Pay attention Jews and righteous gentiles. Listen to what THEY say:
“Yeshua (Jesus) will not come to a wedding without wine!”-Tommy Waller, Evangelical Patriarch of Hayovel Ministries
“For us it’s a spiritual deal- a faith deal. The battle is over the land because God gave it to the descendants of Abraham – that includes us.”-Sherri Waller, wife of Tommy Waller
The following reflection on the growing missionary crisis in Israel differs from the usual analysis, which is based upon a narrow Jewish perception of missionaries. In this article I will focus upon those covert missionary groups on the scene who receive none of the attention of the prominent aggressive groups, whose brazenness earns them attention disproportionate to their actual numbers. Yet unlike the notorious J for J’s who primarily target emotionally vulnerable Jews, these lesser known threats ultimately endanger ALL segments of Jewry in Israel and by extension the world, if they are allowed to persist in their provocation. Such groups are ambitious, clever, and well-organized, and they are aided by religious Jews (for reasons of naiveté, ambition, etc.) who unlocked many doors for them. I will expand upon this, as this series of articles develops.
The spiritual hemorrhaging worsens in Eretz Yisrael as the profane is gradually sanctified and it is essential to expose those responsible for injuring the Jewish Nation. Contrary to what many prominent Jewish enablers of the more innocuous groups maintain, the problem is NOT a lack of information to confirm our suspicions. There is a sea of information out there, and it is constantly disseminated all over social media. Rather, the problem is an ignorant and/or apathetic public. The problem is that too many prominent rabbis agree silently with the diagnosis of anti-missionary experts and beat their chests when no one sees. Lastly, and most critically, the problem is that a minority within Am Yisrael endangered the majority and they are terrified that the truth will leak out. So they slander and defame, and refuse to answer questions. They are mainstream and they are associated with mainstream respectable media outlets. As these outlets align with evangelicals, they obtain a de facto seal of kashrut. Not surprisingly, most of these enablers vociferously condemn missionary activity. Except when it comes to the deceptive evangelical missionaries they deem their friends.
Note: My information is culled from those individuals and organizations who engaged in the initial difficult research and continue to do so. Without these dedicated people, we would not have the database of material confirming the missionary threat, which includes thousands of video files, mp3, pdfs, papers, essays, screenshots, photos, advertisements, booklets, pamphlets, manuals, etc.
When many Jews think of Christian missionaries, provocative images of bizarre “Jews for Jesus” loons, wearing garish shirts and shouting perverse slogans come to mind. This perception is based upon the average Jew’s limited exposure to these groups. As it was with me, once upon a time. I recall walking in Penn Station in Manhattan during the approach of Y2K when one couldn’t avoid these walking caricatures with their “Jesus Made Me Kosher” t-shirts. They took to the streets by the thousands in anticipation of a delusion. Back in the day, I eagerly welcomed these encounters, since the bustle in the evening rush provided an opportunity to pretend that I was a running back as I “bounced” off one person or another. And if an errant forearm smash was landed, such things surely couldn’t be avoided with so many people about. My motto was this: coarse behavior for the coarse predator.
Without diverting too much, the J-Witnesses who occasionally had the misfortune of knocking on my door were addressed differently. Such people had a location which presented difficulties, and so the trick was to scare them away. No need for aggression, merely the perception of a crazy person sufficed. I will not elaborate. These are humorous memories and I recall them with fondness. My father told me of a reconstructionist Jewish friend of his who answered the door to such eager beavers with a shotgun. Now who says there isn’t a pintela yid inside of everyone?
Thank G-d, most normal Jews are bothered by the coarse, aggressive tactics of street missionaries, even if they are not representative of most missionizing groups in terms of numbers (they are small), tactics, or ideology. That is why the well-known anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim will never want for donations. People generally recognize the ugly naked threat that accosts you and throws a provocation in your face. Yad L’Achim’s formula for success includes the following:
- a visible threat (representing a type of aggressive missionary) to garner attention
- support among a large segment of Torah-minded Jews
- the resources and experience to take the fight to the enemy.
