Some Further Thoughts on Israel, the Church and the Return of Jesus
Some Further Thoughts on Israel, the Church and the Return of Jesus
By Dr. Howard Morgan
I believe that there are four aspects of God’s end time plan to return the Lord Jesus to earth and that we each have a part to play in the fulfillment of this plan (1 Cor. 3:9 & 2 Cor. 6:1). These four aspects may be understood by the following four reconciliations that I believe God intends to accomplish in order for the Lord Jesus to return.
The first reconciliation is that of the Church to her Jewish roots. The second reconciliation is the Church to the Jewish people. The third reconciliation is the Jewish people to their Messiah. And the fourth reconciliation is the Messiah to planet Earth.
According to Acts 3:21, the heavens must literally restrain the Lord Jesus until the times of restoration of all things that the prophets declared. In addition, we read in Matthew 23:39, that the Lord Jesus himself declared that He would not come again until the Jewish people actually called him back from heaven. He said to them, “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'” (NIV).
Please note that the saying precedes the seeing. This of course teaches, as do many other scriptures, a literal physical return of the Lord Jesus to Earth. As we study the Old Testament we read many things that the prophets declared. Central to all of their visions and prophecies was the unwavering commitment of God to ultimately restore Israel to her land and to “David” her king.
Since Satan knows that the return of Jesus spells his doom, he has worked throughout history to prevent the words of the prophets from being fulfilled. He has sought to either kill the entire race of the Jews, or force them to loose their national identity and distinctiveness by assimilation or conversion. In either case, if the Jews would cease to be a nation before the Lord, the words of the prophets would fail to be fulfilled (please read Jeremiah 31:35-37).
Hitler was not the first and will unfortunately not have been the last instrument of Satan. (In future newsletters we will discuss the real aims of the PLO and other Islamic terrorist groups.) Satan obviously believes he can succeed in these attempts, and the Lord Jesus can be prevented from returning forever. This is why Anti-Semitism, in whatever form it manifests itself, is so very evil and wide spread. It is the demonic spirit that seeks to prevent the return of the Messiah by destroying the Jewish people.
Since the Lord Jesus must also wait for the Jews to call him back from heaven, we must consider God’s plan for provoking such a response from a people who have been temporarily blinded to the spiritual truth that Jesus is the Messiah. As we study the Scriptures, we see that God has always intended to use the Church to provoke Israel to jealousy (see Deut. 32:21, Rom. 10:19 & 11:11).
Satan was also aware of this plan and launched his own counter attack to seek to prevent this plan from succeeding. His work was subtle and up to now effective. But…I believe that we are at that point in history where Psalm 102:13-16 is going to be fulfilled, and Satan’s plan will finally be foiled. By gaining entrance to the Church in her earliest stages, Satan was able to divert the Church from the Scriptural pattern and distort her into a charactature of what she was called to be. In future newsletters we will go into this in greater detail, but for our purposes in this introductory issue it is sufficient to say that the Church became a hierarchical organization built around doctrines that were influenced by the surrounding Greek and Roman culture.
The scriptures were effectively hidden from the common man and the Church, rather than the Lord Jesus, became the source of salvation. In essence what happened was that a new non-Biblical (and therefore non-Jewish) religion emerged and took the place of the authentic Biblical Church.
Because of Satan’s awareness of God’s plan to use the authentic Church to provoke Israel to jealousy and eventually to faith in her rejected Messiah, he cunningly devised a strategy to corrupt, distort, and change the once Biblically based Church into a non-Biblical organization that carried the name “Church” and proclaimed itself the worshippers and representatives of Jesus. He used this “counterfeit” Church to deprive the newly emerging “Christian religion” of its Biblical relationship with the Jewish people. By doing this he effectively did three things.
He was able to bring the Church under God’s judgment by having her disobey the scriptural in-junction to not become arrogant and boastful against her own Jewish roots. (Romans 11:18-22). God said that the consequence for such an attitude would be that He would cut the Church off. As you study the history of the Church, you can see that such a judgment was inflicted upon the Church. Instead of growing as a faith filled organism, she descended into the spiritual darkness of a hierarchical organization. She remained that way until the time of the reformation when God’s mercy began to move through men like Wycliffe, Huss, Tyndale, and Luther (more about the “dark” side of Martin Luther in future articles).
That the Church came under judgment for her rejection of her Jewish roots may be a new concept to some of you. We will expand on this concept in future articles. I ask that you consider this view in prayer as you study the history of the Church.
By destroying the Church’s relationship with the Jewish people, Satan was able to prevent the Church from experiencing the rich root of the olive tree (Romans 11:17) that the history, scriptures, traditions and heritage of the Jewish people represent.
This “root rejecting” Church made it almost impossible for Jews to come to faith in the Messiah and still maintain their Jewish identity. (More about this also in future newsletters). This has been a great tragedy because firstly, had individual Jews had the opportunity to hear the true “Jewish” gospel of their own Messiah, untold numbers would have come to faith (as I did, when I had a supernatural encounter with the risen savior). Secondly, the Jews would have continually brought the rich root of their own cultivated olive tree, via their own heritage and background, into the Church. Throughout history this would have greatly enriched the lives of the gentile believers who have been grafted from a wild tree into the cultivated one (Romans 11:17, 24).
Because the judgment of God came upon the Church for her denial and rejection of Romans 11:11-32, Satan was allowed access to the Church and was able to turn the Church into his agent of persecution and death rather than God’s agent of power and witness. In future issues we will look at the tragic bloodstained history of the “Church” and the Jewish people.
