4 Comments

“One of the darkest chapters in the U.S. government’s history”

This afternoon I’ve been reading excerpts from the just released report which gives a blow by blow account of the horrible actions this government took in the name of “safety”. I won’t be posting any excerpts at this blog. Frankly I had a hard time just skimming through a small portion of the released information. It’s not easy reading folks…

See: Senate Report Says Torture Program Was More Gruesome, Widespread Than CIA Claimed

I was interested in the President’s response;

Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world. As Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who serve to keep us safe, among them the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, these public servants have worked tirelessly to devastate core al Qaeda, deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupt terrorist operations and thwart terrorist attacks. Solemn rows of stars on the Memorial Wall at the CIA honor those who have given their lives to protect ours. Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices.

In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country. As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years. At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.

Today’s report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation’s response to 9/11—the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office. The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists. We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals. That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report. No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better. Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past. Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

Obama Responds To CIA Torture Report: Enhanced Interrogation ‘Contrary To Our Values’

What are your thoughts as a Christian, concerning what the previous administration sanctioned folks…I ask for the simple reason most Evangelicals came out in support of torture during (and after) the Bush/Cheney years. Will those same Evangelicals continue to support torture now they can read exactly what it entailed? 

After what I have read today I can agree to this being “One of the darkest chapters in the U.S. government’s history”.

And the world has known about this all-along.   

Leave a comment

“ABRAHAM OUR FATHER, JERUSALEM OUR MOTHER” (3)

Continuing with Part (3)

Having examined modern Judaism and compared it with the spiritual meaning of Judaism in the Bible, one can only conclude that modern Judaism, biblically understood, is a false religion and should be treated as such. By this we do not mean that its adherents should be treated with disparagement, but we merely wish to draw attention to the acute need for evangelism amongst Jews, as amongst any other false religion. Those who continue to call themselves Jewish today but who do not follow the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby (do) not become part of His Church should not be treated as if they were from some special class of human being who, despite their disobedience, are still under the favour of God. Of all people, they need to hear and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God neither ordained nor created modern Judaism, which must not be confused with the religion which was ordained and created by God as recorded in the Old Testament.

It is a false religion — a mark of apostasy from God’s ordained way. So modern Judaism is a false religion. But, you may say, “what if a Jew today follows the Old Testament Scripture to the letter and is very orthodox?” Actually, that is impossible, for the following reasons:

1) There is no temple at which to sacrifice;

2) The priesthood has been abolished; and,

3) the entire ceremonial Levitical code was concluded on the Cross.

In fact we discover that all the constituents of the Old Covenant economy find their fullness in Christ. If people were to read Rom.4; Rom.9 – 11; Gal.3 & 4; Heb.7-10 with the eyes of faith none of these problems would arise. How important it is to understand these things in order to ensure that we evangelise in a God-honouring manner. Therefore, having been scattered around the world as “a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse” (Jer.25:18) — in fulfilment of the awesome covenant curse in Deut.28:15 & 64 and what they brought on their own heads in saying “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt.27:25) — the hope of salvation for any Jew today lies only in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Rom.10:16-17:

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’ So then faith comes by hear- ing, and hearing by the word of God”.

Therefore, we must conclude that the only true Jew in biblical terms today is one who has made the transition to Christ — who is the only “hope of Israel”.

Having now considered Judaism at the personal, spiritual level — identifying what is a true Jew and contrasting this with the Judaism of today — we now turn to look at Judaism on a corporate level, concentrating on the array of claims made by many professing Christians about the earthly nation Israel. Before opening this up, it is important to note that we should not be influenced by the fact that so many people adhere to the ideas about Judaism and Israel with which we are taking issue here. The fact that vast multitudes of professing Christians believe a certain teaching to be right — no matter how passionately they may believe it, does not prove that the teaching itself is right. Millions of sincere, devout Christians believe much of the hype about Israel and Judaism today, and these teachings have found their way into a broad section of respectable Bible commentaries, in spite of the wide range of written material which adequately refutes them. Does the widespread nature of such teachings give them authenticity? Of course not. The sheer number of professing Christians who believe a matter to be true is no pointer to its accuracy!

In the early years of the Church, Athanasius, a gentle deacon from Alexandria stood up against the prevailing heresy of Arianism, which denied the Trinity and the deity of Christ. As a result of this he became known as Athanasius Contra Mundum (“Athanasius against the world”) — a reference to the fact that it was just one little man against the multitudes — and was banished from his country five times while a “contract was put out on him” for his assassination. But history eventually bore witness to the fact — as it has done so often — that the multitudes were wrong and Athanasius was right. It is fair to say (from a human standpoint) that if Athanasius had not resisted the beliefs of the majority of professing Christians at that time, there would be no Gospel to preach today. Christian truth would have perished. So much for the majority view at any time in the Christian Church! Truth is never authenticated by the number of people who adhere to it.

A mighty fact of divine sovereignty is that heresies and false belief systems regularly appear in the churches in order to spark the Body of Christ into life and to bring the truth sharply into focus (1 Cor.l 1:19; cf. 1 Jn.2:18-20). And then the Lord always raises up teachers who will successfully oppose those who bury this truth behind the alluring skirts of falsehood. Do not forget that at virtually every stage in Church history there have been far more professing Christians who would rather adhere to the false, complex, often sensational man-made systems of their choice than those who hold to the simple truths of the Scriptures.

An insatiable thirst for the truth has never had a very high premium in the Christian churches at large. Holding to truth is uncomfortable, and reaching it requires study beyond what is merely superficial; but most professing Christians want to be comfortable and appear to prefer superficiality. When Paul spoke of the time that people in the churches would heap up to themselves false teachers because they have ears which are just itching to hear them (2 Tim.4:3) — although he could have been referring to the prevailing situation in almost any era of the Church — surely the plethora of crazy teachings of the present day take some beating.

So let us not be overawed by the large numbers of people who may believe something. This is no barometer of truth, as even the most false of religions have always had a massive following, while those who are faithful are referred to in Scripture as a ‘remnant’.

Having now established how Scripture defines a true Jew, in comparison with “those who say they are Jews and are not”, let us now examine the main claims that are made about the nation-state of Israel today.

III. ANALYSING SOME COMMON CLAIMS ABOUT ISRAEL AND JUDAISM

Claim No.1: “The Establishment of the Middle- Eastern Nation-State of Israel Today is a Fulfilment of Bible Prophecy”

This claim is based primarily on two erroneous ideas. First, that the land promise to Abraham was never fulfilled in the Old Testament era and is therefore out- standing, awaiting its full accomplishment, of which the present Israeli state is the ‘first installment’. The second erroneous idea is that the O.T. prophecies which appear to speak of the restoration of the nation Israel to a land inheritance still await fulfilment. To these claims, we respond:

1. THE LAND PROMISE WAS FULFILLED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ERA

One of the principal claims made from certain quarters is that the land promise to Abraham was never fulfilled during the Old Testament period. But the word of God says otherwise. Two promises which God made to Abraham are a multiplicity of descendants and a portion of land which is described in clear terms. We see these clearly laid out in two Bible texts:

“Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the sea- shore”. (Gen.22:17)

“The LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates”. (Gen.15:18)

These are no longer awaiting fulfilment, for during the reign of Solomon, we find a statement made which virtually mirrors the language used in Genesis concerning these promises. In 1 Kings 4:20-21 we read:

“Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt.”

This is precisely the same territory referred to in God’s promise to Abraham (cf. 2 Chron.9:26). And after the return from exile, the Levites and others raised up a mighty prayer to the Lord in which they said:

“You are the LORD God, Who chose Abram, And brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, And gave him the name Abraham; You found his heart faithful before You, And made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites — to give it to his descendants”. (Neh.9:7-8)

But they were in no doubt about the outcome. Unlike the confused neo-Judaisers of today, they were not waiting for a future fulfilment of this land promise, for they immediately said: “You have performed Your words, for You are righteous” (Neh.9:8). As the psalmist also exclaims:

“He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, And they inherited the labour of the nations”. (Psa.105:42-44).

