Tending to the Root Before Looking for the Fruit
by arni klein
Worship is the response to the Presence of the Lord, and evangelism is the natural outgrowth of a life of worship. They are two sides of one coin. Mark wrote, “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.” (Mark 3:13-15)
How we have labored. How we have tried. How we have cried for the masses of lost and dying souls to eat the bread of life and live. Along with sorrow and grief at the rampant death-producing blindness filling the world, many in the body of Messiah are frustrated with a sense of impotence. Considering all the books, all the seminars, all the courses, all the tapes, and all the technology, methods and programs, we – generally speaking – have not reached the level of spiritual life that was expressed through the simple believers of the first-century church. Perhaps our emphasis is misdirected. Perhaps we are looking for the fruit before tending to the root. One single factor can make up for whatever might be lacking, and it cannot be replaced by all the wisdom, resources and riches the Creator has placed in the hands of His children: the Presence of the Lord. It is both the end and the means to every hope, dream and longing of the human heart. If we are so abiding with Him and He with us, He will do the work and fight the battles. Ours will be but to gather the spoils into the barns.
God created us that He might be with us. We don’t need to beg Him to fulfill His own desires. If we are not experiencing the conscious manifest Presence of the Lord in our lives, the reason may be in God’s interchange with Moses in Exodus 33:3, “…for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Could it be that God in His mercy is not coming too close because we could not survive the heat? His love cannot be separated from His holiness. He is a consuming fire.
Maintaining an attitude of worship is a very sensitive balance. Prayer certainly has its place, but it is not what we would call pure worship. The heart of God could possibly be the most neglected “mission field” in the world. For the most part, we come to Him with some request or other. It’s not the we shouldn’t, but we need to come also to present ourselves as an offering, seeking only that He would be blessed. Though worship is expressed in many ways, music and singing being the most thought of, worship is essentially an attitude of heart. With that basis let us consider worship as the ultimate warfare.
Throughout the Scriptures, the armies of Israel were preceded by singers, musicians, or priests blowing shofars. In Exodus 17:10-11 we read, “So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” Here, in this historic moment, the first battle Israel ever fought, God made a statement for all time: the battles are the Lord’s. Our part is to trust Him with radical abandon, even — and especially — in face of the enemy’s taunts, threats and attacks. The key to victory in the heavenly realms is not in engaging the enemy, but rather in engaging the Lord. As we draw nearer to the close of the age and the desperation of the kingdom of darkness increases, we will be pitted against demonic principalities and world rulers. There will be times when only the Presence of the Lord will accomplish the victory.
In the life of King David, we most clearly see the marriage between worship and warfare. The son of Jesse was both the quintessential worshiper and warrior. The Hebrew language testifies to the interwovenness of these two elements. From a root word meaning eternity, “netzach,” we get a single word, “menatzeach,” which means both orchestral conductor and overcomer. As the conqueror and the chief musician are in a sense the same person, we have a foundational insight into the weapons and manner of our warfare. David, King of Israel, whether in victory or surrounded by troubles, took his situation to the Lord and believed God to deal with it.
To further understand the power of music and worship from a Biblical perspective, it is important to note that satan was the “covering cherub” and himself a source of music. Within him were pipes, strings and timbrels. Consequently, many scholars have thought of him as having been the “worship leader” of Heaven, covering the Throne with music. Second to the Word, music is probably the most powerful influential force in the hands of man. When our hearts are tuned to the Lord of light, our notes become lethal weapons against darkness. Even more importantly, as we worship we build a throne, and Lord inhabits the praises of His people. In the light of His radiant glory, darkness flees.
The natural mind has difficulty connecting spiritual solutions to physical problems. Combating bullets with notes is a hard concept to lay hold of. But then, so is God having no beginning, or matter having been spoken into existence. It’s simple. When the Presence of God comes to us who await His appearing, our hearts respond with worship and adoration. In the face of spiritual darkness which is passing away forever, if we respond as when we behold Him, we cover the darkness with light, the visible with the invisible, the temporal with the eternal, and we prepare a place for the Presence of the Lord.
A spiritual mapping of the foundations of the land of Israel gives us insight into the spiritual conditions of the nation as well as a most useful mirror image of the believing life. Canaan, the father of the Canaanites (the original inhabitants of the Promised Land), the son of Ham, the son of Noah, was cursed by his grandfather Noah as a result of Ham’s having exposed Noah’s nakedness. From those days, this curse has rested on the land so named. Canaan even means “humiliation.” With this as a beginning point, it is logical to define (at least in part) the Canaanite influence as fostering accusation and division…the very nature of the fallen angel.
