This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

Weeding out seeds of a perceived “Messianic Mafia”

Movies and books and many lives have been affected by the Mafia. This week’s headlines screamed “woman escapes Mafia with her child”. Lately news is filled with who did what in Hollywood. Who sinned against who, and years and decades went by but no one said a word. The meek were overpowered by the strong. We as Believers must guard against powerful ungodly intentions we may become victim to as well.

What is the Mafia? While in Las Vegas last month (our vice president retired there) we were told by locals the mafia is no longer there. Corporate power has taken over long ago. I wondered had they been there would that shooter on Oct. 1, 2017 do what he had done. In any event they are not good people no matter how you roll the dice.

My husband loves his suits and ties. You cannot convince him not to wear these on the Lord’s Day. He actually looks very nice in them too! One fine day while strolling in Jerusalem a local brother shouted to him from across the street “you look like the Messianic Mafia” We all laughed. I thought later about the man and decided it was something interesting and important what he had said.

We know a pastor who visited Russia from the USA. Upon arriving he was told they had to pay the mafia for building a church. Well needless to say he got out of that alliance. Yet the local Russian pastor said that many had come under this stronghold! Let’s remember to pray for Russia folks!

It surely is not something to be glamourized or thought of as good. Only the naïve would dream that it was a good thing, in any form. It is sure, however, that a driving force is behind it. Actually several forces, all demonic, all dark forces. Two of the dark spiritual forces I think of are money and lust for power.

My favorite book while studying for an M.A. in seminary was the Dark Side of Leadership.The book helped me to understand that church leaders can be unaccountable in operating under a guise of light with very secretive and powerful ways. We can say Praise the Lord but our hearts may not really be saying that or our actions. Israel was guilty of these very sins as well in bible history. We blessed the Lord but our hearts were far from him. Satan, as we know, operates as a light too, so we must test the spirits. Yes we are talking about God’s church. The writer of the book is convinced leaders have a dark side we never see. It is the cloak of godly leadership that can be hidden under, all the more easy to roam in the dark.

After all who will hold the head accountable, who will challenge money and power? The least of them would not usually dare. So decisions are made, plans are executed and how many plans are the Lord’s and how many plans of ours is He himself really planning?

The Mafia does things through persuasion. Often through hurtful persuasion and coercing others against another. I must ask now if we are in any way linked with those spirits too. Have I asked someone how big is his church lately? Would I use that information to hurt a brother in ANY way after I learned of that? We may say no but in fact we may be clothed in darkness if we did not tell the truth here. We may say I need to know for this and that reason. Granted that may be the case but how did you use that information in perhaps another setting that were not godly purposes? Perhaps in gossip or in darkness clothed as light by exposing a brother in a negative light. Everyone knows when we make someone look small or bad it is often to make ourselves look better. Do I feel more powerful because my ministry is (or ministry), prettier, or I have more Jews attending perhaps? In my Godly cloak do I ask a church or leader questions in hopes of being invited to speak? In my heart do I equate big church, big offerings as well? If the brother answered it is indeed a huge church that loves Jews, would that make me nicer towards that pastor? That would be operating with a cloak draped in darkness. You see we would have lost our vision for holiness, purity and operating out of a pure heart. Perhaps it is a small church but God is doing many great things there. But it is as terrorism to a brother to hear those words asking how small his church is. I say this because no one bothers to ask what is happening there. No one asks how lives are changed and how many God has answered. They want the numbers. As if size were important to God. Fruit is important and much of it however if size were so very important than Yeshua would have had 1,200 disciples and not 12. If only Jews were important in attendance to fellowships than Ruth would not be in the Bible. Jack Hayford who was my former pastor started with 12 faithful prayer people. He is now well over 14,000 in Southern California. Many of the members are Jews, hundreds. He never once made a distinction is one being more important or less than another. Maybe that’s why they have stayed all these decades with him.

