PALESTINE BELONGS TO THE MEEK (2002)
… "Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
… "Man, who appointed me judge or distributor of your goods?… Look out and be on guard against all greed; for one's life is not made up of the abundance of his possessions."
Lk 12:13-15"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Mt. 5:5Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand…
"Are you for us or for our enemies?"
"Neither" he replied, "but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." Josh. 5:13-14a
For some weeks now tremendous conflict has been unfolding in the Middle East together with a major call and burden by the prophetic/intercessory community concerning the nation of Israel. The strength of this call is reinforced by impressive visionary reports of warring angels ready to do battle for Israel. All of this comes amid a time in which prophetic/intercessory and worship streams have for some years been importing messianic Jewish themes, customs, practices and artifacts into the fabric of ministry.
All of us should firmly support intercession for the Jewish people. There is no question that today's heightened awareness concerning the natural people of Israel is from the Lord. Paul tells us that as the time of the Gentiles reaches its fullness, God will begin a great work to incorporate multitudes from natural Israel into the body of Christ, completing one body of Jewish and Gentile believers. So it only makes sense that we must see increased attention and burden from the Lord over this.
But how we pray for Israel and the frame of reference for our praying is as important as the praying itself. Before we jump onto an intercessory bandwagon where we take political sides over Israel's land dispute, there are some things we should know. There are foundational New Testament truths we must adhere to in approaching any intercession for modern Israel.
Without submission to these truths, we will needlessly join the ranks of movements and nations that have tripped over Jerusalem as a burdensome stone through the centuries. These truths are actually so basic to the New Testament that they shout out to us from its pages. Yet they may be in such plain sight that we just don't see them.
The Jewish Pioneers of the New Covenant
From John the Baptist, to Jesus, to Paul, to the writer of Hebrews, we learn one overriding truth regarding Israel. It is this: the new covenant made through Christ with all men totally supersedes the legal genealogical covenant made with a single natural line of people traced to Abraham. Since Christ, all who come to God through Him do so by laying down their fleshly heritage to become birthed as citizens of heaven—a citizenship that does not recognize natural lineages, genealogies, or customs—including the Hebrew lineage around which the Old Covenant was fashioned.
Everyone who comes to Christ comes the same way, on the same playing field, without respect of national ancestry, or with respect to any of the cultural accoutrements that accompany natural heritages. We come by faith, as part of a lineage defined only by faith.
The struggle over this truth was extremely great in the time that Jesus and the apostles first pioneered it:
- You hear it in John's declaration that God can give children to Abraham out of stones.
- You hear it where Jesus contends that the Pharisees are not children of Abraham.
- You see it in Paul's extensive dissertations that true Jews are Jews of the heart, not of the body; that there is an "Israel of God" that transcends partisan Jewishness; and that the true Jerusalem is the one from above, not the one below.
- And we see it where the writer of Hebrews plainly tells us that everything that distinguished Israel before God was but a type, a shadow, a copy of something to be realized from heaven.
Of special note here is that all the pioneers of this "new covenant" were Jewish. These are not Gentiles talking. These are not "anti-Semites." Our New Testament was not written by men ignorant of Jewish heritage, or who had an ax to grind against being Jewish. It was written by people who loved natural Israel and shared their heritage.
This radical thesis of "counting Jewish culture but loss" was expounded by Jews. It was Jews who led the way in this daring understanding of what true faith is and what it means to be in Christ—and part of the body of Christ—beyond respect for their own Hebrew lineage.
Yet somehow, these New Testament basics appear all but lost in our present absorption with the modern people of Israel, and all the more so as the spirit of prophetic intercession has been released into the mix. It's now as if we believe that, with the new outpouring of the Spirit, the Lord has at the last changed His mind again.
After 2000 years, it appears the Lord has reversed Himself to say He is now, after all, a supporter of Jewish nationalism, culture and tradition rooted in His Old Covenant promises. The New Testament was fine for the Gentiles, but now that He is again going after the Jews, He is calling to them once again on the basis of His original covenant. And out of this call He is drawing us all back into adopting Jewish cultural interests, and supporting the fleshly Hebrew state in all its actions as the Israel of God.
