(c) Morris Ruddick
Our recent visit to Israel again brought home to me the cost
and realities of living in the land of promise.
Aside from the constant threat of terrorism and the uncertainty
of the future is the reality for the majority --- of simply making
ends meet. Since our last journey to Israel poverty has increased.
Unemployment is up. And peace has become even more fragile and
The pressures and threats and tragedies created by the insanity
of the Intifada have a broad segment of Israel’s secular
community struggling with hopelessness and asking questions. Many
recent immigrants have left Israel disillusioned. Even some Israeli-born
citizens have given up and immigrated to nations that have taken
public stances against Israel’s very existence.
Yet within Israel is a community with hope, a community of Jewish
believers. For our ministry, these are the ones at the forefront
our Lord Jesus was speaking of with His admonition in Luke 22:32
to “strengthen the brethren.” They are the “nationals;”
the locals comprising an infrastructure of Israeli citizens; a
community of what some estimate to be 7000 Israeli Messianic Jewish
They are the ones best equipped to reach their neighbors, co-workers
and leaders --- with both spiritual and practical answers and
solutions. And they are paying the cost like their neighbors and
co-workers. But it is a cost that is compounded by an organized
persecution directed by a small, but politically powerful minority
who view Jews who believe in Jesus as a curse to Israel --- and
who make every effort they can to drive them out.
We’ve traveled to other nations where the Body is persecuted
and only operates underground. But in Israel, operating underground
is neither an option nor desire for those Jews who have found
their Jewish Messiah. The spotlight is on Israel --- and it is
the spiritual focal point for believers around the world. This
is the Holy Land --- the Land of Promise. But with the persecution
of the Body in Israel is emerging a Body that is engaging the
incredible spiritual onslaught to destroy them — and is
bearing fruit. One congregational leader, born in Israel, shared
with me that ten years ago it was considered a major accomplishment
for an Israeli Messianic congregation to have a handful or two
of new, born-again believers in a years time. But today, individual
congregations are seeing those same numbers coming to the Lord
on a weekly basis. And these new believers are largely Israeli-born.
PRACTICAL ANSWERS AND KINGDOM PRINCIPLES
At least part of the reason for the change is the fact that in
an environment of hopelessness and uncertainty, people will listen
to spiritual answers from those offering help with practical ones.
When Jesus came 2000 years ago, He announced His ministry with
the words, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” Using
the standard of the Old Covenant, He taught the Jewish people
about the Kingdom of God. Through the parables he unveiled principles
that underlie the operation of the Kingdom of God. And with those
Kingdom principles, He taught about practical things that might
be summed up as Kingdom riches.
While Jesus pulled aside a smaller group who traveled with him
and received special focus, His typical audience, as He imparted
these practical truths of how the Kingdom of God operates ---
were everyday people. People who were disillusioned by the heavy
requirements laid upon them by the religious community. People
who lived in an occupied land filled with uncertainty and hopelessness.
People in need who were hungry spiritually and looking for something
real. People who were looking for answers --- practical answers.
People not unlike the people of Israel today.
Kingdom principles are practical. They serve to strengthen, mobilize
and equip those with hearing ears and seeing eyes. And when these
truths are embraced, along with the Author of Truth, they transform
lives, build communities and impact nations. And they serve to
make the adherents of these truths to be the head and not the
The practical and the spiritual dimensions of God’s Kingdom
are uniquely tied together throughout Scripture. The practical
provides principles and wisdom needed for the social (community)
and economic requirements of life. The spiritual deals with our
souls, with standards of righteousness and our relationship with
the Lord. The approach my wife and I have to our ministry incorporates
the spiritual, the social and the economic dimensions of what
we see in Scripture. They work in concert with one another.
KINGDOM RICHES: SPIRITUAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
A clearer grasp of the operation of the spiritual, social and
economic dimensions outlined in Scripture can be gleaned by viewing
what the Word refers to as “riches and wealth.” Riches
and wealth are referred to again and again in both the Old and
The operation of the “spiritual, social and economic”
dimensions of Kingdom riches is uniquely tied to the dynamic operating
when faith is released and the promises received.
The Western Church is very big on the release of faith to obtain
the promises on an individual level. So am I. But within the Jewish
culture; within the culture that brought us the Word of God and
the Messiah; and within the realities of a pressure-cooker type
of environment like Israel, the connection between “the
release of faith and the promises received” has got to flow
at the community (social) level --- for there to be the “release”
needed to overcome the incredible forces of darkness arrayed against
this most spiritually significant people and land.
