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Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

from Got Questions:

Every time there is a conflict in or around Israel, many see it as a sign of the quickly approaching end times. The problem with this is that we may eventually tire of the conflict in Israel, so much so that we will not recognize when true, prophetically significant events occur. Conflict in Israel is not necessarily a sign of the end times.

Conflict in Israel has been a reality whenever Israel has existed as a nation. Whether it was the Egyptians, Amalekites, Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Amorites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, or Romans, the nation of Israel has always been persecuted by its neighbors. Why is this? According to the Bible, it is because God has a special plan for the nation of Israel, and Satan wants to defeat that plan. Satanically influenced hatred of Israel—and especially Israel’s God—is the reason Israel’s neighbors have always wanted to see Israel destroyed. Whether it is Sennacherib, king of Assyria; Haman, official of Persia; Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany; or Rouhani, President of Iran, attempts to completely destroy Israel will always fail. The persecutors of Israel will come and go, but the persecution will remain until the second coming of Christ. As a result, conflict in Israel is not a reliable indicator of the soon arrival of the end times.

However, the Bible does say there will be terrible conflict in Israel during the end times. That is why the time period is known as the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, and the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Here is what the Bible says about Israel in the end times:

There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:24; 37:1-14).

The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of “peace” with Israel (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:27).

The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1).

The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 11; Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 24:15, 21; Revelation 12:13). Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).

Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8; Ezekiel 11:17; Romans 11:26).

There is much turmoil in Israel today. Israel is persecuted, surrounded by enemies—Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc. But this hatred and persecution of Israel is only a hint of what will happen in the end times (Matthew 24:15-21). The latest round of persecution began when Israel was reconstituted as a nation in 1948. Many Bible prophecy scholars believed the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967 was the “beginning of the end.” Could what is taking place in Israel today indicate that the end is near? Yes. Does it necessarily mean the end is near? No. Jesus Himself said it best, “Watch out that no one deceives you. . . . You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:4-6).

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A good explanation of a “thorny” topic:

from Worldview Weekend:

This phrase has often stymied students of the New Testament, and has been a verse with many interpretations. I offer mine. To adamantly conclude that I have the right one, or even one that has not been proposed by others is presumptuous. What I’m offering is merely from my Bible reading and not from diligently studying other authors on the subject, so I could likely be repeating what another has said. I also realize that a lot rests on the interpretation of this phrase, so one has to very careful to know the context.

Who is “all Israel”?

In my opinion, though Israel is discussed in various ways in Romans 9-11, “all Israel” in this verse (11:26) is “all elect Israel.” I believe Paul is saying, “and so, all [chosen] Israel will be saved.” This comports with 9:6-13 below. Please read it carefully:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “Through Isaac Your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only this, there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

In the entire section of chapters 9-11, Paul is making the point that the children of promise are those God chooses and calls (9:23-24). These are the elect such as Isaac and Jacob (9:8-13). Some are Jews and some Gentiles, for God says in Hosea, “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people’” (9:25). Israel as an ethnic entity has rejected God’s offer of Christ, and “it is the remnant that will be saved” (9:27). Whatever one says about the sentence, “and so all Israel will be saved,” we must remember that it will only be the remnant that will actually be saved among Israel and that remnant is the true Israel about whom the promises were made.

Who Responds by Faith?

In chapter 10 of Romans, we see that ethnic Israel as a whole has not responded by faith in Christ, even though they have had a zeal for God. They bypassed God’s way of righteousness through Christ, and continued in law works. The possibility of belief was close to them, but it was the Gentiles who responded much better. Officially, Israel, as the perverse generation, rejected Christ. God “stretched out His hand” and “hardened” the hearts of Israelites because of this—except for the elect remnant.

Are The Promises Made to Israel Abrogated?

Chapter 11 is where our often misinterpreted phrase is found: “and so all Israel will be saved.” How does Paul develop his thoughts?

First of all, Paul asks the question that provides the theme of the chapter: “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be.” Paul introduces his argument in this chapter by using two illustrations—himself and the Elijah story. Israel is not rejected by God because, Paul says, “I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” In other words, he is saying, “I am a case in point that Israel is not rejected and that the promises made concerning them are being fulfilled, because I have believed in Christ as an Israelite.”

