CHRISTIANS AND ISRAEL


By Alfred Olsen

"WHO IS A LIAR, BUT HE WHO DENIETH THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST? THIS IS ANTICHRIST, WHO DENIETH THE FATHER, AND THE SON." (1 John 2:22).

1) THE HISTORICAL LEGITTIMACY

One can find no historical argument that is sufficiently valid to justify an Israeli State in PALESTINE in the XXth. century, this land belonging to its Palestinian citizens as any other country belongs to its own. Four million Palestinians claim their legittimate historical right over the Palestinian soil. These rights are pre-Biblical, and the Bible mentions Palestine and the Palestinians. Their wars against the jewish invadors are notorious (1 Samuel 28).

Before the advent of Jesus, the jews often attempted to form an Israeli State in Palestine at the detriment of the Palestinians. This State took the shape of a kingdom around 1000 B.C. - But after less than one century, the kingdom split into two: the kingdom of the North in Samaria, and the kingdom of the South in Judea, to disappear altogether, the first in 722 B.C., 200 years after its formation, swept by the Assyrians, and the second in 586 B.C., about four hundred years after its formation, when the Babylonian invation put an end to it. The jews were then exiled to Babylone, and only a smal number of them remained in the land as residents, while the original inhabitants kept their continuous residence in Palestine.

Not until the year 37 B.C. did the jewish kingdom reappear with Herod the Great. Again an end was put to this kingdom only one century after, in 70 after Christ, by the Roman troops of Titus. The jews then escaped from Palestine to the four quarters of the world, while the original Palestinian inhabitants of the land stayed there.

Two thousand year later, in 1948, a State of Israel reappears in Palestine, claiming rights on the land, at the detriment of the Palestinians who always had lived there. The jews who rushed into the Holy Land from the four quarters of the earth, chassed out the Palestinians by using violence. These had to leave their homes in tragical conditions to be exiled under tents in the neibouring Arab countries.

The great international powers helped the jewish immigration in Palestine, while the Palestinians were forced out of it.

The Israeli State was finally proclaimed on the 14th of May 1948. A quarter of an hour after its proclamation, it was recognised by the great powers as though Palestine and Palestinians never existed.

Yet the historical proofs of their existence are obvious and abundant. (Biblical: Nb. 13, 21-33-social-cultural-folkloric-old and contemporary Palestinian money etc....).

We notice that those who back up Israel feel a certain guilty conscience toward the jews, in order to clear their conscience they vote for a jewish state in Palestine. But justice cannot be done by depriving the Palestinians from their legittimate rights in favor of others, and again, one may not dispose of what belongs to someone else. To speak clearly, an American or a French man for example, does not have the right to dispose of the Palestinian earth that does not belong to him.

A question is asked to those who want to satisfy their conscience by placing the jews in in a jewish homeland: "Why not give them a part of their own America or European land of which they can dispose?".
The usual answer is to evoke a Biblical legittimacy: according to them, the Israelis would have a Biblical right on Palestine. Thus we are transfered from a historical ground unto a spiritual, or theological one, and most of the times by persons who ignore the Bible and the theology.
It is therefore as Christians that it is asked from us to recognise a Biblical right to the Zionist State of Israel; the apostles of today are sollicitated in order to testify in favor of those who openly deny that Jesus is the Christ, and are expecting another Christ. This sollicitation is made in the name of the Holy Bible.

