Asher Intrater prays for the Chinese people at a China-Israel conference in Hong Kong. To his left is Ari Sorko-Ram and at right is fellow Israeli Messianic Jew Ariel Blumenthal.
Asher Intrater shared this message at the Chinese-Israel conference in Jerusalem last fall, directed to 130 Chinese pastors attending. Asher comes from a perspective born out of ministering in Israel for years. The Church, worldwide, which longs to see revival throughout the world, will surely profit from this exhortation which defines Israel’s role and its limitations. So as you read it, may it speak to your heart for the Church in your nation. (Editor)
There are three prophecies about “the North” in scripture. Jeremiah 1:14 says, “From the north evil will open (or develop).” And then Ezekiel 38 reveals there will be a coalition of forces from the Middle East and Russia that will attack Israel from the north. Ezekiel states “out of the northern parts” it will come.
In our generation, Russia has come from the north and made an alliance with Hezbollah and with Syria…and with Iran! And you Christians from China, pray! It’s so important that China does not become part of that coalition.
Terrorist forces in Lebanon and Syria have attacked and will attack Israel from the north. But they are funded by Iran. This is not a battle between Israel and Lebanon. This is a battle with Iran. So actually Iran does not come out against Israel from the East, but from the north. Just like Russia. Everything happens from the north.
But there’s a third reference concerning that prophecy. In the book of Joel, it speaks about people crying out in prayer and fasting here in the Land, which in turn will release a great revival. And what will be the result of that prayer? “I will make the northern army go far away.”In other words it was the threat of the northern coalition to attack Israel that caused the Israeli people to pray and fast. And when that happens, God will remove that northern army, destroy them and release a revival throughout the world.
So what is the answer to world revival? Prayer! This current political situation must cause every believer to pray – in Israel and the world. And when we pray, God will stop that attack from the north and also release the revival.
God wants a historic breakthrough in the relationship between the Church in China and the body of Messiah in Israel. Because a breakthrough bringing the true global Church and Israel together in unity of purpose is necessary to bring world revival.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FULLNESS FOR BOTH JEW AND GENTILE
Note these key verses:
“Now if the fall of them [Israel] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their FULLNESS?”
“For if their [Israel’s] rejection is the reconciliation for the world, what will their restoration be if not life from the dead.”
“My brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own eyes, for hardening has happened to Israel in part until the FULLNESS of the Gentiles comes. And so it will be that all Israel will be saved.”
Verses 12 and 15 speak of the fullness of Israel. And verse 25 speaks of the fullness of the Gentiles. They are parallel and linked together. What’s that link? He is both the King of Israel and the head of the Church.
So whether we know it or not, and whether we want it or not, God has connected Israel and the Church together.
There are so many parallels. When the Hebrew language was restored to the Jewish people after 2,000 years of not being in use, exactly at that time God restored the gift of speaking in tongues to the Church. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so. Israel and the true Church are linked together—the fullness of Israel and the fullness of the Gentile Church.
Now some translations say in verse 25, “When the full number of Gentiles comes in….” I believe that’s a wrong translation. I believe it’s not just speaking about the number of people to come into the Church, but the full glory of the Church. It’s referring to what Yeshua prayed in John 17—that the international Church would come into unity. That it would know intimacy with God. That it would be filled with the glory of God. That the Church will be filled with the same glory which Yeshua had with the Father before He created the earth. Talk about a fantastic experience in the end times—the international Church in every nation coming into its full glory.
IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
I ask my Jewish brothers, “Do we believe there is something we could do to help bring the Church into its fullness? Do we even want it?”
YES! We want it! But it’s hard for us to see it. Do we even believe something could happen in a covenantal relationship between the Chinese believers and the Church worldwide and the Israeli believers—that there could be a two-way blessing? It’s a two-way street. And it comes from a relationship!
For if you love us and we love you, God can release something in both directions. The Church and the Jews can join in a relationship like a bridge. A bridge goes in two directions: a spiritual bridge from Israel to the world and from the world to Israel. And we can bless you and you can bless us. But not a superficial blessing. Something deep – that the fullness of the Glory of God would be released from here to the Church, that the fullness of the glory of God would be released into Israel from the Church worldwide.