However, another aspect of this land promise is the fact that it is said to have been given to Israel “forever”. In support of this, they often quote Gen.13:14-15:

And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, south- ward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.

They claim that because the text says “forever” therefore that must still apply today and should thus be forcibly taken back. They say that one must distinguish between the covenant made with Abraham and the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant, they say, was temporary and fulfilled in Christ; whereas the covenant with Abraham involving the land was spoken of as an “everlasting covenant” (Gen.13:14-15; 17:7,19), thus it must still be in force.

However, once one understands the symbolic nature of so many Old Covenant promises, then the “forever- ness” of the land promise becomes clear. Plainly, a patch of geographical territory cannot be given forever because we know from elsewhere in Scripture that the earth will come under the fire of judgement and be destroyed (2 Pet.3:10). Consequently, there will be no physical land left to own forever.

However, the “forever” can be plainly understood when one sees that the Promised Land was only ever a “type” — a symbol of heaven, which is eternal. Just as the physical nation Israel pointed to the church, so the physical land pointed forward to eternity. To enter the true Promised Land is to come into eternity.

The Israelite patriarchs understood this symbolic aspect of the “foreverness” of the land very well. Abraham, for example,

dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb.11:9-10).

Unlike the modern Judaisers and Christian Zionists, who see the fulfilment of the land promise as the be-all and end-all of spiritual life, the patriarchs “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb.11:13) and they desired “a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Heb.11:16). They knew very well that the promise of the land “forever” was really the promise of a spiritual home in eternity.

Actually, we Christians are the continuation of the everlasting nature of the promise to Abraham. Paul makes it plain that “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:29).

So when the Lord said “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you”, it transcends mere physical descent. As Matthew Henry puts it:

“here [in Gen.17], where it is promised for an everlasting possession, surely it must be looked upon as a type of heaven’s happiness, that everlast- ing rest which remains for the people of God”.

It is this inability to recognise the spiritual nature of so many of the Old Testament promises regarding Israel and her patriarchs, coupled with a willingness to force certain prophecies into a mythical endtime scenario which has led to the deception we have today.

The problem with many Christians today is they will not accept that the promise of the geographical land was for fulfilment under the Old Covenant, which is now obsolete:

“In that [God] says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete” (Heb.8:13).

The land promise to Abraham was fulfilled a long time ago. Therefore we conclude that the Middle-Eastern nation state of Israel today cannot possibly be a fulfilment of Bible prophecy but, on the contrary, is merely the product of the inner workings of international political cabals, coupled with abhorrent acts of terrorism which were, and are, every bit as bad as those of the Palestinian extremist groups.

2. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL IN THE O.T. HAS ONLY EVER BEEN BASED ON CERTAIN CLEAR CONDITIONS

The many Christians today who simply accept the notion that modern Israel is a fulfilment of Bible prophecy appear to overlook the important fact that any restoration of Israel must be based on some conditions which are clearly set out in Scripture. In Jer.50:4-5, we are provided with a classic example of the conditions for the restoration of the people of Israel:

“In those days and in that time, says the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, ‘Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten’”.

This plainly refers to the restoring of Israel in the purposes of God. But note that there are preconditions attached. Never once do we find in Scripture that Israel is restored without these conditions having been fulfilled. Let us look at what those conditions are.

These conditions are as follows,

i. Deep Repentance

We read “with continual weeping they shall come”. That is a clear precursor to restoration. The desire for restoration is not simply to be restored to the land but to be restored to the Lord. And that involves deep repentance of heart. This is a fundamental law of restoration of any kind in Scripture — whether corporate or individual.

There are a great many times when we find Old Testament writers expressing the mind of God on the fact that He has no time for mere outward actions in worship but instead desires a contrite heart, a penitent mind-set. And that is the trigger for restoration. Other texts which plainly show the need for repentance as a precursor to restoration are Dan.9:1-6; Neh.1:4-11.

Do we find that it was this kind of repentance which led to the founding of the modern nation-state of Israel today? Not at all. There was only national pride, embitteredness because of having been persecuted, a desire to claim “their right” to a national homeland and a willingness to kill anyone who got in the way.

The awful truth is that until there is a repenting of having broken the Covenant and denied their Messiah, Jewish people will perpetually be subject to trouble and devoid of a real relationship with the Lord.

ii. Faithfulness to God

In our text in Jer.50:4-5 it is said that the restored nation will be “seeking the LORD”. What does it mean to “seek God”. Surely it refers to the desire to be discipled by Him, to be obedient to Him and to keep His ways. A seminal text in this respect is Deut.30:1-3:

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you”.

Here we see that the compassion on Israel and its ingathering as a people of God is dependent on first returning to the Lord and “obeying His voice”. And that indeed is the spirit that was found at the return of the Jews from the exile in Babylon:

“On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel”. (Ezr.7:9-10)

Where does that leave the Israeli state of today? For it was not founded on obedience to the commandment of the Lord which, in a post-Calvary world, finds it highest expression in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Pet.4:17)? Surely, the Israelites of today have not at all sought God, otherwise they would have realised that they should no longer be under the law of Moses but under the law of Christ (1 Cor.9:21).

iii. Being True Zionists

We read in our text in Jer.50:4-5 that an Israel which desires to be restored will be asking “the way to Zion”. The word Zion has become most misused by modern- day Israel, mainly due to its earthly understanding of divine things.

To be a “Zionist” in Scripture is to desire to be where God especially manifests His presence: “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the LORD our God” (Jer.31:6). Zion is the dwelling place of God in relation to His human creation: “For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place” (Psa.132:13). “For the LORD dwells in Zion” (Joel 3:21).

First, we find this manifested in relation to the city of Jerusalem in Old Testament times, where the Temple was, which was the heart of spiritual life in those days.

Then, under the New Covenant, we find Zion used to refer to the body of Christ, the Church (see Heb.12:22- 23). However, the ultimate meaning of Zion is heaven in the new universe after the restoration of all things at the end of the age, as we see the heavenly Jerusalem portrayed in the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation.

If Israelites today were serious about “asking the way to Zion”, and thereby being restored, they would be coming into the Church, the body of Christ, where the Lord dwells by His Spirit. The body of Christ is Zion today.

iv. Engaging in Genuine Spirituality

Our text says: “They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it”. With their faces towards it, i.e. in sincerity of faith. There would be spiritual integrity. How can there be any spiritual integrity in the Israel of today when it is not only seeking Zion in the wrong place but it has such a hatred toward the One who came as their Messiah nearly two thousand years ago?

v. The Desire to be in a Perpetual Covenant Relationship with God

An Israel which is desirous of restoration to God says: “Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten”. But we have already shown above that Israel was disobedient to the Old Covenant, having rejected the New Covenant in the blood of Christ and still does to this day.

So where does all this leave the Israel of today in the Middle-East? The picture we are given here regarding conditions for the restoration of Israel is one involving the deepest spirituality, penitence, desiring to be among the people of God and covenant obedience. Is that what we see in the so-called restored Israel of today in the Middle East?

Modern Israel is a secular state. It is proud and arrogant in its claims. It regards Zion as a nationalist polity run by human beings on a piece of earthly territory rather than the spiritual dwelling-place of God. It oppresses helpless people in a manner which defies the Law of God in a most dramatic fashion.

For example, we read in the Torah: “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex.22:21).

Bear in mind that this particular command comes immediately after the commands: “You shall not permit a sorceress to live. Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. He who sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed”.

This is how seriously God means His people to help the afflicted, helpless and oppressed foreigners. After all, the end of the law is love (Rom.13:10; 5:14). All this cuts entirely across one of the three signs of the presence of true religion designated by James in his letter:

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (Jas.1:27a).

Helping the helpless and afflicted lies at the heart of the Law of God, which the redeemed are to enact in their lives (Eph.2:10; Tit.2:13-14).

People who are in God’s covenant would not be brutal, and be seen as such by the world. Compare their brutality against the Palestinians, and the violent audacity of the Israeli state security force Mossad. Even the Israeli Defence Force has an official policy of shooting unarmed Palestinians indescriminately. How then can the nation of Israel be living in covenant obedience even to the Old Covenant of the Mosaic era? We believe that the modern nation-state of Israel is an evil regime, and we are utterly amazed that professing Christians could give this corrupt, anti-Christian country their spiritual and financial support. As the courageous Israeli commentator, Dr. Israel Shahak, dares to state:

“The extent of persecution and discrimination against non-Jews inflicted by the ‘Jewish state’ with the support of organised diaspora Jews is also enormously greater than the suffering inflicted on Jews by regimes hostile to them”.[42]

However, not only is Israel today disobedient to the Old Covenant, it is also utterly defiant of the New Covenant which is now in force and which was prophesied for them in Jer.31:31-34.

It is often stated by Christian supporters of Israel that Israel is restored to the land initially in a state of unbelief. However, nowhere in Scripture is there sanctioned a “restoration in unbelief”, as is often asserted today. As we have shown, there are conditions attached to any restoration of Israel and those conditions have not been fulfilled. GOD HAS NOT CHANGED.

Almost the entire western-world of Christianity takes it for granted that an endtime restoration of Israel has been prophesied in the Bible and that the modern state of Israel is preliminary evidence of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Not only that but they claim that this “restoration” will take place with the Jews who return to the land living in unbelief to begin with.

This goes hand-in-hand with the idea that when Christ returns He will set up His headquarters as an earthly king in Jerusalem with restored temple sacrifices and Old Testament style worship for a period of exactly 1000 years, based on an entirely false understanding of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation.

Apparently, so they say, when Christ returns, the inhabitants of Israel will “look on Him who they pierced and mourn” and thus all Israel will be saved.

They ignore entirely the fact that the Zechariah prophecy about looking on Him who they pierced and mourning (Zec.12:10) was primarily fulfilled when Christ hung on the Cross, as John’s record shows in John 19:34-37;

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

And this is the problem. Ignoring the plain fulfillment of prophecy as having already taken place and instead trying to make them fit a future plan entirely of their own making.

To be continued..

2 Comments

Pat Robertson speaks (again) and the Church Shudders

While I don’t think Pat Robertson is an evil man, he is certainly one of the most ignorant. How in ‘blue-blazes’ can such a well known representative of Christianity defend torture of any type! This old man needs to retire and get out of the public spotlight. He is a hindrance to the faith….

RightWingWatch 

Televangelist Pat Robertson defended the use of torture by the U.S. today, telling “700 Club” viewers that they shouldn’t be troubled by the impending release of a Senate report on torture since such “rather rough” practices were necessary to stop terrorist attacks.

“You may be shocked at some of that, but the truth is we didn’t have another incident after 9/11 and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he was caught, he was the mastermind, and they were rather rough with him but they learned invaluable information,” he said. “So I know it seems brutal but that’s the way it was.”

According to Sen. John McCain, “the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information” while “the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee” was “obtained through standard, noncoercive means.”

Immediately after his remarks on torture, Robertson accused the Obama administration of releasing “30,000 immigrant criminals” into the U.S., citing a wildly inflated figure that mostly includes people who committed traffic violations.

(You can watch this fiasco on a clip at the above link) 

1 Comment

“ABRAHAM OUR FATHER, JERUSALEM OUR MOTHER” (2)

Continuing with our second point concerning what biblically constitutes a “true Jew”

2. A TRUE JEW IS A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN INWARDLY TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER OF GOD –  The great covenant sign of the Old Testament era was circumcision. All male natural descendants of Abraham would be physically circumcised, but only those who were truly saved would understand the full significance of the rite. As baptism in the New Covenant signifies the washing clean from sin which comes through regeneration, so circumcision was symbolic of the cutting off of sin and casting of it away. Behind the outward rite of circumcision there lay a deeper spiritual meaning known only to the saved.

Regardless of the outward rite of circumcision, a Jew had to be converted for that circumcision to have any spiritual meaning in his life. So we find that when Moses said to the children of Israel: “When…you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul…” (Deut.30:2) he was referring to repentance and conversion, ultimately in the Gospel Age. Even the Jewish rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) understood it to refer to the time of the Messiah. However, rather than being a promise of release from earthly captivity (as Maimoni- des and the Jews would wrongly believe), the fruit of that conversion which is given a few verses later in Deut.30:6 speaks of the fact that,

“the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut.30:6)

It is plainly referring to the spiritual work which takes place in the heart of one who is a Jew after the flesh who then comes to believe in the Messiah. And as a profound echo of this, the apostle Paul made an extraordinary statement which cuts right across standard Jewish teaching and that of a great many professing Christians today, who seem to misunderstand the true meaning of Judaism. For Paul said:

“He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Rom.2:28-29)

True circumcision is not a mere outward ordinance but a permanent putting away of sin from the inner life. This is a work which can only be done by God through Jesus Christ the Mediator. This is yet another aspect of the fact that Judaism must be understood spiritually to be understood at all. The many misunderstandings about Judaism and Israel have arisen precisely because of a failure at this point.

Ultimately, Paul’s dictum in Rom.2:28-29 means that a true Jew is a converted person who, in the New Covenant era would recognise Christ as his Saviour. Therefore, since the advent of Christ we can say that a true Jew is a member of the Christian Church who is of either Jewish or Gentile background. Such have been circumcised in the heart and now understand the true meaning of the outward rite. As Paul exclaims:

“We the very beginning: an inability to understand things are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil.3:3).

The “we” to whom he is referring are “all the saints in Christ Jesus” at the church in Philippi to whom he wrote his letter (Phil.1:1), coupled with himself. This is surely the essence of the Lord Jesus’s contention with the church at Smyrna in Rev.2:9:

“I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan”.

Jesus graphically calls such Jews a “synagogue of Satan”. What would the politically correct lobby make of that today? Was the Lord Himself an “anti-Semite”, or a “racist”, or a “spiritual Nazi”? Not at all! He was a Man of truth who spoke plainly the words which people needed to hear and was not intimidated by threats from people; and neither would he be intimidated by the immature politically correct autocrats today who continually attempt to suppress any open discussion of important controversial issues.

Disbelief in Christ is a work of Satan. For it is the God of this world (i.e. the devil) who has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor.4:3-4, which refers primarily to Jewish unbelievers). Those who “say they are Jews and are not” and who are “a synagogue of Satan” are those Jews who claim their Judaism lies in their line of descent, who have confidence in the flesh. These will have been Jewish people outwardly who were persecuting the Christians at Smyrna. However, although they would have identified themselves as Jews, in reality they were not true Jews who are inwardly changed — new creations who would follow Christ as their Messiah now that He has come. They say they are Jews, but they cannot be so because they are not born again. This was the rabbi Nicodemus’s problem. Look at his conversation with the Lord Jesus in the third chapter of John’s Gospel.

Jesus told him that he must be “born again” if he was to be part of the kingdom of God (Jn.3:3, 5). Nicodemus, being at that time stuck in the earthly way of Jewish thinking, could only conceive of Jesus’s words as referring to another physical birth (Jn.3:4, 9). Jesus even had to upbraid him with the rebuke: “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (Jn.3:10).

It is most likely that Nicodemus was eventually fully converted (cf. Jn.7:50; 19:39); but at this time he was merely a seeker who said he was a Jew but in reality was not — one who only perceived spiritual truth as a religious husk, not having a circumcised heart of his own. A real Jew perceives the spiritual truth behind God’s words and acts on them.

We conclude that genuine biblical Judaism involves religion which comes from within, from the heart, rather than being imposed from without. That is the essence of true religion. A true Jew is a person who has been inwardly transformed by the power of God and thereby perceives the truth about Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.

A third hallmark of biblical Judaism is seen in the fact that;

3. A TRUE JEW IS, AND ONLY EVER HAS BEEN, ONE OF A REMNANT OUT OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL - At the beginning of the section concerning Israel in his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul reveals that “they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham”. (Rom.9:6-7) This needs to be properly understood as it is vital to our comprehending the true meaning of Judiasm and Israel. What these verses tell us is that we have to differentiate between Israel as the nation-state and those who are genuine Jews.

The nation of Israel was set up by God on the basis of the twelve tribes of Jacob and was intended to serve a singular divine purpose until Christ came (Gal.3:19-29). Once the promised Seed had come — referred to by Paul in Gal.3:19, and plainly meaning Christ, as prophesied in Gen.3:15 — the Old Covenant nation of Israel’s national and legal status no longer had any further purpose. But always within the national body had been the remnant of true Jews who were genuine believers, looking forward to the Messiah, who would be the “Consolation of Israel”.

The Saul/David axis was a classic illustration of this dichotomy between the true Jewish believer and the carnal professor who merely sheltered under the covenant blessings but had no real spiritual interest. Saul was primarily zealous for Israel and for himself, but David was zealous for the Lord and His true spiritual purpose. “They are not all Israel who are of Israel”. Not every Jewish person by descent was part of the true Israel, the believing people of God. Plainly, there was the

“House of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah; who swear by the name of the LORD”. (Isa.48:1)

Yes, there was that national husk who were called “by the name of Israel” — it was nominally Israel. And they certainly “made mention of the God of Israel” (Isa.48:1) with their mouths. But the problem was that in spite of all those external realities, their use of the name Israel and their mention of God was “not in truth or in righteousness”, as the prophet showed (Isa.48:1). They certainly “call themselves after the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel” (Isa.48:2), but sheltering in external, earthly blessings never was enough to save or lead to a sanctified life (cf. Psa.51:16-17).

However, among those external covenant people of God, there was always a small remnant of believing people — true Jews, who knew the spiritual realities which lay behind the outer husk of Exodus deliverances, wilderness wanderings, the provision of manna, animal sacrifices, ritual washings, and promised lands. In the experience of this remnant, the Mosaic law code drove them not into increasingly abstruse legalism (as it later did with the lawyers, Scribes and Pharisees) but into the arms of their Saviour, the Rock of their Salvation, the Anointed One. But the rest of Israel — the unbelieving majority — was an abomination to the Lord. As Isaiah puts it:

“Unless the LORD of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah” (Isa.1:9-10).

It was only the godly remnant which ensured the continued preservation of Israel as a nation. “They are not all Israel who are of Israel”. And neither have they ever been. Of course, even the unspiritual majority of the Israelites always imagined that they were also the true Israel. They based that solely on their family tree being traced back to Abraham. But when John the Baptist “saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism”, he said to them:

“Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones”. (Mt.3:7-9)

“They are not all Israel who are of Israel”. The Lord Jesus also used this double-reference for Israel very clearly in a conversation with the Pharisees:

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father. They answered and said to Him, “Abra- ham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father [i.e. the devil]”. (Jn.8:37-41)

Do you see what the Lord is saying here? He first says that He knows that they are “Abraham’s descendants”. That much He grants. But he then says: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham”. Is He contradicting Himself? How can they be Abraham’s descendants and yet not be his children? The answer is that he is using the same term in different ways. Just as Paul uses the term “Israel” in two different ways to describe fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel (Rom.9:6), so the Lord Jesus does the same here. He knows that they are Abraham’s descendants according to the flesh; but from a spiritual standpoint they are not Abraham’s children. “They are not all Israel who are of Israel”.

And this is the essence of the biblical understanding of Judaism. A true Jew is, and only ever has been, one of a remnant out of the nation of Israel. As Paul puts it:

“What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom.11:7).

And therein lies the distinction which must be made. It makes no difference being circumcised, being of Israel according to the flesh, being a descendant of a tribe of Israel. Jewishness must be understood spiritually to be understood at all. Even if you could trace your genealogy back to Levi, Asher, Zebulun, Benjamin or Judah or whoever, that would merely be what Paul calls an “endless genealogy” of the sort over which the Jews have always been so ready to dispute (1 Tim.1:4). Such a genealogy is called by him “endless” because it goes nowhere of any importance today. The only meaningful genealogy now is the one traced at the beginning of the Gospels which leads to the Lord Jesus Christ, the epitome of the true Seed of Abraham. For,

“all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen” (2 Cor.1:20).

It is in Jesus Christ that God fulfilled the promise to Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. All covenant promises and blessings converge in Him. Without receiving Him, there can be no fulfilment of the spiritual promises made to the fathers in the old covenant.

4. A TRUE JEW IS ONE WHO HAS MADE THE TRANSITION FROM THE OLD COVENANT WITH OLD TESTAMENT ISRAEL TO THE NEW COVENANT IN CHRIST –  In spite of the fact that Israel broke the covenant which the Lord made with them, He promised a new covenant which would be on a completely different basis. We find this most clearly laid out in Jer.31:31-34:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not accord- ing to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”.

When the Lord says “after those days” (v.33) He is referring to the time when the exile to Babylon is ended. He repeats this same promise in Jer.32:37-40:

“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me”.

Now those who uphold the notion that Israel is still the chosen nation of God today claim that this “new covenant” mentioned in Jeremiah 31 and 32 has not yet been fulfilled.

As one such publication puts it: “Since such a revival has never occurred in Israel’s history, this event is yet to happen”.[37] But this is to misunderstand the plain teaching of Scripture. The revival which that writer believes “has never occurred in Israel’s history” most certainly did happen, but because it did not conform to the Jewish manner of thinking, the majority of Jews missed it entirely.

It happened with the coming of Christ — initiated in the Apostles and the few others who at first believed, but was then compounded at Pentecost when three thousand souls were saved out of Israel, with many more to follow (e.g. Acts 4:4). Moreover, the diligent student of Scripture will discover in the Letter to the Hebrews that this “new covenant” in Jeremiah — which is quoted in full in Heb.8 — is the same as the one established through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb.7:22; 8:7-13; 10:11-22; 12:24; 13:20-21; cf. Mt.26:28). Please read these texts, by which the myths and fables will surely be dissolved. There is only one Mediator of the “new covenant” of which Jeremiah speaks, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ who has already come and announced that covenant to both Jews and Gentiles alike at His first coming.

We see here once more how Jewishness must be understood spiritually to be understood at all. When the Word says that the Lord will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, this finds its fulfilment in believers rather than anyone with a physical descent from the twelve tribes. It is ratified in those who are God’s people spiritually, whose sins are covered by the blood of Christ, who have the indwelling Holy Spirit — who don’t need mere external commands to know the Lord but who actually have God’s laws in their minds and written on their hearts. After quoting Jer.31:31-34, Heb.8:13 states:

“In that He [the Lord] says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away”.

This letter to the Hebrews was written shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple — which was God’s way of demonstrating that the Old Covenant had been brought to a shattering conclusion. In reality, it had ceased the moment Christ had cried out: “Tetelestai!” (“It is finished!” or “It has been accomplished!”).

There are many aspects to that mighty Word from our Saviour on the Cross, but surely one of the central facets is a powerful statement that the entire Mosaic economy was dissolved in order to make way for a better hope — the real hope of Israel in the finished work of Christ. And for about another forty years there was a strange interim, transitional period during which temple worship continued and Jews converted to Christ would still honour the Jewish Sabbath on the Saturday as well as assembling together on Sunday — the day of the Lord’s resurrection.

What happened in AD.70 was therefore a powerful way for the Lord to remove visibly every last vestige of the Old Covenant. A “New Israel” based on a New Covenant was in the process of being established. As Peter said to the Jews of Asia who had come to Christ:

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priest- hood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God” (1 Pet.2:9-10).

This is virtually a restatement of that Old Covenant saying in Ex.19:5-6:

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

So there can be no purpose whatsoever in the Jews adhering today to what is an “obsolete” covenant (Heb.8:13). We have already stated earlier that

“it is in Jesus Christ that God fulfilled the prom- ise to Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed — that all covenant promises and blessings converge in Him and that without receiving Him, there can be no fulfilment of the spiritual promises made to the fathers in the covenant”.

This is why the Lord Jesus is plainly referred to as “the Messenger of the Covenant”:

“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the LORD, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts” (Mal.3:1).

Throughout the entire O.T. era, from the judgement delivered by the Lord after the Fall, the promise concerning the seed of the woman was the focus of godly expectation. And that godly expectation homed in on the Messiah when He came in the fullness of time.

To be continued…

1 Comment

“ABRAHAM OUR FATHER, JERUSALEM OUR MOTHER” (1)

I’d like to thank those at Messianic Good News (an excellent ministry) for granting permission to share portions of this message.

A Biblical Analysis of Judaism & the Modern State of Israel in Relation to the Church of Jesus Christ

 

There are certain Bible phrases which easily cause controversy and disagreement. For example, “…and all his household” (Acts 16:34; 18:8) has spearheaded the disagreement about baptism; the phrase “and bound him for a thousand years” (Rev.20:2) has led to division concerning the approach to the time of the end; the words “God our Saviour who desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim.2:3-4) have created controversy over the concept of universal grace; and a crassly literal understanding of the Lord Jesus’ words “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood” (Jn.6:54) has given rise to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Such phrases have divided the professing Church throughout history — not because of any lack of perspicuity on the Holy Spirit’s part, but because of the faulty herme- neutics of fallen men and women.

Another phrase which could be added to those above is “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom.11:25). Among evangelicals today, a common interpretation of this verse is that shortly before the end of this age there will be a global mass conversion of all living Jews according to the flesh. The existence since 1948 of the earthly nation Israel in the Middle East is therefore seen by many as part of the buildup to this phenomenon.

Correspondingly, there is an enormous interest throughout the Church in the modern nation Israel and in Jewishness in general. One could even call it an obsession. There is today a massive crusade of Judaising which is at least as pernicious as that which the Apostle Paul so forcefully opposed in his ministry. In this article, our purpose is to examine these ideas in the light of the clear teaching of Scripture. It is our firm belief that the failure to rightly divide the Word of God has led to a wrongful division of the people of God in the Gospel Age, who are called to be one flock under one Shepherd. We plead with our readers to adopt a Berean attitude (Acts 17:10-11) by checking all our Bible references and carefully weighing up our teachings against the Scriptures.

Introduction

“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom.4:16) “For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar — for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children — but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal.4:24-26)

Shortly before December 25th 1997, a huge front- page headline appeared in one of the UK’s quality national newspapers which read: “It Never Happened”. Above this headline was a portrait of the manger scene at the birth of Christ. This article, by the anti-Christian writer A.N. Wilson, set out to disprove the historicity of the Incarnation. In the wake of this conceit being pub- lished, there was no clamour from clergymen, no bellow from bishops and not a peep from the proletariat. It was a highly blasphemous statement; but it was also “politi- cally correct”.

Now imagine what would have occurred if, above that headline, “It Never Happened”, in the place of the Manger Scene, there was a portrait of Mohammed making his hegira to Medina, or of Gautama Siddhar- tha Buddha sitting under a Banyan tree in Bihar, or of Arjuna and Krishna conversing elatedly in their chariot, or of Guru Nanak plunging into the River Bain, or of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Sinai. Imagine the huge chorus of outrage that would have ensued from the assorted packs of plebeian hordes — not to mention the outcry from the massed ranks of mor- tally offended church clergymen and their multifaith bishops.

In the present climate, it is fashionable to do every- thing possible to undermine the claims of Christianity. We are now living in an era in which one may utter the foulest blasphemy against Jesus Christ, but one must never cast the slightest aspersion against any of the world’s religious movements. Such is the global agenda of political correctness in the religious field. It has now also become the agenda of the ecumenical movement. However, this same gag on exposing false religion has even spread to the heart of evangelicalism.

For example, at one time, Bible-based Christians regarded both Roman Catholicism and post-Calvary Judaism as false religions, from which people needed delivering through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, in recent years, many evangelicals have come to regard Roman Catholicism as a mere denomination in the true Church and have also become protective of the present-day religion of Judaism — even upholding that the modern anti- christian state of Israel in the Middle East is a fulfilment of Bible prophecy. Because so many professing Christians have bought into the lie of so-called “political correctness” — which is merely the institutionalised suppression of truth — non-acrimonious and open discussion of these matters is universally barred, while emotive accusations of “anti- semitism” and “racism” are hurled at anyone who dares to analyse this dire state of affairs. The stultifying, “politically correct” atmosphere being generated in the Christian scene today, quite apart from being dishonest, is most unhelpful to proper analysis and discussion on a range of issues. Even more disturbing than this is the fact that in many professing Christian circles it appears that what one believes about ‘Israel’  has come to define one’s Christianity.

Those who do not toe the party line on Israel — that is, who do not accept that the modern state of Israel is a restored biblical Israel — are likely to find themselves treated with considerable disdain and even ostracized by fellowships of professing Christians. It is for this reason that this writer believes that the present article is called for.

A startling fact about which most Christians are completely unaware is that there was an equivalent in Jewish history to the situation in which the Roman Emperor Constantine declared his empire and subjects “Christian” after his own conversion, resulting in a massive influx of pagans into the church, adulterating it and its beliefs. In 740 AD, the Emperor of Khazaria, in the steppes of Russia, declared his subjects “Jewish” after his own conversion to Judaism. Genuine rabbis were summoned from Babylonia to teach his subjects Pharisaic Judaism in the Khazar kingdom that flourished from the sixth to tenth centuries. If one wonders about the ghettos of Warsaw, Budapest and Prague being so far from Palestine, it is because their Jewish inhabitants never came from Palestine but were part of the mass conversion of the Khazar Empire. What does this imply?

That most of the Jews “returning” to Palestine never came from Palestine in the first place; that they are not even of the lineage of Shem. They are Gentile converts. This throws a massive curved ball from an eschatolgical standpoint at the idea of Jews returning to the modern State of Israel under divine sanction. In reality, upwards of 85% of today’s Jews are descended from the Khazars, according to the respected Encyclopaedia Judaica, Princeton Professor D.M. Dunlop’s The History of the Jewish Khazars, and Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe (Random House, N.Y., 1967). The Thirteenth Tribe was Koestler’s last book before he and his wife were found dead in an apparent suicide in their London apartment. Koestler, one of the most celebrated and brilliant Jewish writers of the 20th Century, who himself believed strongly in a Jewish state in Israel, laments in his intro- duction that;

“The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated”.

The implications of all this are staggering for those who would claim that modern Israel is a restoration of the Israelite kingdom of the Bible. Yet, this claim is being vigorously asserted today by a vast number of professing Christians who are also Zionists.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that a modern form of Judaising has gripped many branches of the professing Church and the spirit of Paul’s letter to the Galatians needs to be invoked. It seems that an unconditional love for the modern earthly nation Israel has virtually become an ‘article of faith’ among evangelicals today. As a consequence, all manner of strange and unchecked claims are being made by many untaught and often arrogant and aggressive people about Judaism and Israel. Here are some of the various claims which are being made today:

1. That the Jews as an earthly nation are still God’s chosen people today.

2. That Gentile converts to Christ are of inferior status to those converted out of Judaism.

3. That the nation-state called Israel in the Middle East today is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and a sign of the approaching appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ — either for the Rapture or the Second Coming, depending on the belief system to which people adhere.

4. That if we encourage the Jews of the world to emigrate to Israel the return of Christ will be hastened.

5. That Gentile Christians have a God-given duty to assist the modern state of Israel in every way they can — including financially.

6. That the Jews are the real root of Christianity and should therefore be held in the highest esteem.

7. That it is only because of the “temporary” rejection of the Jews that Gentiles can be saved at all.

8. That Jews do not need to be born again because they are already God’s chosen people.

9. That Jews who come to believe in Messiah do not need to become part of the Christian Church, which is intended specifically for Gentile converts to Messiah, but instead should gather in so-called Messianic Fellowships.

10. That Jews who have “accepted Messiah” should continue with all the rituals and feasts of the Mosaic law — including a Saturday Sabbath — and even non-biblical festivals such as Hanukkah.

11. That those who say (as the Bible plainly teaches) that the Old Testament promises to Israel have now been fulfilled in Christ and His believing people are thereby guilty of a heresy which has been given the name: “Replacement Theology”.

12. That when the Lord said to Abraham “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you”, it was also meant to be applied to those who dare to say anything critical about the state of Israel today.

13. That to write articles like this represents the height of blasphemy, is racist, anti-semitic and will bring a curse down upon the writer’s head.

Obviously, no single individual will adhere to all of these claims — some of which are contradictory — but they do not represent a straw man because this writer has heard them all declared by Christian “zionists” from various quarters in recent years. It should be said here that the purpose of this analysis is not at all intended to incite any kind of animosity against Jewish people in general. On the contrary, we seek to remove division between Christians and promote the salvation of Jews through encouraging the kind of evangelism which is based on the Bible rather than a false agenda dictated by Jewish people themselves and the many theologically ignorant Christians who are dictating the agenda of the church today.

It might also be helpful to state here that the present writer—whose own Hebrew name is qj;x]yI-÷Be÷roha}’ (Aharon ben-Yitzhak) — is himself from a sephardic Jewish background and therefore understands the issue well — having a father, sisters and other living relations whom he earnestly desires to see come to faith in Christ.

We are aware that the accusation of “anti-Semitism” or “racism” may be made against us from certain Jewish and even Christian quarters. But to fall back on such charges is extremely disingenuous, manipulative, and plainly designed to stifle fruitful and honest discussion. An example of such behaviour occurred when the organisers of a Christian event designed to evangelise Jews were accused of practising “spiritual Nazism” by a Jewish Rabbi. We see this kind of emotional manipulation frequently from Jewish people. Hiding behind the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, they seek, through subjective emotionalism, to prevent people — Christians — from conducting any biblical debate about Jewish or Israeli matters.

A typical example of this occured in an article on the Internet, entitled “Antisemitism in the New Testament” by Shmuel Golding. Here Golding writes:

“Christian love for the Jew is a kind of hatred. It loves the Jew, yet hates him for being what he is. It sees him as blind and in need of being changed into a believer. When missionary efforts failed, or are fobbed, the love for the Jew quickly turns to hatred and contempt. We are not deceived by the ‘new Christians’ of today’s hand-clapping Jew-loving fundamentalists. They teach the same anti-semitic doctrines as the church of yesteryear. Their tactics are different but we know that the message is the same. Any Jew who can pay homage to the New Testament or allow himself to believe in it, is, in my opinion in the same category as a Jew who tries to justify Hitler’s Mein Kampf or, as one who covers up for the deeds of the Nazis”.

While it is true that Christians understand Jews (in common with all unbelievers) to be spiritually blind and in need of becoming believers in Jesus Christ, it is not at all true that Christians hate Jews. Christians feel the greatest compassion for all unbelievers, whether Jews or Gentiles. To compare Christians to Nazis and the New Testament to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is to indulge in the most extreme form of emotional manipulation. Sadly, many professing Christians have also fallen into the same sort of manipulative exercise, and would try to smear the present article as an example of “anti- Semitism” or “racism”. Well, we categorically refuse to be stifled by such false charges. Incidentally, it is inaccurate, to say the least, to restrict the name “Semite” to a person of the Jewish religion, for it has a far wider definition. In Merriam- Webster’s Dictionary a Semite is defined as “A member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadi- ans, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs”. So the use of the term “anti-Semitic” to mean that a person is anti-Jewish is strictly a misnomer. Secondly, there is no such thing as the “Jewish race” — a term which many mistakenly use today.

As the Encyclopedia Britannica states: “The designation ‘race’ has been applied to language groups (the Aryan race), national groups (the Scottish race), religious groups (the Jewish race), and the entire species of humans (the human race), but these usages are biologically and scientifically meaningless”.

Surely, therefore, any accusations about this article as being “anti-Semitic” or “racist” are equally meaningless. It is perfectly acceptable before God for us to open these matters up for debate. As mature Christian believers it is both good and necessary to analyse and discuss the bewildering array of claims being made today about Jewish people or Israel — especially by many in the church. Our aim here is to reassert what we believe to be the biblical view. Our plan in this paper is, first, to examine the issue of Judaism and Israel from an individual standpoint, comparing post-Calvary Judaism with the biblical view, then to consider it on a corporate level, examining the many claims about the nation Israel, comparing the Middle- Eastern nation-state of today with that of the Bible.

THE HALLMARKS OF MODERN JUDAISM

In a brief comparison between the religion and aspirations of modern Judaism and the kind of Judaism which is revealed in the Bible, we need to be clear that they are not at all the same.

Modern Judaism has certain trappings which are associated with the Old Testament religion of Israel, but in reality it bears very little relation to the true religion of the Bible. Modern Judaism is similar to the religion which was espoused by the Scribes and Pharisees, with whom the Lord Jesus took issue, and which continued to be adhered to and codified after Calvary and especially after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in AD.70. As John rather pointedly observed on a number of occasions, “there was a division” among the Jews caused by the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn.7:43; 9:16; 10:19). And that division was not of equal proportions, but consisted on the one hand of the mass of the people who went along with the Pharisees and on the other hand of a small remnant who became His disciples and thereby the first-fruits of the Christian Church which would be made up of both former Jews and Gentiles.

After the war in Jerusalem in AD.70, both groups — unbelieving Jews and the Christian Church, made up of converted Jews and Gentiles — were scattered across Europe and the Middle-East taking their religion with them. The Church (followers of Jesus made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers) began to evangelise the world with the Gospel (in accordance with Acts 1:8) and the unbelieving Jews set about consolidating their beleaguered faith which by then had its roots in both Talmudic Pharisaism and mystical Essenism.

From that time to this — as post-Calvary Judaism was based on disbelief that the Messiah had come and a hatred of all things Christian — certain characteristics of Judaism have held sway. Principal among those characteristics is that it does not maintain the exclusive authority of Scripture, the Bible. The only authoritative source of religious information, in both doctrinal and practical matters, is the written Word of God, the Bible:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Tim.3:16-17)

The importance of neither adding to nor taking away from the Word of God is paramount in both Old and New Testaments. We see this near the beginning of the Bible:

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…” (Deut.4:2), in the middle of the Bible: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Pro.30:5-6), and at the end of the Bible we find a couple of verses which plainly can be applied to more than just the Book of Revelation: “If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev.22:18-19).

So, from start to finish, the Bible — consisting of both Old and New Testaments — is complete and all that is necessary for revelation and teaching. Even the Old Testament Scriptures alone “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim.3:15). However, as post-Calvary Judaism has developed and adapted throughout the past 1900 years, the prevailing Judaism of today is drawn primarily not from the religion revealed by Jehovah on Mount Sinai, or from the authoritative sacred writings of the Bible, but from man- made writings which have a decidedly legalistic and antichristian emphasis.

There are three ways in which modern Judaism fails to uphold the authority of Scripture.

1. IT DENIES THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT –  Augustine of Hippo made the statement: “In the Old Testament the New is latent; in the New Testament the Old is patent”. The “Messiah who is to come” is the principal subject of the Old Testament. The “Messiah who has come” is the principal subject of the New. The New Testament is the Divinely inspired outgrowth of the Old. The Jewish nation, with its special code of civil and ceremonial law, was instigated by the Lord as a vehicle of succession for the coming Messiah (Gal.3:19). Everything about their law pointed towards the advent of Christ (Col.2:16-17). So when He finally came, they should have received Him (Jn.1:11). And when the new revelation was given which became the New Testament, they should similarly have received that as authoritative. However, post-Calvary Judaism has never accepted the sole authority of the New Testament or its writers. Indeed, the authoritative Jewish Encyclopedia refers to Paul the Apostle as an antinomian and a Gnostic, accusing him of contaminating God’s people by preaching the Gospel to gentiles:

“While thus opening the door wide to admit the pagan world, Paul caused the influx of the entire pagan mythology in the guise of Gnostic and anti- Gnostic names and formulas. No wonder he was frequently assailed and beaten by the officials of the synagogue”.[6]

Furthermore, the words of the Messiah Himself, as recorded in the New Testament, are judged by the authorities of modern Judaism to be derivative of the teachings of either the Pharisees or the Essenes:

“Many of Jesus’s sayings can be traced to rabbinical sayings current in the Pharasaic schools; and many sentences, if not entire chapters, have been taken over from Essene writings”.[7]

This claim that entire chapters of the New Testament have been lifted from the writings of the Essenes is a wild claim indeed, and worthy of exposure as a misleading allegation — especially as this is also a major claim of the New Age Movement today. It is significant that the sect of the Essenes is never directly mentioned in the New Testament — unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees who feature so prominently in the four Gospels. The reason for this is most likely because they never attempted to confront Jesus directly and tended to live in secluded, secretive circumstances. However, there are many indirect references which are most instructive. The word essene is derived from the East Aramaic, hasen, meaning ‘the pious ones’ (from which the name of the orthodox Jewish Hasidim is derived). The Essene sect (2nd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.) was an ascetic, commune-based, Jewish monastic order which regarded itself as the true Israel. In some ways they resembled the Pharisees in terms of such elements as ritual purity and legal observances; indeed, in this respect they often out-Phariseed the Pharisees! But their rigid adherence to the Levitical code was augmented by many additional works and practices which were, at best, in transgression of Pentateuchal Law and, at worst, down- right sorcery and superstition. For example, they adored the sun and earnestly prayed to it before it rose,[8] they used a variety of magical and esoteric books, they practised divination and developed a highly elaborate angelology and cosmogony which went far beyond the biblical teachings of Moses.[9] Their teaching on angels was, in fact, ‘derived from the Magi’,[10] and in many ways, as Chambers Encyclopaedia states, the Essenes ‘became the forerunners of the Gnostics and of the Jewish Kabbalists’.[11]

This knowledge that the angelology of the Essenes was derived from the Magi becomes doubly significant when we are informed that among these Magi ‘there was a strong tradition which favoured the exercise of sacerdotal and occult powers’.[12] Even more significant, these Magi ‘were in communication with evil spirits, and…they were well acquainted with Mesmerism and every practice of modern Spiritualism’.[13] So the influences on the Essenes were decidedly occult. Under these circumstances, is it at all likely — as the ‘authoritative’ Jewish Encyclopedia claims — that vast tracts of the Gospels — and in particular the words of the Lord Jesus Christ — have been plagiarised from the writings of the Essenes? In truth, there are far more similarities between Essenism and the later Gnosticism than with the teachings of Jesus. As one authoritative source puts it: ‘The suggestions, occasionally made, that…Christ Himself had Essene connections, are most improbable’.[14] Let us list some of the glaring con- trasts between Essenism and Christianity. Unlike the Essenes, Jesus did not withdraw from, nor advocate withdrawal from the world (cf. Jn.17:15,18); neither did He reject the aged and the physically handicapped (cf. Mt.12:9-13; 15:30) nor advocate hatred of His enemies, as did the Essenes. He never purified Himself before eating with sinners (Mt.9:10-13); He did not advocate or practise vegetarianism (Mt.14:19), and did not believe that defilement and uncleanness comes from unpurified food, clothing and people (Mt.15:11) — all of which were part and parcel of being an Essene. So deep was their bondage to the laws of purification that if one of their members was expelled from the community for sins committed, he would find himself unable to eat the unpurified food of the outside world and die of starvation.[15]

The Essenes also had such a highly developed system of elitism within their sect that the more ‘advanced’ members believed that they became spiritually polluted if they came into physical contact with, or ate food prepared by, novitiates.[16] It is also quite probable that Jesus was referring to the Essenes when He made the enigmatic statement:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy’” (Mt.5:43).

Nowhere is the idea of hating one’s enemy advocated as such by the Jewish Law in the Old Testament (cf. Lev.19:17-18). There are, however, a number of such references in the Essenic documents which were found at Qumran in 1948.[17] Therefore, far from being an Essene Himself, the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ were diametrically opposed to Essenic doctrine. In spite of this mountain of evidence against the idea that Jesus was an Essene and that He proffered Essene teachings, the Jewish Encyclopedia asserts otherwise. There can be no other reason for this than to undermine the authority and witness of the N.T. Scriptures. Obviously, it should be of no surprise that modern Judaism fails to regard the New Testament as authoritative Scripture. But does it rely on any other authority? This brings us to the second way that Judaism does not uphold the authority of Scripture:

2. IT UPHOLDS THE TALMUD AS THE AUTHORITATIVE WRITINGS –  One of the primary complaints of the Lord Jesus Christ against the Pharisees was that they maintained the authority of man-made writings rather than the Holy Scriptures, thereby bringing the people under unnecessary bondage (e.g., Mt.15:8-9; 16:11-12; 23:1-4, 23; cf. Tit.1:14; Mt.11:28-30). On one occasion, the Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus:

“Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” To which He replied “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the com- mandments of men’. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men”.

On the many occasions when the Lord Jesus had dealings with the Jewish religious authorities, there was surely more than a touch of irony when He said: “Have you never read…?” He knew very well that they most certainly had “read” over and again the Old Testament to which He was referring; and in the Scribes’ case their time was spent from morning till night copying out scrolls of Scripture to the highest degree of accuracy. They had indeed “read” the Scriptures, but they neither upheld them nor implemented them in their lives as their only rule for faith and practice, according to the commandment of God (Deut.4:2; Prov.30:5-6).

From that time onwards — but especially after such complete destruction of the Temple in AD.70 — unbelieving Judaism has continued to centre its teaching primarily on man-made written Talmudic teachings. In fact, even when the claim is made by Jews that the Old Testament is their highest authority, one generally finds the most cavalier allegorisation of the text, very much akin to that of the liberal Christian scholars who indulge in biblical criticism in university theological departments. Regardless of any Jewish claims to uphold the Old Testament as the highest example of authoritative writings, the truth is that the man-made Talmud takes precedence over the inspired Word of God for the vast majority of the Jews.

The third way that modern Judaism does not uphold the authority of Scripture is seen in the fact that

3. IT CHAMPIONS THE KABBALAH AS WHOLESOME SPIRITUAL PRACTICE –   A great many Jewish people today uphold the Kabbalah as being a valid spiritual pathway. The Kabbalah is a ‘theosophical system’ which ‘has strong connections with gnosticism and also with magical practices’.[28] It is also described as ‘the ancient esoteric Jewish mystical tradition of philosophy containing strong elements of pantheism and is akin to Neo-Platonism’.[29] In section one above we have already noted that the Jewish sect of the Essenes ‘became the forerunners of the Gnostics and of the Jewish Kabbalists’. So the Kabbalah is a Jewish form of Gnosticism. As the Jewish Encyclopedia boasts: “Gnosticism was Jewish in character long before it became Christian”.[30] By the time of the first century, Judaism had degenerated into occultism through the Essene cults in Israel, which had borrowed from Persian Zoroastrianism and other oriental mixtures. During the early Church period, this Jewish mysticism developed into the teachings of the Kabbalah — a complex esoteric-magical system which applies occult symbolism to the Old Testament, in much the same way as do the Freemasons. The Kabbalah subsequently became the foundation stone of such occult organisations as the Rosicrucians. The Kabbalah is now extremely popular among many Jewish groups, with radio stations devoted to its propaganda in Israel. As long ago as 1990, this writer recalls seeing a mainstream book on the Kabbalah prominently displayed in the book department of W.H. Smith in Temple Fortune near Golders Green (in London), the commendatory preface of which was written by none other than the then Prime Minister of Israel! That is an indication of how far the Kabbalah has become another arm of Jewish-Israeli nationalism.

