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Defining Palestinian/Islamic Terms

written by Asher Intrater
February 13, 2011

When asked how I feel about the Palestinian conflict, I have often found it helpful to distinguish between several terms. Here are a few brief definitions:

  1. Palestinians – The Palestinians, or Arabs in general, are an ethnic group like any other. They have good points and bad points. They need to be respected for their culture, enjoy basic civil rights, and be loved as a people. They need the gospel as anyone else. Despite the conflict between Arabs and Jews, we are actually close to one another ethnically; we often refer to them as our “cousins” in the Middle East.
  2. Palestinian Christians – There are Palestinian Arabs who are true born-again, Spirit-filled Christians. They are a very special group of believers who are dear to our hearts. Many share their faith courageously in an atmosphere filled with Islamic extremism and terrorism. Their lives are at risk on a daily basis. We see a parallel between them and the Messianic Jews in Israel. Our ministry (Revive Israel) considers partnership with Palestinian Christians who share the gospel with Muslims as a top priority. They are spiritual heroes and we stand with them in prayer, fellowship, and finances.
  3. Islam – Islam is a religion. Not all Palestinians are Muslim, but the large majority are. Islam is a false religion. It is false in historical fact (claiming that Abraham “offered” Ishmael instead of Isaac, for instance). It is false in its description of the nature of God, in its treatment of people, in its encouragement of violence, and its pagan origins (the “Black Stone of Kaaba,” for instance). Yet it is not a crime to be a Muslim. Issues of faith should be addressed with clear teaching, with intelligent confrontation, and with words of love and truth.
  4. Jihad – Jihad, the principle of violent world takeover, is the goal of Islamic extremism. Islam has three levels: A.) prayers and rituals, B.) works of community service, C.) jihad. New Muslims who have entered only into level A or B are considered “moderate” by the West. However, Islam eventually leads to level C, the violent stage. Therefore, “moderate” Muslims will never be able to control the extremists. Jihad and terrorism are a crime. Jihad is more than a crime; it is crime and war joined together. International law does not currently have the correct measures to stop both the criminal and military aspects of Jihad. The violent aspects of Jihad must be stopped by force, both judicially and militarily. All people groups are entitled to civil rights. However, Jihad is a “war-crime” that disqualifies the rights of those who promote it. A person who explodes a bomb in a public train station has lost his civil rights.
  5. “Beast” Spirit – There is another level to this conflict that has to do with the Second Coming of Yeshua (Jesus). He is returning soon to establish the kingdom of God on earth from Jerusalem (Revelation 19, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 2, etc). When He returns, He will defeat demonic forces and bind the devil for a thousand years (Revelation 20). Therefore the focus of those satanic forces is to stop the gospel and destroy Israel. These are the ultimate issues of spiritual warfare, and only those who understand spiritual warfare can discern them.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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