Back to Articles

logo

Revive Israel Ministries
False Messianism
©October 2000 by Asher Intrater

I want to thank you for your prayers for us. I saw supernatural protection today. After I dropped off the children in Jerusalem, I was driving on one of the major roads through the territories and I was attacked by a group of between 15-20 Palestinian youths with stones in their hands. I was coming down a hill next to an embankment. There were no other cars near me. As I approached the embankment (near the town of Husan), I saw the group of 15-20 jump out from hiding places and come running with stones in their hands to the edge of the embankment. They timed it so to reach the edge just as I was passing underneath. Make no doubt about it, they were aiming to kill or injure. I felt some fear for a moment, but then I felt the peace of the Lord (I believe due greatly to your prayer coverage for us). I began to speed up in the car. As soon as I reached the point underneath them, I swerved the car out into the left lane and drove along the left lane which changed the distance of the car from them. The stones pelted around me but I was able to go through safely. Needless to say, I want to thank you again with all my heart for your prayers for our family.  

A Rock Throwing Army

As I thought about this instance, I also thought about what my son had asked me on the way to school. How could Arafat and the Palestinians be challenging the Israeli army when they have such fewer number of armaments? I realized that part of the answer was that the more than one million Palestinian Arabs are so frustrated-angry-hateful towards the Israelis that they are willing in great numbers to riot to the point of suicide in their attacks. It is as if there is an army of a half million suicide-attacking, rock-throwing young Palestinians. That is a force that no matter how sophisticated and well equipped an army is, it cannot really defeat them.    

False Messianism  

Yeshua said that in the end times there would arise many false messiahs (Matt 24). Yeshua is the only Messiah. He is the only Savior. Any kind of messianic world-saving movement that is not based on the person of Yeshua himself turns into a deluding and destructive force, even if the people involved mean well. Here in Israel we are dealing with the conflict between three false messianic movements.But we must see them in their messianic aspirations to understand why the destructive power is so great.
  The biggest power, of course, is militant Islam. The Moslems think they will save the world by converting everyone to Islam, and that Mohammed is the savior. They see Israel (and to a secondary degree the United States) as a force opposing their world saving effort. Therefore, their hatred of Israel takes on an apocalyptic, suicidal nature. The second messianic aspiration is that of secular humanistic Zionism. This Zionism, whose current leader is now Barak, still has hopes that an ideal Israeli society can set a standard for peace and bring about the messianic utopia descried in Isaiah 2.While those aspirations are not spoken of today in Israel, they certainly were part of the philosophic foundations of earlier secular Zionism. That idealistic dream led both Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak to overestimate the current chances for peace.   The third messianic movement is ultra-orthodox Judaism. I have written about this on many other occasions, but I only want to note here that their world view is very "black and white." The Jews are the divinely chosen good guys, and every other person in the world is a Gentile heathen. The Jews and Arabs are stuck in their world views; both racially and religiously. I realize that only the cross of Yeshua can lift someone out of his racial, political, and religious trap. The clash of these three messianic movements in the Middle East, without the presence of Yeshua, is a disastrous combination.    

Impossible to Separate  

All sides are claiming that the solution to the current conflict is to separate the Palestinians completely from the Israelis and set up clear borders between us.
The problem is that it is just not possible. There are too many locations in Israel where Jews and Arabs are living interwoven among one another. Obviously the Jewish and Arab population of Jerusalem is one of those locations. It reminds me of the conflict between Jacob and Esau while they were still in the womb. You can't separate two babies from one another when they are still tangled up in the same womb.    

