Israel, the Nation of Destiny. I am convinced that Israel is the yardstick, blueprint, outline and program of God concerning what He is going to do with the nations of the world. It is absolutely incredible that such a tiny nation can dominate the mighty world news, week after week and month after month. God calls it "His" land in the Bible.
It is the center of the world geographically. It is the navel of Asia, Africa and Europe. It is a center of the world for revelation. It is where Moses wrote the law. The Prophets lived and taught there. The Bible was written and given there. It is the place where the promised Messiah was born, lived, taught, crucified, buried, rose, left and will return there again. It is the battlefront of the entire world and will be the place of the last battle fought on earth. It will be the center of God's glory as His Son will rule and reign over the earth from Jerusalem.
God created, decreed, loved, called and protected Israel from her conception which began with a miracle through Abraham, who was 100 years old and Sarah, who was 90. Israel continues to survive with a miracle of protection and will continue forever (Psalm 89). Egypt couldn't enslave her, the Red Sea couldn't drown her, Jonah's whale couldn't digest her, the fiery furnace couldn't burn her, the gallows of Haman couldn't hang her, the nations of the earth couldn't assimilate her, and the world's most powerful dictators couldn't annihilate her.
Israel has experienced unspeakable persecution and atrocities from Pharaoh to Neb- uchadnezzar, to Nero, to Hitler, as well as from Russia, Arab neighbors and even some who bear the name "Christian." She can't be destroyed as Jeremiah 31:35-37 declares:
This is what the Lord says, He Who appoints the sun to shine by day, Who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar, the Lord Almighty is His name: "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the Lord, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me." This is what the Lord says: "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the Lord.
The Jews are a testimony to God. The Jewish population around the world is 4/10 of 1% of the world's population, and yet they capture 12% of the awards in science, medicine, music, health and public life. In the past 25 years Jews have captured nearly one-third of the Nobel Prize Awards. History revolves around the names of 6 Jews: Moses, Paul, Marx, Freud, Einstein and Yeshua. (Yeshua, of course, is not in the same category of the others because He is not Jesus the Great, but rather Yeshua (Jesus) the One and Only.)
Why is Satan determined to destroy Israel? He knows Genesis 3:14-15: God declared prophetically that Satan's head (authority and power) would be crushed by the seed of the woman. Satan decided then and there that he would destroy the woman's seed. God's plan of destruction for Satan involved the nation of Israel through whom would come the Messiah, the Church and the end-time events foiling Satan's evil plans. Right from the beginning, Satan began to hinder, corrupt, destroy and kill God's people - both as individuals and as groups. Throughout the entire Old Testament, Satan fought and killed God's people in hopes of destroying the seed that would eventually crush his head.
One of the most amazing principles I have learned about the nation of Israel is that those who identify with her are blessed. There are numerous examples of this in scripture. When the Israelites left Egypt at the time of the Exodus, all the Egyptians that identified with her ways were blessed. Later when Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Rahab (a harlot) identified with the Israelites and she and her family were blessed as their lives were spared during the destruction of Jericho. Later Ruth (who was of a pagan, Gentile background) identified with her Jewish mother-in-law and was blessed so much so that she - as well as Rahab - claimed a place in the lineage of the Messiah. As you know, Christ for the Nations has learned this lesson well, having identified with Israel.
In Acts 15, the Jewish leaders met together to discuss the question of whether Gentiles could be saved. It was a new concept and many of the Jews were wondering. After concluding that God, indeed, did love the Gentiles and that they were also included in His plan of salvation, the Jewish leaders, during the first century, began to teach and disciple Gentiles. Eventually the Jews were phased out of the leadership, and the Gentiles assumed the duties throughout the last 1900 years. Now it seems the tables have reversed. Have not the times of the Gentiles been fulfilled? The question today is often asked, "Is it possible for the Jews to have any part in God's plan at the end of the ages before the return of the Messiah? They seem so difficult to reach." Now it is the Jewish minister of the Gospel who is considered odd. Who would ever believe it: a Jew, preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus?
In response to this question, some Christian leaders have declared, "Absolutely not; the nation of Israel has no place in God's end-time plan." They say the Church (mainly Gentile) has replaced Israel, and it is the Church that will be responsible to usher in the return of the Messiah.
One of our teachers, while visiting a church in another city one Sunday, heard a very distressing anti-Semitic sermon. Afterwards, our teacher met a lady in the congregation who was of German background. In her broken English she expressed that this message was indeed very similar to those preached in German churches as Hitler was rising to power. She pled with our teacher, "Warn the Americans."
Will Christians somehow be deceived into once again standing against the Jewish people and the nation of Israel? How is it that the nation of Israel has been such a stumbling block for many throughout the centuries?