And, secondly, Paul reminds them of Elijah. What did God tell Elijah when he thought there were none like him who would follow God? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (11:4). So, Paul proposes that “in the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (11:5). This idea sets the course for the rest of the chapter: God’s promises to Israel are being fulfilled through the remnant of Israel who believe in Christ. Only the chosen obtained what Israel was seeking, “and the rest were hardened” (11:7). Paul makes plain that this salvation for Israel is not by law works, but through faith, just as it is for the Gentiles.

Though judged severely, Israel did not completely fall. “May it never be!” In fact, the judgment of partial hardening among Israel produced some good.

Israel’s rejection was the means by which the gospel came to Gentiles. Paul reminds these Gentiles in the Roman church not to forget who was first to believe. They are grafted into the trunk of the olive tree of God’s salvation and blessing, which was the first believing Jews. This favor of God to those Gentiles who believe makes Israel jealous. In fact, Paul preaches to the Gentiles in part to promote this jealousy, so that some of Israel will be saved.  But the Gentiles were reminded that they are grafted in only because of faith. God is able to break them off again if they begin to disbelieve, so “don’t be conceited, but fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.” God has the ability to graft Israel back in also, if they do not continue in unbelief. In either case, the called Gentiles are in the Olive tree only by faith. We should notice however that the illustration Paul uses includes the word, “some”: “some of the branches [Israel] were broken off” (11:17). The hardening is only partial.

The Mystery Revealed

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and SO all Israel will be saved. (11:25-26)

It is a great “mystery” that Gentiles were included in the promises of God spoken originally to Israel (Eph 3). Here is another mystery that needs to be expounded: ALL of elect Israel will be saved as was promised. Not all Israel as an ethnic entity, but all true elect Israel: “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (9:6).

In my view, the emphasis on our famous statement is on the word “so.” It could read as “thus,” or “in this manner.”  “And IN THIS MANNER, all Israel will be saved.” The effect is to reveal how He will save the true Israel remnant. It is not at a great future awakening of Jewish interest just before Christ comes again, but all along at the same time as Gentiles are coming in. It is happening while they are in a partial hardening. It is happening as the remnant is responding to Christ. That is the way they will be saved.

We cannot say if there will be periods when larger numbers of Jews believe in Christ, as happened to them at the beginning during Pentecost when 3000 were saved, soon turning to 5000. We can pray for that. But there is no guarantee of such a thing in this passage, nor is there such a guarantee for Gentiles to experience revival in Scripture. God will act to carry out His intentions as He pleases by bringing in the remnant Israel as He promised alongside the Gentile elect, those who were originally “not His people, but now are the people of God.” Hopefully it will include such times of special visitation to breathe life into the churches and to stir up laborers. We can pray for that, but it is not promised.

We see then that God has not rejected Israel, nor forsaken His promises in any way, but will fulfill His promise “IN THIS WAY,” that is, when Gentiles also are being saved and while Israel as an ethnic group is partially hardened to Christ. When the fullness or completeness of Gentiles is finished, you can be sure that God will have simultaneously saved elect Israel—all Israel who was called, all Israel of the promise, all Israel who are elect, all Israel who come by faith, all the remnant of Israel. God has not forsaken any who are truly His in Israel, for “the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable” (11:29). Paul quotes Isaiah 59:20-21 to reinforce the fact that Christ came to do this for Jacob, or Israel, in His first coming. The Isaiah passage would be strained to mean Christ’s second coming.

Paul has now successfully vindicated God for His judgment of Israel which left them in this partial hardening as a nation, and for his inclusion of believing Gentiles when it appeared to some that the promises were made to Israelites alone. This unfolding of God’s mystery in Romans was meant to help the Jewish-born believers in the church of Rome to accept their fellow Gentile believers, and for believing Gentiles to accept Jewish-born believers. Paul has proven that God has not lied about His promises or changed His plans. And, while doing so, he has proclaimed that the gospel is offered to all, both Israelites and Gentiles. That, after all, is the burden of Paul’s message throughout Romans.

Finally, notice the word, “now” in Paul’s concluding remarks.

