Posts Tagged ‘holocaust’
Today, it is the 2017 Holocaust Memorial/Remembrance Day, and around the world people will be stopping to remember the atrocities committed against six million Jews and around five million others, murdered because of the madness of one man – Adolph Hitler. For those of you who follow the writings of Lighthouse Trails, you know we hold a special place in our hearts regarding the Holocaust, and indeed have two Holocaust survivors for authors (one a Jewish Christian and one a resistance worker). What we are about to say is prompted because of our commitment to bring the things of darkness to the light.
During the preparation of our two Holocaust books (Trapped in Hitler’s Hell and Things We Couldn’t Say), we turned to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) for photographs of the Holocaust that we could use in our books. The USHMM has thousands of photos, which are proof against any delusion that the Holocaust never happened. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well think of what thousands of pictures are. So the world should be ever grateful to this Museum that has done well to preserve the past with the hope that such would never happen again.
Eight years ago, during the 2009 Holocaust Remembrance Day observations, when we learned that the USHMM had asked Barack Obama to be the keynote speaker for their ceremony, we realized that the true message of Holocaust remembrance was being lost. We could see that true message is being replaced with ideologies of tolerance, unification, globalism, and so forth. A 2009 press release put out by the USHMM stated:
We are honored that President Obama will participate in our Days of Remembrance ceremony,” said Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “At this critical moment, with hatred and anti-Semitism on the rise in so many parts of the world, and genocide still a reality, we are reminded of the continued relevance of the Holocaust and the urgency of its lessons. What the Holocaust teaches us with such moral clarity is the power of the individual and the responsibility we all have to not stand silent in the face of injustice.”
The Bible says that unless a person is born again, he cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. So we understand why the world views things the way they do, but unfortunately they have missed the real reason why the Holocaust happened, and why it may possibly happen again. While liberals and homosexuals are cashing in on the new Holocaust message of tolerance in order to propagate their agendas, the real meaning is being buried and ignored by most.
This true message is found within the pages of Scripture. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Jews, and in the New Testament, God offered man a promise of salvation and eternal life for all who accepted this new covenant, which was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. Within the pages of Scripture are details about God’s enemy, Satan, who hates God’s covenant with man. From the beginning of the Jewish people, they have been hated by Satan, and after the resurrection, when Christianity began, he has hated Christians as well.
The wrath that was poured out by Hitler, particularly to Jews (and anyone who helped them, of which many were Christians) was instigated, not because Hitler wasn’t “tolerant” or because he wasn’t a “globalist.” It was because he was indwelled with an anti-Christ spirit that hates anything to do with the covenant God has made with man. As the Bible explains, Lucifer (Satan) has the aspiration of being “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14). The Bible says he is the father of lies, confusion, and every evil thing. Christians who have studied the Holocaust and read about the horrible rage that was released against the Jews know that no one man could have done this alone. We understand that Hitler was demonically inspired.
The “tolerance” message deceives people into thinking that it cares about people being treated equally and justly, but in reality it is an anti-God, anti-freedom message. Hidden within its core is the idea that no one belief system can be the only way to God or truth; hidden within its core is an anti-Christ zeal that determines to lash out against God’s covenant with man. For instance, to say Christianity is true and Islam isn’t would be seen as intolerance and therefore evil. But in essence, both faiths are diametrically opposite of each other (even though they may share certain moral values) to how one is brought into a right relationship with God. Islam portrays human effort as being the primary catalyst for such a relationship, whereas Christianity’s emphasis is on a Savior who puts a person in a right relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not of man’s own doing. Since Islam rejects this, a devout Christian has to reject Islam. Thomas Merton knew that doctrinally the two beliefs could never come together; he came to believe that it was only through mysticism they could unite. In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing he discloses Merton’s views on this:
In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:
Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.
To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:
Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas … in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light [mysticism] . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam. (emphasis added)1
Merton was basically saying that the doctrine of redemption and atonement through Christ was “of little value.” This also reflects the view of the emerging church that tolerance is more virtuous than faith, and that faith can actually be unvirtuous. As illustrated in the movie, Doubt, doubt and uncertainty unites. The priest in Doubt does a homily on doubt, and the fundamentalist in the movie (Meryl Streep) sees that as dangerous but in the end, she herself doubts. The point of the film is that uncertainty is good. Father Flynn is a Thomas Merton type priest in the sense that firm conviction is not necessarily a good thing. This is consistent with the emerging church and where emergent leader Tony Jones says in his book, The New Christians that uncertainty (including uncertainty of Scripture) is better than certainty and where Brian McLaren says we still haven’t got the Gospel right (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293).