Divine Tension and Balance  

In God there is a divine tension between His holiness and His mercy. There is a balance between the fear of God and the love of God. From Israel's viewpoint that divine tension is expressed in peace negotiations on the one hand and military strength on the other hand.   In an interview on Israeli TV this week, Barak clenched both fists. He raised one fist to demonstrate his determination to allow no stone to be unturned in the peace negotiations. He raised the other fist to show his determination to be strong militarily as well.   I believe that was the right balance. I believe it is the godly balance. The problem was that for most of this past year, he got out of that balance. Since he was overly trusting the negotiations, now that they have failed, the pendulum is swinging back to the other side. When this pendulum is released it does not fall to the center, but rather swings over to the other side. The sudden disillusionment with the peace talks has caused an overly violent reaction on both sides.   During the outbreaks on Yom Kippur I shared a message at the congregation on the divine tension between the grace Jesus offered at the cross and the military-like punishment that will come at his second coming. There is mercy in the gospel message, but it is also a threatening ultimatum from God.    

Peace First, Then War  

It is interesting to note that the idea of offering peace negotiations to an enemy if at all possible, and then responding militarily if peace is not possible, is a biblical concept. This is cited in Deuteronomy20:10.War may be necessary, but effort to make peace should always take precedence. If it is not possible, then the military must be strong. As of this writing, we are obviously very close to war here. Let's continue to pray.
   

Jews also Riot  

One of the tragic events this week was the band of Jewish youth who rioted against Arabs in Tiberius and set fire to the mosque. This shows that when people are frustrated, they can get out of hand. Some commentators (even Christian) saw this as a positive event, showing Israeli strength. That is preposterous. Not only was it wrong, but it also weakened the Israeli position. Those rioters were not patriots, but hoodlums. They thought they were being heroes, but they were fools.
If we can imagine the frustration of these Israeli young people, we can also imagine the frustration of the Palestinians. In fact, the frustration of the Palestinians can be seen as even greater. However, while there are certain similarities to the rioting on both sides, there are many more stark differences between them.   It is important to note that the Jewish rioters were small in number. The rioting was immediately condemned by all sections of the Israeli public, both right wing and left wing, and by the government. In addition, the Israeli police force immediately moved in to stop the rioting, arrest the rioters and bring legal measures against them. This is what was so different about the reaction of the Palestinian authority, which seems to be actually encouraging the rioting.    

Christian Reaction in the U.S. and around the World  

While I have been as frank as possible to describe the complexities of the situation, and the sensitivity to the Palestinian plight, I do believe it is imperative for Christians around the world to stand with Israel and voice that support in their countries. Despite the frustrations, complexities, and sensitivities, Israel is still trying its best to stand in the focal point of antagonism from the Islamic world, and remnants of anti-Semitism from the rest of the world.
This is a very important issue biblically. In describing the end times events, the prophet Joel states that God will bring the nations into judgment and punishment for their attacks upon the Jewish people and the land of Israel (Joel 3:2).   This is also important as Christians are praying for the presidential elections in the U.S. At this time the issues concerning America's commitment and support to Israel may be more urgent than the issues of family values and/or the economy. Christians in the U.S. should be sensing in their spirit over this next month which of the candidates will stand stronger with Israel in the conflicts in the Middle East over the next four years.    

World Anti-Semitism  

It is somewhat shocking for us here in Israel to see demonstrations against us from distant nations. What is shocking is that those anti-Israel demonstrations are not really based on the difficulties of the Palestinians' plight. They are too far removed for that. They don't feel the Palestinians' pain, and are not really that closely linked to them. If they were they would have done more to help the Palestinians in humanitarian aid over the past decade.
It is obvious that they are using the present conflict as a pretext to vent their hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. Humanitarian sympathy for the Palestinians I can well appreciate. However, a world view that rejects Israel and the Jewish people, is ultimately anti-God, anti-Bible, and anti-Christ.   A last word. The murder-lynch of the two Israeli reserve soldiers touched a nerve in the Israeli public here. It was not the blood. It was not the death. Israelis know that in the situation of war there will be violence and death. It was something of the joy of the crowd. The hideous delight in mutilating a Jewish body after he was already dead. This is something that is not seen in other wars and other conflicts. There is something incomprehensible and repulsive. Nightmarish. It raises some subconscious unspoken question unanswered in our history. Why? Why such a hatred against us?


Back

Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.