With the whole world turning against this tiny land (barely the size of the state of New Jersey), who will stand in the gap to intercede in her behalf? It's very clear to me that God is looking for Christians who will support Israel and pray for her regularly so that her inhabitants may turn to their Messiah.
We desire to help Jewish believers to step back into the place in which God intended them to be, just as the Jews did in the first century with the Gentiles. As John the Baptist said, "He must increase, and I must decrease." As Christians, we must always be willing to do whatever is necessary to help the Jewish people return to their God- given heritage and for the kingdom of God to be increased on the earth.
“Could it be that within the Church in America there will come a time when Christians will be split and divided on the subject of Israel?
from inside Maoz...
By Cookie Schwaeber-Issan
Maoz Administrative Assistant, Tel Aviv
One of the greatest phenomena that we have witnessed is the parallel between times of persecution and times of growth. We are unable to recall a more difficult or challenging season in the ministry of Maoz than our present arduous set of circumstances which has been ongoing now for nearly two years.
With one attack after another, there has been simply no let up, and the full rage of Satan seems to have been loosed and directed at our ministry, our congregation and ourselves.
Our focus has been on making preparations to receive the harvest which we have sensed is imminent, and in that regard, the timing could not have been better to be blessed with a facility that gives great impetus to accomplish all of the plans and purposes which we felt led by the Lord to carry out. In the execution of these things, we were met with a myriad of obstacles at each turn.
As many of you know, we are in a battle to continue the ministry in our new facility, and the forces of hell are doing their utmost to undermine what has been raised up. As of this writing, an unexpected hurdle has again been placed in our path: the City has advised us of their plans to upgrade the electrical systems of the entire street where our building is located. This upgrade obligates us to hook into their changed system at a price of nearly half a million dollars.
If we refuse to go along with this now, the alternative is to be left with only enough electricity to operate one-third of the building at any given time. The city has further notified us that if we choose not to make the changeover now, we will be precluded from doing so until the year 2006. None of us could have anticipated this, and it is yet one more mountain that must be removed in order to fully use the facility with which the Lord has entrusted us.
Israel must surely be the world center of spiritual activity between the forces of good and the hordes of evil. As one of Maoz board members said jokingly, "What did you think? That you wouldn't have a royal battle when you stepped out to so strongly challenge the devil in Israel?" Shira tells us that she often heard her father say, "The devil has had the land of Israel for 2000 years and he's not about to hand it over on a silver platter."
Yet, with all of these impediments, our hearts are encouraged at each Shabbat service as we see new Israelis coming for the first time, coming to faith one after another inYeshua. We have never seen so many new faces and so many instantaneous decisions in all our years of ministry here in the land.
These two things - the obstacles and the good fruit - are somehow simultaneously
intertwined, and so, in the midst of it all, there is tangible evidence of God's intervention and sovereignty at work.
The stirring enthusiasm during our praise and worship is so inspiring that we are entering a new level of God's presence as never before. It is simply infectious, and there is a joy and vibrance that is an obvious sign of great things to come. We sense that the Lord is rousing us and preparing us to impact our people in a special energized way which will kindle something within their spirits, causing them to seek God's face in repentance and surrender.
Along with this new phase of the stirrings of the Spirit, our hearts' desire has been to establish these new believers in the faith and solidify their fresh commitments. We have, therefore been overjoyed to see our Institute for Messianic Judaism (headed by Asher Intrater) get underway. In our new classroom setting, outfitted with blackboard and chairs with attached writing tables, our people are being given the best and most inclusive fundamental teachings in their own language. Both believers and unbelievers are seriously committed to attending these sessions, and very determined to grow and mature in the faith. There is nothing more exciting to see than this!
Another level of growth and reason to rejoice is what has been happening in our children's department. We saw this avenue as a powerful potential for growth and harvest, and so we were determined to develop this department to the best of our ability. To that end, we revamped the entire program and created our own Hebrew songs set to the tune of familiar Israeli children's music. The children's attraction to this new style was immediate, and it set the tone for a greater reception to the Gospel than ever before.
The older children have equally been challenged in a new, fresh way and are in the process of learning about the Messiah in a creative and innovative manner, using the resource of games, competition and other fun activities in order to stimulate their interest. Each of our cell groups is taking turns teaching the children for one month under the supervision of our permanent volunteer staff. It is no wonder, then, that these kids look forward with great anticipation to coming each week and taking part in these exciting and novel classes.
Finally, we are opening up a new home group this month in downtown Tel Aviv, led by a couple who came to the Lord in our congregation and who has been mentored by our elders, Eddie and Jackie Santoro. Our home groups are helping to facilitate the discipleship of new believers, enabling them to grow into wonderful, energetic and healthy servants of the living God.
We are sensing blessing coming from every direction. The foundational structure of living stones is now being put in place. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel is coming. We continue to move forward, heading toward the goal of revival in this land and breaking the forces of darkness so that our people can be the light that they were intended to be.