The operation of our faith is tied to a Kingdom principle referred
to in scripture as dominion. Spirit controls matter. That’s
the foundation on which prayer is based. It’s tied to the
authority the Lord has invested in us as His emissaries. An authority
that reflects service and humility.
Around the world, there is a fierce battle underway over dominion.
It is a battle that can be summed up as the clash of all ages
--- the battle between good and evil. But no where is that battle
more evident than in Israel. Globally, Israel is the pivot point.
Evil hates and would like nothing better than the destruction
of those who are God’s people. While that certainly involves
those grafted in as God’s people, the Church, it especially
hates those who are the original covenant people of God. The people
the Scripture refers to as God’s chosen. The Jewish people.
And within those who are God’s chosen are a remnant who
by the Spirit of the Lord have had the revelation of their Jewish
Messiah — and are walking out a most strategic calling for
This issue of dominion ultimately deals with the hearts and minds
of people --- which is the spiritual dimension. But dominion also
involves “ruling over the work of His hands” --- the
economic, practical side of things --- that is time and again
referred to in scripture as wealth and riches.
So while the foundation in this clash between good and evil is
spiritual, and the clash between good and evil most clearly manifests
in the struggle over control (dominion) of the economic and political;
the impact is upon the social or community level. But the leverage
point over the quest for the spiritual and social (community)
is the economic dimension.
The Bible gives keen reference to each of these dimensions of
riches or wealth --- the spiritual, the social and the economic.
My dear friend Dr. Bill Bolton very aptly describes them as biblical
dimensions of spiritual, social and economic capital. He describes
a wonderfully apt analogy of the fixed versus the working capital
that are tied into our inheritance in the unsearchable riches
of Christ. But Dr. Bolton’s observation is that far too
many within Christendom try to stand on only one leg of the “three-legged”
stool of this truth. These three dimensions of riches or wealth
are developed very well throughout the Old Covenant --- with one
example being the spiritual of Isaiah 53, the social of Isaiah
58 and the economic of Isaiah 60. The book of Deuteronomy is rich
with the principles of how you operate an entrepreneurial community.
And Jesus’ parables land strongly on all three.
The fact is that the dynamic operating between the spiritual,
social and economic reflects a progression that has its foundation
in the spiritual. And it is the balance of this progression that
reflects the principles that enable the Lord to operate in every
dimension of our lives.
The world has tried to seize the economic, but without both the
spiritual and social, it is destined toward cyclic ups and downs.
Likewise, the social can’t operate without both the spiritual
and the economic. And far too often, the Church’s approach
to the spiritual is a focus that ignores God’s place regarding
the social and economic.
THE CHALLENGE IN ISRAEL
So how does all this tie into our recent ministry journey to
Israel and what I see emerging within Israel’s Messianic
It’s this. As a whole, the Church has floundered in its
operation of the community (social) and economic dimensions of
God’s riches. Unity is required for God’s riches to
We all talk about Paul’s strong Ephesians 4 admonition
for unity in the Body. But we’ve fallen short. This passage
in Ephesians says that without this unity that we will all be
tossed about by craftiness and every wind of doctrine. It says
basically that if we fall short on the issue of equipping the
saints for the work of service that builds up the Body, we will
be like children being tossed about.
Likewise, if we expect there to ever be a time in which “all
Israel is saved,” we are going to have to take a look at
another dimension of what we refer to as the “full Gospel.”
Because the teaching of Jesus --- on how God’s Kingdom operates
--- is based on Kingdom principles that connect the dots from
the truths forming the basis of Judaism. And these truths involve
the melding and operation of the spiritual, community (social)
and economic riches outlined in Scripture.
Scripture indeed refers to a time in which “all Israel
will be saved.” But to have a realistic expectation of the
fulfillment of this event, the Church is going to have to rethink
how it views its essential role of standing behind and strengthening
that remnant of believers in Israel, who represent the front-line
of those called to reach the Jewish people.
Yet, the Church is fractionalized. And that “divided house”
is just not a reflection of the Gentile segment of the Body. The
Messianic Jewish community in Israel is just as fractionalized.
So, with the spiritual forces of darkness arrayed against Israel,
the Body in general is approaching this most significant spiritual
task of “all Israel being saved,” --- divided and
on a one legged stool.
Likewise, these issues of division and the short-sided approaches
to the community and economic dimensions of how the Body generally
operates --- the practical outworkings of our faith --- become
the basis of our witness.