We Messianic Jews love that verse, “All Israel will be saved.” We go to sleep saying, “All Israel will be saved.” We get up in the morning and we sing, “All Israel will be saved.” But you know, it doesn’t say that all Israel will be saved. The Bible does not say that all Israel will be saved. Look at your Bible again. It does not say, “All Israel will be saved.” It says, “AND SO all Israel will be saved.” That’s a big difference.
It means all Israel will be saved in verse 26, because of what is written in verse 25. That blindness or hardness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (i.e. the nations) has come in. Verse 25 causes verse 26.
This is not a promise that all Israel will be saved independently. This is an explanation that the full glory of the International Church will cause the salvation of Israel. Jewish believers in Israel want our people to be saved but we cannot do it. It’s got to come from YOU the Church! We need YOU!
THE FULL GLORY INCLUDES HUMILITY
There are more than 100 million believers in China. That’s a lot of people.
But I don’t think China has come into its full glory yet. Not its full power. Not its full unity. Not its full love. Not its full destiny. When the Church in China is shining with the power of God, and the nation of China is transformed, and a flood of revival comes out of China into all Asia and the Middle East, then fullness will come.
The result of fullness of the Church is not just power and glory and unity, but it’s also humility—particularly humility about Israel. Romans 11:25, “when the Church comes into its fullness…” and is not prideful—or as Paul warned—haughty about Israel, then God will bring the Church a revelation about Israel. So part of the maturity of the body of Christ is to receive a revelation about Israel and that’s what causes Israel to be saved.
CHURCH, COME INTO YOUR FULNESS!
We cannot save ourselves. Our salvation is dependent on the Church coming to its full glory and getting a revelation about God’s purposes for Israel, and praying for us. So what do we in Israel have to say to you?
PLEASE! Come to your fullness! Get a revelation of Israel!
About 15 years ago, Brother Yun, who wrote The Heavenly Man, came to visit Israel. And we organized a meeting for him with Israeli pastors. When he shared that the Chinese Church has a vision of bringing the Gospel back to Jerusalem, we were all just stunned.
How could this be? What had all the great Christians and theologians in Europe missed, that these hundred million simple, persecuted Chinese people in remote villages, received by revelation?! We were stunned.
But when I asked him what he meant—coming back to Jerusalem—he said, with fire in his eyes, “Well, we have suffered in China to make us ready so we can preach the Gospel to the Muslims and the Hindus and all Asia and bring the Gospel back to Israel.”
Then I asked, “Well, what happens in Israel?” And he said, “I don’t know…”
As I understand it, 15 years ago, the Chinese Church had only partial revelation about God’s purposes for Israel. Fifteen years ago they decided to preach the Gospel in Asia to Muslims. But in terms of a revelation about Israel and her people—there was none.
But now, something different is happening. The Chinese believers and the Church worldwide are beginning to understand that it’s not only about preaching the Gospel to the Muslims. God also has a plan that includes the Church for the restoration of Israel.
ISRAEL’S MESSIANIC JEWS CANNOT SAVE ISRAEL ALONE
In 1980, I came to Israel for the first time. I went down to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and as I began to pray, the Lord gave me a vision. I saw the powers and principalities around Jerusalem, mostly religious spirits, and I felt the Lord telling me, “You and all the Messianic Jews are not strong enough to bring the Gospel to Israel.”
I said, “God, what should we do?” He said, “The Gospel can only come to you if there are Christians praying for you in every nation of the earth.”
God wants a covenant between the Church and Israel. A partnership. A two-way loving relationship. We can bless you and you can bless us.
USHERING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
First of all—that all Israel will be saved. But there’s more to it than that. As states in Romans 11:12, 15, when Israel comes into her fullness, something else will happen. Israel and the Church together will cause a third thing to happen—the Kingdom of God. And that will happen at the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah.
God said the Church plus Israel brings about the Kingdom of God.
The Church is not the kingdom of God. And Israel is not the kingdom of God. But when you put Israel and the Church together, God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. And the Kingdom of God will be established on this earth.
In Acts chapter one, Yeshua appeared before His followers and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God.