The world thinks that if it teaches “tolerance,” that the Holocaust will never happen again. But the very message behind this kind of “tolerance” could actually cause it to happen again because tolerance, according to the world, is against the God of the Old and New Testament and against the people with whom He has made a covenant. But until Jesus Christ returns, which He has promised to do, Satan will be free to attack and destroy. The Bible says that as the days of Christ’s return draw closer, what takes place in the world will be like the birth pangs of a woman in labor. The pangs intensify the closer the birth becomes. And that is why spiritual deception continues to expand, quite quickly now.
While we have appreciated the efforts of the USHMM to preserve the evidence of the Holocaust, we are disappointed that they have latched onto the “tolerance” message that ultimately will reject the Jews and the Christians.
We must add something here too about homosexual activists, because they are the strongest and most out-spoken group for “tolerance.” But they have used the Holocaust and many of its stories, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, to compare their “plight” with that of the Jews in World War II. While it may be true that Hitler did eventually lash out against homosexuals, a number of the prominent Nazis, such as Ernst Rohm, were homosexuals.
For those who may be skeptical, read the following, which is from William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, perhaps one of the best works ever written on understanding Hitler:
He who was so monumentally intolerant by his very nature, was strangely tolerant of one human condition – a man’s morals. No other party in Germany came near to attracting so many shady characters. As we have seen, a conglomeration of pimps, murderers, homosexuals, alcoholics and blackmailers flocked to the party as if to a natural haven” (p. 121-122).
Later, pressure was put on Hitler to rid his organization of these types. But he was not intolerant of the homosexuals – that wasn’t why he turned on them. Hitler was intolerant of anything that stood in his way to bring about a super race of people that excluded, in particularly, the Jews and those who loved them.
We want to make one thing clear. Lighthouse Trails does not advocate persecution of people of any race, religion, or persuasion. We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior, either physically or verbally. What we are trying to get across is that the tolerance message is too binding in a theological sense and restricts the preaching of the Gospel. It will never work for biblical Christianity because, as Christians, we have to insist that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled with God, and the tolerance message rejects such an approach.
Some may wonder how this all ties in with Obama speaking for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum ceremony. Obama represents a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than biblical Christianity and one that lines up with the “tolerance” message in that Obama believes that other religions are legitimate paths to God:
Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. “I am rooted in the Christian tradition,” he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, “I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.” He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. “In our household,” he has explained, “The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”2
It is the following words that Satan hates and does all he can to destroy, but try as he might, he never will. It is the light that shines in a dark world. And a merciful, patient God calls out.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father [God], but by me. John 14:6
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4: 9-10
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Revelation 1:5
It is our prayer that many Jews around the world will come to see Jesus Christ as their Messiah and not be deceived by this “tolerance” message that in the end will hate them and persecute them. Historically, the Jewish people have been a trusting people . . . this is one message we hope they won’t buy into.
1. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006) p. 59, citing Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 110.
2. Stephen Mansfield, The Faith of Barack Obama (Thomas Nelson) p. 55, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203. (See our article.)
The article above was originally posted on the Lighthouse Trails Research blog in 2009 but remains relevant today.
Related Articles and Resources on the Holocaust:
Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” (Part 2) – Neale Donald Walsch, “God,” and Hitler
LTRP Note: As we approach this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (April 24th) and in view of a recent article we posted where we referred to God’s view of Israel, we are reposting Mike Oppenheimer’s article/booklet titled Israel: Replacing What God Has Not, which we originally released four years ago. And if you have never watched Caryl Productions documentary film Christian Palestinianism, we highly recommend it. In view of secular media’s bias against Israel and much of the Protestant and evangelical church turning against Israel as well, this is an issue that Christians need to understand. We hope the DVD as well as Mike Oppenheimer’s report will help with that. Both are from a scriptural perspective.
At a time when a clear and biblically sound understanding of Bible prophecy is most important, we find the church, paradoxically, having less knowledge of it, especially as it relates directly to Israel. Most evangelical Christians throughout history have supported the Jews and the modern state of Israel, but things are changing. The church, from its infancy, believed God had a future plan for Israel based on Scripture (Acts 3:19). This plan included the national restoration of Israel to the same land from which they were eventually dispersed. As time went on and the church drifted further and further away from her Jewish beginnings, many began to erroneously believe the church had replaced Israel. But in this day and age when we see biblical prophecy being fulfilled on such an unprecedented and unparalleled scale—with God’s continual protection and restoration of the Jews to their land, there should not be those who walk in disbelief with regard to God’s promises. But there are!
A growing number within the church are holding to the position that Israel as a people and a nation has no further place with God and that Israel is eternally cast off for their rejection of the Messiah. They believe national Israel no longer has a future in any part of God’s plan. They also believe all the promises given to Israel have not only been revoked but transferred to the church and that the church is now the “true Israel.” Some even go so far as to make disparaging and untruthful remarks, which suggest the Jewish people are now no longer a “chosen people of God” and are cursed because of their unbelief or that they have inherited all the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28–33.
