Christians and Israel

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1 Christians and Israel I.Shammout Today a problem of conscience arises for some Christians because of the actual State of Israel. The ones sensitized by the "Hitler holocaust" have hurried to recognize it; the others -the small number- have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel for two reasons: 1.Because they are sensitized by the injustice the Palestinian people are going through, chased out of their land by violence 2.For reasons related to the faith in Jesus and to the testimony due to Him. The subject of this study is delicate, capable of hurting sensibilities, therefore it must be said beforehand, that it is not in an "anti-semitic" spirit that the problem is treated, but in a spirit of social and religious justice. We support the religious freedom of everyone and everywhere, even in Israel where we hope that the millions of exiled Palestinians - Muslims and Christians - will be repatriated by the Israeli authorities, who refuse to reintegrate them because they are not Jews. Is this not racism? To clarify the problem, we must ask ourselves the following question: "For a Christian what does the recognition of the State of Israel mean?" Is it to recognize the fait accompli of its presence, or to admit the legitimacy of this 27/07/2017 Page 1/9

2 presence in Palestine today? As for the fait accompli, which is a historical phenomenon, one cannot but notice the presence in Palestine, since 1948 only, of a political entity that the United Nations, a lay institution, agreed to recognize as the State of Israel. But what about the legitimacy of this Israeli presence on the Palestinian territory? To be clear: A man detains a stolen object; we recognize that this object is in his possession, but can we approve of the fact by recognizing the legitimacy of this possession, without committing a serious injustice? Thus, the problem of conscience which presents itself is the following: "Can we recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel in Palestine?" When we speak about the legitimacy of a State, we refer to a historical right on a given land. In the sole case of Israel, a Biblical right is evoked. We will therefore speak of the historical and Biblical legitimacy of Israel. 1 The historical legitimacy One can find no historical argument that is sufficiently valid to justify an Israeli State in Palestine in the XX century, this land belonging to its Palestinian citizens as any other country belongs to its own. Millions of Palestinians claim their legitimate historical right over Palestine. These rights are pre-biblical, and the Bible mentions Palestine and the Palestinians. The wars of the Palestinians against the Jewish invaders are notorious (1 Samuel 28). Before the coming of Christ, the Jews often attempted to form a State in Palestine. This State took the shape of a kingdom around B.C. However after less than one century the kingdom split into two: a kingdom of the North in Samaria, and another in the South in Judea, both of which disappeared. The first was destroyed in 722 B.C., two hundred years after its formation by the Assyrian invasion, and the second in 586 B.C., about four hundred years after its formation, destroyed by the Babylonians who exiled the Jews to Babylon. It was in the I century that the Jewish kingdom was re-established under the Roman Empire with Herod the Great in the year 37 B.C. Again this kingdom was destroyed by the Roman troops of Titus in 70 A.D. The Jews then escaped from Palestine to the four quarters of the world. However the Palestinians remained in Palestine. Two thousand years later, in 1948, a State of Israel reappeared in Palestine, claiming rights on the land to the detriment of the Palestinians who had always lived there. The Jews who rushed into the Holy Land from the four quarters of the earth, chased out the Palestinians by violence. These had to leave their homes in tragic conditions to live in exile in the Arab countries under tents or in shantytowns. The great international powers helped the Jews to settle down in Palestine, and recognised the Jewish State a quarter of an hour after its proclamation on the 14th of May 1948, as if Palestine and the Palestinians never existed. Yet the historical proofs of their existence are abundant. (Biblical: Numbers 13,21-33, social, cultural, folkloric, archaeological proofs: old and contemporary Palestinian coins, etc...) We must notice that those who support Israel, generally, feel guilty towards the Jews; therefore they decided to host them in Palestine. But is it justice to give someone what is torn away from others? Can someone dispose of others people's property? Has an American, a British or a French man, for example, the right to dispose of the Palestinian 27/07/2017 Page 2/9