Notice the words, “The Kingdom of God.” Let’s compare Acts 1:6 where the disciples asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?”
What did Yeshua teach them? About the Kingdom of God. What did they hear? The Kingdom of Israel. You know how much they heard of what He had to say? Fifty percent. They heard out of one ear. They didn’t hear out of the other ear.
He said, “I want to teach you about the Kingdom of God.” And they heard, “the kingdom of Israel.” And He said, “the Kingdom of God!” And they said, “the kingdom of Israel.” And he said, “You don’t get it.” He said, “You need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit! And you need to preach the Gospel to the whole world, and then we will bring the Kingdom of God.” Because the Kingdom of God is made of two halves—the restoration of the kingdom of Israel— that’s half. But it’s made of another half, which is the international Church being filled with the glory of God.
Can you believe that those disciples only heard half of the message? Yes. Well, why is it that the Church today hears only the other half of the message? You see, it’s not just about the kingdom restored to Israel. It’s not just about the international Church. You put these two together, and you get the Kingdom of God.
The fullness of the Church plus the restoration of Israel brings about the Kingdom of God on the earth. And we can’t do it without one another. Just as a man cannot birth a baby by himself, and a woman cannot birth a baby by herself. And the Church cannot bring the Kingdom of God. And Israel cannot bring the Kingdom of God. But when you put the fullness of the Church and the restoration of Israel, you get the Kingdom of God.
When Yeshua was raised from the dead, He talked with His disciples for 40 days and gave them a goal. That goal is to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
PREPARING THE PLACE FOR YESHUA TO RETURN
But if we, the Jews, don’t have you, we have no spiritual power, no salvation, and we can’t bring the Kingdom of God. But the Church without Israel doesn’t even know there is a Kingdom of God! It doesn’t even know that’s what it’s supposed to be doing!
We share a common goal to bring Yeshua back, raise the dead, kick the devil off the planet, and establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
The Kingdom is established on earth when Yeshua comes back. He can’t come back to everywhere at the same time—He will come back to a particular place.
The Holy Spirit does not have a body. Therefore the Holy Spirit can be poured out everywhere on the earth at the same time. But Yeshua has a body. He was born in a body, crucified in a body, buried in a body, raised from the dead in a body, ascended into heaven in a body, and He will come back in a body.
His feet will touch this earth on the Mount of Olives, and He will walk across that one kilometer from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. And He will establish His Kingdom upon the earth.
But unless you have a vision for Israel, unless you believe in the restoration of Israel, there’s no place for Yeshua to come back to!
It’s very difficult to study end times theology without Israel. I studied 30 years to understand this, but you’re going to get it in 10 seconds. Here it is: Yeshua went up into heaven and He’s coming back. To Jerusalem. That’s it!
When Yeshua comes back there will be peace for Israel and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
When you begin to believe it, you will start to see it—He’s coming to restore the kingdom to Israel. Yeshua will set up His capital in Jerusalem. All prophecies will come to pass—REALLY! Everything that God promised—both to Israel and the Church—will come to pass.
RECEIVING POWER TO DO THE WORK
Finally, in order to do all this work, we need power, and we get this power from the Holy Spirit. “But you, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, will receive power, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.”
To get to this goal, which is the Kingdom of God on earth, we need power—power to preach the Gospel all over the world; power to bring the Church to its fullness; power to bring Israel to salvation, and bring the Kingdom of God. God wants to give us that power in the Holy Spirit.
Two thousand years ago there was a group of people here in this same city, Jerusalem. They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire came upon them, and they went out and changed the world. With that fire they started the Gospel. And they sent it out from Jerusalem. We need that same power to bring it back to Jerusalem.
Joel prophesied, “‘It will come to pass in the end times,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.’”
When will that happen? “And the sun will be darkened and the moon will turn to blood before the great and the terrible day of Jehovah.”
Peter was saying that right before Yeshua comes back, there will be a great revival. The Holy Spirit will be poured out on the whole earth. And when that happens, miracles will take place, Israel will be saved, and Yeshua will come back.
That is not what happened 2,000 years ago. Then it was a local experience here in Jerusalem, which was a pattern for that which will happen in the end times, in the whole earth—right before the second coming of Yeshua.
