The Gospel, Disengagement and Civil Disobedience
© July 2005 by Asher Intrater
What Christians refer to as "The Great Commission" was actually an answer of Yeshua (Jesus) to a question from His disciples.
When they said, "restore", they meant to bring back something that already existed. What they had in mind was the kingdom of David and Solomon, and the promises of restoring the Davidic kingdom found in the Prophets.
This has both religious and political implications. For one thing, the Davidic kingdom would include expanded borders and political dominion for the State of Israel. Christians have often missed the fact that the gospel leads to the kingdom, and the kingdom involves a restoration of the Israeli "empire" (under the leadership of King Yeshua).
The word Messiah refers to a king. [When we say "King of kings", we could also call that "emperor". If the anti-Christ is to be the leader of a "one-world" government, how much more so the "real" Christ!] Yeshua is David's "greater" son, and He will rule over David's "greater" kingdom.
Yeshua's kingdom is to have eternal and multi-racial dimensions to it, much more than His Israeli Apostles ever dreamed of. Therefore He answered:
There is a balance to Yeshua's response. He did not deny the Davidic kingdom aspects of the gospel. In effect He agreed to the fact that He would indeed restore the kingdom to Israel. However, He established spiritual priorities over the political ones. He also indicated that the process would take much longer than they thought (Acts 1:5).
We need to follow His set of priorities. We need to support the government of Israel and dedicate ourselves to preaching of the gospel. I would put it this way: We are extremists concerning the Holy Spirit and the gospel; yet we are moderate concerning politics. (By moderate, I mean "moderate" conservative.)
Some Christians don't understand the importance of the reestablishment of the state of Israel. The gospel ultimately leads to the restoration of Israel. If one does not understand the place of Israel, he doesn't fully understand where the gospel of the kingdom is going. Charismatic circles that do not have a revelation of the biblical meaning of Israel end up without clear prophetic direction, just spinning their wheels trying to be more "anointed".
On the other hand, some Christians and Messianic Jews want to be more politically Zionist and right wing than the Prime Minister of Israel. They do this at the expense of shying away from sharing the gospel. Some end up even attacking the government of Israel for not doing enough to increase the political boundaries of the land. I believe that the "mantle" for the military and political aspects of the state of Israel is in the hands of the prime minister and the Knesset. That is their spiritual area of authority (Matthew 22:21).
But what if they use that authority against God? Is there a time for civil disobedience? Yes. However that civil disobedience is primarily connected with sharing the gospel. The gospel is not within the realm of authority of political government institutions (Acts 4:19). Concerning Israel, we are to pray for our people to be saved (Romans 10:2), and for our political leaders to have wisdom (I Timothy 2:4).
The gospel is going forward in Israel. Here is an example of what happened in one week in our ministry. Last Friday night, I preached at an outreach sponsored by our sister Rachel Netanel. Over 30 not-yet-saved-Israelis were there. The response was lively! One man said that he would like to have me "stoned to death".
On Saturday, we traveled over to Ashkelon to preach at the congregation there. A Sabra couple prayed to commit themselves to the Lord. They were brought by our dear brother Simcha Davidov. The couple had received a tract that we passed out on the street, witnessing the week before in Ashdod. (While there in Ashdod, I was detained by the police and cursed by orthodox Jews. The police told us to stop sharing. I told them, "with all due respect, there is nothing that we are doing that is against the law." When threatened, we calmly replied that threats were not relevant to us.)
On Sunday, I shared the gospel at an outreach in Rishon, led by our friends Shlomi and Iris. 25 out of the 30 in attendance were again native Israelis.
On Wednesday, (at a conference sponsored by Tom Hess) I shared the pulpit with Niham, a beautiful Arab evangelist from northern Israel. (He preached in Arabic and I in Hebrew.) He and his congregants are leading both Muslims and Druse to the Lord. They have had numerous death threats. They have had houses and cars burned. Niham was even shot at with a rifle, but supernaturally protected. They have no intention to stop evangelizing. (After the teaching, the Arab and Jewish pastors shared communion together.)
There is opposition to the gospel, but that is to be expected. (Earlier this month, a group of 300 Gur ultra orthodox Jews protested against the small Messianic home group in Arad.)
Dear friends, if you are not praying for the state of Israel, please search the Scriptures to see why the reestablishment of this nation has such prophetic importance for the coming of the kingdom of God. For other friends, if you have become so "zealous" for our nation that the gospel has become secondary to you and you are constantly criticizing the prime minister, please come back to the balanced set of priorities that Yeshua instructed His disciples to follow.
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