They believe all the blessings belonging to Israel have now been transferred to the church, but they neglect to include the curses found in Deuteronomy 28. If one is going to lay claim to the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, then one must lay claim to the curses as well. Nor can we live under the Old Covenant and the New Covenant at the same time. But, these teachers would strip the Jews of the inheritance God pledged to them (and never revoked) and apply all these blessings to themselves. But God sees through the arrogance, and jealousy, that is being rekindled in these last days. Ironically, those who have taken such a stance have proclaimed curses on themselves, for God said He would curse those who curse Israel. Deuteronomy 28 is a conditional covenant of Moses that God extended to the nation of Israel, but we would do well to hold fast to the New Covenant of grace that has now been extended to both Jew and Gentile.
Adherents of this Replacement Theology teaching claim the church was already in place in the Old Testament and was an assembly of believers. Therefore, the church, in their mind, becomes the continuation of Israel. Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the term “Israel” now refers to the church, they say. However, if one takes a closer look at how the words in the Book of Acts are used, one will see this is not so. If this is true, then why are there so many distinctions made between Israel and the church throughout the Book of Acts and why are so many distinguishing statements also made throughout Paul’s epistles? Such inconsistency can only originate from a man-made doctrine built on a false presupposition at best.
The very first occurrence of the Greek word ekklesia in the New Testament is found in Matthew 16:18. The word “church” (ekklesia, or assembly) is often thought to mean Israel by replacement theologians as a generic meaning for an assembly of worshipers. Thus, they assume the word church is a Greek word for Israel. They believe this is what Jesus the Messiah meant in Matthew 16:18 for the word church (it is only used again in the New Testament Gospels in Matthew 18:17). This would mean there always was the church (i.e., “the church” is Israel continued in the New Testament). However, in Matthew 16:13–20, the word “church” literally means “those called out,” referring to those who confess Jesus is the Son of the Living God—something that was not yet revealed in the Old Testament (this will be further explained as we look at Romans 11). These “called-out ones” are not in reference to the Mosaic Law that was given to the nation Israel but to a whole New Covenant.
In the New Testament, the term is used also in the narrower sense of a single church, or a church confined to a particular place. There is the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:5), the church at Corinth, the churches in Judea, etc. As I stated earlier, if one were to keep substituting the word Israel for church throughout the New Testament, they would soon begin to see the problems it would create.
In Acts 8:3, Saul persecuted the “church” from house to house. He certainly was not persecuting Israel.
Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church [Israel?] daily such as should be saved.”
Acts 8:1: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church [Israel?] which was at Jerusalem.”
Acts 11:26: “And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church [Israel?], and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
And in Acts 15:4: “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church [Israel?], and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.”
The fact that Jews were called out of unbelieving Israel to be part of the church does, in every sense, go against the church being Israel.
In the same way, if one uses the word “church” or “the church” interchangeably for Israel, even more problems occur.
Matthew 2:20 says, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel [church].”
Matthew 8:10: “[T]o them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel [the church].”
Matthew 10:6: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”
Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”
Matthew 19:28: “[Y]e which have followed me . . . ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel [the church].”
Luke 24:21: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel [the church].”
Would it not be prudent then to let the word “Israel” mean what God would have it mean in its consistent, designated, biblical
context, and the term “the church” be what God would have it mean in its longstanding, God-given context as well?
[T]hey asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6. See also Acts 3:12; 4:10; 13:24.)
Was he restoring the church? Of course not.
As Israel rejected the chief Cornerstone, Peter remarks that the believers are, “coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious . . . as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4–5).
You “are built up a spiritual house”—oikodomeisthe. These have become a congregation of faith among those who disbelieve.
The Nation Israel
Israel was always referred to as the nation made up of Jews who are physical descendants of not just Abraham (as are the Gentiles) but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Seventy-three times in the New Testament the term “Israel” is used. In the majority of the instances given, Israel is referred to in the national, ethnic sense. There are three main passages used to try to prove the church is Israel. They are as follows: Romans 9:6, 11:26; and Galatians 6:16. I Corinthians 10:18, however, cites “Israel after the flesh” as the true, believing Israel among the unbelieving—just as in Romans 9:6 the Apostle Paul makes a distinction between two Israel’s—one who believes, and the other who doesn’t. And yet, both are ethnic Israelites, but only one has the measure of faith necessary to enable them to faithfully uphold their end of their covenant with God. For without faith, it’s impossible to please God.
Galatians 6:16 is often used to prove that the church is Israel. This view maintains that the “Israel of God” is comprised of Gentile believers. The “Israel of God,” however, clearly is comprised of those Jewish believers who, in sharp contrast with the Judaizers, followed the rule of salvation by faith alone. Here Paul is speaking only of a division within ethnic Israel.
