Christianity and evangelizing in Israel
Quote from The Voice of Martyrs, Feb 2014:
(The Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organization dedicated to assisting the persecuted Church worldwide, lists Israel as a country "Hostile to Christianity.")
"Modern Jewish society in Israel rejects any form of proselytism, including evangelical sharing of the gospel. In the past, the Israeli government has denied citizenship to Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Christ), and city governments have burned Bibles and other Christian literature. VOM (Voice of Martyrs) has shared stories in the past about Messianic Jews and foreign Christian workers who have been harassed by ultra-Orthodox, anti-missionary Jewish groups."
"........believers are also persecuted by anti-missionary Jewish activists. The activists sometimes spray graffiti on Christian Churches in what are called "price tag attacks" (exacting a price on anything that seems to threaten Jewish sovereignty). A few months ago, they painted "Jesus is a monkey" on a church that is a major pilgrimage site for Christians."
"In 2008, an evangelist in Israel named David Ortiz received a traditional Purim gift basket at his front door. When his 15 year old son opened the package, it exploded in his face. His body still carries the scars and pieces of shrapnel from the bomb, which was planted by a Jewish extremist who was angered by the Ortiz's Christian outreach work."
The Voice of Martyrs website also states that there are more than 120,000 Christians living in Israel, which includes 17,000 Messianic Jewish Christians and an estimated 8,000 Palestinian Arab Christians. Both Arab and Jewish Christians are persecuted and harassed, sometimes violently. In Israel, the well organized, and well funded ultra-orthodox Jewish group Yad L'Achim is dedicated to removing the witness of Jesus from Israel. This group, and others like it have increasingly resorted to violence and harassment of Messianic Jews, Christians and missionaries in recent years.
The following three paragraphs came from various sources including the US State Department reports on religious freedom in Israel--- http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2010/148825.htm
It is common for Israel's Ministry of Interior to detain individuals suspected of being Christian missionaries, and require such persons to obtain bail, and then pledge to abstain from Christian missionary activity. In addition many have been refused entry into the country. Israel has also cited Christian proselytism as a reason to deny student visas, work visas, religious visa extensions, and permanent residency petitions.
Technically, proselytizing in Israel is not illegal and missionaries are therefore, supposedly, allowed to evangelize. However, Christians are often harassed and there are laws that will specifically make it illegal. One example; it is illegal for any person to convert anyone under 18 years of age, from Judaism to any other religion, unless one of the minor's parents is already an adherent of the religious group that is seeking the conversion.
Furthermore, despite the legality of proselytism, Israel has taken steps to discourage it. Moreover, Israel actually encourages the perception that proselytizing in Israel is illegal and therefore a criminal offense. It has been assumed that Israel does this to minimize proselytizing without actually having to enact strict and potentially embarrassing anti-proselytizing laws.
Therefore, it should be no surprise that Christian organizations, such as The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, who has held rallies in over 185 different countries and territories, including numerous Communist, and North African countries with large Muslim populations, has never been allowed to hold a Christian evangelistic rally in Israel.
A large portion of the Jewish population in Israel are secular atheists and therefore hold no actual religious affiliation. However, the religious Jews, and most notably the Orthodox Jewish sects, are intolerant and openly antagonistic, often to the point of violence, to any Christian proselytizing in Israel (You Tube videos can be found documenting this). They consider themselves to be the "Master Race," "the chosen people of God," and therefore all others are inferior people. Ironically, that is reported to be the same mind-set embraced by the German Nazi's of WWII.
Jesus, In Luke 10:16, said this to his disciples, ".............the one who rejects you, rejects Me, and he who rejects Me, rejects the One who sent me." In that scripture, "The one who sent me" is God the Father. Therefore the nation of Israel today, and the religious zealots in the Orthodox Jewish sects, are embracing the spirit of anti-Christ by rejecting Jesus. In so doing they are repeating the sins of the Biblical Pharisees.
Moreover, modern Israel is the only nation in world history that has ever been founded around the spirit of antichrist.
1 John 2:22 and 1 John 4:3 clearly defines what the spirit of antichrist is. Modern Israel was founded as a Jewish state, with Judaism as its only truly accepted religion, therefore it formally denies Jesus as the Messiah and fulfills the definition of antichrist. Other nations throughout history have embraced the spirit of antichrist but only one, in the entire history of the world, has ever been founded as a Jewish state denying Jesus as the Messiah, and that nation is the modern state of Israel.
Since the words of Jesus are clear, that those who reject Him reject God the Father, Israel is therefore a nation who institutionally rejects God.
There is a spiritual darkness over the face of Israel as they reject Jesus and embrace the spirit of anti-Christ. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that Israel has never seen real peace since the day it was founded.
So how should the Western Christian Church regard Israel? Should the Christian Church, as many Western Christian Churches do, consider Israel an anointed, special, nation of God, and then act as if they actually were? Absolutely not. However, Israel should also never become an object of Christian scorn or wrath.
Christians should consider Israel as another spiritually lost Middle East nation; a nation who officially rejects God and therefore is in desperate need of the Gospel of Jesus. However, since Israel thwarts the open presentation of the Gospel to the general population, it appears the only effective means, available to us at this time, is prayer.
Therefore Israel needs to be the continual object of Christian prayer where we ask God to remove the spirit of anti-Christ from their land. Moreover, the prayers need to ask that the Orthodox Jewish influence, that is separating them from God, be subdued or even eliminated by the Gospel of Jesus.
Prayer for Israel and Her neighbors.
Heavenly Father, we ask you to pour Your Spirit of love, peace and salvation upon the nation of Israel and her surrounding neighbors.
We pray that the spiritual darkness that chokes that area, and hinders your Gospel from reaching our brothers and sisters, be destroyed so Your light will freely spread across the face of their land.
We pray that the salvation through Jesus will be upon the lips of all, and those in Israel and the nations around Her will turn to you in multitudes.
Let the earth again see a revival across that land, and in an even greater magnitude then when You brought salvation to mankind there, on a Cross, 2000 years ago.
We pray this in Your Holy name.
NOTE: Please also check the link, to the Evangelizing Israel web site, on the links page 25...... (They are not affiliated with us nor do they have any connection to this web site).
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