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True and False Witness
1 August 2014
Recently, a Messianic Jewish believer in Israel wrote regarding the current conflict in Gaza:
There are so many believers now in the IDF, you can be sure that the gospel is being ministered widely to those going into battle.Because this pagan Constantinian mindset has so dominated Christendom for the past 1,700 years, the vast majority of those who call them Christians would find nothing objectionable about the above quote. On the contrary, like the one who wrote it, they would rejoice that the "gospel" is being shared with the needy soldiers in the army who are facing death. The huge tragedy is that such "believers" are actually sharing a false gospel!
Let's take a deeper look. Imagine a Messianic Jewish believer (henceforth referred to simply as a Messianic) sharing about Yeshua (Jesus) with his secular fellow soldier in the IDF. Eagerly and passionately he recounts the Good News:
This Yeshua, the Messiah, is simply amazing! He died for our sins on the execution stake in our place, so we could live with God forever. Here, let me read to you what the Emissary Sha'ul wrote to the Messianics in Rome:This Messianic is just about to lead his fellow soldier in a prayer to accept Yeshua as his Messiah when suddenly they are caught up in a ferocious attack by their "Palestinian" enemies. Both soldiers grab their assault rifles. From a nearby tunnel entrance, a group of 10 "Palestinians" pour out, with guns blazing and hand grenades flying.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, the Messiah died on behalf of ungodly people. Now it is a rare event when someone gives up his life even for the sake of somebody righteous, although possibly for a truly good person one might have the courage to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners. Therefore, since we have now come to be considered righteous by means of His bloody sacrificial death, how much more will we be delivered through Him from the anger of God's judgment! For if we were reconciled with God through His Son's death when we were enemies, how much more will we be delivered by His life, now that we are reconciled! (Romans 5:6-10)Do you see what Sha'ul was saying? That even while we were enemies of God, rebelling against Him, Yeshua loved us and died for us. That's why Yeshua could teach His followers:
"You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too! I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:38,39,44,45a)Isn't this Yeshua amazing! And He not only talked the talk, but He walked the walk by dying for us, His enemies! I've become His follower, and if you are willing to end your rebellion against Him and surrender your life to Him, you can be His follower too!
As a faithful soldier of the God of Israel, Yahweh of the Armies, this follower of Yeshua — the Messiah who died for him while he was still God's enemy — pulls the trigger of his automatic rifle and sprays the "Palestinians" with dozens of rounds, thereby dispatching his "enemies" to Hell for eternity.
Don't you think there is something wrong with this picture? If not, I strongly believe that you are in deep demonic deception! But don't worry too much, because you're not alone — the vast majority of "Christians" for the past 1,700 years have been just as deceived by these doctrines of demons.
Yeshua has commissioned His followers to be witnesses for Him (Matthew 10:18; Mark 13:9; Acts 1:8) We are to testify to all people of what we have seen and heard regarding Yeshua (Acts 22:15, 26:16).
Not only are His followers to be His witnesses, but because we are His followers, we must follow Him. That means to go where He goes, and do what He does. It also means to NOT go where He doesn't go, and NOT do what He doesn't do. "To this you were called, because Messiah suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21) What else does it mean to be called Christian or Messianic than to BE like Yeshua, the Messiah (Christ)?
So how can someone say they are following Yeshua, and then grab a gun and blast lost sinners to Hell? As Messiah clearly demonstrated by His life and His death, He did not come to destroy human lives but to save them (Luke 9:51-56). But "Christians" who are violent towards and kill their human "enemies" are doing just the opposite: destroying human lives and not saving them. As Yeshua rebuked His disciples in that same passage from Luke: "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of."
You can talk the talk until you're blue in the face. You can verbally share the "gospel" until you're out of breath. But if you won't walk the walk, you words are just empty blabber! Even worse, they actually do harm. By talking one way and living the opposite, your life is actually denying the reality of Yeshua and the truth of the Gospel. You are a false witness, living a lie, misrepresenting Yeshua, and hardening the hearts of unbelievers against God.
This is exactly what happened with the Crusades — Satan's huge deception of and victory over the church, second only to the deception which Satan brought into the church through Constantine's "conversion." Anti-Christ "Christians" rampaged across Europe and the Middle East, slaughtering multiplied thousands of Jews and Muslims in the name of Yeshua. A thousand years later, the hearts of Jews and Muslims are still very hardened against the Good News of Yeshua — thanks to the false witness of the Crusaders.
Yeshua is called the Faithful and True Witness (Revelation 3:14) because He didn't just talk the talk, but walked the walk. He not only said, "love your enemies," but He actually DID love them by dying for them so that they might live. He valued our lives over His own. If we truly want to follow Yeshua, we must walk in these same footsteps. We must value the lives of our "enemies" more than our own lives. Like the Master, we must realize that it is infinitely better to be killed than to kill.
For the first 300 years of church history, the early followers of Yeshua were His true and faithful witnesses. So many died for Yeshua's sake, being faithful witnesses unto death, that the Greek word for "witness" — martys — came to have a new meaning: not just a witness, but someone who dies because of their witness. This is where we get our English word martyr. The Martyrs of Lyon and Perpetua are just two of many examples of the true and faithful witnesses Yeshua had in the early years. There are many more in our day!
Faithfully and truly following Yeshua means there is no defense for Christian self-defense. It means that we put our citizenship in Yeshua's Kingdom (Philippians 3:20) ahead of any allegiance to, and defense of, the earthly country we are living in. It means we imitate the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world (Revelation 5:6-14), by living in the presence of our enemies as sheep to be slaughtered (Romans 8:35-39). It means sticking our necks out for Muslims in order to show them who Yeshua truly is, even if they separate our heads from our necks!
Those "believers" in the army, who are destroying lives by blasting their human "enemies" to Hell instead of saving them, are denying Yeshua by being false witnesses and by preaching a false gospel. Oh, they might be preaching the Gospel fairly accurately verbally. But by engaging in anti-Yeshua, anti-Gospel, deadly violence, the "gospel" their actions are proclaiming is definitely NOT the Good News of Yeshua as expressed in the New Testament.
As I wrote in Yeshua in the IDF, if Messianic Jewish believers want to imitate Yeshua by being His true and faithful witnesses...
Instead of going out and blasting "Palestinians" to Hell in the name of the God of Israel and His Son, it would be infinitely better to stand WITH the Lord Yeshua by telling the Israeli authorities:"Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be!"
"I love my people and my country, but I love my Messiah more! He came to save human lives and not destroy them, so as His follower I must act in the same way. I will be happy to do community service, to build bomb shelters or whatever. I will even go to prison if I have to. But I absolutely will NOT take up arms against the 'Palestinians' or any other human 'enemy'. Nor will I participate in the military in a non-combat role, as that would still be helping to inflict violence and death upon other human beings, albeit in a less-direct manner."
May the followers of Messiah, whether Jew or non-Jew, Israeli, American, or any other nationality, stop being false witnesses and become true and faithful witnesses of Yeshua and His Kingdom. May the Bride of Yeshua once again whole-heartedly embrace a New Testament theology of martyrdom! Let it be!
This article is 34th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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