A Personal Perspective – Asher Intrater
In the 1980’s there were a series of meetings between Arab Christians and Messianic Jews to express our unity as believers in Yeshua. In the 1990’s, after the First Intifada and Gulf War (1991), Arab Christians and Messianic Jews in Israel began to deal with some more difficult issues in the light of political crises. By 1995 some of the Arab Christians began to express their identity as “Palestinians,” including their opposition to Israeli policy. Some of that identification led to more sensitive communication on the part of the Messianic Jews toward the Arab Christians; yet at the same time brought some difficult polarization on political and prophetic issues.
Reconciliation Should Lead to Cooperation
In the early 2000’s, after many years of reconciliation conferences, some of us began to search for a better approach. We asked the question, “What happens after reconciliation?” After all, we are already reconciled by our faith in Yeshua. We realized that the next stage after reconciliation is cooperation.
After much prayer, we discerned that the first area of cooperation should be Muslim Evangelism. We sought to support Arab Christians who were involved in evangelism to Muslims (and were doing so at great risk to their lives). These include many unknown and secret evangelists. They are heroes in our eyes.
In recent years we have been entering a new depth in our relationships. Jerusalem Pastor Bassam Adranly has become a key leader here in Israel. David Demian, Egyptian-born Canadian leader of the Global Gathering movement, spent much of the last decade traveling throughout Chinese world, gathering a large number of Chinese Christians to pray for reconciliation between the “sons of Isaac” and the “sons of Ishmael.”
As David brought many Arab and Chinese Christians, so did Marcel Rebai, who has spent many years in the Messianic community in Israel, help gather both European and Arab leaders. He has uniquely been a link of reconciliation between all three communities. With this emphasis on reconciliation, along with the prophetic praise & worship style of the Global Gathering conferences, I believe that we are entering a new era for relationship, worship, dialogue and cooperation between Arab/Middle Eastern Christians and Messianic Jews.
During one of the meetings in preparation for the “822” conference in Jerusalem in November 2014, our brother Majdi (Egyptian pastor based in Jerusalem) expressed with tears, humility and courage, his desire as an Arab Christian to be symbolically “married” as a bride to us Messianic Jews as the bridegroom figure.
Majdi’s proclamation brought an opening in the Spirit. I came forward as a representative Jewish believer. We embraced and cried together. At that point we Jewish believers began to confess our sins in a deep way, recognizing our pride today, and all the way back to the rejection of Yeshua 2,000 years ago. At that moment, it was as if a spiritual bomb went off in the room. David screamed, fell on the floor, and began to intercede. There was a spontaneous outburst of tears and intercession from everyone in the room: Arab, Jewish, Asian, European…
At the main assembly at the 822 conference and a year later at the Global Gathering in Munich, David called the Arab and Jewish believers to the stage. The group of Messianic leaders knelt down on the stage and expressed a similar measure of confession and repentance. David and Bassam then led the Arab Christians in a response of commitment and covenant toward the Jewish brothers. They publicly made a “Ruth” vow: that “your people would be my people” and “your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16).
For the Arab Christians to make this commitment not only to Yeshua as the Messiah, but also to the Jewish people, as Ruth did, represents to me a significant shift in the body of Christ. It was a re-alignment of historic proportions, because it was linked to international Christians from Asia, Africa, Europe and America as well. We realized that the “Ruth Paradigm” was not to be a rare and exceptional calling for a minority of Christians, but the primary and normative position for the body of Christ.
We are looking forward to participating in the next Global Gathering here in Jerusalem on November 7-11. Ariel, Marcel, Mike Niebur and myself will be attending another pre-Gathering event in London from 29 Aug—Sept 1. We will be joined by about 40 Arab/Middle Eastern leaders, as well as some core representatives from the Int’l Team, especially from Asia. Please keep us in prayer, and we invite you to come and take part in this move of God in our day.