Our Responsibility towards
the Jewish People.
By Heriberto Gonzalez February 20, 2002
With the renewed growth of anti-Semitism, and the rapid deterioration in the economic condition of the former Soviet Union, there is an increasing perception that time is short before the exit doors will be closed again. God is calling on the Church to stand up and act loving and helping His chosen People, before the prophetic fulfillment of His repatriation plan. We as Christians must work together in response to the calling of the Biblical Prophecy that the nations shall bring the children of Zion in their arms, back to their homeland.
In these final days the Lord want us to understand why the regathering and restoration of Israel is so important in His eternal purpose. Below you will find ten very important spiritual and prophetic reasons for the returning of the Jewish People back to Israel and also six specific responsibilities we as Gentile Believers have towards them.
Why is God returning the Jewish People back to Israel?
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Prophetic Wakeup Cal! l | Gentiles in Israel's God's Kingdom | God's heart's cry about Israel and the Jews | Pro-Israel Sites and Services
Does it really matter why Christians support Israel?
Oct. 9, 2002
As the name Goldberg might indicate to some of you, I am no expert on Christian theology. And, perhaps contrary to what you might infer from the name Goldberg, I'm no authority when it comes to Jewish theology, either. So if I fail to cross some doctrinal T's or dot some ecclesiastical I's, please forgive me. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out why so many Jews are upset that so many Christians love Israel.
Let me explain. Many evangelical Christians take the Bible literally when it says that Jews are G-d's "chosen people." Quite a few Jews think this too but, surprisingly, fewer than you might think. Anyway, because evangelicals believe this, some of them support Israel out of a bedrock faith that G-d gave all of the land of biblical Israel to his chosen people. They also believe - and here's the tricky part - that the Christian savior will not return until the Jews have reclaimed Israel and the final battle of the end times begins.
According to Christian biblical prophesy, two-thirds of the Jews will die by the final battle at Armageddon and the final third will convert to Christianity by accepting Jesus upon his return. This will begin the Christian savior's thousand-year rule.
"The Jews die or convert," explained author Gershom Gorenberg on a recent - and pretty lopsided - edition of "60 Minutes." "As a Jew, I can't feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario." A liberal political journalist, Gorenberg has written a book, "The End of Days," about the evangelicals who love Israel, but he wants Israel to turn its back on them .
There are plenty of pragmatic objections to the support of evangelicals; they primarily take the form of worrying that the support of Christian conservatives in America will embolden Israeli hawks to avoid compromise with the Palestinians. This is a perfectly legitimate argument, though I don't agree with all of it. But it is not the one getting the most attention.
What's got so many folks upset is that the evangelicals support Israel for religious reasons. And sure, it'd be nice - from a Jewish perspective - if Revelations envisioned a happier ending for Jews. But, first of all, if you are Jewish (as I am), why should you care what Christian prophesy holds if you don't expect it to happen? And, if it does happen, and Jesus returns to Earth to establish his kingdom, who's to say a few Jews won't listen to him? And if it turns out the Jews are right and the Messiah will show up for his first visit, isn't it possible that he'll have an explanation handy for everyone?
No one can say their biblical interpretation will actually bind G-d's hands at the end of the day, because man is not more powerful than G-d. In short, leave the details of the end of the world up to G-d because he's the one calling all the shots.
But let's come back to Earth for a moment. Other peoples' religions say all sorts of unpleasant things about non-believers in general or Jews in particular; the only relevant question for us humans is how people translate their theology into moral action because morality is the only thing we can objectively judge.
In the past, supposedly authentic Christian readings of the Bible justified all sorts of terrible things be done to the Jews. Call me crazy, but the fact that evangelicals believe the Bible commands them to love and respect the Jews seems like a huge win for the tribe, historically speaking. Only a fool would complain, "Oh, you're just being kind to people because the Bible tells you to!"
"60 Minutes," because of its ongoing mission to show Christian conservatives as the downfall of human civilization, portrayed evangelical supporters of Israel as caricatures, incapable of multidimensional thought. But I've discussed this with dozens of evangelicals, and I didn't recognize the people shown on "60 Minutes."
Yes, the evangelicals I've heard from believe that Israel has an important place in G-d's plan and that Jews are G-d's chosen people. But that's a backdrop for them, a theological context that allows them to see the plight of Jews in a sympathetic light. Most of the ones I hear from are much quicker to talk about Israel as a democracy or an ally - not as the tripwire for Armageddon.
And, let's point out there's no shortage of Israelis who believe Israel exists because G-d intended it to. They only disagree with the evangelicals over what G-d's intentions are. And that argument is only going to be settled on G-d's timetable.
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Is there anything dumber than
repudiating Christians who support
By Jonathan Tobin. Oct. 14, 2002
A "peace protest" in New York's Central Park was the scene of vicious anti-Israel epithets uttered from both the podium and the Palestinian flag-waving audience. It was organized by a group called "Not in Our Name," which previously sponsored a full-page ad in The New York Times opposing war with Iraq, and also denouncing Israeli policies but not Arab terrorism. It was supported by Hollywood leftists like Susan Sarandon, Ed Asner, feminist guru Gloria Steinhem and the Jewish far-left's Tikkun Community impresario Michael Lerner.
Last Friday, Oct. 11, the Christian Coalition rallied for Israel and voice its support for the Jewish state in front of the White House. There were speeches from American and Israeli political leaders, including the Rev. Pat Robertson, U.S. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.
Guess which of these events is setting off alarm
bells for many mainstream liberal American Jews?
You got it - the latter one.