For just as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient to God, but NOW have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also NOW have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you [Gentiles] they [Jews] also may NOW be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. (11:30-31)

A God of Purpose

God never intended to save all of ethnic Israel. He always intended that the children of promise or elect Israel were to be the heirs of the promises. That has not changed. Gentiles are included as children of the promises made to Abraham. That has not changed either. It is about mercy, not law-righteousness. All who receive this mercy come to Christ by faith. God’s intention is that both Jews and Gentiles, though all shut up in disobedience, are given mercy. The writing of this amazing truth causes Paul, the Jewish-born apostle to the Gentiles, to erupt in a doxology to God for His unfathomable mercy.

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from Lighthouse Trails Research:

LTRP Note: For those who are wondering just what “Common Core” has in store for American children, read this article below as well as Berit Kjos’ booklet  A “Common Core” For a Global Community.

By Barbara Boland
CNS News

The Rialto school district in California gave eighth graders an 18-page assignment that asked them to consider arguments on whether the Holocaust was an “actual event” or a “propaganda tool that was used for monetary gain.”

The project created media outrage, but the school district initially defended the assignment, saying that Common Core standards are intended to teach critical thinking. The school district, through interim superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam, revised its position when L.A.-based Anti-Defamation league expressed its concerns.

The assignment given to the eighth graders read:

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

To continue reading, click here.

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from The Middle East Quarterly:

A mere decade ago, Christian Zionism was seen as an emerging force in American politics. As if out of nowhere, a block of fifty to one hundred million friends of Israel were poised to enter the national debate and safeguard the U.S.-Israel relationship for generations to come. Evangelical love for Israel appeared so solid that the only debate within the Jewish community was whether or not to “accept” it.

How quickly things change. The days of taking evangelical support for Israel for granted are over. As they are increasingly confronted with an evangelical-friendly, anti-Israel narrative, more and more of these Christians are turning against the Jewish state.

There is troubling precedent for such an about-face. At one time—prior to the 1967 war— the mainline Protestant denominations were among Israel’s most reliable American supporters. Israel’s opponents, therefore, targeted these denominations with mainline-friendly, anti-Israel messages. There are still many mainline Protestants who support Israel today. But to the extent the mainline denominations act corporately in connection with the Jewish state, it is to divest from it. And it is from Israel—not Iran—that they seek to divest.

In a similar fashion, Palestinian Christians and their American sympathizers are successfully promoting a narrative aimed at reaching the rising generation of evangelicals and turning them against Israel. As a result, more leaders of this generation are moving toward neutrality in the conflict while others are becoming outspoken critics of Israel. Questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for the millennials to demonstrate their Christian compassion and political independence. In short, this population is in play.

The Shift

There is nothing new about the efforts to drive a wedge between America’s evangelicals and Israel. Many in the anti-Israel camp have been working for years to do exactly that. Anti-Israel Palestinian Christians such as Sami Awad and Naim Ateek have traveled the country telling American Christians how their “brothers and sisters in Christ” are being oppressed by Israel’s Jews. Left-leaning evangelicals such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and Serge Duss have echoed this narrative in their corner of the Christian world. Duss’s sons, Brian and Matt, have worked diligently to mainstream their father’s views within the fields of Christian philanthropy and Democratic Party policy-making, respectively.

Until the past couple of years, however, there was little reason to believe that these individuals were influencing Christians beyond their own narrow circles. Almost every significant evangelical leader who took a position on the issue came out squarely behind the Jewish state. A center-right evangelical world simply was not taking its political cues from these stalwarts of the left.

This situation is changing dramatically. With every passing month, more evidence is emerging that these anti-Israel Christians are succeeding in reaching beyond the evangelical left and are influencing the mainstream. In particular, they are penetrating the evangelical world at its soft underbelly: the millennial generation. These young believers (roughly ages 18 to 30) are rebelling against what they perceive as the excessive biblical literalism and political conservatism of their parents. As they strive with a renewed vigor to imitate Jesus’ stand with the oppressed and downtrodden, they want to decide for themselves which party is being oppressed in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Whoever first defines the conflict for these young people will win lifelong allies.

