May 4, 2009

Those Troublesome Jews

By Jim Fletcher

I don’t like people who don’t like Jews. That makes me a minority.

A friend of mine recently took his first tour of Israel; he works for a national ministry. I won’t give details, so as to avoid identifying him, but suffice to say he had a typical Christian reaction, at least in certain circles: the Israelis aren’t very friendly (but the Arabs are!); their weird customs (Sabbath) are sometimes hard to deal with because the country effectively shuts down every week for 24 hours; Israelis don’t respond well to the Gospel. Et cetera.

It’s frustrating to me, listening to the stereotypical complaints about Jews. I’m dumbfounded that more people don’t understand the prophetic significance of the Jews and Israel. I understand the reasons why, but it’s still extraordinary that so many Christian ministries “have a problem” with Israel.

The reasons are varied. People who have mainline roots, say, Lutherans, have carried Martin Luther’s nasty dislike of Jews to the present day. Catholics generally subscribe to Replacement Theology (which Chuck Missler has identified as the biggest problem in the Church today; I don’t know that I disagree with him). The most disturbing development is the shift in support within evangelical circles. This is due in large part to the propaganda put out by the Emergent Community that Bible prophecy followers follow the “eschatology of abandonment.”

Preterism has also made enough inroads to cause problems.

Add to that the ultra-strange, supernatural general dislike of Jews among Christians…and you have a recipe for trouble.

Not only should we not cave-in to the prevailing wisdom that Israel should abandon the “settlements” in the “West Bank” — we should firmly embrace those Jewish communities and point out the obvious fulfillment of predictive prophecy they represent.

Have you ever stood up to a bully? More often than not, that bully will back down. That is exactly how we should meet the criticisms against Israel…from our brethren.

Here is a major argument some Christians use against Israel: They don’t accept Jesus!

I’m not arguing that that’s good. What I am saying is, if the Bible is true, what would you expect Israelis to do right now about Jesus? Did not God Himself say numerous times that He has blinded them spiritually, for His own purposes, and at the time of His choosing, they will turn to him? Read Ezekiel 37. Read Isaiah. Read Jeremiah.

The Jews are exactly where they’re supposed to be.

A lot of Christians have a problem with that. Yet, if the Bible is true, where would you expect them to be? In their own land, in general unbelief, but ripe for belief.

Then, look at the geopolitical situation. New Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is hated around the world because he says things the Peace Now crowd doesn’t like. Jerusalem is becoming more and more heated. If the Israelis decide they cannot risk a nuclear Iran — and they can’t — and decide to strike, what do you think the world will do? And there are now more than a quarter-million Jews in 200 communities in the biblical heartland. Don’t you think everyone from the Chinese to Barack Obama hates that fact?

All these things are startling proof that the Bible is true. Yet many of our Christian brethren won’t see it. Notice I stated “won’t.” It’s not that they can’t see it. They simply have an anti-Jew bias. And their bias feeds the biases and agendas of Israel’s sworn enemies.

And there are plenty of reasons to support the Jews. For every complaint about their alleged greed, unfriendliness, or stubbornness (are these traits unique to Jews, anyway?), I think about the marvelous attributes they possess.

At Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, there is a planted forest dedicated to the “Righteous Gentiles,” those who helped save Jews during that terrible decade of Hitler.

There are a thousand reasons to embrace the Jews and Israel. Simply put, they are our friends and the Arabs are our enemies.

We live in a world in which Israel is condemned by the U.N. Security Council, populated by the world’s most brutal dictators. The current Israeli prime minister is so hated, he makes George W. Bush look like Chris Matthews’ best friend. At the time of this writing, Fatah, the allegedly moderate Palestinian faction, is planning and carrying out terror attacks against Israelis, yet they are hailed by international diplomats as peace partners. Even Hamas — and this is predictable — is being given legitimacy in international circles.

This is madness and great evil.

Would that at least our Christian brothers and sisters who fall for Arab propaganda be able to see the situation for what it is.

Because, no, the Arabs aren’t truly friendly. Perhaps my friend can use the next Sabbath to reflect on this.

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