Some of them are believers and thus truly Israel, whereas others, though ethnically Israelites, are not truly Israel, since they are not believers. No Gentiles, therefore, are found in this statement at all.
This Replacement Theology view is often held within groups such as Reconstructionists, Dominionists, and Kingdom Now adherents who hold to a view that we will build God’s kingdom on earth before Christ returns. This non-biblical view presupposes that the Gentile will be able to establish what the Jew could not, but this will never happen.
God, however, has entered into a binding covenant with and is committed to the people of Israel. He has made an everlasting covenant with Israel and cannot break His Word. There are those in the “church” who take the position that His first covenant promises to the Jews are now null and void. Paul makes it clear to the church in Rome saying, “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1). On this basis alone, we are provided with scriptural proof that Replacement Theology teaching is wrong. In Ezekiel 36, God makes it very clear that He will never abandon Israel—not for their sakes alone, but because His name and His reputation are on the line. Jeremiah writes immediately after the promise of a New Covenant:
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. (Jeremiah 31:35–36)
God is so adamant about His covenant with Israel here that He would sooner revoke the existence of the stars and planets that He would withdraw His covenant with Israel.
In other words, God cut an everlasting blood covenant with Abraham:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)
This has not been revoked. To this nation, God will give a land—the land of Canaan (Genesis12:1, 7; 13:14–15, 17; 15:17–21; 17:8). God will bless those who bless this nation and curse those who curse it (12:3). God laid down a divine principle that has been seen and proven time and time again throughout history.
When you go against Israel (cursing the people like Balak tried to get Balaam to do), you are going against the Messiah who created Israel to be a blessing to all nations.
Another Scripture to consider is found in the Book of Joel:
I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (Joel 3:2—emphasis added.)
Also, in Genesis we read:
And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:7)
He promised a land—specifically, the land of Canaan. The emphasis of Genesis 17:9–14 is that circumcision is a token of God’s covenant with Israel—being performed on the eighth day of a boy’s life. Circumcision was to be a sign of one’s Jewishness, or the seal of the covenant.
God chose to confirm His covenant with Jacob, as evidenced in Genesis 28:13–15. Then it was confirmed through all of Jacob’s twelve sons, who fathered the twelve tribes that came to comprise the nation of Israel (Genesis 49).
Israel was given laws and instructed in all the ways by which to be distinguished, set apart and separate from the Gentiles. Yet, now we have teachers saying the Gentile church is Israel. Such Gentile Christians who claim they are the true Jews and are of the notion they have replaced Israel, should take heed of and fear the words of Jesus when He states that those who “say they are Jews” but are not, are liars and are of “the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9; 3:9).
The promises made to both Abraham and his seed are unsearchably rich in blessings which have not yet come to complete fulfillment but await the Messianic Kingdom. The Abrahamic Covenant contains both physical and spiritual promises. The physical blessings were limited to the Jews (such as the land), whereas the spiritual blessings were to extend to the Gentiles through the Messiah only (upon their being grafted into the Olive Tree). In the Old Covenant, the Gentiles had to convert to the religion of Judaism (but this still did not make them Jewish).
God revealed that it was to be through Sarah’s son Isaac that the Abrahamic Covenant would be confirmed (Genesis 26:2–5, and 24). Case in point examples of this include: Exodus 2:23–25; 4:24–26; 6:2–8; 32:11–14; Leviticus 26:46; Deuteronomy 34:4; II Kings 13:22-23; I Chronicles 16:15–19; II Chronicles 20:7–8; Nehemiah 9:7-8; Psalm 105:7–12; Luke 1:54–55, 68–73; and Hebrews 6:13–20. These verses explain how the Abrahamic Covenant is the basis for Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, for giving them the land, for Jewish survival throughout the centuries despite their disobedience, for the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and for Israel’s final redemption and restoration.
Israel has become the focus for a watching world, always making front page news, and yet ironically and unfortunately, much of the church, to their own shame, no longer believes in the nation’s relevance today. It is Satan, of course, who has instigated hatred and anti-Semitism towards the Jewish people throughout the centuries. The closer we come to the end of all things and in the final analysis especially, he will be seething, and his rage will be unchecked, for he knows his time is short, and he will do everything in his power to annihilate them in a more horrific manner than even what Hitler was able to inflict upon the Jewish people.
In the meantime, we would all do well to remember that any teaching, doctrine, or interpretation must be based upon all of what Scripture has to say on a given subject (both Old and New Testament passages), and not just upon a single verse. We must take the whole counsel of God’s Word. When we study Israel, there is a wealth of information in the Bible awaiting our discovery concerning the people, the nation, and its future. Replacement Theology and its antagonistic view of Israel is perpetuating an anti-Semitic stance within the church.