Let’s take another example. Do we in confidence influence a brother towards another member of the body of Christ in a negative way? Ahhh you ask now, what is negative? Well let’s use God’s standard of measure for this. Say perhaps an event was taking place and pastors were coming from all over the world to Jerusalem. A certain elite group decided not to send out announcements till the last week. I think this is bad news. People should be able to adjust their schedules far enough in advance. So we must ask each other, why would someone do this? It does seem as a dark side of leadership, wouldn’t you agree? For what reason are plans not exposed earlier? Perhaps it is because some were not preferred to come. Only when a meager amount registered then we invite the second class of non-desirables perhaps? We then perhaps open the floodgates for all to join us, but only as sug bet spiritual people (second tier or class). This is the same as the poor man with filthy clothes who was not welcome in the front seat of an event. We were ashamed of him, and in this case ashamed of a segment of our family in Christ maybe; But God says honor the poor, let them sit in front. He also says honor one another and be of one mind one heart and one spirit. Which spirit however downgrades other believers? A wrong spirit to be sure, like a mafia type of bullying proportions. You see our power place in the body must be gently asserted. It should only be used for godly pure purposes. When we use our places of leadership or influence for our own purposes it is simply bullying smaller ones. We will be accountable for that one day.

I will go to the Far East where I did missions for many years in the past. I could not get any contacts from those who knew I was going. I thank God our ministry has come from his plans and not my own doing. He has kept us going all these years and it has not been because of someone else or man’s doings. It seems we would be destitute if I had depended on friends or their contacts and their supporters, ha. In 25 years of ministry I have never asked another for a contact. It is a foreign land where we will go and we served and lived many years with the place I had asked for a contact. A lame excuse came back to me reporting why there was no contact, may God forgive him. I know God will do a mighty thing in our visit there to show He alone is God and to be looked to. Only the Lord has sustained us and benefited us in his good plans and love over us. I can only wonder how God will repay that kindness to another brother. May I repent if I have been guilty of exercising the same stronghold not to give a contact. May I also not walk in competiveness as commanded by God. The sad thing is we do walk in competiveness and it grieves the heart of God.

Do we see only the so called important elite in the fine places of our events? We must repent if that is so. I would like to see all the poor and homeless sitting in the front next time. Let’s give the broken hearted a special dinner along with our pastors dinners and a place to sit next time we do a great spiritual event with all the nations. How about sending free invitations to the empty and destitute? That would be God’s idea of a good event for Israel I believe. But no, do we want the best seats as the Pharisees once did? Do we shine our shoes and say I am godly now, I am better, I am bigger now, favored of God. Let’s make sure we don’t get our names in the wrong shade of lights while we are basking in His glory.

I could give many examples but the point is are we walking in the light and loving one another? Are we really? Perhaps we have said to another brother “he or she is not spiritual enough” etc. etc. is that not judging Gods servant? Is that gossip not against God’s standard? For what purpose would we belittle and judge another brother or sister? It very well may be for our own purposes, not Gods. We do not know the hearts of God’s chosen. That is why Yeshua says be careful how you judge.

Another biggy is how many people were saved when we are inquiring of a brother’s work. Ahhh, that is a trap. Looking at numbers can be seen as being competitive. Competitiveness can be used for good but not in sizing up one against the other in God’s house. How about swaying a person not to support a certain ministry? I know of a pastor and organization who did not like a ministry in Asia. So they cut off a local pastor who had asked for funds for an elderly member. They simply cut off all aid to another church because of their dislikes in a small theology difference. No questions asked. Doesn’t Scripture say we are not to do this? Are we not supposed to help others in the church? I sincerely hope we hold one another accountable. That was as a Messianic Mafia tactic (I am powerful, you are dismissed) where I am concerned. Those who have acted as such know who you are and the victims know them too. Where we have slandered a brother in any form we have murdered him.

There is one inquiry in Israel which needs to be examined always. It is the question if one is Jewish or not. Now I am recognized as Jewish however it makes some gentiles uncomfortable. We must ask ourselves what is in our heart. As Jews what measurement am I thinking when I am asking this? WE must do self-reflection and see the real root of this question. I once heard of a couple that was not invited to leadership because the wife was not Jewish. I think that this ministry should have done what Moshe Rosen did for many months some years ago. (He founded Jews for Jesus). He closed his ministry so they could kneel and pray. How disastrous to continue in God’s work and not have God’s heart. WE must honestly ask ourselves and the Lord why we are stagnant, why don’t we grow more, much more. I have heard it said that it is because of things I am mentioning here. WE will not kneel and tear our hearts as the Jews of old. WE will not wear sackcloth and ashes. We will however cry loudly and say all the right words but our heart is far away from God too often. Yet cry we must, and tear our clothes we must, for we are Israel. We must allow God to do a radical deep wounding treatment of our hearts and ways.