3 land that does not belong to him? A question: why do those who want to satisfy their conscience by placing the Jews in a homeland not give them a part of their own American or European land of which they can dispose? The usual answer is to evoke a Biblical legitimacy: the Israelis would have a Biblical right on Palestine. Thus we are transferred from a historical to a Biblical ground, most of the times by persons who ignore the whole Bible. Therefore, Christians are asked, as such, by the Jews to recognise their Biblical right on Palestine. Today, the people of Jesus Christ are urged on to testify in favour of those who deny Jesus. And this occurs in the name of the Bible. This is the test of faithfulness predicted by the Christ for the end of times. The Vatican itself failed! For Judaism is neither a race, nor a geographical land, but a religion which has found its perfect achievement in Jesus Christ. For a Christian it is therefore absurd to recognise a Jewish State for the Jews as well as a Christian State for the Christians. 2 The Biblical legitimacy Many Christians support the State of Israel believing in good faith to help the "chosen people" on their "promised land". We therefore find it important to remind, with the light of the Gospel, the significance of the notions of Promised Land and Chosen People. 2.1 The Promised Land Palestine is not a land promised by the Bible to the Israelis of today for the following two reasons: 1. The Promised Land is the symbol of a spiritual reality. 2. It was promised under condition The Promised Land is spiritual God had promised a land to Abraham and his posterity. The notion of this Promise Land, as intended by God, was explained all through the centuries by the Bible, to appear finally as a spiritual, not a geographical reality. In fact, St. Paul said: "By faith Abraham sojourned in the Promised Land as though it were not his, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. He looked forward to the well-founded city, designed and built by God" (Hebrew 11,9). The spirituality of the land has its roots already in the Old Testament. Thus the tribe of Levi did not possess a land, God Himself being their share. The Bible says actually: "To the tribe of Levi alone, Moses gave no heritage; Yahweh, God of Israel, was his heritage" (Joshua 13,14 and 33). Similarly the Psalm 37 says that "the meek and the righteous will inherit the earth". It is not stated that all the Israelis in Palestine are meek and righteous; we can find these virtues anywhere. Finally Jesus explained this issue by saying that the "Kingdom of God" is not a visible entity, but it is in man's heart. To the Pharisees who asked him when was the Kingdom of God to come, meaning the universal political Zionist empire, Jesus answered: 27/07/2017 Page 3/9

4 "The coming of the Kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, 'Look, it is here! Look, it is there! For look, thekingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17,20-21). We find today within Judaism some rabbis who underline the spiritual dimension of the Promised Land. Here the commentary of the great rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz: "It is written: 'And you shall live in the land that I gave to your fathers' (Ezekiel 36,28). The Eternal One had promised Abraham to give him the land of Canaan; but when Sarah died, he did not possess a land to burry her. How, then, was the Promise accomplished? There are two lands which bear the name of Israel: the Land of Israel of Above, and the land of Israel of below. The Holy Land is the Heavenly Land, where the Divine Palace is, from which overflow the springs of Wisdom. It is this spiritual Land that has been promised and given to our ancestors, and not the material earth" ("Le Royaume de Dieu et le Royaume de César", by the rabbi Emmanuel Levyne, editions "Le Reveil", Beirut). As for the descendants of Abraham, the heirs of the Promised Land, it is also a spiritual notion. A Christian has not to search for it in a historical and ethnic genealogy that transmits the heritage from father to son, but according to the faith in Jesus' Messianism. St Paul said indeed: "And simply by being Christ's, you are that progeny of Abraham, the heirs named in the Promise" (Galatians 3,29). Thus for a Christian every Jew refusing to recognise Jesus as the Messiah, and waiting for another one, has to be considered neither Abraham's progeny, nor heir of the Promised Land, whether it is spiritual or material The promise was under condition God disinherited the Jews even before the advent of Jesus because the land had been promised under condition of faithfulness to the Covenant; this condition has not been fulfilled, and the Covenant was thus broken by the Jews. God then announced a New Covenant, established by Jesus, which the Jews refuse still today The condition Supposing that the Promise Land is geographical, we should not forget that it has been promised under condition. Actually Moses had told the Jews: "If you do not keep and observe all the words of this Law...Yahweh will strike you down with monstrous plagues, you and your descendants..." The conjunction "if" clarifies that the promise is under condition. Moses goes on by saying: "For not having obeyed the voice of Yahweh your God, just as Yahweh used to delight in making you happy...so He will take delight in ruining you and destroying you. Youwill be torn from the country which you are about to enter" (Deuteronomy 28,58-64). It is thus clear that in case of betrayal, there will be no more land and even painful punishments and expulsion of the Jews and their descendants from this land. These were the very words of the Covenant. 27/07/2017 Page 4/9

