Why Pray For The Peace of Jerusalem? Why I am a Defender and Protector of Israel, and Why I Believe Israel is Significant For Us Today.
Biblical Mandate • We have studied in past years, Psalm 122:6, where we are instructed to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.Let’s read it. • This year I would like to get more personal and tell you …from my heart, why I pray for the Peace of Jerusalem. Let’s look at my olive tree…
The Olive Tree • Read …Romans - Chapter 11 • IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE OLIVE TREE REFERRED TO IN Romans 11 is NOT THE CHURCH. • The Olive tree represents the covenants and promises to Israel, growing from it’s HOLY ROOT which is THE MESSIAH, The Word of God. • Christians are simply the “wild” olive branches grafted in among the natural branches “to become a partaker with them of the root and fatness of the olive tree,” which God established. • The natural branches are the people of Israel; these people are born naturally into the OLIVE TREE (remember to the Jew first Romans 2:9 read this…) Those who turned away from that relationship were broken off.
It’s All About Relationship! • Those in-grafted branches…the Gentiles who have trusted in Jesus the Messiah,… have a special relationship with Israel, its people and Land, and have sworn allegiance to the King of the Jews- Jesus of Nazareth. Natural branches can be broken off and natural branches can be grafted back in, but only by God. He is the gardener.
Reconciliation of The World • Eph 2:8 We are All saved by grace for you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is NOT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENT BUTGOD’S GIFT! • Romans 11:11 It is by means of their stumbling that deliverance has come to the gentiles (That’s you!) • Romans 11:15…For if their casting Jesus aside means reconciliation for the world, What will their accepting of Him mean? It will be life from the dead.
Our Jewish Messiah • Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day B’rit Milah (literally in Hebrew covenant of circumcision) Luke 2:21-38 was witnessed by the prophetess Anna, from the tribe of Asher and Holy man Simeon. • Jesus remained fully Jew until the last moment on the cross…He is still fully Jew! • Jesus and His first followers thought and spoke within a Jewish framework and the only way for Christians to “truly” understand the life and words of Jesus are from a Jewish perspective. • EXAMPLE…hiding under the shadow of HIS WINGS…what’s that? • She touched the corner of His garment. (tzitzit) Matt 9:20 • Garden of Gethsemane (is from the Hebrew words "gat shemanim" or oil press)…Luke 22 the sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus was pressed, he was squeezed in this place.
Preserving The Word • We wouldn’t have the New Testament recorded today if Jews hadn’t accomplished the fact ….Do you know that it ironically would be Jews, not Christians who would preserve the very same Hebrew scriptures used by Jesus and His followers for the New Testament by translating these Aramaic scriptures and parable stories into Greek? • Did you know 70 Hebrew sages were put into separate little huts and kept apart as they translated the Hebrew scriptures for the Greek version of the Old Testament? • Ask me about Simchat Torah and the scroll!! The faithfulness of Jewish scribes…Would Christians…be faithful to protect the scriptures in the same way? The answer is a resounding NO and God knew it …the end from the beginning!!!!) • Do you realize it was the Jews in Jesus day who first recognized Him as Messiah? It is true… all of the 12 disciples were Jewish (neither Dr. Luke, the author of the book of Luke, nor Mark were of the original 12…they were Greek contemporaries of Paul.)
The Man Paul…Most Loved Revelator • YES…he went to the gentiles with the message of the Messiah after he was rejected by the Jewish leadership… • … BUT ALWAYS HIS HEART WAS FOR HIS JEWISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS… • Over the span of his 30 yr ministry ….Paul remained a Jew, a messianic Jew…free in the truth of His Messiah, Jesus. • He was always in the synagogue in every town…always preaching…always conscience of the feasts, the day of atonement (Yom Kippur). • Paul taught us …about atonement… He linked us to and explained our Jewish heritage.Lots of good men have died but only one fulfilled and is fulfilling the prophecies regarding the Messiah. Jesus is Jewish, sinless, perfect and was able to willingly lay down His life to atone for the sins of the world. Without the Torah ---our Jewish roots ---we wouldn’t be able to understand the concept of this atonement.
Why Are These Things In Scripture, (Are You Sticking me in jail?!) • SOME Jewish ideas and concepts you might not be aware of in the New Testament…things Jesus referred to, as did Paul and others… • The feast of Chanukah, John 10:22, Yom Kippur, Acts 27:9, the Shema, Mark 12:29, What JESUS said about the preserving and protecting of the Torah, Matt 5:18. So if they are referred to in the New Testament, do you Christian know what they were referring to? • If it was important enough tomention…remember all the things not recorded… John said if they had been recorded the world could not contain it all…John 21:25 • …Therefore if these things were recorded in our Holy Scriptures, shouldn’t we be interested enough to understand the background, the root of who Jesus is? What they are there for? • SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT JEWISH FOUNDATION ?
History – Where the Rip Occurred • 2nd century is where the break occurs between Jew and Christian Gentile…things started changing fast…* • The Christian church starting morphing becoming a different creation…no longer thinking it was Jewish… but perhaps a beautiful Peach tree…not with white olive blossoms, but with beautiful pink, peach blossoms, perhaps smelling much better than that old olive tree! • ….even forgetting or caring who we are, where our beginnings came from or what our root was. • Paul warns against arrogance in Romans 11:18“Do not boast, as if you were better than the root, because the root is supporting you!”
Anti-Semitism Rises • Despite Paul's warning against arrogance, by the 2nd century great anti-Semitism arisesin the church as gentile believers began loosing touch with their Jewish beginnings…. • The Holy Roman Empire legalizes Christianity, forbids the Christian Jews with an edict, and invents holidays and new times of worship, all with ulterior motives of politics, power and mind control. • Soon Messianic Jews were forbidden to combine their Shabbat services and ritual with their new found faith…. Pogroms began…they were chased and excluded out of the church! • Rumblings started being heard…asking do we even need the scriptures?
Ripping the Heart Out • To the Messianic Jews of the early Church in the 2nd century …rejection of the scriptures by the early gentile church was like ripping their heart out. The love of the Holy Scriptures…Torah study is STILL life to … and the essence of who a religious Jew is. • On the Jewish side those Jews who never recognized Jesus as Messiah embraced Simon Bar Kokhbaas messiah and were angered when they got no support in the war against Rome for the saving of Jerusalem… so THEY forbid the Christian Jews from the synagogue… • NOW… the Messianic Jews…those who believed Jesus was Messiah had no where to go. • Jew and Christian grew further and further apart… • The climate was so bad the Holy Scriptures were in deep jeopardy of rejection… from the Christian church!
Marcion’s Legacy…To the Church • Marcion, was only a wealthy ship merchant, but he had political power and he tried to abolish the Old Testament. His writings are still around, influencing many…His teachings are still used today in replacement theology circles, including many bible colleges. (I will explain this term shortly.) • Marcion adamantly opposed anything Jewish and argued the Old Testament should be removed from the canon of the Church. Later Augustine was influenced by Marcion’s writings and penned his own version of replacement theology in his book “City Of God” • Do you know what many of the early, puzzled, Christian theologians thought about Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem? • Do you know they wrote the Jewish people off, ---natural Israel off, out of the picture…irrelevant after the fall and leveling of the city of Jerusalem?
The Holocaust and Our Complicity • What was going on in the minds of many confused Christians during the time of the Holocaust, as they silently watched the slaughter of the Jews, some Christians even turning in their Jewish neighbors in hiding to the Gestapo? • Did they think this was God’s plan? They must have. May God forgive them for their silence and their complicity, and may the Jewish remnant forgive the Christian church for not crying out then from every mountain top. • (The Webster’s definition of complicity is the state of being an accomplice; partnership in wrong doing)… Early theologians got into a real mess trying to figure out what God was doing.
Theological Nightmares… • I believe Martin Luther Is In The Cloud Witnesses Saying Listen To Her! Martin Luther received wonderful revelation regarding Grace and that we are ONLY saved by grace---and I am glad for his open ears to hear and boldly go forth with that revelation battling-- fear of man,--- battling the religious spirits. He prevailed and we understand today we are ONLY saved by GRACE • But did you know…Martin was so excited at the prospect of all the Jews FINALLY realizing who Jesus was and he was so sure that they would now realize this, in his life time… that he started to get impatient (not a fruit of the Spirit). He started to get mad, then he took up great offense towards the Jews • By the end of his life he wrote horrible things regarding the Jews, one of those is titled, On The Jews And Their Lies (1543). • Adolph Hitler used Martin Luther’s writings to justify the Holocaust. Do I think Adolph Hitler was an anti-christ -an anti-messiah…OF COURSE but I learn from history and will not try to evangelize a people I know are in God’s very able hands and times!
Who Is The Father Of All Lies! • I believe the enemy of God’s people, satan, hates the Jewish people so much because out of them came the Messiah that redeemed the entire world …THAT it is still the enemy’s GOAL to try and annihilate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. It will not happen because God has promised that it will not happen!
Stumbling Terribly • Martin Luther stumbled terribly after accomplishing good things…but it is my belief he still entered heaven. I do believe he is in the cloud of witnesses saying to me, to you…don’tmake my mistake. • I think his desire would be for us to succeed where he failed. He failed in Love… • By the end, he was not moving in love and in the end he became hopeless. He lost his vision and took things out of God’s hands and into his own hands. He couldn’t figure out how it would all work. He slandered the Jews. Titus 3:2 says to SLANDER NO ONE…TO BE KIND TO EVERYONE…. • THE WORLD WOULD BE TRANSFORMED IF WE WOULD ONLY DO THIS ONE SMALL THING
What Does Replacement Theology Mean? • The term replacement theology refers to the theory that the church has replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen people. According to this belief, the church is the new Israel, a continuation of the concept of Israel from the Old Testament. • This view teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in the biblical, literal, Israel. • Therefore, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the land of promise are “spiritualized” into promises of God’s blessing for the church. • The prophecies of condemnation and judgment however, still remain for national Israel and the Jewish people. This view replaces Israel in the program of God. • Replacement theology became the position of the church in the time of Augustine 354-430 and is still taught today, in 2007, at many bible colleges.
