This article by Domonic McDermott originally appeared on http://ccr.org.uk
In 2017 the Catholic Church celebrated a Jubilee, 50 years since CCR1 began in 1967. But then the following year the question, began to be asked, we have had 50 years of CCR but what now, what does the Holy Spirit want from us now as a body? A European prophetic consultation was proposed to answer this question and gathered prophetic people for a weekend in Assisi in Italy close to where St Francis had heard God’s call to “Rebuild My Church”.
I was there representing the European Network of Communities as I oversee ENC’s intercessory and prophetic network. I had turned up a day early because of flight availability. So the evening before it officially started, as a few of us were praying during mass, Ged Farrell from Scotland received a scripture Ezekiel 37:1-14 about Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones coming back to life. These bones are Jewish bones, “the whole House of Israel” as it says in verse 11. But today I believe that this prophecy refers specifically to the Messianic Jews (those Jews who accept Jesus as their Messiah). Why? Because they as a group had ceased to exist since about the year 400AD! But now (since 1967) God has raised them to life again in their thousands as, all across the world, they have found new life in Christ and through Him also the Holy Spirit, just as the passage says in verse 14. Also the Jewish people, of every sort, are being returned to their own land again just as the prophecy promises in verse 12.
This was very exciting to me since in Dec 2017 the Boss had called me supernaturally out of 15 years of prison ministry to work for the unity of His Body – with the Messianic Jews as the instrument of that unity. The Lord had previously given me this Ezekiel 37:1-14 prophecy numerous times and in fact just before I left the prison work one prisoner even received the same vision as the prophet without having ever read the bible or even hearing the name Ezekiel before.
Anyway the next evening, Friday in Assisi, the Consultation officially began and on that evening we as a gathering of several hundred prophetic people received two main words or pictures (among various others):
- Firstly of a wall blocking and deflecting the flow of a river and
- Secondly the scripture ref. Joshua 15/14 – the passage about Caleb fighting against and overcoming the three sons of Anak, who were blocking the way into his portion of the promised land.
Nobody had an interpretation for either of these prophetic pictures at the time although I said I happened to know that the three sons of Anak were giants (I like giants I don’t know why) and Ged again said he felt that God wanted us to pull down this wall, whatever it was.
That night The Boss started talking to me about these two images. Firstly Joshua 15:14 which is about the Exodus and describes how Joshua and the twelve tribes return to the Land of Cana (what will be Israel) after all the unbelieving people have died in the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Caleb who was one of the two scouts willing to trust God the first time they came to the land said in the previous chapter to Joshua “let me go in and take this hill country for I am as strong now as I was 45 years ago”. True to his word he does go in and destroys the 3 giants and takes the land and renames it Hebron (Hebrew for covenant).
The Lord showed me that these three giants are still blocking the way for the Church to come into the fullness of the covenant He has for us (as a united body of Gentile and Messianic Jewish believers) and I believe the Lord said that these three giants symbolically represent:
Pride, Independence and Ownership, these three things keep us as Church from the Spirit of humility and service needed to build unity which will in turn release the power of His Spirit that The Boss wants released for us. You know the scripture;
“Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity…there God commands a blessing…”Psalm 133
It is interesting to note that Caleb was being given a second chance to enter the Promised Land, as the first time forty-five years previously fear of the many other giants there had prevented the people entering in to receive all God had promised. Similarly the RC Church and CCR specifically are now, after 50 years, being given a second chance to overcome these giants and of entering in to the Covenant blessings that God has prepared for us to receive through our humility and subsequent unity.
The Lord then explained that the wall that was seen on the Friday night has a name and that name is the “Hostile Wall of Division” of Ephesians 2:14 – this is the wall of division between Jews and Gentiles, the wall which, the scripture says Christ broke down by His Cross to make us both one Body. It says that He pulled it down so:
“…that from the two He might create in Himself One New Man…”.Ephesians 2:15
This breaking down of the wall between us led to the Jews accepting the Gentile believers into the Jewish Church in Acts 15 (verses 16-20): at the event which we know as the Jerusalem Council, and hence the One New Man was given birth. But about 400 years later we, the Gentile believers, took their church from them and effectively told the Jewish believers “if you want to be in our church you must give up your Jewishness and become Gentiles”.