Another friend of mine, a ministry leader in Israel recently
shared this story with me: “The Orthodox Jewish community
in Israel has created such a network of Tz’dakah (charity)
that virtually no one who is part of the community is ever on
the street. No one goes hungry. No bride goes to her wedding impoverished,
no one is forced to remain alone and lonely. Among the Orthodox,
an entire social system exists to care for the needs of their
own people. One believer we know lived among the Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox),
and experienced the warmth and security of this community. But
when she became a believer in Yeshua (Jesus), she was forced out
of her home. Then, as a Messianic believer, things got worse.
She wound up on the streets of Jerusalem. She has been hungry.
She has been lonely. She laments the fact that ‘Believers
in Yeshua (Jesus) should be putting those who do not believe in
Him to shame in their acts of Tz’dakah (charity), but instead
they put us to shame.’”
So, in light of the economic struggles and poverty that have
impacted Israel’s Messianic community; and in light of the
persecution directed against believers in Israel, the question
How can the Israeli believing community stand-up to become the
head and not the tail? How can Israel’s Messianic Jews assume
the mantle of their calling — perhaps for such a time as
this — while figuratively being shot at from both sides?
That’s the issue. And that is what is at the crux of our
ministry to Israel’s Messianic Jewish community, “to
strengthen the brethren.”
THE KEYS OF UNITY AND INTERCESSION
Kingdom “riches,” in essence connect the dots to
the operation of the Kingdom of God when the spiritual, social
and economic capital the Lord has made available to us begin operating
My observation is that most congregational leaders in Israel
are doing all they can to nurture and build up their flocks ---
from the spiritual riches dimension of these Kingdom principles.
Some are instituting programs to help those impacted by the mix
of poverty and persecution. But for the most part, they are operating
on a one-legged stool with one hand tied behind their back, due
to the issue of the Body being fractionalized.
Essentially, the Body in Israel is doing what the Body elsewhere
is doing in a quest to grow and to bear fruit. Yet the spiritual
warfare surrounding Israel is in some instances far more intense
and in others, far more subtle.
But Ephesians 4 calls for an equipping that results in a mature
Body --- and a mature Body is one that operates together. A mature
Body is one that builds bridges, rather than burning them or tearing
them down. A mature Body is one that is equipped for “the
work of service” as it is phrased in verse 12 of Ephesians
4 of the NAS version.
But while we all generally agree on these points in Ephesians,
the key is tied to unlocking these principles of God’s Kingdom
and putting them into practice.
The answer to “how” Israel’s Messianic Jewish
community can be released as the head and not the tail, against
an incredible array of odds, is tied to the release and balance
in the operation of these three dimensions of Kingdom riches.
Each of these dimensions of Kingdom riches are incorporated in
the principles of the Kingdom of God taught by Jesus during His
earthly ministry. But the answer to “how” our Israeli
Jewish brethren can begin to most effectively implement them with
the result of operating with the vibrancy of the early Church
is not one that can be approached simply in the natural.
I personally believe that unity will unfold as the prayer initiatives
toward this end mount and begin amassing --- prayer initiatives
that are initiated from within and among Israel’s Messianic
community. And it wouldn’t hurt to have an army of intercessors
from around the world mobilized and praying with them toward these
But on this issue of unity, we all need to be wise to the schemes
of the evil one.
Unity doesn’t mean everyone has to agree on everything.
But it does mean you start working together. Unity is tied to
the operation of that working capital of the truths of His riches.
Truth among the brethren is not brittle. At least not when it
operates in love. The precepts of men are brittle and create dissension.
Our salvos of ammunition need to be directed toward the enemy’s
camp, rather than our own.
Unity based on community is an operational reality that is the
outworking of truth on more than an intellectual level. It is
Spirit and Truth operating together. And it operates on service
and charity --- both the 1Corinthians 13 charity and the Tz’dakah
type charity. This Hebrew word “charity,” Tz’dakah
interestingly is the same one used in Proverbs 14 where it says
that “righteousness” exalts a nation: Tz’dakah
(charity) exalts a nation. The implication of the Hebrew word
flows both ways --- there is a righteousness in Tz’dakah
charity and charity in Tz’dakah righteousness.