Why That View Breaks My Heart! • Major problems exist with the view of replacement theology…such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. • If Israel had been condemned by God, there being no future for the Jewish nation, how do we account for the supernatural survival of the Jewish people, Israel’s rebirth among the gentile nations, victories in major wars with the Arabs and a flourishing modern democratic Jewish state? • Back To My Little Olive Tree and it’s roots….
What Would You Say? • If someone asked you today, “prove to me that Christianity is valid and prove to me that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the only true God, and that Allah is not the true God, what would you say to them? • You’d have a hard time proving anything. ….even that God exists. The one thing and just about the only thing that can be said is …. I can show you the Scriptures. I can show you thousands and thousands of years ago, God made a covenant witha man named Abraham.God said some very specific things and made promises to him. • One of those promises was that he was going to give him a land and that land was going to be passed down from generation to generation. And then God spoke to his son Isaac and his son Jacob and reconfirmed the promise of that land… and then God also said something else • He said that if my people do not serve me I will drive them, I will push them…I will drive them out of that land.
THE PROMISE • BUT THEN……God said something else. He said I WILL NEVER CUT THEM OFF, NEVER REJECT THEM, AND AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE I’M GOING TO BRING THEM BACK TO THE LAND THAT I PROMISED ABRAHAM THAT I WOULD GIVE HIM! • (The church forgot that part or seemed to think it was impossible for God to do!) • I WILL BRING THOSE PEOPLE BACK AND I WILL ESTABLISH THEM IN THEIR LAND, THEY WILL NEVER AGAIN BE PLUCKED UP OUT OF THAT LAND! Genesis 12:7 Amos 9:14 & 15 READ IT! • So what now?
Strangers From One Another • You see something else also occurred in the 2nd Century I had not been aware of as a young Christian ….Rabbinical Judaism. • We are so separated from our Jewish roots… that Jew and Christian are strangers to one another. We have not understood one another because we have changed so much since we were linked hand in hand, that we are unrecognizable to each other. • In the past there has been little common ground even though we include the Torah (first 5 books of the bible) in our Christian bibles. • When studying Judaism at an East Coast College, I would come home and throw myself on my rug and cry…so big was the divide I perceived. “What about angels, the after life”? I’d cry to God. I found I had very little in common, with Judaism. • BUT…I will tell you I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit (the Ruach ha Kodesh).
Rabbinical Judaism Begins • Rabbinical Judaism began when the temple was destroyed. The Jewish community brought the Shabbat services into the home at this time. • The Oral Law, that which had been passed down from the time of Moses, started to be written down on parchment about the same time those 70 Hebrew sages were put into those little huts so that we could read the Old Testament in Greek. • Jesus preached from this knowledge and addressed issues, as did Paul, that we cannot find in the Old Testament, such as rules regarding women, formulated by the Jewish rabbis during the time of exile in Babylon. These rules would not have stood at the time of the Judge Deborah, picked by God, who ruled Israel for 40 yrs - and Paul for one knew where these rules came from and tried to bring clarity to the subject. • Just a bit of encouragement to you women!
Does This STUFF Mean Anything To Me, (or why should I care) ? • What is the spiritual significance and what can be learned in the biblical instructions God gave to Moses regarding all these things that Christians are free from carrying out? • Couldn’t there be something more to be learned here?
Precious Symbols God’s Power Points • What about the menorah, the tallit, tzittzit, the mezuzah and the side curls, payees? Jesus when speaking of phylacteries said many wearing them were showing off…He didn’t say phylacteries were bad. Phylacteries can have a great purpose if worn with a heart towards God, they are a reminder. They help focus on the Almighty. • Each has significance when meditated upon —Nobody is asking you to grow side curls or tie a phylactery on your head …You are indeed free in Jesus Christ…but they have worth to understand the intention of God. • Like a peach tree shows in a power point what we have morphed into, so these ancient symbols found in our bibles convey God’s heart to us and are great reminders as they sit around the house or hang on your door!
Here is my Desire For Israel • I want to surround Israel and protect the Jewish remnant. • Manywant to destroy this people. I will not forsake Israel, because God has not forsaken Israel. He commands me to Pray For the Peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6 Even though we do not know one another and have had a history of nightmare difficulties, I believe Israel is my brother and I am his sister and we are part of one tree and from Romans 11:25 • I believe that someday, when the gentile world enters it’s fullness, the Jewish remnant will be grafted in again - because the word of God says it was a temporary thing… It is in this way that all Israel shall be saved! • How is that possible? I do not know. But I trust God and will not try to invent theologies to match my expectation. I have seen that done before. I put my hope in God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
My Olive Tree Flowers Are No Longer Pink and Missing Branches Have Been Grafted In Again!
Watchmen on the Wall! • I was thinking on these things, standing on a Spiritual wall …and I saw the bride of Christ with me...surrounding Israel. • We encompassed Israel, once named Jacob, the supplanter, but now renamed Israel by God himself. It means ruling with God. • We stood as protector, no longer judging, and nudging and bristling with impatience, because we finally believed God and His plan for His own people. • PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM!