Happy Lord’s Day, my friends! If you have followed the last two days, you are aware that a very strategic Christian Leadership Conference is taking place in Washington DC. The focus is on Jewish-Christian relations and I am so blessed to be here with over 100 fellow graduates of Christian Leadership Seminars held at Yad Vashem Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem over the past 6 years.
The purpose of these Seminars is to educate Christian leaders around the world about the Holocaust, Antisemitism, and understanding our Jewish roots as Christians. Why? Because the world (including churches and Christians in general), for the most part, do not understand those key issues and their importance in the world today. Thus, beyond the education we continue to receive, we have tremendous networking opportunities and the encouragement to know that we are an army standing together for the sake of Israel!
Today’s sessions included a very timely teaching from Dr Susanna Kokkonen (Director, Christian Friends of Yad Vashem), who reminded us (among many other important things) that following the Holocaust, churches proclaimed it to be sinful and a degree of repentance occurred. Europe and the west (including the US) rose to prosperity and great freedom following that era of repentance.
However, in 1967 (when the Jews regained control of Temple Mount) Christians (in general) began to have a problem with Israel. Mainline churches began to reject Israel, and Replacement Theology began to grow in prominence. The Western world began to lose faith in Him and rejected Him instead, putting materialism and other worldly things in His place. Now, about 70 years later, our society has almost completely rejected Christian values.
Judges 2 records a similar pattern for the Israelites. Verse 14 tells us that, after a falling from faith, the anger of the Lord burned against the Jewish people. As a result, they could no longer stand in the victory that God had given them. I’m wondering…are we facing a Judges 2 moment in Christendom?
One thing is certain: much of the world has turned a blind eye toward antisemitism. Consider this: in the summer of 2014, Hamas began raining rockets down upon Israel. As always, Israel was blamed, and virtually no one stood up for Israel in the political/nation-state arena. Instead, Israel was falsely accused of things that very eerily mimicked the very things they faced in the Holocaust, when no one raised a question about the Nazi atrocities. For example, Israel was accused of:
- Establishing ghettos in Gaza. (ie – removing Palestinians from their homes to live in squalor.) That is precisely what the Nazis did to Jews in the Holocaust, yet absolutely no hard evidence exists that Israel did such a thing to Palestinians.
- Developing death camps in Gaza. Again, another Nazi program during the Holocaust, yet nothing to indicate that Israel has done any such thing.
- Committing genocide (killing off entire nations/tribes). If you don’t think that was what the Holocaust was about, you don’t understand history. Yet, Israel is falsely accused of doing the same.
On and on the examples go, in constant attempts to turn world opinion and concern away from the Jews, and to condone illegal actions of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
My friends, that was a mere 2 years ago. And what is the church doing? Unfortunately, the church in general is ignorant or uncaring, and certainly unengaged. All the while, the propaganda war is boosting the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) Movement perpetrated by those who wish to wipe Israel from the face of the planet.
Now, let’s go a step further and hit closer to home. While Christians fail to stand with Israel, a bigger threat looms. Jews are not the only target…they are simply the first target. Genocide of Christians in the Middle East (along with anyone else that doesn’t agree with their brand of Islam) is reaching levels few of us know or understand…at the hands of ISIS.
That’s an entirely different teaching that I won’t get into here. But I need to finish the narrative. Jews look back upon the exodus from Egypt as the key event in their history. Thus, I think there are some important principles we can learn from that event as well.
Will you stop for a moment to read Exodus 17, then pick it right back up here?
What did you find there? I find a rebellious people and a faithful God! And, dear friends, we count on the same today. Yes, repentance before a holy God is required, but notice the name of the Lord given to Moses at the altar: The Lord is my Banner!
I think of the black banner of ISIS, of which we have become all too familiar. I suspect none of us fly that banner. But what banner do we fly? Friends, everything we do raises a banner, and we are wise to raise the Lord’s banner. But we have to answer this question properly to raise the banner of the Lord:
How do we treat the people He loves and has chosen? Can we hate or be indifferent/uninformed toward the ones He loves and still fly His banner? If we sit back and do nothing, does His banner fly over us? I suggest not. We can’t hate what He loves or love what He hates and reside under His banner.
Food for thought…where do you stand regarding God’s chosen people?