Letters from the MIA Shepherd's Council
By John Conrad
Nothing stirs the heart like stepping on to the soil of Israel, the land YHWH calls his own possession. The heart trembles as it touches our shared history. A beauty, sometimes serene other times savage, pierces the senses. One sensation, however, is inescapable - this land is under attack. This is contested territory.
We are fellow travelers on this holy path leading to the restoration of all things. Even as God's physical land is under attack, so also is the place of our spiritual call. Satan and his minions resist every step we take to seize our inheritance as Israelites. The apostle Paul describes it this way Eph. 6:11, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (NASU)
To be effective in this battle, we must be aware of the identity of our enemy or our efforts will be wasted and possibly even counterproductive. In recent history, the story of Pat Tillman serves as a stark reminder of this fact. Pat was a talented football player. After the devastation of 9-11, he turned down a professional football contract with the Arizona Cardinals and signed on to serve in the U.S. military. In 2004 Pat died a hero's death-cut down in a hail of bullets in Afghanistan. After his death, the military was not forthcoming with details about his gallantry. Later, the truth came to light. The hail of bullets that killed Pat Tillman sprayed from the guns of his comrades--not the enemy.
We will not win the war we are fighting if we are confused as to whom we are fighting. We cannot afford to reproduce the Pat Tillman story within the ranks of Israel. In many places in scripture, our bodies are likened to the Body of Messiah. The body fights infectious disease with a marvelous immune system that recognizes the enemy (bacteria, viruses, foreign substances) and makes antibodies and mobilizes killer cells to destroy the enemy. It takes some time for this entire mechanism to come into full production. This is why recovery from a common cold takes around 2 weeks. That is how long it takes to recognize the attacking virus, mobilize the phagocytic (killer) cells and produce antibodies against the invaders, and then allow the cells of the body to be healed and return to normal function. The destruction or crippling of this system renders the body extraordinarily susceptible to attack and renders us vulnerable to otherwise innocuous invaders.
This awesome system so perfectly orchestrated by our creator becomes frightening if it loses its specificity-the ability to discern what is good and what is bad. This is the origin of juvenile diabetes. The immune system attacks the Islets of Langerhans (the part of the pancreas responsible for insulin production) and destroys the cells. Over time the function of the pancreas becomes compromised to the point that little or no insulin is produced. This wreaks havoc on the body as glucose (the energy unit of metabolism) cannot enter cells and the entire metabolic system is ambushed. Without intervention death is the result. When a person becomes diabetic, they are much more susceptible to serious infection. When the body attacks itself, weakness results and weakness in the body renders it vulnerable to fatal attack.
Another facet of medicine today speaks to the body of Messiah. This is the area of organ transplantation. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia over 10 years ago. Leukemia is a derangement of the production of white blood cells. The treatment given him was to irradiate his bone marrow and kill the stem cells that were producing the malignant white cells. Then he received a bone marrow transplant from his brother. Fortunately, the transplant was successful and his new bone marrow began to produce healthy leukocytes (white blood cells). Suddenly, he became very ill. The new blood cells recognized his body as foreign. They formed antibodies and killer cells against his own tissues, particularly his liver. He only survived because of YHWH's miraculous intervention through continuous and sustained prayer.
There are important lessons here. We must recognize the cells of the Body and clearly distinguish them from the enemy. Otherwise we fire our ammunition and destroy the fellow soldiers who are our allies in the fight to gain our inheritance. We must also lose our immunological memory or we end up recognizing the body as foreign because it is not familiar to us. As Paul tells us in Romans 11, the "wild branches" are grafted into the trunk of the olive tree. We are all transplants. Our call is to put on the Messiah and transform our thinking to the "mind of the Messiah" so we no longer further the schemes of the devil. My brother-in-law's transplanted bone marrow could not "lose" its memory, so it declared his liver as the enemy. Sadly many of us, because of our experiences and lifetime hurts, are out there spraying potential allies with venom and destructive fusillades. For some the "church" is the enemy, others "Rome" is the enemy, others "tradition" is the enemy, and on and on. It gets so silly that if someone associates a wholesome practice with any of these "enemies," we immediately turn our full cannon fire on the practice and anyone even close to it.
The author of disease is the author of division. A divided body is easy to attack and conquer. The apostle Paul recognized this when he stood before the Sadducees and Pharisees and proclaimed in Acts 23:6-7, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!" As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided." (NASU) The conflict was so great between the two groups that it undermined their purpose to convict Paul. This was wonderful for Paul, but devastating to the purpose of the council (which, of course, God sought to frustrate). The lesson for us is this: don't get so busy fighting over your differences with other believers that Satan and his demons escape the line of our fire.
The apostle Paul hammers this point home in 1 Corinthians 11:28-30, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep." (NKJV) Here Paul states that the failure to recognize or discern the Lord's body brings sickness and death to us when we partake of the Yeshua's life in communion. We need to pray for a gift of discernment to differentiate between friend and foe. The call is to heal, to restore, to lift up. We are in a fight. Fight the good fight. Today let Satan experience the sting of our warfare. No more casualties in our cause due to friendly fire. Let us join with Yeshua who says in John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
© 2006 Messianic Israel Alliance