What one believes about Israel is of utmost importance and pivotal to understanding the Bible and the end times. This should be all too apparent, if not self-evident when we study the Word. Old Testament promises made to national Israel will literally be fulfilled in the future just as they were literally fulfilled in the past. The details to support this can be found in abundance in the Old Testament, and we find that both John (in the book of Revelation) and Paul in his epistles often draw on a number of passages to prove their points.
As I’ve stated more than once already, but cannot stress enough, if Israel is truly no longer God’s “chosen people,” we find numerous problems inherent with this position that cannot be reconciled with God’s character, His promises, or Scripture.
Romans 11 contains scriptural precepts which are critical to understand. To get the complete picture, read chapters 1–10 of Romans through thoroughly. Also, chapters 1–2 of Romans points out how all men are without excuse because of the evidence of the truth of God, which has been with us from the beginning, revealed in creation, and found in nature.
Romans 2 discusses the Jew and the law. It points out the futility of trying to obtain salvation through the law—that Jews, God’s chosen ones do not have any advantage over the Gentiles for salvation. For we all have sinned, we all have missed the mark and fallen short of God’s glory. There is none truly righteous—no, not one. The law shows us just how short we fall of God’s holiness. In fact, the Jews who have more knowledge of God, will have even more to answer for. The chapter closes with the statement that it is not enough to be circumcised externally to be a Jew, but rather God’s concern is for the heart to be circumcised or transformed—not an outward change in the flesh but in the inner man.
In Romans 3–8, we are told that the Jews had an advantage over the Gentiles in that they were given the truth of God’s Word (the oracles of God) and were entrusted to keep it. However, both the Jew and the Gentile have sinned, and the law did not, does not, and will not justify any of us. None of us are justified apart from a genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul raises the question in Romans 9–11 regarding the rightful place of Israel. On this matter then, Paul has this to say:
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:3)
If the church was in any kind of position to replace Israel, Paul could not have made such a strong statement. However, we need to pay close attention to how Paul defines Israel throughout the book of Romans and his other epistles.
It’s obvious that God’s everlasting Covenant is still in effect with Israel because of what Paul states earlier in his very same letter to the Romans. He goes on to identify his people—distinguishing them from the Gentiles and the church:
. . . who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (Romans 9:4–5)
Certainly, these are not Gentiles or “the church” of which he is speaking.
In summary, what can be said for Israel? God says that we are to bless them and not curse or turn against them. Of the Jew, Paul stated “unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2). Jesus Himself said that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). And though they have been dispersed throughout the world, God has blessed and prospered them wherever they went. We, therefore, owe a great debt to the Jewish people; and Israel is still Israel and will continue to have a special place in God’s heart and significance in the future of our planet. Remember, God has said of the Jew:
For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (Zechariah 2:8).
To order copies of Israel: Replacing What God Has Not?, click here
By Bill Randles
President Obama’s term is almost over (God willing), but in one of his last attempts to express his disdain for the only Democracy in the Middle East, and our Ally, Israel, he has denounced Jewish settlement building in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Normally, the U.S. would veto such a brazen vote (a vote that puts incredible pressure on the state of Israel to “cease immediately all development of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem”).
Within two days of the uniquely conjoined holidays of Christmas and Hannukah, the U.N.security council voted for a resolution which would criminalize Israeli settlements, subject Jewish soldiers defending their homeland to international tribunals, and cede the entire West Bank, (Judea) to the “Palestinians,” cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, and criminalize any construction of Jewish dwellings there, as “obstacles to the two state solution.”
Such insane regulations are proposed regularly in the United Nations, the largest voting block being the Organization of Islamic conference, consisting of 57 Muslim states, not to mention Israel’s other enemies. But usually these malicious motions are dismissed by the veto of the United States of America. This resolution is the first successful condemnation of the Israeli “settlers” in 37 years.
Indeed, Obama has assured Israel repeatedly that, “we have your back,” and there is no greater friend to Israel than the United States. This is what made this act of perfidy so treacherous. It is obscene that Obama would do it in the closing hours of his failed presidency, seeking to pre-empt President Trump’s pro-Israel policy.
The implications of this resolution are ominous; Israel must return to the borders she had before the six day war in 1967, the Temple Mount, Tomb of the Patriarchs, and several other sacred sites are now considered to be illegitimately occupied by Israel; Israel can now be subjected to international sanctions for violating these redrawn lines.
In Matthew 24, in the most complete compilation of Jesus’ teachings on the events leading to the “end of the age and the sign of his coming” Jesus cited many universal signs such as floods, famines, earthquakes, wars, and rumors of wars. Suddenly, he shifts from the universal to the local . . . “Then let them which be in Judea. . . .” Judea will be the pressure point, the catalyst which provokes “Great Tribulation, such as has never been seen before, nor shall ever be seen again. . . .”
