Are we a kingdom divided against itself?
Ten years ago, at the Call Jerusalem 2008 assembly, Lou Engle and Asher Intrater publicly proclaimed a breaking of the dividing wall between Jewish and Gentile believers. Unity is more significant than most of us have thought: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to ruin. And every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25, LITV).
Every kingdom, every city, and every house – this is true of the world wide body of believers, of any group of people, of each marriage. Do we want to be brought to ruin, or do we want to stand? United we stand – divided we fall. This is why Yeshua prayed in John 17:21-22: “… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which you gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:21-22).
From The Beginning
Since creation began, God has longed for unity. He arranged a search for a covenant partner for Adam. “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him …” (Genesis 2:18). Then He created a covenant partner for Adam, and “they … become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). The biological facts of life in creation demonstrate to us the message from God that new life comes only out of unity (the two becoming one flesh).
Later we see a unity among men, but one that had gone awry in pride at the tower of Babel. “The LORD came down to see … and the LORD said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they have one language, and this is what they begin to do now. Nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them’” (Genesis 11:5-6) God saw that the sons of man were united together, but not with Him, not for the purposes for which He had made man. So God scattered them and confused their language.
God did not leave mankind hopelessly scattered. He initiated a plan to unite a people together under Him. God chose Abraham, to whom He promised: “I will make you a great people … and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
Unity amongst us is only half of the picture. God wants unity with us! This is the core meaning of covenant. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7).
Here God was creating a group of people to be in covenant with Him. This is why it was so critical that Abraham’s covenant wife Sarah would bear the son to continue the covenant. Hence the miracle birth of Isaac when Abraham and Sarah were old. Hence the divine favor in finding Isaac’s wife Rebecca. But division (the opposite of unity) immediately sought entry. There was strife between Joseph and his brothers, the next generation of the covenant family. The other brothers almost killed Joseph, but in the end sold him into slavery. The brothers were only reunited with Joseph after they had a change of heart and came before him with humility and repentance.
God’s covenant people grew and became a kingdom, the corporate manifestation of God’s covenant presence on earth. King David prayed at the time of passing the crown to his son Solomon: “He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of theKingdom of the LORD, over Israel” (I Chronicles 28:5) But again, within one generation division split the infant kingdom of God on earth into two, the northern kingdom (“Israel”) and the southern kingdom (“Judah”).
Even the believers in Yeshua in the first century often succumbed to division. After just a few generations a schism was formed between the Gentile believers and the Jewish believers, a chasm that only in our generation 2,000 years later, is beginning to close. History is filled with wars in the name of religion. What about family relationships? A 50% divorce rate among professing Christians in a number of nations is testimony to both the challenge of true unity, and to the forces that come against it.
Destiny of Unity
However, God promised a destiny of unity. Immediately after the great prophecy of the dry bones God said, “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations … and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again” (Ezekiel 37:21-22).
The promise of unity is available for us: in Israel, as Messianic Jews, and as believers in all nations. This unity is a central aspect of the Gospel message. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you … if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship [connection, sharing] with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
This unity was present in Acts 1 and 2 and was a prerequisite for what happened there. The disciples “continued together with one accord [with unity of heart, mind and passion]in prayer and supplication …” “When the Day of Pentecost (Shavuot) had fully come, they were all withone accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind …” (Acts 1:14, 2:1-2). There is a clear relationship of cause and effect. Unity was essential to receiving and bringing down the outpouring of the spirit.
May we in our day see something similar; let us cooperate actively in becoming part of the answer to Yeshua’s prayer – in our families, friendships, congregations, and across denominational, racial and national boundaries. May our Heavenly Father answer speedily the prayer of His Son: “that they may be one just as we are one.“
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, June 10, 2019, and reposted with permission.
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David is on the Editorial Staff for the Tents of Mercy Network.