaders have been reckless or not acting with courage to really deal with the problem. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu has done many things well. He led us to a growing economy two decades ago. He has been a master diplomat. But his policy on the terrorist organizations that control Gaza and Lebanon has been to temporarily weaken and contain them but not to eliminate them. We call this giving them a periodic haircut but letting their rule continue. We do not want to rule the Palestinian areas but want them to have autonomy and self-rule. However, this often is a policy of appeasement, providing their funds, and allowing billions to be transferred to them for social services and aid. I call this the opposite of Theodore Roosevelt, we speak loudly but carry a little stick. It looks like we are allowing Iran to get the bomb though we speak loudly and say we won’t.

I have one big example. When Hezbollah and Israel fought the war some years ago, a U.N. Chapter 7 resolution for the cease-fire declared that Hezbollah would not be able to re-arm The U.N. was to enforce this resolution. Prime Minister Olmert signed it. But after Netanyahu came to power, Hezbollah took complete control not only of Southern Lebanon but control over the Lebanon government. The U.N. would not enforce its own resolution, a “robust resolution” in the word of Secretary of State Rice. At that point, there was a choice. I believe we should have said, “If the U.N. will not enforce its own resolution, we, Israel will enforce it.” Instead, we let them have 150K to 200K missiles now aimed at Israel. It is a feckless spirit that for the sake of peace now and avoiding casualties in the immediate, we prepare the way for a devastating war.

The situation in GAZA is similar. When P. M. Sharon withdrew from Gaza, at great cost to Israel, he gave their government to the Palestinian Authority who said they would live in peace with Israel. They were thrown out by a Hamas coup and many of the P. A. leaders were murdered. Hatred for Israel is so great that the P.A. leaders and Hamas cooperate against Israel anyway. However, at that time, P. M. Abbas would have been glad for Israel to take Hamas out. Some thought Israel would. Israel did not. So Hamas has been a terrible problem that we seek to contain and not remove. Again, in my view, this is a big mistake, and now the removal will be at a much higher cost.

Israel could have had a policy that Gaza and the West Bank could elect their own leaders but no parties or individuals that support terrorism against Israel would be allowed to run or come to power. This would have been enforced by military power. No Islamic Jihad, no Hamas and no Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They are all terrorist parties. But again, we allowed them to govern Gaza and to be a political party in the West Bank. So for short-term avoidance of conflict and casualties and temporary times of peace, we prepare the way for what is much worse with much greater overall loss of life.

We are now in a big war, not as big as 1973 but the biggest in 50 years.

Another question is how this could start as it did. Why was the border so porous that dozens could invade and kill over 300 Israelis most civilians, including women and children? Why this big failure? Much will come out of this. There will be investigations after the war.

Also, we should understand that Hamas is Islamo Facist. They do not believe Jewish life is of worth since Jews are in the way of the future glorious Islamic world government. Therefore Jews are not worthy of life, and torturing and murdering is justified under this ideology. They see this as restoring the honor of Islam but they discredit Islam, making the face of Islam to be horrible and Hitler/Nazi-like.

Now we pray, God help Israel in spite of all our errors.

The Orthodox Response to the Worship and Prayer at the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount

A great culmination of the 21 day fasting and prayer for Israel’s salvation and world harvest took place on May 28 when 100-120 million joined in prayer.  The central event was at the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount where 800 gathered including Lou Engle, Dr. William (Billy) Wilson, the President of Oral Roberts University, Messianic Jewish leaders and so many more. It was a great day. Before the event, a very negative article came out in the Jewish press vilifying this as a missionary event. My readers need to understand that the Orthodox Jewish leaders see all followers of Yeshua, who maintain the hope of Israel embracing Yeshua, as missionaries. The article was, of course, imbalanced, and foolish. Here is what I wrote to the IHOP leaders:  

I wanted to write something more since my response was so brief.