Of Polling and Documentaries

In October 2010, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a major survey of evangelical leaders attending the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. When asked with which side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict they sympathized, these leaders answered as follows:

All Evangelicals (Global)

Sympathize With Israel—34%
Sympathize with the Palestinians—11%
Sympathize with Both Equally—39%

American Evangelicals

Sympathize with Israel—30%
Sympathize with the Palestinians—13%
Sympathize with Both Sides Equally—49%

The survey contained two bombshells. It showed that only a minority of those evangelicals polled sympathized primarily with Israel. And it demonstrated that American evangelical leaders were actually less inclined to support Israel than evangelical leaders in general.

These figures may mean that evangelical support for Israel was never as universal as was commonly believed. But they may also demonstrate that years of grassroots efforts by Israel’s critics were beginning to bear fruit even before their recent intensification.

The year 2010 was one of dramatic escalation in the efforts to drive a wedge between American evangelicals and Israel using the medium of film. In the span of that one year, no less than three major documentaries were released attacking Christian support for Israel. These were hardly the first anti-Israel movies to be produced. What made these films special was that they were focused on discrediting Christian support for Israel. While First Run Features’ Waiting for Armageddon was produced and directed by a team of secular documentarians, two other films—With God on Our Side (Rooftop Productions, 2010) and Little Town of Bethlehem(EthnoGraphic Media, 2010)—were made by Christians specifically for Christians. With God on Our Side was produced by Porter Speakman, a former Youth with a Mission (YWAM) activist while Little Town of Bethlehem was funded and produced by Mart Green, chairman of the board of trustees of Oral Roberts University and heir to the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts stores fortune.

These two Christian-made films are masterpieces of deception. They feature compelling protagonists wandering earnestly through a Middle Eastern landscape in which all Arab violence, aggression, and rejectionism have been magically erased. Thus the Israeli security measures they encounter along the way—from the security fence to Israel’s ongoing presence in the West Bank—are experienced as baffling persecutions, which any decent person would condemn.

More recently, in November 2013, another anti-Israel documentary—The Stones Cry Out—was released. Like its 2010 predecessors, this documentary specifically tailors its anti-Israel message to a Christian audience. The film’s website laments: “All too often, media coverage of the conflict in Palestine has framed it as a fight between Muslims and Jews.” The not-too subtle goal of The Stones Cry Out is to reframe the conflict as a fight between Christians and Jews.

The Stones Cry Out begins with the story of Kfar Biram, a Christian Arab village on Israel’s border with Lebanon. Israel expelled the village’s residents in 1948 in order to, in the words of the film’s website, “make way for settlers in the newly created state of Israel.” The film then moves on to “the expropriation of the West Bank in 1967” and the plight of modern Bethlehem, which is “hemmed in by the wall.” As such language repeatedly makes clear, the filmmakers did not craft a nuanced critique of Israeli policies. They produced instead a modern passion play.

In an interview about the film, Bethlehem pastor Mitri Raheb summarizes the changes taking place in the American evangelical world:

It’s not a hopeless case. The first time I went to the States in 1991, most of the people I met knew nothing about Palestine. That has changed a lot. I see among the evangelical Christian community more openness towards the Palestinians.

Raheb is right about the openness. And this could be a good thing if it leads to an honest examination of the issue. Unfortunately, Raheb and his colleagues are exploiting this openness by telling a one-sided narrative of Jewish persecution of Christians that may sow the seeds of future hate.

Of Campuses and Conferences

The effort to delegitimize Israel on America’s college campuses has quickly progressed from news item to cliché. The annual Israel apartheid weeks and the repeated divestment campaigns targeting everything from university pension funds to cafeteria humus have become all too familiar. But what many observers do not realize is that the effort to demonize Israel is also being waged on America’s Christian campuses.

Perhaps the most troubling example comes from Wheaton College in Illinois, commonly referred to as the “evangelical Harvard.” Some of the most prominent church leaders in America have graduated from Wheaton, including the Rev. Billy Graham, Sen. Dan Coats (Republican, Indiana), and George W. Bush’s former speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Wheaton is also the home of Gary Burge, one of America’s most prominent anti-Israel evangelicals. Burge travels the country and the world accusing the Jewish state of the worst of crimes and engaging in a mockery of Judaism that borders on anti-Semitism. When Christians United for Israel (CUFI) announced plans to hold an event at Wheaton in January 2009, Burge went on the offensive. CUFI’s student members came under such intense pressure that they moved their event off-campus: There would be no pro-Israel event at the evangelical Harvard.

