During our stay in Korea we heard of the believers' love for Israel and their faithfulness and devotion to pray for her. However, as we mentioned last week, after further investigation we found that among those so engaged there were many whose motivation for praying and blessings Israel is based on an understanding that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed. Some with a more evangelical inclination are hoping and praying for the Jews' "conversion," and among them there are evangelists who are actively involved in such ventures here in Israel. In a few of the meetings we also addressed those whose interest in Israel was minimal, while there were others whom we spoke to, who have had some teaching on Torah and Hebraic roots.
One group, whose very existence is based on their "mission" to Israel, was addressed by the question, "which Israel are you praying for?" This of course sent a little shock wave through the group, but because they were very open and keen to learn, and wanted to hear more we continued. The teaching took us to Isaiah 8:14: "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel…" (The word in Hebrew for "both" is "the two" - root sh-n-m - and translated 532 times as "two"). Ezekiel 35 presented us with another example of how our enemies view Israel as two separated nations (goyim): "Because you have said, 'These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess them'" (Ezekiel 35:10). In the subsequent chapters of Ezekiel we saw how the prophet went on relating to Israel as two separate entities, until a time of restoration of, first the nation of Judah/Israel, and then the second one (Joseph or Ephraim/Israel. However, as we continued discussing this topic the fact that these two "goyim" were not destined to remain separate, but were to become one nation in YHVH's hand and in the land, became apparent.
As this sharing went on, focusing on the prophetic history pertaining to the nation of Joseph/Israel, one could almost see the hearts of the children beginning to turn back to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Because most of the time was spent on covering YHVH's faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises of multiplicity through the House of Joseph, we could only touch briefly on the prophetic destiny of Judah's nation. We did, however, have opportunities outside of the meetings to talk further, answer questions, and elaborate on specific topics.
In the two Israel-loving churches that we addressed, it was obvious that the congregants had been exposed to the 'standard' Christian doctrine, namely that there is no Israel outside of Judah. In each of those cases, though with a different emphasis, the Spirit led in a call for the participants to take up their responsibility toward Israel/Judah by being a true witness to the Hope of Israel and walking in YHVH's righteousness so as to provoke the natural branches to jealousy. "Sanctification" in the first meeting, and "hope" in the second were highlighted. Thus the challenge was about the kind of witness that the grafted-in "Gentiles" should portray toward God's natural people. We examined Romans 11, where Paul talks about the Gentiles (the "church," as they would have understood it) provoking to jealousy the natural branches through a witness of the righteousness of the Holy Spirit residing within them. We then went to 2nd Corinthians 4 and connected the "treasure in earthen vessels" mentioned there (the life of Yeshua) and His nature of righteousness, to the fruit of the Spirit. We concluded that the witness is His life within the believer, and that when the latter experiences the dying of Yeshua, the life and nature of the Father's Spirit will manifest and bring life to others (see 2 Corinthians 4:11-12). Thus, the testimony of the reality of the Jewish Messiah and His nature of love will be seen through these non-Jewish believers who are called out from the nations and who bear witness to Him by the love they have one for another. Of course the spiritual enemy knows that if he can get the true believers from the nations to continue to walk in the nature of his kingdom through religious pride and self-righteousness, which will obviously kill, steal and destroy relationships, he will succeed in squelching the witness of who the true Messiah is. Neither will anyone be provoked to jealousy, especially not the Jewish people. So we encouraged them to not only pray for the Jewish people and the land of Israel, but for what they understand to be the "church," to mature in Yeshua's nature.
Quite different from any of the above-mentioned, was the meeting we had at Seoul University, where as a rule Christians and non-Christians convene. It was the centrality of the Creator and His purpose in bringing forth this present heaven and earth, which seemed to be called for at that event. Our discussion of the creation account engendered good comments and questions. We give thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father for all that He allowed us to experience and through it all bring glory to our Redeemer and King Messiah Yeshua.