Over the years, I have noticed such articles, and some even say that Israel should not partner with Christian Zionists since they think Israel will believe in Yeshua at the end of this age!  Why should they be so upset that people believe this?  If the end of this age comes and Yeshua is revealed, then their arguments against his messiahship are defeated.  But until then, why not partner with Christian Zionists? Somehow all who believe in Romans 11:11-15 and Matthew 23:39 are suspect. Both texts teach that Israel will turn to Yeshua. But other, wiser Jews have argued that holding such a view of the final end is without practical effect, unless coupled with overt efforts of Jewish evangelism in this time before the end. They argue that believing in the final revelation of Yeshua should not cause a rejection of Christian Zionist support since such an eschatological vision does not mean that Jewish people will not be rightly treated. For liberal Jews such point will never come. For them, the answer to this article would be “so what.” For Orthodox Jews the Messiah will come, and it will not be Jesus. They could declare their conviction they look for as the time that the world will all accept the true Messiah, but not Jesus.  And should Christians not support Orthodox Jews and Israel since they believe this? This is all so very stupid. It is true that there is an issue with those who seek to follow the Bible and bring Jewish people to faith in Yeshua. 

There are three types of Christians Zionists.

1.  The first group eschews Jewish evangelism and does not support Messianic Jews who are winning their  people. But they do believe that Israel/Jewry will ultimately confess Yeshua. (Romans 11:15, 25, 26)

2.  The second group does not engage in overt evangelistic efforts. This group might contain individuals who discretely share their faith with Jews.

3. The third group believes that Romans  11:15, “Israel’s full acceptance” implies a growing movement of Messianic Jews (Rom. 11:14-some of Israel) and therefore they strongly back Messianic Jewish works that seek to bring a witness for Yeshua to our people. This is a necessary prelude to all Israel being saved. 

All three of these groups can easily support the 100 million prayer for Israel’s salvation and protection from destruction.   When Mike Bickle speaks about salvation, he is not only speaking of embracing Yeshua, but of being protected from destruction which is a big emphasis right now in this difficult time.

Note as well the Roman Catholic Catechism paragraph 674 below!  This is the unifying idea for all.  It is amazingly so well stated. Is the author in the Jewish Press so ignorant that she does not know this? Probably she is that ignorant and is not aware of what all true Christians confess form all streams of the Church.   

674 The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”, will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”.

This is amazingly so well stated

Event Response 

Since writing the above, I attended the amazing gathering of 800 at the Temple Mount Southern Stairs.  A few hundred ultra Orthodox protestors sought to block our entrance to the Davidson Center entrance to the Southern Steps. They shouted “Missionaries go home.  We don’t want you here.” Many Messianic Jews attended the gathering at the steps and Israel is our home! They pushed and shoved. A few fell down or were hit. Then the police opened up the way into the entrance.  During our meeting they gathered below our site and chanted during the whole time, but they were at a distance. It did not disturb our gathering but actually gave all a sense of the spiritual warfare over Yeshua. We prayed blessing over them to overcome their cursing. 

Articles in the Jewish press were mixed in response. Some were more negative to the Ultra-Orthodox Protestors than to the gathered Christians. One Ultra-Orthodox Jew, Aryeh King, who is one of the Deputy Mayors of Jerusalem said the gathering was a desecration of a Jewish holy place which has nothing to do with Christianity. This is historically totally wrong since this is the area of the water immersion of the 3000 who came to faith on the day of Pentecost (Shavuot). It was place of the immersion into the Holy Spirit of thousands. The location has everything to do with Messianic Jews and Christians. What a foolish and ignorant response! We were all thankful for Mayor Lion who did not cancel the event and for the police who enabled us to enter. 

A Most Momentous Month, May 2023

The most momentous day in history during my lifetime and maybe in centuries will take place on May 28, 2023. On this day, over 100 million people will be networked for fasting and prayer for the salvation of Israel. Here is a little history. 

In March 1983, Mike Bickle, the founding leader of the International House of Prayer, was given a prophecy that his calling was to raise up a prayer movement that would lead to 100 million intercessors praying for the salvation of Israel. At that point, he had hardly any sense of the importance of Israel/the Jewish people and their irrevocable election. However, he received this word and did have a prayer and fasting time in May 1983 with his local community.  