They are well equipped to fight the types of stereotypical missionaries the public recognizes. These include the zealous fools who shout “Jesus made me kosher,” as well as the sneakier ones who say Yeshua instead of Jesus, and decorate the Brooklyn based to church to mirror a synagogue caricature. Yet such groups represent one slice of the poison apple. They are certainly dangerous, but they represent a threat that is generally understood, and the fight against them has mass appeal.
What about the countless missionary groups who float under the radar? What about the clever groups who recognize patience and the need to proceed with caution? What about those who also wish to share “the good word” with religious Jews, and understand that it takes time and a sophisticated platform comprised of slow, incremental stages. What of evangelical groups such as Hayovel, who under the guise of volunteering in the vineyards of Samaria have set up shop in Israel’s heartland, and are now living in cottages in the community of Har Bracha?
Perhaps a good way to proceed would be to define missionary beyond the narrow interpretation that the public knows. Most Jews have a simplistic naïve image in their heads. The stereotypical street missionary is the anomaly. The vast majority are far cleverer. Of late, there has become a love affair among a certain subsection of naïve religious Jews with evangelical Christians for their purported support of Israel. Such people don’t even understand what the term evangelical is.
Evangelicals are by definition missionaries since their identification is bound with the mandate to evangelize. It isn’t rocket science. Language is critical. What they DO say is important, not just because of the content, but also because it elucidates what they believe in their hearts but don’t say.
Evangelical Games: Language is Key
One critical concept that escapes many Jews who either have no understanding of these beliefs or no desire to understand is the concept of restoration. The excellent website, Esav Exposed, is a comprehensive resource for learning about the beliefs of these groups. And in the following link, she provides insight:
Restoration: There is a whole xian theology about the “restoration” or “restoration of Israel.” According to this theology there are two parts to the restoration, a physical part and a spiritual part.
1. The physical restoration is the uniting of Jew and Gentile into “one new man” or one “House of Israel” in the land of Israel. They believe that yeshu came to break down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile and that they must continue this work in preparation for his return. They have taken on Hebrew names, customs, dress, speech, and claim to be coming to “learn from Jews”. All of this is to get closer to Jews in order to unite as one people.
Activities that promote this goal are “building bridges,” cultivating relationships with Jews, volunteering or “serving,” donating money to Israeli groups and working towards xian/ephraimite Aliyah.
2. The spiritual restoration is when the Jewish people are “restored” to their messiah yeshu, who is also God and the son of God, according to these xians. Then a “restored” Israel, Jew and gentile worshipers of yeshu, will be prepared for redemption, which they believe is yeshu’s return and reign from Jerusalem
If they are ever allowed to make Aliyah or even to live in the yishuvim on a permanent basis, then they will devote all efforts toward this goal.
They believe this “restoration” must take place for yeshu to return and that is why they are so determined and self-sacrificing. They believe that the physical restoration will precede the spiritual restoration, which is why they have put proselytizing on the back burner so to speak.
Lars Enarson (missionary founder of the Elijah Prayer Army) teaches:
“To restore something means to bring something back to its original condition or better. And friends this is what is going to happen in order to make ready a people prepared for the lord we gonna see a restoration of what was in the beginning right here in Jerusalem because this is where it all began.
The first believers were totally a Jewish movement. The church and Israel were not separated at that time. The fathers and children, talking about those who have come to faith and born again into the kingdom of G-d. They were totally inside the Jewish people but later on the gospel began to reach out also to the gentiles then, as we have said before, the gentiles began to separate themselves from the Jewish people, reject the Jewish people, even begin to say that they have now replaced the Jewish people
Yeshu says there will be one flock and one shepherd. Both Jews and gentiles will come together under his leadership in the last days. We have been made one body with the Jewish people. Together we share one l-rd and one messiah and he is going to bring that body together the one new man of Jew and gentile in the messiah as everything is culminating here in Jerusalem. We have to be watchman now on the walls of Jerusalem, praying for this restoration G-d has promised because yeshu will not come back until the time has come for the restoration of all things.”