By perverting the Church and sending her out as an agent of persecution and death, Satan was able to virtually destroy the Church’s testimony to the Jewish people of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews would never believe in the “founder” of this murderous religion and would obviously never call upon Him to return from heaven. The words of Jesus in Matt 23:39 would then never come to pass, and Satan’s plan to keep Jesus in heaven would succeed.
As the “times of the Gentiles” are drawing to a close, God is not only restoring Apostolic truth that has been lost to the Church through the centuries, but He is also restoring a consciousness to the Church of her Jewish roots. It is extremely important that you understand that the ultimate purpose of this new awareness is the reconciliation between the Church and the Jewish people, so that a “jealousy provoking” testimony can come from the Church. Mere academic understanding about the historical roots of the Christian Church, or “Jewish” type flavorings for Church services are not the reason for the Holy Spirit’s move to restore the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
God’s desire is that the Church return to its 1st century Jewish mindset, so that the scriptural purposes for the Church can be accomplished. The apostolic truths that are being recovered in many churches, including the great over-arching truth of the unity of the Church, are essential ingredients in the restoration of the Church. Unless the Church once again becomes the powerful witness that she was at her birth, she will not be able to provoke Israel, or anyone else for that matter, to jealousy.
When the Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians, chapter 2:11-22, about his revelation of the Church, he taught us that the Church was composed of Jews and Gentiles who were no longer separated by any walls of partition. The Church was, in fact, one new man. He also went on to reveal that this new man was now brought into fellowship with God and made part of the Commonwealth of Israel and fellow citizens with the saints of the Old Testament. He was giving complimentary revelation to that which he wrote in Romans chapter eleven. That is, he was teaching the Church about her inheritance in, with, and among the Jewish people. Please note how Paul uses the words “with” and “among” in Romans 11:17.
For too long, the Church has taught the Jewish people that they had to be “converted” to a gentile religion, when the exact opposite is the truth. It is the Gentiles who have been, and must yet be, converted to a “Jewish” religion. Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah, who sealed with his own blood the New Covenant that was promised to the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31). The book of Acts records how God opened the Jewish New Covenant, the true Judaism of God, to all the Gentiles who would believe.
This true Judaism of God touches all areas of life. It gives us a view of heaven and instruction for successful living in this life. The New Covenant scriptures were written from a first century Jewish perspective, not a second or third century Greek or Roman perspective. We cannot allow those pagan societies to influence how we interpret the scriptures or the realities of everyday life. Too many of our Church traditions have come under the influences of an Hellenic, rather than Biblical world view. In future issues of this newsletter, we will discuss how we are still influenced by the Greeks and Romans, rather than by the Prophets and Apostles.
One of my great hopes in the publication of these articles, is that gentile Christians will come to see themselves as “spiritual Jews”. This simply means that when you were grafted into the Olive Tree, you were made a partaker of the Commonwealth of Israel and are now considered by God to be “Jewish”. This does not mean that you reject or renounce your natural culture or heritage. It means that spiritually you have joined yourself to the God of Israel and like Ruth (1:16), have become one of His own people. Having this understanding, my prayer is that you would allow the Holy Spirit to show you the kind of relationships He would want you to have with your “spiritual cousins,” the natural Jewish people.
In my spirit I see a great move of the Holy Spirit among “spiritual Jews” (the Church), as they reach out in love and support to the “natural branches” of God’s Olive Tree (Romans 11:17-20). I see the true testimony of the love and power of the Holy Spirit reaching out through these “spiritual Jews,” in such a way as to cause the natural Jews to “scratch their heads” in bewilderment as to who these people are and where they came from. I see such an outpouring of love and support for the Jewish people, that they will stop and listen to the wonderful testimonies of the reality of their long rejected Messiah that are coming from their new found “spiritual cousins.” My prayer is that they will be so provoked to jealousy, that they will, without bias or prejudice, earnestly pray for revelation as they study the scriptures for themselves, to see if the things prophesied about the Messiah are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
I pray that God will use these articles to not only educate the Church and help to reconcile Israel and the Church, but that He will be pleased to use it as a tool in His work to rally support, love and jealousy provoking testimony to the Jewish people.
I earnestly believe that the timing of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus hinges upon the Church’s hearing this message of reconciliation, so that she will rise up against Satan’s strategies to keep Israel from her Messiah and Messiah from returning.
Scripture quotation from the Holy Bible, New International Version (R). NIV (R). Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Dr. Howard Morgan is an internationally renowned prophetic teacher whose insightful, humorous and anointed ministry is inspiring, empowering and equipping believers around the world. A Jewish believer in the Messiah Jesus since 1971, he planted and pastored churches in New York City from 1976 to 1987. Since 1987 he has been traveling in a full time prophetic and teaching ministry, establishing and overseeing churches and ministries, and pastoring pastors. He is a gifted communicator who is able to present Scriptural truths clearly and precisely, so that the principles of the Kingdom of God are plainly understood and easily applied. His ministry is often accompanied by clear demonstrations of the revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit.
He is the founder and president of Howard Morgan Ministries (www.howardmorganministries.org), his own teaching and equipping ministry, Kingdom Ministries International, which gives apostolic and prophetic oversight to a network of Churches and Ministries, and CEASE an international ministry inspiring and training Christians to Eradicate Anti-Semitism in the Earth.
He has an intense passion to see the entire Body of Christ come to spiritual maturity and unity, as well as a vision to see the Church restored to her Hebraic roots, and to her Biblical relationship and responsibility to the Jewish people. Dr. Morgan has a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College, an M.A. in Counseling from New York University, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Logos Graduate School.