Israel: Covenants & Kingdom (40) – Chapter 5 – Church and Kingdom

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom”

Hatred against the Jews
It is basically demonic powers that fuel the hatred for the Jews, using people for their own ends. But those who persecute the Jews still carry responsibility for their evil deeds, and cannot excuse themselves by blaming the Devil or the grip of demonic powers! The Devil is the great enemy of God and humanity, and in the Bible is called the ‘murderer from the beginning’, ‘the father of all lies’, who directs his hatred of God onto the people of God. And when hate ‘rains’ on the Jewish people, ‘raindrops’ also fall on the Christians – at least on those who remain faithful to the Bible. It was so under Hitler, Stalin and Russian communism. Right-wing fascists, national-socialist dictators, and left-wing communists may be fierce opponents ideologically, but they are united in their hatred of everything to do with God and the Bible. “…They form an alliance against You…”, the Psalmist said in Psalm 83. Hatred of Israel is hatred of the God of Israel.

Hatred of the Jewish people was preached by a false form of Christianity as legitimate hatred of the ‘God-murderers, the God-killers’. But Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, laid down His life of His own free will (John 10:18) and on the cross He prayed, “…Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34).

A form of Christian theology, or perhaps one should rather say anti-Christian theology, has for centuries held the Jewish people collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. The Church has been less merciful than God. It cannot be repeated often enough that the Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms, and Holocaust took place in the Christian world, and represent Christian anti-Semitism. Even today, the World Council of Churches issues one pro-Palestinian pronounce- ment after another. The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of making positive statements about Christian anti-Semitism in the past, did not totally acknowledge the State of Israel for many years. The visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel in 2000, and the words of repentance he spoke there provide a good starting point for a better relation- ship. But words have to be followed by deeds.

As we have seen, Replacement Theology is the teaching that the Church has replaced Israel as God’s Chosen People. When the majority of the Jews did not accept Jesus, the Church came to be seen as the new people of God. In this view the Church received the promises of Scripture, while the curses and judgments were pushed onto the Jewish people and Israel. This theology has been preached for centuries, and has seeped deep into the veins of Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox thinking. This teaching is alive and well, and very popular among Arab and Palestinian Christians, who thus have little difficulty in sharing the hatred and condemnation directed at Israel by their Islamic Arab brothers.

The anti-Semitic book ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ are still bestsellers in the Islamic world of the Middle East. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion is an anti-Semitic fabricated text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. The forgery was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the 20th century. According to the claims made by some of its publishers, the Protocols are the minutes of a late 19th-century meeting where Jewish leaders discussed their goal of global Jewish hegemony by subverting the morals of Gentiles, and by controlling the press and the world’s economies. Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the US in the 1920s. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent. It was studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power in 1933, despite having been exposed as fraudulent by The Times of London in 1921. It is still widely available today in numerous languages, in print and on the Internet, and continues to be presented by some proponents as a genuine document. But hatred of Israel is hatred of the God of Israel. Christian hatred of Israel, though robed in theological terms, is still hatred of God. Many people nowadays point to the change in the thinking of the Christian world toward Israel. Just how far that change will go remains to be seen, but it is possible that the best years of replacement theology are already behind us.

After the Second World War, there was a readiness to adopt a changed attitude, including a changed theology, towards the Jewish people and Israel. The Dutch Reformed Church in the Netherlands (de Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk) played a prominent role in this, but over the past few years there has been a change there too. On the international level, and as a member of the World Council of Churches, the Netherlands often stood alone in support of Israel, like a voice crying in the wilderness. But now the Palestinians are being portrayed as the underdogs, and theological thinking has turned to a Palestinian ‘liberation theology’. There is no special place for Israel in Christian theology, it seems, let alone in Biblical prophecy!

God sees it otherwise. He is faithful to His Covenants with Israel. And now Israel is on the way to rest for her body, soul, and spirit. The reborn Jewish state is an undeniable fact. In Israel Jews can be themselves. Spiritually many of them are rediscovering their Jewish roots. The number of synagogues in Israel is growing, as is the degree of Jewish self-esteem and self-awareness. There, in the Promised Land, God’s Spirit will be poured out on them, as foretold by the prophets Joel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. Then Jewish souls will be totally at rest and rejoice in the salvation that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, will pour out upon them by His grace. Then Israel will live safely in the midst of the earth, and will be a blessing to the nations. For God did not choose Israel solely for Israel’s own sake, but because He want- ed through Israel to bless the whole world. And He will not forsake what His hand has begun. He will come to give Israel rest.

The Church did not replace Israel, just as infant baptism did not replace circumcision. Israel is Israel, and the Church is the Church. God will fulfil all His promises to Israel, as He will fulfil all His promises to the Church. We need to stop mixing the two, or replacing the one with the other, as so often in the past.

Paul taught in Romans 11 that God hardened and blinded the Jews. Verse 25: “…Israel has experienced a hardening in part…” The phrase ‘in part’ refers to the fact that the Jews know who God is, but have   a blind spot regarding Jesus. And also the phrase means that there has always been a remnant according to the election of grace, and because Jews know God and God knows them. To aggressively evangelise the Jewish people, as some do, seems to be saying: “God, you hardened and blinded them, but we will do a better job and bring them to Christ and get them saved.” Although it is quite all right to talk about Jesus when Jews ask you what you believe, thus speaking about ‘the hope that is within us’, we should respect the mystery of the plan of God. We should be earnestly praying for the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Israel, and showing the love of Jesus in our words and especially in our deeds of love. God is expecting that we show solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters who serve the same God as we do. The Church needs to confess its guilt and sin regarding Christian anti-Semitism, and repent for this almost diabolical theology which over the centuries has led to the shedding of rivers of Jewish blood. One day we will all be held responsible for what we did. Hebrews 4:13: “…And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account…” One day the Church will be held responsible before the throne of God, and we as Christians should personally look into our hearts, souls and minds, asking ourselves whether there is any hidden anti-Semitism. God will ultimately hold us responsible.

To be continued.. with: Chapter 5 – Church and Kingdom – Preparing for the Coming of the Lord

The book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom” and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.

 


Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International

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