What is God doing today in bringing Jew and Gentile back together? Why is it so important for us Gentile Christians to link arms and hearts with our Messianic Jewish friends? What is God aiming for, in fulfilling the vision of the One New Man in Eph. 2:12-20—after allowing us to run away from this vision for 1800 years?
I believe that God is reversing trends that go back to the 4th-8th centuries, when the Western Church turned away from a “By My Spirit” lifestyle and adopted a “Power and Might” lifestyle. (See the Glory Through Time teaching for more about this.) In other words, the Church stopped trusting in the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit, and put its confidence in worldly power.
Among the changes:
- Spiritual warfare, as practiced by the Desert Fathers, was replaced by a confidence in military power, leading to the Crusades. By the 12th century, Bernard of Clairvaux, a man of prayer full of the Holy Spirit, was enlisted merely to drum up support for the Second Crusade. No one asked God whether a Crusade was what He wanted. What began in great pomp and boasting ended in total defeat and humiliation. Then they blamed Bernard.
- The Church rejected all forms of Jewishness and rooted it out everywhere it could be found in the Church. A spirit of anti-Semitism culminated in the Second Nicene Council of 787, when Jewish ways were forbidden in any Christian Church. Jesus’ death was blamed on the Jews, as though Yeshua had been a Gentile from the beginning. The Church thus renounced the vision of peace between Jew and Gentile declared by the apostle Paul (Eph. 2:12-22).
- The Church replaced the Gospel of the Kingdom (transformation), as preached by Jesus, with the gospel of personal salvation (fire insurance). The “keys of the Kingdom” that Jesus gave to Peter (Mt. 16:19) became an authority to grant eternal salvation—and, of course, Roman Church leaders were the spiritual descendants of Peter. The Church stopped being transformational (“Thy Kingdom come on earth”) defining the Kingdom of God as “living with God in heaven after you die.” From then on, you have Peter sitting in front of the pearly gates in the clouds, deciding who gets in, and who doesn’t.
- The spirit of Antichrist saw the weakness of the Church and exploited this opportunity. He introduced an alternative faith, Islam, which has just enough truth in it to make the lies believable. After downloading the initial doctrines in 610 A.D., it only took 27 years for Muslim armies to put Jerusalem to siege and take over the Temple Mount. The goal? To build the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosques on the very spot where the Jews had placed the Holy of Holies. This was a statement in the spirit realm: We are replacing the entire Judeo-Christian revelation with a new “revelation” from God.
A New Reformation
Today, God wants us to get back to the original vision that was owned by the early Church, when Jew and Gentile were working together to transform the earth. The Great Reformation of the 16th century began to untwist many doctrinal errors of Mediaeval Catholicism. But there is more work to be done in recovering the original vision of the Bible as preached by Yeshua (Jesus) and taught by the apostles and the apostolic fathers of the early Church.
God is raising up gifted leaders in the Messianic Jewish community and moving them to Israel today. The Gentile Church is now called to link up with these Jewish believers and listen to them. When we do, we will be challenged to go back to the original Gospel in a way that even the Reformers did not do. We are still in a Back-to-the-Bible movement that they started, and the greatest Reformers of our day happen to be Messianic Jews. Either we will listen to these believers, and be part of the present Reformation, or we will not, and we will be “left behind.”
What are the doctrines of the Gospel that these brothers are articulating?
- Returning to the original Gospel of the Kingdom, as preached by Yeshua. They are not seeing that Gospel through the lenses of Roman Catholic “salvation” theology. Kingdom theology seeks the transformation of the earth by God writing His laws on our hearts. It’s not just about where you plan to spend eternity after you die. When we return to the preaching of the Kingdom of God, much of the New Testament will take on new and deeper meaning: The Lord’s prayer, for example, or the parables of the Kingdom, the Sermon on the Mount, or the chapters about eschatology—all take on new meaning when we see them through the lens of the Kingdom of God.
- Rejecting eschatologies based on replacement theology, the belief that The Church has now become “spiritual Israel,” and that all the promises about Israel are really just allegories of The Church. No, the Church is grafted into Israel, and Israel is now coming into its end-time destiny as articulated by Paul and the prophets of old. Now we need to reject a-millennialism, post-millennialism and dispensationalism, because they were all based on replacement theology. (See my teaching on “End Time Promise” for more about this.) While each of these alternatives has valuable qualities, it is time to return to the original eschatology of the Bible.
- Returning to historic premillinnialism, as taught by Jesus, the Apostles and the apostolic fathers of the Church prior to the rise of Roman Catholicism. (I recommend A Case for Historic Premillennialism by Craig Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, editors, a book recommended to me by Rabbi David Rudolph, a Messianic Jew.)
Today’s Reformation is flowing from the joining together of Messianic Jews with the Gentile Church. These are exciting times. God’s train is moving down the track. And I say: “All aboard!”