Yeshua came to make one new man and we should honor that. I have not seen many Jews come to faith on the basis of others Jewishness. I have seen them only come to faith because of their Jewish Messiah. But we have steered far from the truth if we think to withhold leadership on that basis is justifiable, and this was huge ministry locally. We may never have really in fact ever met Messiah, if we think like that. We must be very sure we are not influencing to have our own way but influencing towards God’s directions and purposes. All other behavior is as indeed the mafia in my opinion. It is coercing and pushy or conniving behavior (as in a Jezebel) to attain an UNGODLY goal. Such behavior leads others to wrong devotion in the faith. We may be in danger of what others may perceive as Messianic Spiritual Mafia tactic. Influencing others in order to have more support and more power thrown towards our own self fleshy worldly visions. If your vision is truly the Lord, he will see to it provision comes.

We must fast and pray and turn back to God with clean hearts. It is the body of Christ that will judged first and more severe. It is the teachers that are held accountable with double digits. This is because we know the word of God, yet are walking in the true light? Are we hiding in the dark side of leadership under a godly looking cloak of Jewish roots and history (even our ancestors much walked in darkness) perhaps and not being held accountable? You know the saying the higher we are, the harder we fall. So take heed.

Before I close I’d like to address certain systems which benefit the body in the land. Are these systems for the powerful? I am taking about networks which are supported for all the believers, some are of communication purposes. Are they also for the weaker small brother and the Arab and Jew alike?  Are we bullied to answer how big our ministry is before we can take our rightful place? Are we perhaps slighted because we are Arab? We must make sure all of our networks, if they are supported by gentiles and the nations, align with the heart of God.

If I raise money for something beneficial for my school or my web site or whatever ministry one has in Israel, it must have God’s heart. It must include us all as His body. Have we made walls and designed structures which do not help all of us? Do I exclude smaller leaders in my ministry which is supported to benefit all the body, i.e. the smaller or the weaker or the minority? That would not only be unlawful in God’s eyes but illegal in the state of Israel. Do our supporters know others may be being excluded because of our dark minds perhaps? Are we just maybe walking, however slightly, in a subtle dark side in our own leadership? May the Lord Judge and pour out a spirit of repentance and grace if so.

Without sounding like a socialist I say these things because someone needs to address these seemingly and subtle hidden works which may be cloaked works of darkness. Supporters to Israel ministries must ask the people here (when they give money) all the right questions. A godly work will include us all, timely and in the light. The last shall be first, the first shall be last.

I may lose some friends over this piece of words however if it has made you think of the Dark side of leadership, good. I suggest you get the book if you can. Darkness is woven subtly in high places and it must be exposed, that is biblical. Israel is God’s example to the world, and The Law goes forth from Zion. May we be that shining pure light at the highest point in Jerusalem, his temple. Let’s climb that mountain with sure footing and lit lamps well-oiled upon his return. May we hear those sweet coveted words Come in, faithful  one.

For it is a certain group who will go to the Lord, and who may that be, who may ascend to his house? It is not by being a Jew or a gentile, it is not by our big works or fellowships. I will tell you who will go up. These are the ones who have washed their robes and are clothed in the brilliant dazzling cloak of broken sincere repentance, with clean hands and a pure heart that we may ascent to the house of the Lord.

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Miriam Abramov
Miriam Abramov is Israeli and resides in Israel. She has published and written 2 books, "Shalom At Last" (co-authored with her husband Shlomy) and also her biography titled "Married to Israel". She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Israel College of the Bible and pursued an M.A. degree in Jewish Missions. She sponsors tours in Hebrew for Israelis to teach about the Bible. She co-leads a fellowship with her husband and teaches on Israel’s feasts internationally. She is recognized with International Journalism status and enjoys writing free-lance about Israel from an informed citizen’s perspective on a variety of subjects connected to the Holy Land.

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