When the land was apportioned to the twelve Tribes, the area surrounding Tel Aviv went to the tribe of Dan. The Amorites which dwelt there were too powerful for Dan to unseat and he was compelled to seek another place, leaving the Amorite principality in control. Dan is the only tribe never to occupy any of its inheritance. Tel Aviv has therefore never been liberated from the Canaanite influence since the days of Noah. (The rest of the tribes of Israel did not fully drive out all the inhabitants either, as the Lord had commanded, but at least they subdued the peoples enough to be able to live in their inheritance). The source of the Amorite strength is found in the Hebrew meaning of their name – “speaker.” This principality moved in the medium of the creative power of the universe – the spoken word. God had chosen Dan, whose name means “judge,” to go against these “speakers.” A fitting match. The anointing of Dan would have exposed the false declarations and lies sent forth by the powerful Amorite spirit. However, as a result of Dan’s failure, righteous judgment and discernment were absented from the land and the lying declarations of the Canaanites have gone unchallenged…to this day. So , though the land is filled with hungry souls seeking God, the confusion in their minds hinders the truth from taking root in their hearts.
Jacob’s final prophecy over Dan may give additional light to this matter. “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward. I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!” (Genesis 49:16-18) Dan was called to judge his people. But only as one of the tribes. What would cause Dan to not be one of the tribes? The failure to claim their inheritance. Yet, as Jacob foresaw, God would bring it right in the end.
As surely as we celebrated our first Jubilee since Bible days in 1998, the appointed time for Israel to enter into its spiritual inheritance has come. An amazing fact that confirms this is that the fig tree, which is considered to be a symbol of political Israel, bears fruit for only fifty years. In the Spring of 1997, we sensed the Spirit saying that it was time to take Dan’s inheritance. When God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 15 about the future of his descendants, He said, “…But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Genesis 15:16) The timing for the Exodus was not set by the people’s cries for deliverance, as one might surmise from the account in Exodus 3:7, but by the cup of the Amorite iniquity having reached its fullness. As it was in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Once again, the spirit of the Amorite must be dealt with.
Jaffa/Tel Aviv is Israel’s cultural center, communications capital, most heavily-populated city, the oldest port in the world, and “national headquarters” for tens of thousands of young seekers. This is not a stronghold the enemy will easily yield. And this dark power is not an invader that got in when no one was looking, but an ancient force whose roots are planted deep in the land. The effect of this unclaimed inheritance is not confined to the borders of Tel Aviv or even Israel. For as the law is to go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, Israel’s calling for prophetic proclamation and declaration magnifies whatever comes forth from the land.
Only by virtue of a truly unified corporate expression will we ever cast the Amorite out and release the captive minds and hearts to perceive the truth. We have understood from the Lord that, at the present time, the young Israeli Body of Messiah is not able to move in the level of authority necessary to accomplish the task. The strategy the Lord has given us is to raise up continuous worship as it was in the time of the Tabernacle of David and make a place for the Presence of the Lord. As we prepare the place, He will surely come. In the face of His glory, the enemy will flee and the captives of darkness will be released.
From this perspective on Israel’s place in the spiritual war, let’s consider its part in releasing worship throughout the world. They were called out of bondage and made to be a people, that they might worship God and bring the knowledge of Him to all the nations. It is reasonable to think that – as God so called them, He also equipped them – not only to teach the Word, but to be a living demonstration and even to impart the anointing for worship to the nations. Scripture refers to Israel as “the apple God’s eye.” The original Hebrew for “eye” denotes something like a “fountain,” as in the eye of a landscape (see Strong’s Concordance #5869). The reference in Zechariah 2:8 of the Hebrew word and concept for “apple” is that of a “hollowed out place,” like a gate (see Strong’s Concordance #892). A more literal, root-oriented reading could be “the gate of the fountain.” Israel is more than a prophetic sign; it is a source and channel of God’s blessing, provision, and anointing to the world and in particular to the rest of the Body of Messiah. Worship around the world will not reach its fullest potential before Israel comes into its fullness.
The Lord gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom. In God’s house there are many rooms. Figuratively speaking, each has a door and a key. The place of Israel and the Jewish people in God’s overall plan is a key to a door of a significant room, if not one of the entrances to the house. Genesis 12:3 records a Divine prophetic declaration of sweeping proportion. God said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” A more accurate translation of the original Hebrew would be, “I will bless those that bless you, and he that lightly esteems you I will bitterly curse…” If we in the Body of Messiah have not understood God’s heart for Israel and its strategic positioning, inasmuch as God calls this people His son (Exodus 4:22-23), we are most certainly under a bitter curse. This fact alone could possibly explain much of the failure of the modern-day believing community to effectively stand against the power of the kingdom of darkness.