Another of America’s leading Christian schools, Oral Roberts University (ORU), has deep conservative Christian roots. Oral Roberts himself was a Pentecostal televangelist and a strong friend of Israel. Some of the leading preachers in America graduated from ORU, and its board of trustees has included pro-Israel Christians such as pastors John Hagee and Kenneth Copeland and Bishop Keith Butler.

But things may be changing at ORU. The current chair of ORU’s board of trustees is the aforementioned Mart Green. He is reported to have “saved” ORU with a $70 million cash infusion. In January 2013, ORU’s board of trustees elected Billy Wilson as the university’s new president; a few months later, Wilson was named as a speaker for 2014 at the leading anti-Israel Christian conference, “Christ at the Checkpoint.”

Bethel University in Minnesota provides a further example. While this school lacks the national reputation of Wheaton or ORU, it is likely more representative of the direction that America’s Christian colleges are taking. Bethel’s leaders are neither leading nor funding the effort to delegitimize Israel but are merely the products thereof. Like many Christian schools, Bethel emphasizes racial reconciliation and cultural openness and has accordingly developed numerous opportunities for its students to study abroad. In 2010, Bethel’s president Jay Barnes and his wife Barb visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority to explore the prospect of building a study abroad program there. During the trip, they visited Bethlehem and were exposed to the standard Christian anti-Israel narrative. Like so many of her fellow travelers, Barb Barnes apparently bought into this one-sided presentation. Shortly after her return, Barnes posted a poem on the university’s website that summarized the leading anti-Israel themes of these tours:

Incredible conflict exists in the land of Jesus’ birth/ I believe God mourns.

The wall is a constant reminder of many lost freedoms/ I believe God mourns.

For more than 60 years, people have lived in poverty in refugee camps/ I believe God mourns.

Apartheid has become a way of life/ I believe God mourns.

Extreme disproportional distribution of resources, such as water, exists/ I believe God mourns.

Hundreds of villages have been demolished to make room for settlements/ I believe God mourns.

Human rights violations occur daily/ I believe God mourns.

The Christian population is declining as many are leaving to avoid persecution/ I believe God mourns.

The Barnes visit did not motivate further study ultimately yielding a more nuanced understanding. In October 2012, President Barnes hosted a “Hope for the Holy Land” evening at Bethel, a one-sided, blame-Israel speaking tour featuring Sami Awad, Lynn Hybels, and other long-standing Christian critics of Israel.

One need not be a student to be exposed to this anti-Israel narrative. In recent years, the number of Christian conferences focusing entirely or partially on criticizing Israel has grown along with the attendance at these conferences.

Since its founding in 1979, Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank has been a leading source of the anti-Israel Christian narrative. In 2010, it launched a biennial conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint.” The name of the conference along with a photo of the Israel security fence that forms its logo invoke the increasingly popular meme that Jesus was a Palestinian who would be suffering under Israeli occupation today much as he suffered under Roman occupation millennia ago.

In 2010, the conference brought 250 Christian leaders and activists to Bethlehem; in 2012, that number was more than 600 including such mainstream evangelical leaders as mega-church pastor Joel Hunter and Lynne Hybels, wife of mega-church pastor Bill Hybels, who has since become a key evangelical critic of Israel.

The days when one had to travel to Bethlehem to hear such anti-Israel voices are now over. The anti-Israel narrative of “Christ at the Checkpoint” is now being shared at major Christian conferences in the United States including those organized by Empowered21 and Catalyst.

Empowered21, the preeminent gathering of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians, provides a troubling example of this trend. Its leadership is a who’s who of Pentecostal and Charismatic luminaries from around the world, including many longstanding friends of Israel. However, the leading critic of Israel among these leaders, Mart Green, appears to be playing an outsized role in setting the conference’s agenda: Its 2012 conference in Virginia included a talk by Sami Awad and a screening of Green’s film, Little Town of Bethlehem.