5 The betrayal: the Covenant broken off The Jews did not respect the conditions of the Covenant. The Bible explicitly reveals that they have betrayed God by worshipping the idols of the neighbouring countries. They even offered their children in sacrifice, imitating the pagan habits (See 1 Kings 16,30-34 / Jeremiah 7,30-32). Even Psalm 106 takes stock of the various Israeli infidelities: "They defied the Most High...At Horeb they made a (golden) calf...they committed themselves to serve Baal...They imitated the pagans, and worshipped their false gods... They sacrificed their own sons and daughters to the devils, offering them to the idols of Canaan". This is why God, speaking through the prophets, cried out His anger against Israel: "Listen to this, you princes of the house of Israel, who detest justice, wresting it from its honest course, who build Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity...and say: 'Isn't Yahweh among us?' That is why, thanks to you, Zion will become plough land, Jerusalem a heap of rubble..." (Micah 3,9-12). God declares again in the book of Isaiah: "Yahweh says: 'I have reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib: Israel does not know...disaster, sinful nation, people weighed down with guilt, race of wrong-doers, perverted children! They have abandoned Yahweh" (Isaiah 1,2-4) Abrogation and New Covenant. After having denounced Israel's infidelity, God declares through Jeremiah the breaking off of the Covenant by the Jews. He announces the coming of a New Covenant,that will not be like the first one, since the believer's share will not be a land, but God Himself: "'Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, but not like the Covenant I made with their ancestors...a Covenant which they broke... This is the Covenant I shall make...within them I shall plant my Law, writing iton their hearts; Then I shall be their God and they will be my people" (Jeremiah 31,31-33). It is obvious that this New Covenant differs from the first one since "it will not be like it". One of the differences is the fact that it promises no geographical land, but in return God gives Himself to all those who believe in Jesus, the Founder of the New Covenant. The Jews still refuse the Christ's Covenant, because it promises no geographical land, nor does it grant them the "privilege" of establishing the world Zionist empire they wish. 2.2 The Chosen People The divine choice never fell upon an already existing Hebrew people as some still think. God's choice fell upon a man, Abraham the Syrian, and not on a Jewish nation that did not exist before Abraham. It is therefore wrong to believe that Judaism is a race; that is why the Bible reminds the Jews that Abraham their ancestor was Aramaean, that is a Syrian. Moses stresses upon this point by telling the Jews: "In the presence of Yahweh your God, you will then pronounce these words: 'My father (Abraham) was a wandering Aramaean'" (Deuteronomy 26,5). The purpose of Abraham's choice was to form a social environment to welcome the Messiah. The aim was not therefore the people, but the Christ who "came to his own and his own people did not accept Him" (John 1,11). But to all those who have received Jesus as the Messiah, independently from their race, He "gave them power to become the children of God" (John 1,12) and to form God's universal 27/07/2017 Page 5/9

6 people. After the Gospel, God's people is Jesus' one. In the past Jesus told the Jews: "If you do not believe that I am He (the Christ) you will die in your sin" and even: "If God were your Father, you would love me..." Finally He declares to them: "You are from your father, the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants" (John 8,24-44) What do the Christians tell them today?..."you are our elder brothers" the Pope John Paul II told them in the synagogue of Rome. How can a disciple of Jesus and His denier be brothers? "If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him into your house or even give him a greeting. Whoever greets him has a share in his wicked activities" (2 John 10-11). For Jesus, to whom we bear witness, the true Jew is Jesus' disciples. Does not Jesus in the Book of Revelation denounce the Jews as "people who falsely claim to be Jews, but are really members of the synagogue of Satan?" (Revelation 2,9 / 3,9). This is why St Paul said: "And simply by being Christ's, you are that progeny of Abraham" (Galatians 3,29). He therefore invites the Jews to believe in Jesus to be "grafted in" on God's people (Romans 11,23). It is then out of question to reject the Jews as persons, but Israel as a State. The Jews, on the contrary, are invited to follow Jesus to become part of God's people. Love and Truth urge us not to reinforce them in their mistake by letting them think that they are still the Chosen People back to the Promised Land. For we must understand that the Jews, who keep on denying that Jesus is the Christ, bear the specific characteristic of the Antichrist announced by St John: "Who is the liar if not the one who claims that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the Antichrist" (1 John 2,22). All Christians and all Muslims recognize that Jesus is the Christ. We find followers of Jesus even in Buddhism and Hinduism. Gandhi often has spoken of his admiration towards Jesus, and did not hide his disappointment towards Christians: "Give me Jesus, and keep the Christians for you", he said. John's prophecy about the Antichrist cannot be applied to those who recognize that Jesus is the Christ, but to those who refuse His Messianism. This characteristic can be applied to the Jews only who, explicitly, reject Jesus and expect another Messiah. They are the Antichrist. We should not be astonished about the fact that the Jews who don't believe in Jesus are not the chosen people. Jesus had said about a Roman officer who had expressed his faith in Him: "In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this. And I tell you that many will come from the East and West and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the children of the kingdom (of Israel) will be thrown out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth" (Matthew 8,10-12). The opposition between the Kingdom of God and that of Israel is the centre of the quarrel between Jesus and the Jews; this opposition appears in Christ's words, when He condemns the issue of the Israeli kingdom, dooming them to the outside darkness (Matthew 8,11). 27/07/2017 Page 6/9

