[Field Report] How should we see the Korean churches’ operation to repatriate Jews
Indians who live in the province of Manipur, India and consider themselves as “B'nai Meneses,” the descendants of the tribe of Manasseh of northern Israel

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Visiting the stie of the “Aliyah Ministry” in the Idian Jewish Repatriation Operation (1)

In Manipur, India, descendants of the Kuki tribe, who belong to the tribe of Manasseh, who inhabited the northern kingdom, and who are believed to be “B’nai Meneses,” reside in Manipur, India. Some Korean churches are putting a considerable amount of financial and effort into the “Aliyah Ministry” to help them return to their homeland according to the words of the Bible. Pastor Jeongha Won, a correspondent for this episode as an Indian missionary, visited the site and heard the opinions of local Christians on these people. <editor>

In 2021, as the whole India suffered from the Covid-19, many Christians in South Korea helped India. However, it is pointed out that not a small amount of the money was used to help Indian Jews, not Indian Christians.

In India, there are people called “B’nai Meneses.” They belong to the “Kuki” people of the province of Manipur, and they believe themselves as the “tribe of Manasseh,” scattered during the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They always want to go to Israel.

Upon hearing the news, a Christian organization in South Korea donated $276000 (at the time of writing this article, calculated at the exchange rate, it is approximately 360 million won in Koran WON), half of the ticket price for 548 people, in the name of “Operation Manasseh Rhino” in 2021, and thus helped the B’nai Meneses to go to Israel. In addition, the organization continues to help them with settlement ministries in Israel and other domestic liaison ministries.

▲ Poster announcing that the Korean churches are participating in the operation to return the Manasseh tribe of India to their homeland.

Korean churches Participate in Aliya Movement with Huge Finances in 2021

This activity to return the Jewish diaspora scattered around the world to Israel is called the “Aliyah (going up, moving to Israel)” movement. This movement was originally led by the Israeli government. However, in recent years, Christians all over the world have accepted this work as their “ministry” and they are passionate about the ministry.

However, when I looked at this series of activities, a thought came to my mind. There is one thing that should not be confused. That’s the difference between a “prophecy” and a “command.”

The Biblical message about mission is clear. There is a prophecy that “… this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world” but there is also a command “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In this case, the church’s obedience to the Lord’s command is to fulfill the prophecy.

Is there a command in the Bible for a church to return the Jews to their homeland?

From the point of view of the Israeli government, this is to strengthen the country. In addition, for Christians, it has the meaning of fulfilling the prophecies of “the restoration of Israel in the last days” and the “return of the Jews” mentioned in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Romans, and thus it become a common concern. Furthermore, it is also thought to represent atonement for the persecution of Christians against Jews in the preceding centuries.

There are prophecies in the Bible that a “great tribulation” will occur, but there is no command to bring the “great tribulation.” Likewise, although the Bible prophecies that the Jews would return to their homeland in the last days, the Bible never gives a church a general command to return the Jews to their homeland.

The only command given to us is to “preach the gospel” and ‘live the gospel.’ The command the Apostle Paul, who proclaimed the restoration of Israel, received from God was also to “preach the gospel to the Gentiles,” not to “restore Israel.”

Like this, prophecy and command are different. Churches must live according to the commands of the Lord. Then, the prophecies will surely come true in God’s time and in God’s power.

It is possible for an individual to participate in this work (Aliyah) on a special occasion due to a specially received emotion. However, it should not be mobilized for an unspecified number of members as if the work were a general calling to churches. Moreover, if the activity reaches a point where it interferes with actual missionary work, my tentative conclusion is that we must humble ourselves and confirm God’s call. This is my opinion after I personally and directly interviewed some people in the field.

For example, suppose a non-governmental organization (NGO) sends Muslims living as refugees from a Buddhist country to Saudi Arabia. This may be considered a good deed of its own. For a slightly more extreme example, what would be the evaluation of sending a suffering Communist party member to North Korea from a democratic country?

Could this kind of activity be the work of a missionary organization? No, it cannot be. Church donations should not be invested in such activities. Because, although such activities may grant the desires of their bodies, such activities do not help at all to save their souls.

Therefore, it is necessary to think deeply about the use of church donations to send someone to Israel. Israel is a country that seriously persecutes Christians, and is a place where Christian missions are very limited. (please refer to the link – Anti-Christian events in Israel)

Furthermore, it is the face that if a person is to go to Israel through “Aliyah,” he/she must choose a Jewish faith. Ironically, the final form of Christian missionary activity is ultimately helping to expand the spread of Judaism.

We must love both Jews and Muslims. However, it should also be recognized that Judaism, which ignores the New Testament in the Bible, and Islam, which takes the Qur’an above the Bible, are equally untruthful. The restoration of Israel spoken of by the Apostle Paul is missionary in the sense that the Jews will accept Christ, not the strengthening of Israel as a secular government.

I have lived and worked in India for over 10 years. In addition, the fact that Christianity is very active in the province of Manipur is common sense in India.

▲ The red area in the northeast of the map is the province of Manipur.

The red area on the map is Manipur. More specifically, the Christian evangelization rate in Manipur is 51%. The evangelization rate of the Meitei people in the plains centering on the capital Imphal is still very low. The province average evangelization rate varely exceeded 50% and it is because almost 100% of minorities such as “Mao,” “Paomei,” “Kuki,” “Mizo,” “Dangul,” “Chin” and “Marwari” who live in the mountains areas around the province are Christians.

In particular, those who consider themselves “B’nai Meneses” are mostly from the “Kuki” tribe, which has a evangelization rate of 98.1%. Therefore, I have my doubts as to whether the Kuki tribe is really Jewish people, and I wonder whether the Aliyah movement, which is supported by a huge amount of money in Korea, is being misused to convert Christians to Judaism with money and Israeli citizenship.

Tour of B’nai Meneses residential area from July 2022

Therefore, from July 26 to August 1, 2022, I visited the Churachandpur region, which is also the center of B’nai Meneses in the province of Manipur. In this investigation, missionary Chao Tao, a native of the Naga Paomei, who married a Korean missionary and was sent by the Korean Methodist Church, accompanied me.

Together with them, we traveled through the jungle dirt road and researched bumping into each other, and we contained local stories about Indians who already wear Israeli clothes and read the Torah in Hebrew.

▲ Together with the author (in the middle), listening to stories about the descendants of the tribe of Manasseh through Christians in the province of Manipur. Picture: Jeongha Won

From the next episode, we will meet with local Christian leaders and tribal chiefs to introduce their view and opinions on the Aliya movement from the perspective of local Christians. <To be continued> [Gospel Prayer News]

Jeongha Won | Indian local correspondent

<Copyright ⓒ The Gospel and Prayer Newspaper that opens the world with the truth, the kingdom of God in my hand> Contact: gnpnews@gnmedia.org

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