In view of this outrage, I am reposting a teaching from the prophet Joel to demonstrate the stunning relevance of this passage to the current Geo-political situation. This teaching is an excerpt from my 2010 book, A Sword On The land-The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy.
God Sues the Nations . . . Joel 3
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. (Joel 3:1-3)
Joel, the biblical prophet, who ministered between 835-800 BC, prophesied with amazing clarity Geo-political events that are occurring right before our very eyes.
To demonstrate this, allow me to unpack Joel, chapter three.
*The Time of fulfillment: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem . . . .” This prophecy is slated for the time when God would bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem; that is, it is going to be fulfilled post 1948.
* I will also gather all nations: The literal possibility for this aspect of the prophecy is only recent, for at no other time in human history has there been even a possibility for the “gathering of all nations” since the Tower of Babel judgment.
All nations have indeed been assembled into a congress, the United Nations, which arose, like Israel, out of the aftermath of World War II in the late 1940s. As Psalm 2 predicts, “the kings of the earth and their rulers take counsel together against the LORD and His Christ.”
* Valley of Jehoshaphat: “ . . . and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat . . .” The point is not that there is or isn’t an actual geographical valley of Jehoshaphat, the point is that the name Jehoshaphat is part of the prophesy. It means “Jahweh shall Judge,” i.e. God shall judge the nations of the earth.
It could also be a reminder of the story of the siege of Judah in the days of King Jehoshaphat, in which after repentance and a national day of prayer and fasting, the instruction was given not to fear the combined gentile armies of Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites.
This is the battle where Judah, at God’s command, marched the Priests out front of the army, with instruments instead of weapons, and praised the goodness of the Lord! The enemy turned upon itself and was routed.
* “ . . . and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel . . . ” This is not a prediction that God will ask the nations to go easy on Israel. This is legal language. God is going to slap a lawsuit upon the nations; he is serving an indictment, for this is the court of Divine justice!
The indictment has four counts, 1) they scattered God’s people, 2) they parted God’s land, 3) they cast lots for God’s people, and 4) they sold out the children of Israel, for the hire of a harlot, and for wine.
My people, whom they have scattered among the nations— The nations of the world indeed scattered the children of Israel, thoroughly across the world; it is not unusual even to this day to find a tribe in remote China, India, or even black Africa, who keep kosher and observe other practices of the Jews, though cut off for centuries from the rest of the world.
But one could argue that this was exactly what God told Israel would happen should they prove faithless.
And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.(Leviticus 26:33)
So why is there an indictment on the nations of the world for doing exactly what God said they would do? We have to turn to Zechariah for the answer:
And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.(Zechariah 1:15)
God is bringing suit against the nations because though He used them to scatter the children of Israel, and to afflict them, they have taken it further than He wanted.
The nations were “at ease” when holocausts and pogroms were occurring—it didn’t bother them. Hitler was offering shiploads of German Jews to any nation that would shelter them, but there were no takers. He then knew that his “final solution” was possible to undertake without international interference.
All through the 1940s into the 1990s, the word of the nations to Israel, in the midst of intifada and terror campaigns was “don’t rock the boat” and inflame the Arabs, give them “land for peace” so that oil prices would be stable.
The nations could overlook the Palestinian bombings and murder campaigns, the slaughter of children, women, Olympic athletes, etc., for they themselves were “at ease.” This is what is bringing upon the world the final judgment.
The second indictment against the nations of the world is that they have participated in the partition of God’s land. This will bring judgment to the world.
* Israel isn’t the property of the UN, the Vatican, the European Union, or the Arabs; neither is it the property of Israel, for it belongs to God himself.
The land shall not be sold for ever [permanently]: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. (Leviticus 25:23)
Therefore, for the nations of the world to deliberate at the UN, or in Rome or Washington or Cairo as to the disposal of the Holy Land and its borders, as if it were theirs to dispose of is arrogant presumption.
Not even the Jews have the right to trade land for peace, although the leadership of Israel being for the most part secular in their outlook, would desperately love to do so if it would bring peace.
Currently, this prophecy is being fulfilled by the insistence of the UN that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (rendering it indefensible), as well as the pressure everted to cede the Gaza, and the so-called “West Bank” territory, which is biblically named “Judea and Samaria.”
The United States, under the Obama administration, has been insisting upon a “No Natural growth” policy for Judea, which means that the number of Jewish settlers there is to be “capped,” allowing for no further growth in population. This would effectively strangle the existing population, forcing the remaining Jews to leave.