What happened 2,000 years ago, was the first Pentecost. But there’s a second Pentecost coming. What happened back then, was a little Pentecost. What’s coming soon is a BIG Pentecost. Back then the Holy Spirit wasn’t poured out on the whole world. But it’s going to be.
God desires the Church to receive that same fire today, so we can begin this greater Pentecost, ushering in the Kingdom of God. The true Church worldwide and Israel must join together in a covenantal relationship to release this fire from Israel to the world and from the world to Israel, so that both will come into their fullness.
Asher Intrater is an Israeli Messianic Jew, congregational leader of Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv and Ahavat Yeshua in Jerusalem. He is founder of Revive Israel ministries. www.reviveisrael.org.
The Israeli Empowerment Lobby visits the Bishop of Nicosia, Cyprus. From Left: Lois Ignatiou, Ina Nacht, Lobby Chairman, Attorney Eli Nacht, Lobby member Ari Sorko-Ram, Bishop Kikkou Nikiforos, Cypriot Pastor Stavros Ignatiou, Holocaust survivor Daniel Talmor, Lobby member Israeli Messianic Leader Israel Poctor, Shira Sorko-Ram.
It was nearing Holocaust Memorial day, observed internationally each year. A Cypriot evangelical pastor, Stavros Ignatiou had been working for many months to honor this day. It all began when this warm, relational and servant-oriented pastor together with his church decided that it would be important for the people of his nation to remember—and for Cyprus’ new generation to learn—what happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
Stavros Ignatiou is a Greek Cypriot and lives in Cyprus’ capital city of Nicosia. He and his Greek wife Lois are evangelical pastors of the Nicosia Christian Center.
A few years back Stavros received a revelation of the Biblical importance of Israel in these last days and he and Lois began to search for a way to publicly support the people of Israel. He also had a great desire to share with other Christian leaders in his country his vision and love for the Jewish people.
And so this warm, relational and servant-oriented pastor, together with his church, decided it would be important for the people of Cyprus to remember what happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust—which happened only 70 years ago. He knew that young Cypriots would probably be hearing about the Jewish genocide for the first time.
So two years ago, he invited the Israeli ambassador to speak at a memorial gathering he had arranged on Holocaust Memorial Day, observed internationally each year. At that event over 700 Cypriots attended.
This year, Pastor Stavros invited several Israelis to speak to his nation about the Holocaust—Israeli Knesset member Prof. Avishai Braverman, Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Michael Harari and Holocaust survivor Daniel Talmor who escaped from the death camps of Corfu, Greece, while the rest of his family was slaughtered.
The Holocaust survivor, himself born in Greece, told his heart-rending story to university and high school students, and again at the annual Memorial event.
Pastor Stavros also invited members of the Israeli Empowerment Lobby headed by attorney Eli Nacht. The Lobby’s purpose is to build bridges between Israel and Christians from the nations. Ari, a member of the Lobby, and I attended along with several other Israeli public figures.
Pastor Stavros and his staff arranged the entire evening and sent personal invitations this year to 1,000 Cypriots for the Memorial event, of which the great majority filled the hall. The Greek Orthodox Bishop of Nicosia attended, along with many other Cypriot government officials and foreign dignitaries including the American ambassador.
It was amazing to realize how one pastor and his wife along with his enthusiastic team and congregational members could make such a strong impact on his nation, not only with his Cypriot people, but equally with the Israelis who were involved in the event. It is even more amazing when we realized that Pastor Stavros and Lois shuttle back and forth from their other congregation in Athens, Greece, nearly 600 miles away by air!
Certainly, Stavros and Lois’s gigantic gift of incredible love and thoughtful servanthood to everyone around them, has made a deep impression on all the Israeli representatives and public figures who attended the event. Stavros is already planning for next year.
You may contact Pastor Stavros at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking over the “Green Line”: Greek Cypriots in the capital Nicosia can view the land occupied by the Turkish Army. To the left is the Turkish flag carved in the mountain and to the right is the Church of Ayia Sofia which the Turks have converted into a Mosque.