2) THE BIBLICAL LEGITTIMACY

Many Christians support Israel because they think, that they are helping God's chosen people to return to the promised land. We therefore find it important to remind them who is God's people and what is the Promised Land at the light of the Gospel.
A) THE PROMISED LAND
Palestine is not a land promised by God to the Israelis of today for the two following reasons:
1) The promised land is a symbol of a spiritual, non geographical reality.
2) The promise was under condition.
1) THE PROMISED LAND IS SPIRITUAL:
God had promised a land to Abraham and his posterity; but the notion of this promised land, as intended by God, was explained all through the centuries by the Bible, to appear finally as a spiritual reality, not a geographical place. This is why St.Paul said: "By faith Abraham sejourned in the land of promise as in a trange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder is God." (Hb.11,9-10).
The spirituality of the land has its roots in the Old Testament. Thus the tribe of Levi was not to have a share of the Palestinian earth, God being its share. In effect the Bible says: "Unto the tribe of Levi, Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance" (Jos.13,33).
Again the Psalm 36 (37) says that "the meek and the rigteous inherit the earth", and we cannot say that all the Israeli who live today in Palestine meek and righteous. Moreover, we can find these vertues anywhere.
Jesus finally explained this fact by saying that the kingdom of God is not a visible or political entity, but that it dwell whitin the beliver's heart. When the Pharisees asked him when was the kingdom of God to come, he knew that they had ment the universal political Zionist empire. He answered: "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say: Lo here, or Lo there! For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17,20-21).
We find in modern Judaism many rabbis who underlign the spiritual dimension of the Promised Land. The following commentary of the great rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz is typical: "it is written: 'And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers' (Ez.36,28). The Lord 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 fathers, and not the material earth". (Le Royaume de Dieu et le royaume de CÚsar, by the rabbi Emmanuel Levyne).
As we shall see futher, the seed of Abraham, who are the heirs of the promised Land, are also the members of a spiritual succession, and are not established according to a historical flesh and blood genealogy. This spiritual legacy is not the father-son type, but depends upon the faith in Jesus. St.Paul said: "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal.3,29).
Thus for a Christian, the jews who refuse to recognise that Jesus is the true Christ, and explicitely await another Messiah, must not be considered as the seed of Abraham, nor the heirs of the promised land, be it spiritual or geographical.
2) THE PROMISE IS CONDITIONAL
God desinherited the jews even before the advent of Jesus. For the Land had been promised under condition of faithfulness to the Covenant. The conditions have not been fulfilled, and the Covenant was thus broken by the jews, not by God, who then announced the advent of a New Covenant which the jews still refuse.
a) THE CONDITION:
Supposing that the land is geographical, we must not forget that it has been promised under certain conditions, because Moses told the jews: "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law....then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed....".
The conjuction "IF" obviously manifests the condition. Moses then adds: "...Because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God....the Lord God will rejoice over you to destroy you...and ye shall be plucked off from the land whither thou goest to possess it" (Deut.28,58-63).
It is clear that, in case of infidelity, the outcome of the promise is altogether different, and what is promised to the jews are "wonderful plagues" to them and to their seeds, as well as an expelsion from the land; these are the terms of the Covenant.
b) THE BETRAYAL:
The jews did not "observe to do all the words of this law" as Moses had asked them to do. The Bible frankly says that they betrayed God by worshipping the idols of the neighbouring countries who did not know God. They even imitated their customs and offered their children in sacrifice to the idols instead of praising God. This is one of the reasons of the prophet Eliijah's revolt when the city of Jerico was reconstructed at the price of human sacrifices offered to Baal (1 Kings 16,30-34; then refer to Jos.6,26). The Psalm 106 stated the various Israeli infidelities: "They worshipped a calf in Horeb....They forgot God their saviour....They joined themselves unto Baal and mingled among the heathen, and learned their works, and served their idols. They sacrificed their sons and daughters unto the devils and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan".
This is why the prophets cried out denouncing the betrayal and declared God's anger against Israel: "Hear this princes of the house of Israel that abhor judgment and pervert all equity, that build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity....and say: 'Is not the Lord among us?' Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field...." (Micah 3,9-12).
Isaiah also prophesied against Israel saying: "I have nourished and brought up children, saith the Lord, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know.... Ah! sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers.... they have forsaken the Lord" (Is.1,2-4).
c) ABROGATION AND NEW COVENANT