While Arab leaders, International statesmen, “human Rights” champions of every stripe, the Pope, the presidents of the free world, UN delegates, and a host of other parliamentarians the world over heatedly debate the “status” of Jerusalem and the “legitimate” borders of Israel, the Holy God of the Bible observes.
It would be well to remember the Words of the prophet Ezekiel in his prophecy to the “West Bank,” that is the mountains of Judea:
Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord: 2 thus saith the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: 3 therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:
Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;
Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.
Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: therefore thus saith the Lord God; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. . . .
But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded. (Ezekiel 36:1-10)
LTRP Note: Please see the video clip by Paul Wilkinson below the segment of this out-of-house news article. Also see a 2013 article by Jim Fletcher.
“Anti-BDS activists decry Lutherans’ ‘obsession’ with Israel”
By RAFAEL MEDOFF
The Jerusalem Post
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans. One resolution established an “investment screen” that will recommend where Lutherans should invest their money with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. The other urged a cutoff of US aid to Israel unless Israel meets a series of conditions, and calls for the immediate US recognition of “the state of Palestine.” . . . David Brog, of Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that the resolutions “blame Israel and only Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.
Such one-sided scapegoating of the Jewish state will only fuel further Palestinian rejection and violence.” Click here to continue reading.
Related Video by Paul Wilkinson at the 2014 Berean Call Conference and a 2013 article by Jim Fletcher:
** Video by Paul Wilkinson: http://livestream.com/accounts/4634368/events/3277070/videos/60764986.
“Propaganda Wins” On Israel
By Jim Fletcher (from 2013)
Used with permission.
At the Catalyst East conference in Atlanta, I listened to Lynne Hybels give a talk about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. One of her concluding slides was an image of the security fence Israel erected to keep out terrorists. It’s worked quite well, and that seems to bother critics of the Jewish state, who can’t bring themselves to simply say that it’s good Jews are not being murdered anymore.
Instead, the critics refer to the fence as a “wall,” or, more provocatively, an “apartheid wall.” This is a complete inversion of the truth, since Israel is the most open society in the Middle East, and grants far-reaching rights to Arabs.
An interesting lie being peddled is that the fence completely surrounds Bethlehem. It does not.
Yet, by alleging that the fence encircles the town—this even by members of the Religious Left who have been there and know better—they succeed in portraying Israel as the “warden” of the “prison” the Palestinians are kept in.
Hybels chose to include an image in her presentation that showed a simple message written on the fence:
This is significant, because it signals yet another evidence that leftists are tightening their grip on Evangelicalism. After all, Rob Bell’s 2011 book, Love Wins, in which he comes out as a universalist while simultaneously denying that he did so—this a hallmark tactic of leftists posing as “evangelicals”—is admired by those change-agents within the church who are attempting to transform it into an altogether different entity.
By approvingly displaying this image, Hybels shows clearly that she embraces the same type of theology/ideology that Bell does. They are all in the same camp, and specific examples could be cited all the day long:
•Donald Miller’s hit piece on Israel, from his November 19 blog post.
•Andy Braner’s recent blog post bemoaning the tough conditions of those that live in Bethlehem.
•Gabe Lyon’s recent “Q” discussion/interview with Sami Awad, a leading change agent and Bethlehem resident who is friends with Lynne Hybels.
•Relevant magazine’s continued flirtation with anyone who either mocks Bible prophecy or sides with Israel.
By the way, I’ve just been informed that Relevant’s issue dealing with the Israel/”Palestine” conflict—set for January—has been moved to July. Be watching for it.
A further interesting development is that when I attempted, several times, to get an interview with Catalyst director Brad Lomenick, and ask him why anti-Israel and self-described “non-Marxist socialist” Cornel West spoke at Catalyst East in 2011, I was told Mr. Lomenick doesn’t have time.
(There is plenty of other data that shows the Catalyst team is committed to spreading the Palestinian narrative throughout the American church.)
Personally, if I were responsible for filling young evangelicals’ heads with leftist ideology espoused by Liberation Theologian West…I’d find the time to tell constituents why. But you must know, dear reader, that a hallmark of the New Evangelical leadership is to stonewall when someone questions their methods.
Silence. This type of ideology is flooding the evangelical world, as we speak. Click here to continue reading.
** Video by Paul Wilkinson: http://livestream.com/accounts/4634368/events/3277070/videos/60764986.
Comment by Roger Oakland: For those who are reading this and who do not believe Ezekiel 38 is relative to current events happening today in the middle east, read this article. The very nations mentioned over 2500 years ago in the Bible that would be aligned against Israel in the last days are aligned against Israel right now. WAKE UP! Stand up if you attend a postmodern church and tell someone.