So this wall, which was pulled down by Christ, we rebuilt and have been steadily rebuilding ever since how? Eg in:
- 306AD the local Synod of Elvira forbade marriage and other interaction with Jews,
- 321AD the Saturday Jewish Sabbath was replaced by Sunday as our holy day,
- 325AD at the Council of Nicea – the dating of Easter was separated from the Jewish Passover to further distance us from the Jews because of Constantine’s anti-semitism
- 341AD the Council of Antioch forbade Christians from celebrating Passover with the Jews… etc etc.
The river that was seen at the Friday night of the Assisi Prophetic Consultation is the river of the Holy Spirit and was shown being diverted away from where it wants to flow by this wall of division between Jew and Gentile. This is not just about ancient history, because as the fruit of this original division the Church has suffered split after split ever since with great hostility involved each time almost like a virus of division. The other divisions which followed are not about the Jews but are still built upon this wall as their foundation, built upon the idea that a new church can rise up and replace the old as God’s true Church, as if the old was not established by God, so this replacement theology was at the heart of :
- 1054 Great Schism between Eastern and Western Churches (Latin and Greek) leading to the separation of Orthodox and Catholic Churches
- 1517 act of Luther which ignited the Reformation separating Catholics from Protestants.
- 1901 the start of Pentacostalism which further separated the Protestant Church world in two, between charismatics and non-charismatics
Today there are said to be about 35,000 different denominations in the world, but as my friend Archdeacon Johannes Fichtenbauer is fond of saying:
“When the Lord comes back He is coming back not for a harem but for a single Bride!”
So what does the Holy Spirit want of the Church?
Unity! Unity is our Destiny. To restore unity to the dismembered Body of Christ (which the wooden sculpture of the crucified Christ in our meeting hall in Assisi so graphically illustrated).
To restore the unity Christ won for us on the cross as it says in Ephesians 2:14 we again need to pull down this wall of division – to start to heal these ancient wounds of division? The Lord showed me, I believe, that the power of the River/His Spirit will do most of the heavy work if we make an attempt at dealing with the wall in humility.
To switch images for a moment, the efforts to build unity in the Body of Christ is, He showed me, like a zip fastener on a jacket, you can try and do the jacket up from the top (the current day) by pushing the pieces of the zip (the various parts/churches of the Body) together, or you can start at the bottom with the zip fastener and align the two lower halves (Gentile and Jewish believers) and then everything will come together with minimum effort in the right (spiritual) order. “Okay” I said “what is this zip fastener?” and He said “The Messianic Jews are the zip fastener!” ie those Jews who have accepted Jesus (or Yeshua as they call him). So we Gentile believers need to take hold of the Messianic Jews and lift them up (honour and support them) in order to bring about unity through healing of this original wound of division, and then all the subsequent wounds of division will start to heal too. But this acceptance of the Messianic Jews (MJs) by the Church will only happen through the Charismatic Renewal. This is why I believe there was so much emphasis on ecumenism at the beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1967. Why do I say only through the CR because the understanding of the importance of the Jewish People is only received by a Church or part of a church that studies it’s bible and honours the prophecies it finds clearly written there.
It may surprise you to know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 674 clearly teaches that “All Israel must be saved before Jesus returns” this itself being based upon St Paul’s teaching in Romans 11:26 and Jesus own words to the Jews in Matthew 23:39 that;
“…you [Jews] will not see Me again until you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’”.Matthew 23:39
Jesus was quoting from Psalm 118:26 which He knew referred to Himself, the Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22). So if we want Jesus to come again we need to do everything we can to bring Israel to accept Jesus as Messiah (as the Messianic Jews already have).
But how are the Jewish people to come to know Jesus as Messiah when we as Gentile Christians have done everything we can to destroy them and their way of life down through the centuries. We need some kind of bridge to reach them and this is exactly what God, in His wisdom, has provided for us in the MJ movement. Whilst Jews won’t listen to Christians, because of our history of persecution, replacement theology, crusades, pogroms and the Holocaust, they are much more likely to listen to other Jews who have come to recognise the name of their long awaited Messiah: Yeshua. The work of the MJ in converting their brothers is not easy and we as Gentile believers have a sacred duty and interest in supporting them – especially if we understand that Jesus will not return until they succeed!
But why would Jesus put this condition upon His own return?
Because the Jews are the original and natural Olive tree of faith that God Himself planted and that we as Gentile believers are grafted into, St Paul clearly teaches this in Romans 11:17. It is not the other way around, i.e. we are not trying to get the believing Jews grafted into our Church, as if we Gentiles were the original Olive Tree – although we have acted as if it was for the last 1700 years. This revelation can only come from God but when it does, we then come to recognise the Jews as our older brothers in faith as Pope John 23rd understood when he said to the Jewish leaders visiting the Vatican “Behold I am Joseph your brother” (quoting Gen 45/4 where Joseph reveals his identity to his estranged brothers). This word of the pope was an astonishingly prophetic act as God had allowed the separation of Joseph and his brothers so that Joseph through being accepted by the Gentiles (in Egypt) would finally be in a position to help his Jewish brothers in their hour of need and be reunited with them, once there was mutual recognition.
This acceptance of the Jews as our older brother acknowledges their “irrevocable call and gifting by God” and this is also written in the CCC paragraph 839 quoting Rom 11:29 (irrevocable call) and Rom 9:4-5 (God’s gifts to them). This St Paul says, means that God’s calling of Israel and the Jewish people to reveal His nature to the world is an eternal calling. It further acknowledges that we Gentile believers get to share in the New Covenant that God, in Christ, made with them (see Jer 31:31). If we begin to acknowledge all this by honouring and lifting up the MJ (grasping and raising up the ‘zipper’ to go back to my analogy) then, I believe, bit by bit we will also receive the ecumenical unity that God desires of us and that Jesus on His last night of life on the planet prayed so earnestly for – John 17:21 “that they all may be one …so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.” and so when the world is convinced through our unity of the truth of Christ’s incarnation then the grace of God’s Spirit will be poured out in a new wave through the unified Body of Messiah upon the world for the final and great Harvest.
In other words;
- the world’s conversion which we all pray so hard for, is dependent upon our Unity as a Body.
- Our Unity depends firstly upon our recognition, in humility, of God’s eternal plan to reveal Himself through the Jewish people and secondly
- Our work to heal the many wounds and divisions of the past beginning with the Messianic Jews – so that Jesus may return for a single glorious Bride without spot or wrinkle.
One last thing, I began this article referring to the Jubilee in Rome in 2017 celebrating 50 years of CCR (and also 50 years of the resurrection of a MJ part of the Body of Christ). I was there in Rome for the celebration of that Jubilee with the ENC2 council and just before it began we were praying for the event as some disagreement had arisen between the organisers and the Pope who had effectively said “you don’t have to make the event ecumenical but if you don’t then I won’t come”.
As we prayed we received a word for Pope Francis himself:
“I have laid upon his shoulder the key to the House of David and what (door) he opens no man shall shut…”Isaiah 22:22
This came with a strong sense that the door that God was opening, through Pope Francis, which no-one will be able to shut, is a door for ecumenism in the Church especially including the Messianic Jews, (hence the Key being the key of the House of David). Then in the days that followed both Pope Francis and Raniero Cantalamessa (the preacher to the papal household) spoke from the stage to 60,000 wild charismatics about the Charismatic Renewal being a current of grace for the whole Church and not just for Catholics, an ecumenism of “reconciled diversity” that “especially includes the MJs!”