After having denounced Israel's betrayal, God spoke by Jeremiah to declare that the Covenant had been abrogated by the jews, and to announce the coming of a New Covenant which will not be like the abrogated one, since the believer's share will be God himself, not a land: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, NOT according to the Covenant that I made with theirs fathers.... which my Covenant they brake....But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jer.31,31-33).
It is obvious that this New Covenant differs from the abrogated one since it will "not be according to it." The difference lies in the fact that the New Covenant promises no geographical land to the jews, but instead it is God himself who becomes the share of any man who belives in Jesus, the Founder of the New and Universal Covenant.
The jews still refuse Jesus Christ's Covenant because it promises no geographical land, nor does it grant them the "privilege" of establishing the worldwide Zionist empire they wish to have.
B) THE CHOSEN PEOPLE
God's choise never fell upon a jewish nations as some atill think. In effect, The Bible says that God chose a man, Abraham, who is Syrian, and not a jewish people, for there was not an Israeli nation before Abraham. It is therefore wrong to believe that Judaism is a race; Moses stresses upon this point by saying to the jews: "Tho shall speak and say before the Lord thy God: A syrian was my father." (Deut.26,5).
The purpose of Abraham's call was the FORMATION of a social surrounding to recive the Messiah. God's intention was not to chose a people for political reasons, but to send the Messiah who "came unto his own, and his own receivet him not".
"But many as received him" says St.John (1,11-12), "to them gave he the power to become the sons of God." According to the Christian theology therefore, God's people is international and based on the faith in Jesus.
Formerly, Jesus had told the jews: "If ye belive not that I am he (Christ) ye shall die in your sins" (John 8,24). And again Jesus told them: "If God were your Father, ye would love me....Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8,42-44.
WHAT DO WE TELL THEM TODAY?
According to the Gospel, the true jews are the disciples of Jesus, and the authentic Israel is the Church. Does not Christ denounce the Hebrews as "false jews, and a synagogue of Satan?" (Rev.2,9 and 3,9).
This is why St.Paul said that Abraham's seed are the disciples of Jesus Christ (Gal.3,29). He therefore invite the jews to be "graffed in", as he says, by believing in Jesus, in order to be members of God's people (Ro.11,23).
It is then out of the question to reject the jews as persons, but Israel as a State. The jews are on the contrary invited to enter into the flock of Jesus to become part of the universal people of GOd. The Christian charity forbids us to sink them into their own errors by encouraging them to think that they are God's people back to the promise land.
For we must understand that the jews, who keep on denying that Jesus is the Christ, bear the specific characteristisc of the Antichrist announced by St.John: "Who is liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist." (1 john 2,22).
All Christians and all Moslems recognise that Jesus is the Christ. We even find followers of Jesus in Buddhism and Hinduism. Gandi often spoke of his admiration towards him and of his disappointment towards Christians: "Give me Jesus Christ, and keep the Christians for yourselves."
John's prophecy about the Antichrist cannot be applied to those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, but to those who refuse his messianism. The Antichrist's specific characterestic can only be applied to the jews who explicitely deny Jesus and expect another christ. HE IS THE ANTICHRIST.
We must not be astonished about this radical change in the fate of the jews, and let us remember what Jesus said when a Roman officer expressed his faith in him: "Many shall come from the East and from the West, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. But the children of the kingdom (of Israel) shall be cast out in the darkness....(Mt.8,11).
Thus, with the advent of Jesus, the concept of the "chosen people" changed from a tribal and fanatic one, into an international reality. In the above text, Christ condemns the "children of the kingdom" of Israel because they want to understand Judaism in political and racial manner.
This is the reason why Jesus refused to be the king of a political jewish state: "My Kingdom is not of this world", said he. Many jews still blame him for not having led the Zionist movement against the Romans; they feel that if he were a "good jew", he would have "understood and pitied" the jewish men, women and children who had put their trust in him because of his supernatural powers. They hoped - as Judas Iscariot did - that he would use these powers at the service of the political kingdom of Israel, whence their disappointment and grief.
In fact, St.John tells us that, after the miracle of the multiplication of the bread, "Jesus, perceiving that the jews would come and take him by force to make him king, he departed into a mountain all alone." (John 6,15).
The opposition between the Kingdom of God and that of Israel is obvious in Christ's speach denouncing the sons of the Zionist kingdom, codemning them to be thrown into the "outer darkness" (mt.8,11). This opposition is the main conflict between Jesus and the jews.
One of the aspects of the conflict, is the universality of the Kingdom; for Jesus, the universality means the introduction into the Kingdom of God of all men who believe in him, independently of their race and language. But for the jews it means that they are citizens of first class, and that privileges are reserved to them universally.
Yet the prophets had already extended the election to the people of all races. God, speaking by Isaiah 8 centuries B.C. said: "I will gather all nations and toungues....and I will also take of them for priests and levites...." (Is.66,18-21).