Yet, even the best of us can be blindsided by the subtle ways
the enemy works overtime to undermine this factor of unity within
the Body. Many years ago, a major Christian leader was invited
by the heads of one particular Native American tribe to speak
to their people. He was met by a delegation of leaders from this
Indian nation. They dressed him in the traditional headdress of
one of their tribal chieftains and with accompanying pomp and
ceremonies had him lead a parade through the reservation. Afterwards
he preached. And a number in the audience came to the Lord. But
despite the appearances of a marvelous event, something very significant
was missing. There wasn’t one Christian leader from this
tribe in the delegation invited to meet with him. And after this
man of God left, the tribal leaders faced their tribe’s
Christian leaders and told them: “Your big Christian leader
came here and honored our traditions and religion. And he didn’t
even need you, and neither do we.” According to Christian
leaders of this tribe, that event set the efforts of the believers
in that tribe back a decade.
THE ISSUES FOR CHANGE
And this is not unlike what has been happening in Israel. The
Church genuinely loves Israel --- and tends to be enthralled at
the prospect of invitations from secular and pseudo-religious
sources to play a role in events and initiatives in Israel. But
in most cases, these “opportunities” tend to ignore
the believing community. It’s time for change.
It’s time for the Church to understand what it truly means,
“to stand alongside of Israel.”
It is also time to begin employing the full range of Kingdom
principles and the “working capital” of the riches
the Lord has entrusted us with --- so that the spiritual, the
social and the economic begin operating together.
There are initiatives underway and others in the birthing stage
that hold much potential of enabling our Israeli brethren to face
the issues before them with the strength needed to be that vibrant
Body the Lord has called them to be. To be the head and not the
tail. The efforts of Carol’s and my treks to Israel have
been and will continue to be focused on initiatives that bear
on these goals.
It is time for the Church is to recognize and come behind what
the Lord is doing through the fervent pioneers comprising Israel’s
Messianic Jewish community. It is time for the Messianic community’s
infrastructure to be strengthened through the development of business
enterprises. It is time for wholeness and healing to begin manifesting
so that our brethren are equipped individually --- but also as
a community to be that light shining in the darkness they are
called to be.
It is time for intercessors is to embrace this incredibly strategic
issue of seeing the release of God’s Kingdom riches. It’s
time to face the realities of the one-legged stool and begin coming
together with the wisdom, strategies and initiatives that will
begin changing the posture of the Body from being on the defensive
to advancing His Kingdom on the offensive.
It is time for both the Church and the Body in Israel is to begin
addressing the practical side of this issue of unity and begin
working together in their efforts of service that provide the
tangible outworkings of the social and economic riches of His
I’ve seen Kingdom initiatives in operation in which the
fullness of His riches ARE operating together and it is an awesome
thing. And I know that as the release of the three sides to His
Kingdom riches gains momentum, we can expect to see unusual signs
and wonders and miracles. Signs and wonders and miracles that
will change lives, build communities and change nations.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Against all odds, it is time for the operation of the faith that
receives the promises. But the missing link for the really strategic
issues unfolding is the Body working together.
There is no question that for many, the issues our brethren in
the Land of Promise are standing for are ones they have been praying
for, for years. I have repeatedly heard the statement from believers
in Israel that it is hard for those who live in the economy in
Israel. But God’s Word says that He has made them to be
the head and not the tail. There is no question that the spiritual
battle over Israel is intense and deadly. But it is time for this
community of our brethren to start entering a new dimension of
realizing the promises. And against all the odds arrayed against
them, it is time for them to begin embracing the full availability
of the working capital of God’s unsearchable Kingdom riches
in Messiah: the spiritual, the social and the economic.
Our return from this visit to Israel has left us with a deeper
burden for our Messianic brethren than on any previous trip. Our
heart-cry is to see the dots connected in the release of initiatives
of service that will bear on making them to be the head and not
The simplicity of our efforts of obedience through my wife’s
trauma counseling and my activities with entrepreneurial Kingdom
business startup workshops often seem meager to us in light of
the significance of the issues unfolding in Israel. But the fact
is that it is through this Spirit-led simplicity of our service
that we have time and again seen the Lord intervene and begin
doing “far exceedingly above all that we might ask, think
or even imagine.” We likewise have come to recognize that
the Lord often sends us into situations at timely, pivot points
--- to serve as catalysts for what He is releasing from His throne-room.
So, as we reflect on our recent visit to Israel and those we
spent time with --- we find our hearts filled with an earnest
expectation of what the Lord has in store for these wonderful
pioneers we have been honored to serve. And we would implore you
to be praying with us for these our brethren in Israel, and for
these most significant unfolding issues.
The world is looking for answers. Answers we’ve already
been given --- answers tied to the principles of the riches of
His Kingdom. Lord, grant us seeing eyes and hearing ears to enable
us to recognize and employ the keys needed to enter more fully
into the operation of Your Kingdom.