Restoration in a nutshell. Many defenders of evangelicals fail to comprehend that the supposed “good” evangelicals who beat their chest for Christianity’s sin of “replacement theology” are merely replacing it with the illusion of a more tolerant theology. Restoration by definition means changing the Jewish faith with the inclusion of idolatrous notions and by usurping/latching onto our Divine heritage. Many of the most active missionaries today believe that physical restoration precedes spiritual restoration. But the ideology of restoration is a missionary one. And one who uses the language of restoration exposes himself. Only one ignorant in the theology of these groups would state that such a theory was anything but missionizing by its very nature.
Birds of a Feather
Another indicator of a missionary can be seen in the associations of such groups. Evangelical groups who make an effort to not publicly evangelize nevertheless retain their friendships, alliances, and working relationships with the most overt messianic groups and the most controversial missionary personalities. They must do so, since this is their bread and butter. This alone is telling. If some of these groups are opposed to such actions or have changed their actions betray the claims that they have repented from their previous ways. The first thing a righteous gentile or a gentile involved in a process would do is distance himself from such groups. But they will not. They want to meet these people on their speaking tours across America and meet their flocks. They want their money and they want their bodies with them on the ground. What they have learned to do is to hide their speaking itineraries from the public. Good research will always work around this, but the omissions are telling.
If we apply these two indicators, then the volunteer group “Hayovel” is certainly a missionary group since their language is replete with talk of “restoration”, and references to “the father”, “the bridegroom”, and when their guard is really down, of “yeshua.” In a blog post entitled, “What Do X-tian Zionists Mean When They Talk About The “Restoration”? “Geula Girl” explains:
“Hayovel’s mission is all about the restoration of Israel.
Equip those who share a passion for Israel’s agricultural restoration to work within their communities to promote the work of HaYovel.
Experience the incredible restoration of the Land and People God has never forgotten.
We look forward to seeing you on the mountains of Samaria as together we walk out the prophetic restoration of the Land of Israel.
This documentary is sure to leave you with a desire to see the Restoration that is taking place in Israel with your own eyes!
Let’s not forget the famous “Restoration” documentary the Waller Family participated in.
When asked by missionary Dean Bye about his motivation, Tommy Waller says “what we desire to do is to see Israel fully restored in every aspect of scripture”.
On their frequent speaking tours in the U.S., Waller and friends are wined and dined by the messianic and missionary elite who appreciate their work. That’s why even an aggressive missionary patriarch like the notorious “Papa” Don Finto is revered and respected by the Waller family.
Whenever I find myself in the company of Jews with connections to the Waller family, when they are done fawning over them, I ask them basic random questions about the Waller family, Hayovel’s theology, and their known messianic ties. I am astounded but not surprised by how little they know, and yet despite their ignorance they still insist that “Tommy’s a good guy.” Their inability to answer questions betrays that they know little of Hayovel or evangelicals in general.
Have you ever heard of Papa “Don” Finto? The Wallers consider him a mentor. Blank faces. Why was Hayovel involved in the messianic “We Stand with Israel” Concert in 2013 featuring such notorious heavyweights like Doron Keidar and Calev Meyers? Same cluelessness. Do you know of Heather Meyers, a known messianic who works as Hayovel’s photographer? Why would anyone retain such poisonous associations if they opposed missionizing? No response.