Empowered21 has announced that it will hold its 2015 global congress in Jerusalem. Given the conference’s connections to Sami Awad and Mart Green, there is some skepticism whether the choice of location was intended as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish state. Only time will tell if the organization’s leadership will permit the conference to become a one-sided Israel bashing fest.

Troubling developments are also taking place at the annual Catalyst conference. First launched in 1999, Catalyst has quickly grown into the largest gathering of young evangelical leaders in America with more than 100,000 leaders having made the annual trek to Atlanta to participate in this conference since its inception. Additional Catalyst events are now being held in Florida, Texas, and California.

In the past, Catalyst studiously avoided discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2012, however, Lynne Hybels was invited to address “Peacemaking in Israel/Palestine.” No one was asked to provide a pro-Israel perspective. As journalist Jim Fletcher observed after attending Catalyst 2012:

In dozens of random conversations, I noted that Millenials … expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and annoyance with Israel. This is a seismic shift in the American church and a serious threat to Israel’s one traditional area of support.

In addition to speaking at major conferences, anti-Israel speakers such as Burge, Awad, Hybels, and Steven Sizer tour churches across the country. The flyer for a September 2013 evening with Burge provides a sense of the climate at these events. Entitled “Christian Zionism: A Problem with a Solution,” the flyer includes a string of three lies that form the core of the new Christian anti-Zionism:

Zionists in Israel have created a state that wants racial purity. Many Zionists want native-born Christians to leave Israel. Christian Zionists in America support Israel because they believe this will accelerate the second coming of Christ.

Trips to “Israel/Palestine”

A growing number of organizations are bringing an increasing number of Christian leaders, influencers, and students to visit “Israel/Palestine.” These trips are well marketed and seek out mainstream evangelicals by claiming to be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian—or simply “pro-people”—but never anti-Israel. Yet these trips tend to focus on Palestinian suffering and to blame Israel alone for this suffering.

The Telos Group, founded in 2009 and funded by George Soros, is typical of these new organizations. Run by a savvy team professing a moderate agenda, Telos promotes itself as “a leading organization of America’s emerging pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-American, pro-peace movement.” Their tours take visitors to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority where they meet with both Israelis and Palestinians. What could be more evenhanded?

Yet these tours are carefully calibrated to teach their participants that Israeli policy is the source of Israeli and Arab suffering and the only real barrier to peace. The Palestinian speakers include extreme critics of Israel such as Mitri Raheb and Archbishop Elias Chacour (both featured prominently in The Stones Cry Out). The Israeli speakers, while not as extreme, are stalwarts of the far Left who likewise blame Israel for the region’s problems. A brief visit with an Israeli right-winger—usually a settler—does more to confirm this one-sided narrative than challenge it. Telos organizes approximately fifteen of these trips every year.

Another recent arrival on the scene is the Global Immersion Project. Founded in 2011, the project seeks to “cultivate everyday peacemakers through immersion in global conflict.” But thus far, the only conflict they study is that between Israel and the Palestinians, and the only trips they make are to “Israel/Palestine.” In 2014, they have two “learning labs” scheduled in the Holy Land.

These newcomers have joined an old stalwart of the movement, the Holy Land Trust. Founded in 1998 by Palestinian Christian activist Sami Awad, the organization claims to promote nonviolent solutions to the conflict with Israel. However, Awad has stated quite clearly on his blog that nonviolence is “not a substitute for the armed struggle. This is not a method for normalization with the occupation. Our goal is to revive the popular resistance until every person is involved in dismantling the occupation.” The Holy Land Trust promotes a strongly biased version of history in which Israel alone is to blame for the absence of peace. It shares this message to those who visit on their various service projects, olive harvesting initiative, and “Palestine Summer Encounter.”

The Generational Divide

Despite these troubling inroads, it is unlikely that an older generation of evangelicals raised to support Israel will abandon it en masse. The greater threat comes from the younger generation that never developed such bonds and seems quite eager to question them. There is a real danger that these films, conferences, and campus attacks will combine to create a generational shift in attitudes toward Israel.