Yes, the prospect of American Christians gathering
in Washington to express their devotion to Israel and to demand that the
administration do nothing to harm its interests is very scary to many Jews.
WAITING FOR A DIFFERENT MESSIAH
It is so scary that according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a feminist Jewish group called Jewish Women Watching has launched a mailing in which prospective funders will be sent an envelope with a condom. The appeal asks why the Jewish community is "in bed" with leaders of the Christian right, such as Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed.
For such people, Christian support for Israel
is not nearly as important as the fact that most Jews disagree with them
about issues like abortion or school prayer. Fearing Jewish gratitude will
spill over into other issues, some liberals are doing their best to discredit
the evangelical Zionists.
An example of this was on display on Oct. 7, when the CBS "Sixty Minutes" program did a feature on the issue. Yossi Alpher, the American Jewish Committee's representative in Israel, and Jerusalem Report editor Gershom Gorenberg used the show to urge American Jews to repudiate Christian Zionists.
The piece claimed the reason for Christian support for Israel was their apocalyptic belief in a coming battle of Armageddon, which will leave two-thirds of the world's Jews dead, with the remaining third converting to Christianity. All this would, of course, take place after Jesus' second coming.
The mere mention of such ideas is enough to give some American Jews the creeps. The experience of pre-Hitler Europe, where anti-Semites were more likely to be found among religious Christians than among nonbelievers, has conditioned many of us to see any religious Christian as a potential foe.
But this is no longer the case. Religious Christians have been the Jewish people's No. 1 ally on issues affecting the survival of Israel. Nothing better illustrated this fact than what happened last spring when the Bush administration debated how harshly it would respond to Israel's post-Passover massacre response to Palestinian terrorism.
When the administration appeared to be tilting against Israel, it was overwhelmed with criticism from President Bush's political base: conservative Christians. Most observers credit the full court press from this group with having a far greater impact on Bush's ultimate tilt back toward Israel than anything that the divided American Jewish community did.
Surprisingly, it was Abe Foxman, the national head of the Anti-Defamation League, who was the one Jewish voice of reason on the "Sixty Minutes" segment. He rightly explained that agreement on Israel Wouldn't mean that Jewish groups will roll over on other issues where they disagree.
Foxman's stand is significant because it was the ADL that issued an over-the-top, book-length report denouncing Christian conservatives in 1994. At the time, he was criticized by some Jewish observers (including this writer), who thought ADL was making a strategic mistake. But give Foxman credit for understanding that when the chips are down, Jews need to embrace all available allies, whether or not they support abortion rights.
As for the motives of the Christians, Foxman explained that there were a variety of motives at play, including a genuine affection for the Jewish people and the State of Israel on the part of many Evangelicals. He also took a philosophical tone, saying that while Christians were expecting the second coming of the Messiah, he, as an observant Jew, was still waiting for the first. Without explicitly saying so, Foxman seemed to be telling us that post-Messianic era questions should be sorted out then, not now.
He's right. Indeed, even if all Christian support for Israel were based on the expectation that after the second coming, Jews will convert, why should Jews who don't believe Jesus is coming back at any time worry much about the eventuality?
Silence from Hollywood Jews As Foxman appears to have learned, the notion that American Jews can do without Christian conservative support on Israel makes little sense today. After two years of a Palestinian terror war that followed a generous Israeli peace offer, anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism is on the rise in Europe and on American college campuses. Anti-Israel rhetoric seems to have increased in direct proportion to the growing toll of Jewish casualties from Arab terrorism.
While most rank-and-file American Jews have rallied around an embattled Jewish state, some of our liberal elite have not found their voice on the issue. Most conspicuous by their silence on the issue have been the Jews of Hollywood. Few of the numerous Jews who sit in positions of power in the entertainment industry have used their bully pulpit or their access to political power to voice their support for Israel during the current crisis. Iconic Hollywood Jews, such as Rob Reiner or Barbra Streisand, can be found beating the drums for a host of liberal causes, but not an Israel that is under attack.
The juxtaposition of their silence with the vocal support for Israel coming from Evangelicals whom many American Jews still wrongly assume are Jew-haters sounds more like science fiction than political reality, but it is true nevertheless. But rather than getting angry about the anti-Israel rhetoric from the left, there are still too many Jews who are more worried about right-wing Christians.
Do feminists really think Jews have more to fear from Falwell than Yasser Arafat? If so, they need to take a moment to read the list of Jewish women and children who were murdered by Arafat's henchmen and their allies this year. Disagree all you want with Robertson, but how many Jews have the Christian Coalition killed lately? They have been better friends to Israel than many Jews.
If the main source of anti-Semitism in this
country is currently located on the political left, why are some of us foolishly
still fixated on the pro-Israel right? Telling our friends from our foes
isn't really so hard. Though the answer may still surprise some of us, just
look at who is demonstrating for Israel and who is against it these days.
JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.
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Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director International Christian Zionist Center. December 20, 2004
We are, if we abide in Christ and walk with Him, the sons and daughters of the living God of Israel, as the Bible says: to those who received Him, to them He gave POWER to become the sons of God. (John 1:12)
As His sons we bear a greater responsibility to the land, our God and Father calls His own, than even His own people.
Therefore if God said that He has given this, His land, to His own people
as an everlasting possession - and announces that He will bring the nations
to judgment also for dividing His land; we as His sons and daughters should
be in the frontline (not in the backseat!) to insure, like Joshua and Caleb
of old that His will shall prevail!
|May we all therefore so pray and act that God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven and so become channels on earth, not sympathetic onlookers, to see God's will and plan fulfilled!||.|