No can these people explain that Hayovel regularly speaks at messianic congregations in America. The following is merely a tiny sampling of the known places that hosted them either for speaking events, concerts, etc. since 2011: Adat Yeshua, Hallel Fellowship, Tikvat Ami Messianic Synagogue, River of Life Tabernacle (“Hebrew Roots”), Teshuva Ministries, Beit Ariel Messianic Jewish Congregation, Talmidei Yeshua, El Shaddai Ministries, Beit Hamashiach, Zola Levitt Ministries. And lest we forget, the Hayovel Ministry Team, held a “Shabbat Shel Shalom Messianic Fellowship” in 2014. How much more evidence do we need?
Invariably they are clueless and insist that they know better. In truth, such people know nothing of evangelicals save for what naiveté deems acceptable. They see Tommy Waller as a red bearded Santa and nothing will convince them, not even Waller’s own words where he infamously admitted that harvesting in the fields will give him an opportunity to show Jews this “Jesus we know.” This is the problem.
Concerned Jews need to wake up and educate themselves. Find out what these people are really saying. Discover who Hayovel’s friends are, and see Hayovel’s staff behaves when they are not paraded in front of Jewish audiences. If the abundant evidence captured on videos won’t convince Jews that by any normative definition they are missionaries, then nothing will. Waller and crew have appeared untold numbers of times in the company of the most brazen spiritual enemies of the Jewish people. The documentation is out there.
One day soon, we are likely to see possibly hundreds, perhaps eventually thousands, of such people being “gifted” honorary citizenship by a Likud government eager to feed from the evangelical trough. Others will go through sham conversions to expedite their supposed “restoration.” In time, we will read of horrors. Of young Jews in the Shomron meeting secretly with Hayovel volunteers of the opposite sex. One who doesn’t think that such nightmares could very well materialize, understands nothing of adolescence, human nature, and how impressionable people may react to a strange admixture of the profane.
Hayovel’s Jewish defenders don’t get it. Missionizing is more than overt proselytizing. It is in breaking new ground and planting goyish roots in Eretz Yisrael so that they can “graft” idolatry onto the Jewish nation. Once upon a time, no religious community on earth would tolerate evangelicals living within their community, to satisfy the greed of Jewish vintners who desire free gentile labor. Once upon a time, rabbi or layperson would have been excommunicated for allowing such perversion to enter the community. Those days are gone.
When Hayovel first came to the community of Har Bracha several years back, many Jews were horrified. Ynet even wrote an article about it in 2011 entitled, Har Bracha Residents: Christians Out! It seems many of those unhappy residents aren’t around anymore (or they’ve learned to shut their mouths), although former residents allege that segments of yishuv are still bothered, but are afraid to oppose community head Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, who sees the presence of evangelicals in the fields as the fulfillment of Torah prophecies. There are no prophecies relating to aggressive idolaters volunteering. All torah based prophecies refer to righteous gentiles who call out in Hashem’s Name. Basic Halacha precludes the possibility of allowing idolaters into the land, let alone, to tend to Jewish fields. I hear about such Christological based prophecies, certain dark periods of Jewish history immediately come to mind, when unbridled, un-Jewish messianic fervor clouded the minds of many Torah Jews. It was a bad time for the Jewish people.
One final note: I rarely focus on gentiles who oppose evangelicals. The exception would be my frequent referencing of righteous Bnai Noach who by definition reject those who believe in and proselytize in the name of idolatry. The main reason I rarely reference such individuals is simple. Few prominent individuals take such a position. And contrary to the assertions of apologists, John Hagee’s frequent vacillating on the subject of “dual covenant” theology (depending on his audience) is of no interest to me. I see right through him. His associations are all I need to know about, as are his “charitable” efforts to affect Israel with love. Yet there are exceptions of non-Bnai Noach personalities (who though far from the ideal Torah philosophy) should nevertheless be praised for taking a courageous stand against the evangelical war with Judaism. Pastor Kenneth Rawson (may he live and be well) is one such man who exposes the evangelical agenda. In any event, don’t take my word for it. See what Pastor Rawson has to say on the matter. He surely knows what is going on better than I do. “Evangelicals Who Support Israel”.
To be continued….