THE HALLMARKS OF JUDAISM IN THE BIBLE

If Biblical Judaism is to be understood at all, it must be understood spiritually; and to be understood spiritu- ally, it must be understood from the information provided not only in the Old Testament but also in the New. We have already quoted Augustine of Hippo in saying: “In the Old Testament the New is latent; in the New Testament the Old is patent”. While the Old Testament Scriptures can make a person “wise for salvation” (2 Tim.3:15), they are incomplete without the vital additional divine revelation afforded in the New Testament. And in the New Testament we find that the Jewish converts to Christ, such as Saul of Tarsus (who later became Paul the Apostle) and Simon Peter, are especially eager to explain the identity of a true Jew. We have isolated four ways that a true Jew can be identified from the pages of the Bible:

1. A TRUE JEW IS A PERSON OF ANY NATION, TRIBE OR LANGUAGE WHO HAS FAITH IN CHRIST  – The covenant promises made to Abraham pointed forward to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the one true Seed of Abraham in whom redemption under that covenant would find its consummation. When the Apostle states:

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made” (Gal.3:16),

he goes to the very heart of the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham is shown in Scripture as believing the promise of God that he would have numerous descendants. But wrapped up in that promise was the mighty fact that the blessing to all mankind would come through a special One of Abraham’s descendants. Therefore unless the covenant community of Israelites receives the Messiah, who was the highest expression of the Seed of Abraham, it will not experience the bringing to fruition of the promises made to the fathers in that covenant. The Jews had centuries of preparation for their Messiah, and the knowledge that He would be not only their Messiah but also “a light to the Gentiles” (Isa.49:6). This was what lay behind Peter’s preaching to the Jews, when he said:

“All the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”. (Acts 3:24-26)

The preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles and their entry into the kingdom was not a “Plan B” enacted as an afterthought by the Lord when the Jews did not receive Him (as is actually believed by many today). Neither is the current preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles some parenthetical sideline before the Lord once more begins again to deal with the earthly nation Israel. The ingathering of converted Gentiles, along with that of converted Jews, is the main business of the Gospel until the Second Advent of Christ to effect the Final Judgement. So we discover that the promise to Abraham finds its ultimate expression not in Jews according to the flesh but in all those who have faith in Christ. Therefore we find Abraham described as “the father of all those who believe” (Rom.4:11), plainly of both Jews and Gentiles.

“There is one God who will justify the circumcised [Jews] by faith and the uncircumcised [Gentiles] through faith” (Rom.3:30).

So then, neither circumcision [being Jewish] nor uncircumcision [being a Gentile] makes any difference to potential for salvation in this Gospel Age (Gal.5:6; 6:15). What counts instead is “faith working through love” (Gal.5:6) and being “a new creation” (Gal.6:15), which are the fruits of spiritual regeneration and not physical ancestry. As the apostle John puts it:

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, even to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood [i.e. earthly ancestry], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man [i.e. human decision], but of God” (Jn.1:11-13).

Even Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile when he first believed, about which Paul makes a great deal of in Romans chapter 4. In fact, Abraham can more properly be called a Christian rather than a Jew (see John 8:56), as salvation in all ages has only ever been through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor.10:1-4; Rom.4:16), prospectively in the Old Testament, retrospectively in the New Testament.

Therefore we can say without reservation that a true Jew today is not a person of a particular line of descent who says “next year in Jerusalem” every Passover. A true Jew has always been a person from any nation, tribe or language who has faith in Christ, whether of Jewish or Gentile origin. So far as his Jewish credentials are concerned — being “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews”, etc. — Paul said that he counted them all as “dung” (A.V.), “rubbish” (NKJV), which are translations of the Greek word skubalon; skubalon, which literally means the dregs that you throw out to the dogs (Phil.3:4-9). A Jew after the flesh who comes to Christ has no further use for, or real interest in, these things because they have found their fulfilment in the Messiah. This is why we say that a true Jew is a person of any nation, tribe or language who has faith in Christ. For this reason, Paul said:

“So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Gal.3:9). In other words, “If you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:29). Abraham’s “seed” (descendants) today are those who have faith in Christ.

How desperately we need spiritual eyesight to understand these things!

To be continued…

4 Comments

America, We’ve Got a Problem

Both a vital and well written article by Jim Wallis of Sojourners Ministry

I was in Ferguson Wednesday when it happened: In a morally stunning decision, a Staten Island grand jury announced it would not bring criminal charges against a white police officer who choked a black man to death during a brutal incident last July. Stopped for allegedly selling some loose and therefore untaxed cigarettes, officer Daniel Pantaleo put a “chokehold” on Eric Garner, despite the fact that the move is against NYPD rules. Video of the incident shows Garner uttering his last words, “I can’t breathe.” New York’s medical examiner officially called this a “homicide,” but the grand jury said no charges will be made.

Of course, this comes just 10 days after the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict another white police officer, Darren Wilson, for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Sojourners had convened a retreat in Ferguson for both national faith leaders and local pastors to look deeply at the historical and theological foundations of the Ferguson events and reflect upon how the church must respond.

Continued Here

I agree, America has a problem. What I don’t know is the answer, outside of the Gospel message, to this problem. I’m not even sure if the problem is relatively new, as in it had dissipated and has reared it’s ugly head again, or if it was always there, under the surface. Personally I believe in most areas of the country it’s a little of both: we’ve always had a minority of racists, but over the last 6-7 years that minority has grown substantially.  

Last evening I was remembering back to days after the 2008 election. To a town meeting which ended up being televised nation-wide. Perhaps you recall it and the incident with the lady in attendance who was weeping. When the microphone was placed in front of her and she was asked, why all the tears, she wailed “I want my country back!!”. 

I’ve never forgotten that. After Obama’s election there were many like this lady; people who believed because a ‘black man’ was going to be occupying the most important office in America, “they had lost their country”. That town hall clip went viral. 

For me, that was the beginning. That lady represented the voices and/or thoughts of millions in this country that night. Since then it has only grown worse. 

Yes, “we” have a problem. And if anyone believes that when our current president steps out of the office of President of the United States, and most-likely, another “white” man (or woman) steps in to take his place, things will improve, you are kidding yourself.

Pandora’s box was opened and the ghostly evils inside escaped into this nations atmosphere.

We can only pray the last item found at the bottom of this Pandora’s box, will be the same thing found at the bottom of the one depicted in the Greek myth: Hope.

There is much more I’d like to say, but…..

7 Comments

Ron Paul Calls Out Evangelicals Who Support War

Interesting to read of a politician doing what Church leaders here in America fail to do.

quote,

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul claims that evangelical Christians are in the wrong when they support war and other heavy-handed tactics to advance America’s national-security interests.

Paul espouses the view that war and strong-arm diplomacy, both part of the United States’ “compulsion” to police the world, are fundamentally unsound policies.

Most disturbingly, he said, is that a vocal minority of the Christian evangelical community is strongly in favor of such foreign policy stances and considers die-hard support of Israel, for instance, to be a litmus test for any political candidate. Asked why some evangelicals have gone down a path of militarism, Paul does not even hazard a guess.

Paul discussed some of his core values as an American and as a human being. He offered insight on the problems facing the nation today, as well as reflections on his three failed presidential campaigns as a libertarian in an interview with FTMDaily… (interview/video)

“It’s probably been going on for a hundred years or so, that there’s been a segment of the Christian faith that endorses this violence,” remarked Paul. “It’s one of the discouraging things for me because it’s, to me, so inconsistent. It doesn’t even make any sense to me. I was taught that the New Testament was a ‘new’ testament, and that we didn’t have sacrifices and other things of the Old Testament. My understanding is that Jesus was the Prince of Peace, and that you weren’t out looking for war.” (source)

I Was a Teenage Dispensationalist

It's the end (of the end) of the world as we know it...

Disrupting Culture

A blog by Dr. Jonathan Welton

Holy Spirit Activism

Salvation, Miracles, Peace and Justice

Fishing For Men

paul the slave humbly serving Christ Jesus the Great Fisherman

Gralefrit Theology

Trying to explicate the inexplicable

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 463 other followers