Now 40 years later, the 24/7 prayer movement has become very large. The point has been reached where over 100 million people are networked for a world prayer day for the salvation of Israel on May 28th. Over one million are embracing fasting and praying for 21 days to lead up to the great day of prayer at the end of May. Lou Engle will lead prayer at the Southern Steps of the Temple on that day. 

In addition, at the end of January, Jewish ministry leaders and Church leaders, some with significant roles in world leadership, came together to discuss the past and future of the Messianic Jewish communities. They committed together to pray and fast on May 28th for the outpouring of the Spirit and greatly needed revival in the Messianic Jewish communities.  

I believe we are moving into the most momentous of days. I expect we will see a revival in the Messianic Jewish communities. I believe we will also see an alignment of the Church with Israel and the Messianic Jewish community. Toward Jerusalem Council II has been working toward that alignment for 28 years. Our ministry, Restoration from Zion of Tikkun Global has been working for this in parallel to Toward Jerusalem Council II. Tikkun Global itself is our family of ministries that is committed to an alignment that someday will lead to the salvation of Israel. We are all in on the prayer movement from IHOP and have been in partnership for 33 years. If you want to link to IHOP during May for encouragement for your fasting and prayer, please sign in to their streaming service for this purpose. Revival in the Messianic Jewish community will be a game changer. It will establish a more biblical theology of Holy Spirit power and successful advance for the Gospel. Let us pray and believe for great things. 

Take all the Land Now

Some Christian Zionists and some Messianic Jews have a very strident position on possessing the Land promised to our people.  Their attitude is to take all the Land and don’t worry much about the Arab population in Samaria and Judea.  With Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of a very radical Otzma Yehudit party and Bazalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionists, the heated rhetoric and actions toward “taking it all” have now become part of the landscape of the Netanyahu government.   Some Christians and a very small number of Messianic Jews applaud.

I want to argue that this is a foolish direction and akin to the first century Zealot Party that gained control of Judea and went to war against Rome.  Yeshua warned what would happen.  Jerusalem would be destroyed because they did not recognize their time of visitation (Luke 19:44).  Having not recognized Yeshua, even after his resurrection, propelled them into following a false way.  Let us recognize that we as a people still have not recognized that time of visitation.  Also, our lack of embracing the apostolic witness to this day, a witness given with great signs and wonders, is compounded history of antisemitism in the  historic churches.  Yet, the trajectory was set by the Sanhedrin and the post Jerusalem destruction Rabbis in Israel who did not turn to Him.  This is why I believe that this is not the time to pursue maximalist visions to take the Land.  The Religious Zionist party today is so different from its moderate predecessor, the National Religious Party (NRP).  This party with the Otzma Yehudit of Ben  G’vir is the return of the spirit of the Zealots.

When I teach on the return to the Land and declare myself a Biblical Zionist, it is based on Ezekiel 36:24 ff.  There we read that we will come back to the Land in significant numbers before we are given a new heart and before the Holy Spirit is given to us.  Until that day, and until we call upon Yeshua (Matthew 23:39,40), we may well be bringing a counsel that will bring harm to Israel if we council “Take it all.”  Let us remember that Israel has still not come to Yeshua.  Secular Israel fosters the most radical LGBTQ agendas.  Parades celebrate Israel as the most pro LGBTQ nation.  Abortion is rampant.  The Orthodox Jews still practice a faith that is partially right but which also blinds to Yeshua in a life of a plathora of commandments.  The spirit of the Talmud is mostly not in accord with the spirit of Yeshua.

My council is, let’s lovingly support Israel’s right to exist.  Let’s stand with Israel.  Let’s support the Jewish people in this Land.  However, let us not give counsel in agreement with the radical right wing views of “taking it all now.”  For this season, living with partial fulfillment of the Land promises I think is wise.  We also do care about the Arabs in the Land of Israel and want them to be treated with justice.