Yeshua said He came only for the sick. Before He could come, people needed to realize their need. Paul writes in Romans 3:20, “…by the law is the knowledge of sin.” God sought for a person – a people – to whom He could give His righteous decrees and the revelation of His holiness. God found Abraham, a man He calls His lover (Isaiah 41:8), and gave His Torah (teaching) to his descendants. This blessing to the children of Israel cost them dearly. Paul notes, “The law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15). And in Romans 7:9, Paul says, “For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” So one could rightly say that as the recipients of God’s law, Israel has suffered the judgment of the Law, in part on behalf of rest of the world, in order to fulfill the plan of the Father to prepare the way for Messiah. All of the subsequent children born to the Patriarchs have borne the weight of this Divinely bestowed calling. Consequently, one might expect them to occupy a special place in His heart.
Not only have the Jews been the channel for God’s Law and His Lamb, but their recognition of Him is a key factor affecting His return. Yeshua spoke in Jerusalem saying, “…you shall see me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39) In light of this, satan will go to any lengths to keep Israel from the knowledge of Yeshua. So then, where might his most lethal forces be positioned? At the place of His greatest danger. Could it be that there are local principalities over Israel whose activities and influence are worldwide in scope? Might Paul be referring to this in saying that “their acceptance will be life from the dead” (Romans 11:15)? God used Israel as bait to bring about the destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. Are the Israelites again being used in the same manner? If so, what should the response of the rest of the believing community be” to hold up their hands.
Ultimately, the matter of Israel is really about God’s glory, His reputation, His sovereignty, His honor, His strategy, and His protocol. God is no respecter of persons and most certainly loves every human being as His precious creation. But where Israel is concerned, they have a unique calling and destiny to fulfill as a nation on behalf of God’s truth:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify god for His mercy…” (Romans 15:8-9)
God gave the children of Israel the Land of Canaan. He told Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you…” (Joshua 1:3). This is the only time we know of when God directed one people to take that which belonged to another in this way. It was by the authority of God that the Israelites took the land. Whether the colonizing powers that moved throughout the world had this picture in mind as they set out to annihilate the “uncivilized heathen” natives and inhabit their land we don’t know. But regardless of what they thought, they took as their own the specific directive God gave to Israel.
Luke 10:19 delineates that we have authority (Greek “exousia”) over all the power (Greek “dunamis”) of the enemy. Authority cannot be forcibly taken or stolen. It can be transferred, but only according to proper protocol. It’s very much like owning a house. If you leave it empty, a squatter can occupy it. But if the squatter (or any unauthorized guest) would try to sell the house or transact business concerning the property, the government officials would not recognize him as having the right to do so. Invaders employ power, not authority. In the world system, much, if not most, of what is done is by virtue of power, be it physical might, financial means, or soul power. (Soul power is the use of emotional or mental means to influence or manipulate a situation). Humans respond to the press of power. God’s Kingdom exists on a different plane and is not affected by our strength or knowledge. It functions according to true authority, which comes from God. Ultimately God, being spirit and light, is alone sufficient to combat the forces of darkness. But we have a part to play in executing God’s will on earth. The power of God stands behind rightly-ordered authority. This is what the demons fear. Even if all the original inhabitants of the earth – the indigenous peoples – were to be marginalized, and their land filled with the ways and culture of another people such that the former are remembered no more; according to the principle of protocol, the spiritual powers over such an area would not recognize the authority of those that have claimed the territory by force. Scripture declares that there are four acts that defile land: idolatry (Jeremiah 16:18); immorality (Leviticus 18:22-28); bloodshed (Numbers 35:33); and broken covenant (Isaiah 24:3-6). Let us leave aside, for the moment, trying to define or delineate the spiritual authority of indigenous peoples, or who or what is a gatekeeper, and look at the effects of what was done by the colonizing peoples. The bloodshed and broken covenants defiled the land. Do not be fooled by the appearance of blessing and prosperity. If God’s Word says there is defilement, there is. I suggest that the overall spiritual poverty and superficial commitment to the Lord in the church is one place it is evidenced. Removing the curse on defiled land involves repentance, reconciliation, and restitution.
Consider this: there may be a reason for the all-out war the enemy has waged against the world’s indigenous peoples. He fears their latent authority. In effect, they have been robbed of their sense of worth, identity, and confidence, to the end that the weapon of their worship has mostly remained sheathed. Though the authority of a people cannot be stolen so as to be used by another, keeping it from being used is a strategic goal of the forces of darkness. With their honor restored and their worship released, as original gatekeepers, might they have the ability to significantly change the atmosphere over their lands? During the past two years we have witnessed a move of the Holy Spirit bringing believing Native groups from the ends of the earth into a revelation of God’s purposes for Israel and into relationship with the body of believers in the land. As the Native peoples acknowledge the strategic positioning of Israel in the Divine protocol, thus honoring God, they in turn are honored by God according to 1Samuel 2:30 and blessed according to Genesis 12:3.