Cyprus is Israel’s closest friendly neighbor. Less than 300 miles northwest, its climate and atmosphere are similar and its Mediterranean citizens get along very well with Israelis.
Any little pearl of an island at the crossroads of three continents could not have possibly escaped invading armies over the centuries. And so the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, Romans, Alexander the Great, and so on, each took their turns ruling the little island nation, half the size of Israel. Today, Cyprus’ population is about 866,000, 76% Christian, and 18% Muslim.
For one thing, as Greek Orthodox Christians, Cypriots understand what it is to be under the rule of Muslims. In fact, the Ottoman Turks ruled Cyprus for 300 years—until the British became its occupier in 1878. The British then used the island after the Holocaust to incarcerate thousands of Jews who had just escaped the Nazi ovens but were caught by the British trying to get to Israel.
As an aside, this happens to be one of the historic policies of Britain that for the life of me, I cannot understand. For the British to know that 6,000,000 Jews had just been murdered, and yet devise an official policy to seize and incarcerate the pitiful remnant of survivors huddled in boats about to sink as they tried to reach the shores of Israel… it’s simply incomprehensible.
The British imprisoned 53,510 Jews in Cyprus, including 6,000 orphaned children in its camps for up to three years. Another 2,000 children were born in the camps.
However, the British occupation of Cyprus ended in 1960 and Cyprus became a free independent nation. Yet for centuries Greek Cypriots had wanted to be linked to their mother-country, Greece. As can be imagined, Turkish Muslims who had settled there during the Ottoman occupation were completely against such a move.
In 1974, a military coup, made up of Cypriot armed forces headed by a Greek general, aimed to finally unite Cyprus with Greece. In response, the powerful Turkish army invaded Cyprus, and after several months of fierce fighting, took over 37% of the island in the north, of which they still occupy. The Turks then transported thousands of Turkish citizens to populate the 37% they had just conquered. No nation in the UN recognizes Turkey’s occupation except Turkey itself.
CYPRUS—THE BEGINNING OF NEW TESTAMENT OUTREACH
Cyprus is one of two places where tradition says the goddess Aphrodite was born. Fortunately, centuries later pagan Cyprus was blessed with Saul of Tarsus and Barnabas who went there to preach the Good News on their first overseas outreach tour.
They met there the Roman pro-consul Sergius Paulus who became a believer when he witnessed Saul striking a sorcerer and false prophet blind. Barnabas was from Cyprus, and later returned there with Mark. This heritage is deeply rooted in the historic narrative of the Greek Orthodox Cypriots.
Pastor Asher stands with a young believer who describes how she is witnessing to her friends.
We have completed a little over half a year since Ari and Shira transferred leadership of Tiferet Yeshua Congregation. There is much to be thankful for.
First of all there is our solid relationship with Ari and Shira themselves. Although this might seem like an insignificant aspect, I am beginning to realize what a breakthrough this is for the kingdom of God. Many congregations are seen as an organization. If the leader steps down, it is like a CEO being fired, and that is the end. We see this quite differently. A congregation is a spiritual family.
What happened with Ari and Shira was a shift from being parents to being grandparents. The relationships hold strong and continue to develop. When people around the country understood how we handled the transition in such a loving manner, there was a great release of joy, healing and wisdom throughout the country.
A number of leaders told us that this transition was an example and role model to other Israeli leaders who will one day be handing over their flock to the next generation.
Now a new team of leaders has been put in place. There is a group of five elders who are working together in unity and cooperation. The congregation feels a sense of peace and trust as they observe our leadership teamwork. Ron, Gil, Moti, Uziel and I all have different gifts and callings but we are serving the congregation together in harmony.
The worship teams continue to be strong, with four different leaders. There is always a beautiful presence of the spirit, and often a flow of prophetic words and prayers.
A renewed anointing of evangelism and sharing is on our congregation. Virtually every week there are some “not-yet-saved” Israelis who visit, and they are always deeply touched. This week a man came from an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood and began opening his heart to the Lord.
In general there is a growing sense of vision for the congregation. The numbers are increasing steadily. The heart of everyone in the congregation is for us to be a light house of love and truth of Messiah Yeshua in the greater Tel Aviv area.
And that is exactly what is happening now at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua!