The Israel Disconnect – A Chronic Christian Disorder

Christian reaction to an Orthodox-Jewish MK’s proposed anti-missionary bill was unwarranted, hardly beneficial to Israel, and certainly unbecoming of Jesus’s followers.

MK Moshe Gafni has been tabling his anti-missionary bill for 25 years. Even he was taken aback by the ferocity of the Evangelical Christian response this time. And what did that say of our Christian witness to this Orthodox Jew and the nation of Israel?
MK Moshe Gafni has been tabling his anti-missionary bill for 25 years. Even he was taken aback by the ferocity of the Evangelical Christian response this time. And what did that say of our Christian witness to this Orthodox Jew and the nation of Israel? Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Last week saw a flurry of agitated activism by Gentile and Jewish believers in Jesus/Yeshua, both in Israel and in the nations.

At best, our behaviour has been cringeworthy. But what is more troubling than the surface noise we’ve made is the deep disconnect with Israel that lies beneath it.

Right now – when Israel’s God-placed government (Daniel 2:21; 4:17; Romans 13:1-2) is being assaulted from every side by God-opposing forces (consider the pile-on created by: the highly-organised, left-wing protest movement in Israel intent on destroying the coalition, which as a result of this anti-democratic uprising is struggling to introduce the reforms it was mandated by voters to bring about; the hostile, arrogant interference in Israel’s domestic policies by the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy; the gathering Iranian-Russian-Chinese storm clouds over Israel and the escalating terrorism targeting its Jews) – what do we find that Christians/Messianic Jews are so concerned about?

The answer: a toothless, repeatedly tabled, but never realised “anti-missionary bill,” which has had us raising our voices in anxious outrage and indignation, banging on the door of Israel’s prime minister and adding our noise to the uproar and pressure designed to bring this democratically-elected government to its knees.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. I am ashamed of us, although knowing the chasm that remains between us and the Jews, I am not surprised. By the way, I am talking about the PRO-Israel followers of Jesus here, not about the multitudes of our co-religionists entrapped in the heresy of replacement theology.

The disconnect could hardly be deeper.

It manifested in a different setting a few weeks ago, when a few “Israel-loving” groups in Australia – Christians who had previously invited me to share a perspective on Israel’s restoration, and had responded so positively – declared their unwillingness to host a representative of the Jewish communities in Samaria and Judea because “he doesn’t believe in Jesus.” Which, I’m sorry to say, means that the understanding I earlier sought to share with them did not take.

This disconnect has also exhibited repeatedly over the many years I have lived in Israel as, in my hearing, Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs have criticised Christian support for national Israel, for what they call “unbelieving Israel,” and insisted that we should only, or at least primarily, be concerned for the “Body of Yeshua” in the Land.

What Bible, I am left wondering, do these people read? Or how is it that so many completely miss what it says: about the centrality – to God’s redemption plan for mankind – of the physical and spiritual restoration of national Israel; about the shared future destiny of Jews and Christians; about the fact that we have one common Enemy; and this, most basic discipleship reality, the cost of following Jesus?

On the last point, there have been, and in many parts of the world still are, Christians willing to undergo criminalisation and imprisonment, and to die for their faith, or at least are being murdered without renouncing Jesus. (Consider Pakistan, Egypt, China, parts of the Middle East and in several nations that have been overrun by Islam.)

Persecution is part of the package. Have we forgotten that?

In Jesus’ own words:

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12, emphasis added)

Furthermore, historical record shows that “the Church” (true believers, not traditional or nominal Christians) has always shone brightest and been at its best, its most Christ-like, under persecution.

And on top of all this, shouldn’t we Christians be fully ready to comprehend the Jews’ hostility towards proselytising? After all, doesn’t the responsibility for their detestation of it lie squarely at our door?

Again, I find it sad, and rather strange, that we Christians/Messianics are so ready to react defensively to something that offends our sensibilities/confronts us, or makes living out our faith more challenging.

If we have any inkling of the painful price the Jews have paid for being God’s “Chosen People,” should we not be moved with compassion, like Jesus was, rather than indignation?

Maybe we, followers of Jesus would be less stuck in our traditional Christian ways if we truly comprehended God’s workings with the nation of Israel, and what Paul means when, in regard to this “mystery,” he explains:

“For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:30-32, emphasis added)

An impression made over three decades of living in and having my focus centred on Israel, is that most of the Israel-aligned Christian crowd – if I may describe us in this way – are watching this nation almost as if we were an audience. A supportive audience; an applauding, cheering-on audience, excited by what God is doing with the restoration of Israel; interceding for it; wanting to ‘fast and pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ and so on, but all the time as observers – as if we’re sitting in a big theatre and looking at it.

Where we are not, is we are not yet where Ruth was when she took hold of Naomi, clinging to her and vowing that nothing but death would separate her from her thrice-bereaved mother-in-law – who felt, as the Jews do, that “the Almighty had dealt [her] bitter blows.”

And we are so far from that place where God describes how “ten men from all the gentiles will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23)

There’s still an us-and-them approach. And this very much affects the outlook we have for Israel’s future and for ours – as if the two destinies are different which, Biblically, they clearly are not.

I think our expectation is that the Jew should take hold of us, accept Jesus, and ask if he can go with us and join our church. Indeed, our misconceptions are many.

A few weeks ago, I posted on a social media app the following hypothetical question to professing Bible-believers:

“If Israel was destroyed tomorrow – or next month or next year – what would happen to your faith?”

Most of my respondents indicated that such a catastrophe, while horrendous, tragic beyond words, etc., would not majorly impact their Christian faith. “Our faith is in Jesus, not in Israel,” some insisted, as if that was being questioned, which, of course, it was not.

There were, in fact, not many responses, and I by no means claim to have a following worth that name, but numerous such building blocks of disclosable moments over all my years of interacting with Western Evangelical Christians persuades me that this is a tragic truth:

For the vast, vast majority of pro-Israel believers, the promises God made to Israel are irrelevant to their faith. If Israel were destroyed in a nuclear war on a Saturday, most church-going people would be in the pews the following Sunday.

Not me – I would not be in church, and my Bible would be shredded.

And yet, and this is precisely my point: for so many of us, Jesus is disconnected from Israel. The fact that God purposed Him to be born into a specific nation and in a certain land fails to register significance.

Has the lie of replacement theology permeated even those of us who repudiate it? If, as it should be, the bedrock of our faith is in God Who keeps His Word, a God Who will never go back on His covenants, never break His promises – then why is the centrality of Israel off our radar?

Imagine, if you will, the impact on the lives and faith of multitudes of professing, pro-Israel believers if we turned that around/turned replacement theology on its head and truly understood that God’s promises to Israel all still stand; that the return of the Jews to their land, and the return of His land to His people, are in accordance with His will and with His plan – for Israel and, thereby, for us?

Imagine how impervious we would be to the lies of those who hate Israel – the UN, the media, our politicians, Islam, all the other manifestations of Satan’s hatred against all who love the Lord God of Israel, and His King. How ready we would be to stand with the Jews against the Israel-hating world!

Imagine how we would stand, in our nations, “on God’s side,” for His Israel.

After 2,000 years of a Christianity that has demonstrated so much Jew-hatred, imagine how Jews would see us if we aligned ourselves fully with their nation and proclaimed to them our complete faith in THEIR God!

Then we truly would be living out Zechariah 8:23 as the Lord intends.


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21 responses to “The Israel Disconnect – A Chronic Christian Disorder”

  1. David Adeola says:

    This is really thought provoking as I have just a few moments ago challenged a brother who posted this video that has gone viral to pray instead. I wished we pray more instead of sharing the video. I wouldn’t have put it so succinctly as you have but I didn’t think forwarding this video was helpful. Thank you for this wonderful editorial piece. Blessings

  2. LarryFreeman says:

    Well, as i see in the modern (or post modern) church in the west. It trusts more in the arm of flesh than the arm of the lord. The institutionalized church is so full of satanic philosophy, the body doesn’t know what to believe anymore. Really sad really disheartening. I think a major reason of the powerlessness of the church (not the only reason though).
    Truely. Last days are here.

  3. hdfuerst says:

    Wie kann man glauben, ohne die falschen Lehren der Christenheit zu verwerfen?
    Ich bin schon 1960, mit 25 Jahren aus der protestantischen Kirche ausgetreten, weil ich die falschen Lehren der Christenheit verworfen habe. Aber vielleicht entscheidet Gottes Geist, wer von ihm angenommen wird und wer nicht.

  4. Charles Gardner says:

    Great message, Stan. We so need to hear that!

  5. Jake Wilson says:

    When Yosef revealed himself to his brethren, did he rebuke and reject them?

    No, he didn’t. He cried and embraced them; because he knew it was all God’s doing – those “Christians” have evidently not understood Yosef’s story.

    Rom 11:30–32 refers to the New Covenant’s extension to non-Jews. How many Egyptians would have survived the famine, had Yosef not been rejected by his brethren? How about… NONE?

    Mere faith in Jesus won’t save (“Unless a person is born of water and Spirit…”), and those “true believers” who worship Jesus as God follow Rome’s counterfeit.

    Mt 5:11–12 also works vice versa: persecution of Jews for rejecting Jesus (e.g. inquisition, crusades, etc.).

    All Jews will accept the Messiah and enter the New Covenant (ditto with the deceased). Joshua and Caleb represent saved non-Jews – not that many.

    “There is only one God – the Father.” (1 Cor 8:6)

    • AdinoBenaiah says:

      Referencing John 3:5 as a proof text to support water baptism for remission of sins is laughable. Did you read the question Nicodemus posed in John 3:4? The answer “born of water” is obviously ones physical birth – just as it is in Gen 1:20; Isa 48:1; Prov 5:16-18. Keep reading…John 3:6 “born of flesh is flesh” – it could not be more obvious.

      Much education is required to be that confused. New birth and water baptism are never connected anywhere in the New Testament (Romans 6:1-4; Gal 3:26-29; 1 Cor 12:12-14; Col 2:11-12)

      As much as you condemn Rome, why do you only use versions of the “Bible” that came directly from Rome?

      Truth is still out there for you, Jake.

  6. Robert's World says:

    Hear! Hear! Such a good word.

    I was meditating recently on Psalm 105. “He remembers His covenant forever – the word He commanded for a 1000 generations – which He made with Abraham, and swore to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob as a decree….”
    I think many Christians don’t really believe or grasp God’s covenant that he gave to Israel and will remember forever. Forever is forever.

  7. Margaretha (Rita) Wiens says:

    Thanks Stan. That is very well explained. God bless you!

  8. Malcolm Baker says:

    Perhaps the author is over-sensitive? The Orthodox Jews are not stupid. They understand this issues very well. An Orthodox friend said to me: “I will never wear a white shirt from ANSGAR as a bribe for conversion. I am afraid for every vulnerable Jewish soul that might be converted.
    There are more than 100 organisations that have established themselves in Israel for to convert people.” He said that they don’t mind people visiting Israel to see the sites, but they must not speak and try to convert Jews.

  9. Masami Cobley says:

    Well said, Stan! I have a number of committed evangelicals around me here in England. Sadly, they all believe in replacement theology, and confidently think that they will hear the Lord Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’. But the Spirit has been warning me that they are in the equivalent position to the five maids who did not have sufficient oil. The oil is the source of Light – that is the scriptural knowledge of who the Lord Jesus is. Their belief that Jesus is no longer the Messiah King of the Jews and their lack of understanding about His authority over all Gentile churches (which began with Revelation chapters 2 &3, towards the end of the first century) prove that their knowledge is insufficient.

  10. Peter Salisbury says:

    Well said Stan, I couldn’t agree more!

  11. Lindsay Johnston says:

    Thank you Stan for your unashamed support of Israel and her GOD. The GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As I understand it an anti missionary bill is a non starter. But even if it were believers in Yeshua would not be silenced. “ But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 10:23 NKJV. Regarding Zechariah 8:23 surely that will not happen until the LORD is present as Zechariah 8:3 and Ezekiel 43:1-7 would seem to indicate.

  12. Jake Wilson says:

    “He saved us, not because of works but because of his mercy, through the WATER OF REBIRTH and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Tit 3:5)

    Titus doesn’t talk about natural birth and neither does John. To be saved one must be “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn 1:13)

    To follow the Messiah, one must be “born of water and Spirit,” as He was born of water and Spirit in Gen 1:2–3 and Lk 3:21–22.

    Water baptism answers to the crucifixion, and spirit baptism to the resurrection; without these simple steps of faith no one will be saved.

    In the first centuries, people still knew how to be saved:

    “[Upon repentance] we have been reborn through water and the fire of the Holy Spirit, and we are presented to God by the Messiah.” (Eusebius, De Paschale).

    • AdinoBenaiah says:

      Quoting from Rome again I see…
      funny how they “change” scripture to confuse the masses.

      Titus 3:5 actually says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
      Continuing with vss 6-7 “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

      Nope – no water. Rome gotcha again.

  13. Jake Wilson says:

    To come under God’s grace, one has to “die” which happens through water immersion (mere belief in Jesus won’t save anyone).

    Since you only like the Rome’s KJV, two more quotes from the early centuries (before the beast indoctrinated the bulk):

    [The repentant] are led by us to a place where there is water, and they are reborn in the same way in which we were reborn […] For the Messiah also said, “Unless you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology 61.3–4)

    The Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of rebirth; only then do they receive the Spirit of Holiness. (Aphrahat, Demonstrations 6.14)

  14. AdinoBenaiah says:

    It’s obvious you have done zero historical research on biblical translations. The KJV did not come from Rome – it’s the only version that links to Antioch.

    Every version you prefer over the KJV is a direct descendant of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. You cling to Rome while at the same time condemning it. You contradict yourself more than the grossly corrupt Living Bible, ESV, NIV, ASV, RSV, NEB, or the like – none of which hold any water. The idiocy of their translators and editors goes way beyond mental sickness. The depraved, hypocritical, backslidden Bible revisers from 1880 to the present (NKJV included) have destroyed the commandment in John 5:39 to “Search the scriptures” and to “study” the Bible in 2 Tim 2:15. In fact, they deny their own rules of Greek grammar to help Satan destroy the words of God and cover up their rotten sins.

    Truth is truth – like it or not.

  15. Jake Wilson says:

    In his first and second Greek NT edition (1516 + 1519), Erasmus did not include the Trinitarian phrase in 1 John 5:7 because he couldn’t find a single Greek MS that contained it [the phrase was only found in the Latin Vulgate, the most Popish version ever].

    After a lot of pressure from the Catholic church, Erasmus reluctantly included it in his third Greek NT edition (1522), and eventually it made its way into the TR on which your beloved KJV is based.

    This is only one example. Bibles based on the TR such as the KJV can go straight into the bin.

    Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were created during the Nicaean apostasy, thus, their descendants are not much better. The purest versions stem from the time BEFORE Rome declared “Christianity” state religion (a religion which had little to do with the Messiah’s teaching).

    Guys like Justin who wrote around 160 CE didn’t have a KJV; he had never heard of that Trinitarian junk in 1 John 5:7 or that in Mt 28.19.

  16. AdinoBenaiah says:

    Following the texts of Nestle, Aland & Metzger, and Westcott & Hort. Unbroken succession of witnesses to the 1 Jn 5:7: Old Syriac versions (AD170), Tatian (AD180), Old Latin and Tertullian (AD200) Cyprian (AD255), Priscillian and Athanasius (AD350), Council of Carthage (AD415), Jerome (AD450), miniscule manuscript 88 (1150), 4 different Waldensian Bibles (AD600-1400), minuscule manuscript 629 (14th Century), and minuscule manuscript 61 (1519). MM61 is discounted by the scholars because it was produced by the Catholics on the demand of Erasmus before he would put the verse in his Greek text. But manuscript 61 has affinities to the Old Syriac (AD 150) before any Syriac version was known in Europe (Moses Mardin-1552). Moreover, with the “Johannine Comma” left out, the genders of the witness in the first part of the verse do not match that of the “Spirit,” “water,” and “blood” in verse 8; showing that something was removed from the text.

    • Israel Today says:

      We would appreciate it if comments could be kept simple and to the point so all readers can benefit. And preferably with a direct connection to Israel. A deep textual criticism of Biblical source texts is beyond the scope of this online community website. Thanks!

  17. Jake Wilson says:

    Any believer should have knowledge about manuscripts. Israelite writ about Yeshua is linked to Israel – if all expounded the NT the same way, we wouldn’t see the conflict portrayed.

    I noted how salvation through rebirth has been replaced with “believing in Jesus,” and I touched on how God has been replaced with a diabolic construct aka the Trinity; at least among the followers of A. Fruchtenbaum, D. Stern, J. Shulam, “Jews for Jesus,” et al.

    I trust it is legitimate to air my view, particularly in light of the question whether “the lie of replacement theology permeates even those of us who repudiate it.”

    Many non-Jews are looking for guidance among Jews, yearning to rediscover the authentic Nazarene faith of the first century, and all they hear is: “Celebrate Christmas – it’s Jewish! And worship Jesus as God like the Pope does.”

    It seems, to make everyone happy, ISRAEL TODAY is exposing replacement theology and preaching it at the same time.

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