Whose Side Is He On?
Would it surprise you for someone to assert that the Lord is not taking sides in the current Israeli/Palestinian land conflict (visions of warring angels and Old Testament promises notwithstanding)?
It shouldn't. In the first campaign against Jericho, the Lord appeared to Joshua and told him that He was neither on Israel's side nor Jericho's side. He was only on His Own Side!
There is something vital here to discern. In the ultimate sense, the Lord is on no side of any fleshly conflict. He is committed only to the purpose of revealing His own transcendence. Where He appears to side with men, it is only because we have first sided with Him, and/or it is purely incidental to advancing His own self-revelation in the earth. But He never sides with any nation for the sake of its own cause, even if they borrow His name to support it.
If this was so of Israel under the first covenant, how much more do you suppose it is so of them now?
- Positioning, Not Possessing
Today, as regards Israel, the Lord is still on His own side. He is committed to His own purpose.
What then is His purpose today? The Lord is committed—not to establishing a stubborn warring people on a piece of ground according to a fleshly interpreted promise—but to advancing the nearing revelation of His Son through a completed body—a body that includes the promised redemption of natural Israelis under the New Covenant—a redemption that incidentally requires their positioning back in this land.
What we see of Israel's presence in Palestine today is mistakenly viewed as a "possessing" of the land in Old Testament fashion. But it is not a possessing. It is a positioning. This positioning is solely preparatory to the Lord's final Manifest Revealing by focusing Israel for their part in completing His New Covenant Body, and by catalyzing the gathering of all the earth to judgment there before Him.
In this sovereign positioning, the Lord is not "on Israel's side" against the Palestinians in their blind conflict over the land of Palestine. Nor since Christ's New Eternal Covenant has the land been promised to any proud unbelieving people of any lineage to give them possession of it. Let me show you why…
A Man and His Land
When a man came to Jesus wanting Him to settle his inheritance quarrel, Jesus' response was "Man, who made me a divider over you?" Then, upon further warning against greed, Jesus lifted everyone's attention to the issue of eternal life and its meaning.
This story gives a prophetic microcosm of today's Arab-Israeli land dispute, as well as the Lord's opinion of it, and the only way it can be resolved. Let's pay attention to it:
Like the story in Luke, today we have "two brothers" represented by their descendants, each of whom is claiming the inheritance rights of Abraham to the land of Palestine. The conflict is amplified by the Old Testament's declarations in which God Himself has left a "Will" stating that the land is indeed Isaac's, not Ishmael's.
On the basis of this first testament, many of today's prophetic intercessors have joined the fray, advocating before the Lord on Israel's behalf for the return of the land to Israel. The heavenly "Land Court" is in session, packed with prophetic legal advocates and intercessors of all perspectives from around the globe. From the celestial hallways, one hears the shouts in the courtroom: "Master, return the land to Israel!" "No, master, get my brother to divide the land!" And so it goes—back and forth.
But the Lord's answer to the man in Luke 12 is also His verdict in today's natural inheritance conflict.
Instead of siding with the man who believed the property was rightfully his, or even attempting to determine the truth by reading the will, Jesus merely turns to all and redefines the meaning of true life. He does not even speak to the man's issue!
Consistent with New Covenant reality, Jesus' response was to turn the inheritance issue into one of the heart and eternal life. He knew that if the true meaning of life is addressed to where the heart relinquishes its claim on this world, then any inheritance issue will resolve itself by the Spirit. This is true whether the issue is that of one family, or of arguing nations. It matters not. This is His New Covenant solution.
So too with modern Israel. Today, the Lord is siding with neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians in their cause—and this despite the Heavenly Father's "Will" left in the Old Testament favoring Israel. Jesus is not even reading the Will. Nor is His sovereign positioning of Israel there ahead of His own Revealing to be interpreted as their "possessing their inheritance" by divine award. From God's point of view, Palestine belongs neither to modern Israel nor to the Palestinians.
