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In Pursuit of Ecclesia - Part 7 - By Dene McGriff


Number 7. Israel and the Church – Why is the church failing? During the Jesus Movement most of the old hymns were replaced by songs right out of the Bible; one may say with a Jewish flair in the style of music and words. The music was different from today’s contemporary, feel good music. Something about Israel ignites the church. In 1948, Israel became a nation and “woke” Christians knew what that meant – the return of the Lord was at hand. This message was brought home by Hal Lindsey when he wrote “The Late Great Planet Earth” and others such as Dave Wilkerson’s “The Vision.” We were captivated by Israel and their struggle to stay alive. I will never forget the 1967 Six Day War. There were a few of us at UC Davis in married student housing and only one had an old black and white TV. We camped out in front of that TV day and night as we watched God work miracles through Ariel Sharon and Moshe Dayan as they miraculously held off thousands of Arab armies. Abba Eban was the most eloquent British Israeli spokesman as he laid out at the UN their dire situation day after day. Israel was retaking the land. We watched the Yom Kippur War in 1973, a surprise attack on Israel, play out on TV with another miraculous ending.

The imminence of the Lord’s return fired us up like no other vision. For some reason all of the brothers that had gone through the Jesus Movement here in Sacramento got into prophecy like never before. I attribute this to keeping us going in the dry years following the slow ending of the Jesus Movement. We clearly saw the matter of Israel and the Church being the Two Witnesses of Revelation – the Olive Trees and the Lampstands.

Unfortunately, the mainline evangelical churches, including the Calvary Chapels clung to the pre-tribulation rapture teaching. I’m not going into that in detail. Just suffice it to say that if the church is caught up before the tribulation, it isn’t going to be terribly concerned about “end times” prophecy except as an academic matter. We then saw some of the Vineyards and other “signs and wonders” churches take an amillennial or “Kingdom Now” position. The first eliminates the church as a witness, leaving Israel to fend for themselves; and the second claims to be the sole “Israel of God”—excluding “prophetic Israel” in the dust. In recent years “end times” prophecy is not even talked about in churches. It is definitely not politically correct and is considered divisive.

The Bible tells us that “without a vision, the people perish.” If we are living in the last days and ignore the last days, we do so at our own peril. I believe there is no better reason to explain the apathy and deadness in the Western Church than this. It is clergy malpractice to ignore prophecy; it shows the utter failure of the church, the clergy, the Bible Schools and Seminaries – the entire Christian establishment. If we are called to be His testimony on the earth in the last days, facing the worst persecution the world has ever seen, then the church has a long way to go and a short time to get there.

The time has come to recover Ecclesia, the very essence of the Jesus Movement that ignited a generation. It is time to abandon the old wine skin and go and meet Him without the camp. Get out of the corrupt, dead establishment. It is time to leave, and form real relationships that will withstand the fire.

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