In 1979, Asher Intrater attended his first reconciliation meeting as a new believer, and from that time through the 90s, he continued to attend such meetings while witnessing the development of the modern Palestinian narrative. While this lead to a lot of dialogue within the body of Messiah in Israel, it also created a lot of relational friction. Throughout this experience, he heard and saw the complexities of what being an Arab Christian in Israel meant and still a solution had yet to present itself. Then, after 20 years Asher decided that he was done attending reconciliation meetings. They had become redundant gatherings with the primary purpose of airing grievances and asking for forgiveness, but never did they progress beyond that. So Asher began to pray together with the Revive Israel team and asked the Lord what were the next steps to advance this subject.
A few years later, God told us to move from reconciliation to cooperation, and the one thing we could all agree on was evangelism to Muslims. Even still, there are many Christian Arabs who struggle with this idea. Their history is one of being on the receiving end of religious violence and persecution at the hands of Muslims, and because of this many are either afraid to share their faith or angry about the idea that such people could receive salvation through grace. But we were able to build strong connections with Arab Christians who had a heart for Muslims and were active in evangelizing them. We began to meet with them, cover them in prayer, and even support them financially.
Then, in 2016, our team joined with the efforts of the Global Gathering movement that had seen not only reconciliation but also cooperation come out of China with other believers throughout East Asia. They wanted not only to bear witness to what God had and continues to do in their countries, but to serve as a mediator and source of encouragement between Messianic Jews and Arab Christians in the Middle East. One of the primary leaders of the Global Gathering is an Egyptian Christian who also attracted numerous Arab Christian leaders from the region who were also interested in participating.
This was a challenging time for all involved. But we came to the following conclusions about the time we live in and what God is calling us to understand and act upon in order to move even further beyond reconciliation to a deeper and more intimate level of cooperation:
- We are first and foremost connected to each other through our covenant with Yeshua.
This supersedes all other connections from our biological families to our national identities. We must understand that we are spiritual family above all else and that we have already been reconciled through Yeshua’s complete work on the cross.
- We are genetically family through Abraham
The split between Arabs and Jews goes all the way back to the split between Abraham’s children, Ishmael and Isaac. This is arguably the first family split in recorded history and is therefore the root of all family splits.
- We have a joint destiny together
“…and if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Romans 11:16). The reunification of our family through the healing of the root of this split will not only sanctify us, but will restore our calling as the descendants of Abraham in being a blessing and a light to the nations.
- Blessing and revival must come to the Arabs first
Ishmael was one of the only three people of the Bible that was given a name by God before he was born. Not only that, but God also blessed him and Abraham circumcised him before Isaac was even born! We take from this that not only does God want to heal this family split, but He has always had a special plan for the Arab people from the very beginning that chronologically precedes that of the Jewish people. When we began to change our approach and behavior towards cooperation with our Arab brothers and sisters in the Lord in the light of this revelation, and especially after sharing this with them, they were stunned and humbled! Since then, trust between us has grown significantly and more doors for further cooperation have opened.
- The salvation of the Jewish people will follow
It’s at this point that some might accuse us of changing our biblical perspective and position regarding Israel and the Jewish people. But this is simply not true. Our original understanding and teachings have not changed. God still chose to bring Messiah through Isaac, not Ishmael, and Yeshua’s return is still dependent upon the Jews inviting Him back to Jerusalem to rule and reign over the world. We have simply added to that timeline the prophetic role of the descendants of Ishmael and the part they play in reconciling the family of Abraham as the root of the worldwide body of Messiah.
This is probably the most significant spiritual development of this generation. We believe that in the near future, this subject will grow in importance within the local body of Messiah in Israel as well as within the international church. Eventually, it will gain attention from secular media sources and will likely come under attack from both the political left and right, Zionists and Muslims, and even well-meaning Christians. But we have the opportunity now to pray and receive God’s heart for this new revelation and partnership between Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs and what it will mean for the body of Messiah as a whole.