If not, then to whom does it belong? The land belongs to another Israel—an Israel of the heart yet to be revealed. It belongs to an Israel defined only by the New Covenant;—the one and only true Israel identified from heaven of which the fleshly is its shadow. It belongs to a people who are to bring forth the fruit of His eternal Kingdom, not their own. In the Lord's own words: the meek shall inherit the earth—even those who have relinquished their claim on this world to live after the power of an endless life. Yes. This is the heavenly verdict: Palestine belongs to the meek.
The True Source of the Conflict
Quite frankly, the Israeli/Arab conflict is irresolvable on the natural plane. No negotiated accord will bring peace between them or can even be prayed into existence. This is because the conflict is not just between two fleshly peoples over whom God and satan have striven for centuries. In its most ancestral roots, this conflict is traced to the irreconcilable knowledges of good and evil.
Long before the births of Isaac and Ishmael, even from the first bite from the knowledge tree itself, it was a certainty that the ages of mortality must climax through a humanity-wide self-destructing conflict where one people dominated by the knowing of good would fight to mutual death another people ruled by the knowing of evil. For in its ultimate meaning, the Lord had said, "in the day you eat of it, you [ie, all mankind] shall surely die."
The Israeli/Arab conflict of our times is the final embodiment of this ancient conflict. And as Joel prophesied, every mortal nation has been destined to be drawn into it, whether siding with Israel's heritage of fleshly goodness, or with Ishmael's heritage of treachery and terror. It is a conflict that—but for the Lord's intervention by grace—can end only in the mutually assured destruction of all flesh.
The Only True Solution
If the Israeli-Arab conflict is ultimately traced to the unwinnable conflict between natural good and evil, then we can see why the Lord's New Covenant solution is the only true permanent solution to it.
The New Covenant solution recognizes that the only way Israel, the Arabs and all nations can find peace is by laying the ax to the tree of their fleshly heritages, surrender their covetous claims before the cross and learn the meaning of true life through new identity in Christ alone.
The world has its own solutions for peace. But these are all based in compromising one cultural pride with another. The world's answer is for nations to surrender lesser prides for a single greater pride, until the prides of all peoples have merged into one under the "Prince of Pride."
But this must fail. And just when the world thinks it has achieved the ultimate peace-through-pride compromise, all flesh will collapse into its final war of mutually assured destruction—a war centered on Palestine, the navel of the earth and the lost adamic race.
Yet out of imminent race-wide annihilation, the Lord's peace through the cross is to prevail as the elect of Israel and all nations cry out in surrender to the Lord. By their surrender, the Lord completes His universal Body, effects His harvest to immortality, proves His final victory over all the mortal armies descended from the tree of knowledge—and New Israel from heaven is revealed in meekness to finally inherit the land!
How Then Should We Pray for Israel?
To pray rightly for fleshly Israel, we must pray from the Lord's perspective, from His (not Israel's) side. If the Lord is calling us to intercession for Israel, He is calling us only according to the will of his true New Covenant solution. To be valid, intercession for Israel must reflect God's desires for Israel in light of His Eternal Life purposes.
The Lord's ultimate end time Purpose and Desire is to finish the revelation of His Son in the earth. For this, He requires completion of the Body to which He is to be joined as Head. By decree, that Body cannot be completed until the elect Jewish people have been brought into it. To this end He earnestly desires us to intercede for Israel's salvation into this transcendent New Covenant Body.
Just what does this "salvation" mean? According to Jesus, to be saved is to lose one's identity in this life. So then, God's saving desire is that the Jews lay down the pride of their culture and their Zionist political aspirations—the same pride that once crucified His Son and even now forbids the preaching of the Gospel in their streets. His desire is that they lay down their claim to the Promised Land in humble recognition of their unworthiness of it, knowing that only the meek can inherit it.
The Lord desires the Jewish people to become one with the voice of the New Covenant Pioneers, and no longer that of Moses, or the Maccabeans, or today's fractured political voices. He desires that like Paul, they count their fleshly heritage as a total loss—that through transcending natural heritage, they be finally joined to their brethren redeemed out of all other races—including their Palestinian/Arabic brethren—as one people—in Christ alone. This is the true desire of God for Israel which our intercession must reflect.
To pray according to such Eternal-class Desire demands we understand the separated identity of the Body to which we have been called and into which He is calling Israel! We must pray from a superior non-partisan position of disentanglement with fleshly identity. The only people whose prayers can make way for the Lord's peace in the Middle East are the intercessors who recognize the futility of all earthly lineages—who have surrendered their own in Christ, and who are thus able to skillfully intercede toward Israel's surrender of their proud heritage, their claims and their perceived "goodness" before the cross.
Overcoming the Appeal of Fleshly Intercession and Hebrew Cultural Fascination
If we don't embrace the New Covenant truth behind God's end time purpose for Israel and the unveiling of His Son through a "nationless" body, then our prayers for Israel labor under the same fleshly veil of deception which Paul says covers them now!
Today, a sincere but undiscerning chorus of prominent American prophetic, intercessory and messianic ministries is calling us to indiscriminately support political Israel against the Arabs. It appeals to us through our historic sense of God's Old Covenant support for Israel, together with our carnal sense of "American goodness." It has now coined what it calls "our American covenant relationship with Israel."
Though this burden begins in the Lord's heart, it has been distorted through fleshly allegiances to national identities and imaginations of human goodness. It is an uncrucified burden. It is an Old Covenant burden. Ultimately, it is a man-centered burden. For this cause it is unspeakably mistaken and ill-advised. Such distortion muddies the Church's pure and spotless New Covenant identity, compromises our true impartial heavenly position of intercession before the Lord, and is a mark of "foolish virginity."
In the end, partisan intercession does not help Israel but actually plays into the hands of the Enemy for their destruction and that of all mankind. Carnal siding with the modern state of Israel only reinforces Israel's blindness, increases their peril through bolstering their pride, and ultimately draws the Church itself into the vortex of the final good-versus-evil bloodbath.
In this regard, we must also weigh carefully our increasing worship drift into Hebrew culture. As the burden for Israel grows, we see rising interest and even adoption of things Israeli—such as participation in Passover seders, use of Hebrew-style prayer shawls, and use of Hebrew names for the Lord, to name a few. To an extent these things are truly instructive, and certainly helpful in our approach to Hebrew people. But unchecked they are being used to build a false Old Covenant sense of spiritual identity in the church along with humanistic loyalty to modern Israel.
Any belief that adopting Jewish culture somehow "draws us closer to the heart of God for Israel" or gives us a more holy alignment with Him belongs to "another gospel" and should be refused. Such a spirit reinforces the cultural bonds from which the first New Covenant pioneers fought so hard to free us!
The New Covenant people have never been more sifted than in how they respond to the critical issue and meaning of Jewish identity. And now, as the Lord again stirs the human pot around the positioning of natural Israel in the earth and impresses His burden for natural Israel on the church, we are being sifted once more. Our own sense of ultimate loyalty and identity as a holy nation is under examination.
The issue of fleshly Jewish identity and culture is a two-edged sword. Faith is lethally pierced when it becomes entangled in siding for or against natural Jewish Identity and culture. Movement after movement after movement has been seduced into falling on this sword in one direction or the other.
But we do not have to fall on this sword! We can transcend this dilemma altogether by maintaining allegiance only to the identity of the Israel which is by faith, and the Jerusalem which is from above. And if our desire is truly to help the natural Jewish people, we will do so most effectively by siding only with the Captain of the Lord of Hosts, who sides only with Himself and His eternal purposes.
May this word help save a new generation of intercessors as we all commit to align with the desires of the Lord for the Jewish people. Let us pray for the Peace of New Jerusalem.
With love for all the Israel of God—without partiality,
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created September 22, 2003