7 Thus, with the advent of Jesus, the concept of the chosen people turned from a tribal and fanatic notion into a universal one. That's why Jesus condemns the "children of the kingdom" of Israel who wanted to understand Judaism in a nationalistic manner: "You are from your father, the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants" (John 8,44). Those who have the devil as father cannot be the "elder brothers" of the ones who have Jesus as Father! For, this is reason Jesus refused to be the king of a Zionist Empire: "My Kingdom is not of this world", He had said (John 18,36) (See the text: "The Tragedy of Jesus"). Yet the prophets had already extended the election to the people of all races. Had not Isaiah VIII centuries B.C. proclaimed this oracle of God: "I am coming to gather every nations and every languages...and some of them I shall make into priests and Levites, Yahweh says" (Isaiah 66, 18-21). Thus, the choice of cult ministers amongst non Jewish nations, as the Christians practice, is a proof of the authenticity of Jesus' universal priesthood. 2.3 What should we then conclude? St Paul answers: "What follows? Israel failed to find what it was seeking; only those who were chosen found it" (Roman 11,7). Now Jesus' disciples are the chosen ones. 3 Israel: a sign of the times Since the Jews who are gathered today in Palestine from the four quarters of the earth are not the Chosen People on their Promised Land, what is then the meaning of the reappearing of Israel? It is a sign of times. People often speak about the signs of the times, without specifying what these times are. This expression evokes the "end of times". Speaking of these times, Jesus said: "Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles (the Israelis), until their time is complete" (Luke 21,24). Israel therefore incarnates paganism for its refusal of the Christ. After the advent of Christ Jesus, the pagans are then those who deny Jesus as Christ; they are the symbol of paganism in its various aspects, the Antichrist by excellence. When the Jews forbade the Apostles to speak about Jesus, those while praying said to God: "In this very city, Herod and Pontus Pilate plotted together with the gentile nations and the peoples of Israel against your holy Servant, Jesus, whom You anointed" (Acts 4,27). The word "against" reveals the spirit of the Anti-Christ that dwells in "the people (goyims) of Israel"; "the people" having the meaning of the "Pagans of Israel" (See the text "The Antichrist Yesterday and Today"). The Jews want us to believe that their return in Palestine is a "great sign" and the prodigious accomplishment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Now we know that the prophecies at issue concern the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile in the VI Century B.C. Let us not be deceived. This is rather the time to understand the prophecies of the New Testament concerning the end of the Pagans. We shall thus understand who these pagans are. Jesus had said that "the abomination of the desolation shall be in the Holy Places" (Matthew 24,15). On the 27/07/2017 Page 7/9

8 other hand, the Revelation reveals also that the Antichrist will gather its subjects in the holy places, in Palestine, and particularly in the beloved City, Jerusalem, where they will be gathered by Satan, not by God, from the four quarters of the world for war, not for peace (Revelation 20,7-9). (See the text "The Key of the Apocalypse"). 4 The attitude of a true Christian Finally what must be the attitude of a Christian committed to Jesus Christ towards the actual State of Israel? The moment has come to meditate, in order to put into practice, these words addressed by the book of Revelation to those who still want to be witnesses of Jesus: "You must prophesy again against many peoples..." (Revelation 10,11). If the Lord commands to His Apostles, in these Apocalyptic times, to prophesy "again", it is because the majority of them have been deceived by the Antichrist, whom they would have not recognized. Instead of denouncing him, they establish good relations with him. The Revelation comes to remind them their duty as Apostles and witnesses of Jesus; after having kept silent, they must, today, bear witness, again, against their enemy: Israel. When the Christ came, His own people did not accept Him. Today "His own people" welcome the Antichrist... No Christian can recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish State in Palestine without denying himself as a Christian; for by doing so, he implicitly admits that Jesus' disciples are not the prophetical Israel, and that Jesus is not the Christ. Jesus had said: "No man can serve two masters"; we cannot serve the Kingdom of Jesus and that of Israel at the same time. We cannot safeguard the testimony to Jesus' Messianism without denouncing Israel's false messianism. The Jews know it, and the Christians are unaware of it. In such an important matter, neutrality or silence denote lukewarmness: "I know about your activities: how you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth", the Lord says in Revelation 3,15. A choice must, therefore, be made, and we shall be judged according to our commitment: it is not by recognizing Israel that a Christian remains faithful to his testimony, but by inviting the Jews to recognize Jesus. Copyright 2011 Pierre2.net All rights reserved. 27/07/2017 Page 8/9

9 Powered by TCPDF ( Christians and Israel 1 The historical legitimacy The Biblical legitimacy The Promised Land The Promised Land is spiritual The promise was under condition The condition The betrayal: the Covenant broken off Abrogation and New Covenant The Chosen People What should we then conclude? Israel: a sign of the times The attitude of a true Christian /07/2017 Page 9/9

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