The choice of religious ministres amongst non jewish nations is an undeniable proof of the authenticity of Jesus Christ's universal priesthood.
WHAT SHOULD WE THEN CONCLUDE?
St.Paul answers: "What then? Israel hath not obtained what he seaketh for; but the election hath obtained" (Ro.11,7). THE ELECTION BEING THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.
III) ISRAEL: A SIGN OF THE TIMES
Since the jews who are gathered today in Palestine from the four quarters of the earth are not God's people back to their promised land, what then is the prophetical meaning of the reapparition of an Israeli State?
It is a "SIGN OF THE TIMES". In religious circles, it is often spoken of the "signs of the times" without precising what are the times ment by this expression: the "end of times".
Speaking of these times, Jesus had said: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21,24). The times in question are therefore the end of the times of the Gentiles, or in other words of the pagans. Israel is therefore a sign of the end of the time allowed to the pagans.
After the advent of Jesus, the pagans are those who deny that he is the Christ; this denial makes of them the symbol of paganism in its various aspects, THE ANTICHRIST BY EXCELLENCE.
When the jews forbade the apostles to speak about Jesus, the apostles prayed to God saying: "AGAINST thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast annointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together." (Acts 4,27).
The word "AGAINST" releals the spirit of the ANTI-CHRIST that dwells in the people of Israel. This spirit was already active before the appearance of a jewish State. This is why St.John said the Antichrist was to come in the future (it's the jewish state), but that his spirit, which is the denial of Jesus, was already in the world at his time, in the jews who fought AGAINST Christ's apostles: "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world," (1 Jn. 4,3).
This, according to St.Paul, is the "Mystery of iniquity which already was at work" and which was to manifest itself with strength during the appearance of the Antichrist whom St.Paul calls "the son of perdition". (2.thess.2,1-7).
It is at the end of the times allowed to the "pagans" that the Antichrist is to appear performing "great signs and wonders" as Jesus had said, "insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall decieve the very elect". (Mt.24,24).
The jews want us to believe that Israel's return is a "great sign", and an accomplishment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. But we know that the prophecies that they evoke speak of the return of jews from the Babylonian exile in the 6th Century B.C. Let us not be deceived.
For now is rather the time to understand the prophecies of the New Testament concerning the end of the paganic times, before the return of Jesus. We shall thus discover who these pagans are.
Jesus had said that in these times "the abomination of the desolation shall be in the holy places" (Mt.24,15). On the other hand, the book of St.John's Revelation speaks about the reapparition of the Antichrist (Rev.17,8). This will happen in the "holy places", or the Holy Land, Palestine, and particularly in the "beloved City" of Jerusalem, where, according to the Revelation, it is Satan, not God, who gathers the subjects of Antichrist, from the four quarters of the world to battle, not to make peace. (Rev.20,7-9).
The reapparition of Israel, whose subjects come "from the four quarters of the world, in the Holy Land", is a sign of the Apocalyptical times. Its presence signals the advent of the announced Antichrist. Now is the time to understand St.John's enigma: "Here is the wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: For it is a number of a man...." (Rev.13,18). This man is the Antichrist.
IV) THE CHRISTIAN'S ATTITUDE
Finally, what must be the attitude of a Christian 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: "Thou must prophesy AGAIN before many peoples and kings...(10,11).
If the Lord in our Apocalyptical times has send an order to his apostles, asking from them to prophesy AGAIN against his enemies, it is because most of the apostles are deceived by the Antichrist, whom they do not recognise. Instead of denouncing him, they establish good relations with him. The book of Revelation therefore reminds them of their duty as apostles and witnesses of Jesus: after having kept silent, they must now AGAIN bear witness and speak against Christ's enemy: The state of Israel.
When Christ came, he was not received by his own people. "His own people" today receive the Antichrist.....
No Christian can recognise the legittimacy of an Israeli State in Palestine without denying himself as a Christian; for by doing so, he implicitly admits that the Church is not the prophetical Israel, and that Jesus is not the Christ.
Jesus said: "No man can serve two masters"; we cannot serve the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of Israel at the same time. We cannot savegard our testimony to Jesus Christ's authentic Messianism without denouncing Israel's false messianism. The jews know it.
In such an important matter, silence and neutrality are a sign of lukewarmness: "Thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev.3,15).
A CHOISE MUST BE MADE, AND WE SHALL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO OUR COMMITMENT; IT IS NOT BY RECOGNISING "THE STATE OF ISRAEL" THAT A CHRISTIAN REMAINS FAITHFUL TO HIS TESTIMONY, BUT BY INVITING THE JEWS TO RECOGNISE JESUS.
NOW IS THE HOUR OF THUTH, NOW IS THE MOMENT TO FACE REALITY BEFORE IT IS TO LATE. LET US BE AWARE OF THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES AND PREPARE OURSELVES TO THE INEVITABLE COMBAT OF COMBATS, WHICH IS THE WAR OF "ARMAGEDDON".

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