“Moscow Calming Israeli, American Fears of Russia-Turkey-Iran Coalition”
Tuesday’s meeting in St. Petersburg between the two former feuding foes Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan “drew considerable attention,” government-run news agency TASS reported, noting that the Russian-Turkish rapprochement is coming while Russia has been expanding its relations with Iran and Ankara and Tehran have also been bridging the gaps between them, born by almost four decades of a volatile Islamic Republic on Turkey’s border. In fact, right after the failed coup last month, Erdogan announced, “We are determined to cooperate with Iran and Russia to address regional problems side by side and to step up our efforts considerably to restore peace and stability to the region.”
Should Israel be concerned? Apparently, the Russian news organ is eager to spread a message of calm regarding the new developments in the northern part of the region. And so an unsigned article this week polled experts who were skeptical regarding a developing strategic triangle of those three powers. According to the TASS experts, the most that will come out of the current statements are tactical political interaction and an upturn in economic cooperation. But even if it were true, and Russia, Turkey and Iran were to forge a strategic alliance, TASS continues its calming message, it would be for the best, because “these three countries can play a positive role, for instance, in overcoming the Syrian crisis.”
It isn’t clear who is panicking more at the moment—Jerusalem or Washington—over the possibility that Turkey, a NATO member, would switch sides and coalesce with Russia and Iran. Clearly, the US has a whole lot more to lose from such an emerging outcome. US Middle East policy traditionally relied on the “three-legged stool” comprised of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. As long as those three major local powers were in the Western camp, Soviet manipulations elsewhere could be mitigated. When Iran was lost under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, the US attempted for the longest time to substitute Iraq for the missing stool leg, but the Iraqi regime never provided the stability the US enjoyed with the Shah. This is why the US is so determined to keep Turkey in the Western camp, because without a Western-allied Turkey, the US presence in the region would be severely downgraded.
Hence the need for the TASS calming story. It interviewed senior research fellow Vladimir Sazhin, of the Oriental Studies Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, who reassured the Western readers “there will be no trilateral union, of course. It should be ruled out for many reasons. At best one can expect some tactical alliance. This is so because Iran, Turkey and Russia have certain problems in their relations with the West and with the United States.” That’s code for Turkey would be punished severely, economically and otherwise, if it ever jumped ship. FULL ARTICLE: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/moscow-calming-israeli-american-fears-of-russia-turkey-iran-coalition/2016/08/11/
A powerful message from Pastor Bill Randles:
Reposted from February 2016 in light of this week’s attack against Israel.
By Tony Pearce
Light For the Last Days Ministries (UK)
From the Winter 2015 Light for the Last Days Newsletter. Used with permission.
Israel is in the grip of a terror offensive as Palestinians have been attacking Israelis with knives and driving their cars at them. Between September 13 and November 30, 2015, 22 Israelis were killed and 215 wounded.
The attacks began after false accusations that Israel was defiling the Al Aqsa Mosque (on the site of the former Jewish Temple in Jerusalem). Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been telling his people that Israel was planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and “change the Arab and Islamic character and identity” of Jerusalem. He condemned Jews for “defiling the Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet.” Radical Islamist and terrorist elements are calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Statements by Fatah and Hamas have described the attacks as “heroic actions” and “the natural response to Israel”s crimes.”
All of the makes the possibility of a “peace settlement” even more remote. According to a recent poll, the majority of Palestinians don’t want a “two state solution” as proposed by the US, EU, and UN. They want a new “intifada” to replace the whole of Israel with a Palestinian state — preferably, one that now would be ruled by Hamas and jihadi organizations such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Their problem is not with “settlements” or “poor living conditions” but with Israel’s existence. A majority believes that Israel can —and should —be destroyed.
After the Paris attacks, Netanyahu said:
“The time has come for countries to condemn terrorism against us to the same degree that they condemn terrorism everywhere else in the world.”
However, most of the world does not condemn terrorism against Israel but often supports it and turns its condemnation on Israel. In fact, the French government pays millions of Euros every year to Palestinian NGOs whose stated goal is to destroy Israel, thus helping to finance the radicalization of Palestinian society. Just two days before the Paris attacks, Netanyahu took the European Union to task for setting new guidelines for special labelling of goods produced by Israelis in the West Bank, Golan Heights and Jerusalem, which is widely viewed in Israel as a precursor to an economic boycott of Israel. He said:
“The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labelling the side that is being attacked by terrorism.”
The world generally does not care about what happens to Israel and sides with those seeking to destroy her. But the Lord does care. Jeremiah prophesied a time when Israel will hear “a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace.” This is the time of Jacob’s trouble, “but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30.4-7).
At this time the Lord says:
“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, because they have called you an outcast saying, ‘It is Zion for whom no one cares.”(Jeremiah 30.17)
Remembering the Holocaust – Who Really Killed Jesus? by Tony Pearce
No Peace – No Messiah by Tony Pearce