Most of the evangelicals who dominated Christian political activism for the past few decades—men such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Francis Schaeffer—were vocal supporters of Israel. While their children may share this perspective, they tend to talk about it less. In fact, Schaeffer’s son Frank has become a vocal critic of “the largely unchallenged influence of Christian Zionism.”

Making matters worse, there is a cadre of rising young evangelical stars who are bonding on trips to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and returning to push their fellow evangelicals away from the Jewish state. This is a largely well-coiffed and fashionably dressed bunch dedicated to marketing Christianity to a skeptical generation by making it cool, compassionate, and less overtly political. Questioning support for Israel and expressing sympathy with the Palestinians is fast becoming a hallmark of this clique.

This generational divide is best highlighted by the example of Christian publisher Steven Strang and his son Cameron. Steven Strang publishes Charisma, a leading evangelical monthly with a consistently pro-Israel perspective. He has also published works by many prominent Christian authors, including pro-Israel stalwart John Hagee. Strang was, until recently, regional director for Christians United for Israel. His son Cameron publishes Relevant, a highly popular magazine among millennial evangelicals, claiming to “reach about 2,300,000 twenty- and thirty something Christians a month” through its print and online publications.

Less than a decade ago, Relevant was as pro-Israel as Charisma. In December 2005, for example, it published a powerful, pro-Israel piece called “Israel: Why You Should Care.” In 2006, Relevant interviewed the author of this article for its weekly podcast, and the interview could not have been friendlier.

Then Lynne Hybels took Cameron Strang to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, and everything changed. During Israel’s 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Relevant published an article titled, “Is Israel Always Right?” in which the author dispensed with any balanced analysis of urban counterterror operations to conclude: “When I examine Israel’s choices like I would that of any other nation, I find myself appalled that they’re not doing more to protect the innocents [in Gaza].”

When Israel confronted Hamas again in November 2012, Relevant published an article titled, “How Should Christians Respond to the Middle East Crisis” by Jon Huckins, a co-founder of the Global Immersion Project. The article was an extended exercise in moral relativism, noting the suffering on each side without attributing blame. Huckins never once criticized Hamas, but he did take a thinly veiled swipe at Christian Zionists by blasting the “hateful stereotyping, racism, and violent response [to events in Gaza] being disseminated by Christians.”

Relevant‘s May/June 2012 cover featured Donald Miller, author of the New York Timesbestseller Blue Like Jazz (2003), which was made into a 2012 movie. In August 2008, Miller delivered the first night’s closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. He is considered a rising star among America’s 20-something evangelicals who comprise many of his 189,000 Twitter followers. Miller visited Israel and the Palestinian territories with Strang and has since embraced the anti-Israel narrative. On November 12, 2012, Miller blogged “The Painful Truth about the Situation in Israel.” Here he repeated a number of outrageous lies about Israel he likely heard during his visit:

In September a group of journalists and I visited Israel and stood on a hill overlooking the wall separating Israel from Gaza. From our viewpoint, we could see the controversial territory where 1.6 million Palestinians have been walled in and secluded from the outside world. They are, essentially, imprisoned.

The walls erected around the West Bank and Gaza separate families from families. Many mothers will not see their children again. Millions will never return to the homes their families had occupied for hundreds of years. … Thousands of Palestinian students at American universities will never see their families again.

Israel gives most Palestinians fresh water once each week. … In Gaza, Israel also rations their food, allowing only so many calories per human being.

The Response

Freeze the frame today, and the pro-Israel side is still far ahead in the battle for the hearts and minds of America’s evangelicals. Just one pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, has over 1.6 million members, chapters on more than 120 college and university campuses, and sponsors thirty-five pro-Israel events across the country every month. Anti-Israel Christians do not come close to matching CUFI’s size, activity, or influence.

But the long-term trends are now coming into sufficient focus to discern a challenge. Anti-Israel Christians are on a roll. While small in number, these activists seem to have extensive funds. They are taking far more Christian leaders and influencers to Israel and the Palestinian Authority than the pro-Israel side. Through these newly-minted allies, they are reaching an ever expanding network of evangelicals in the United States.

The threat is not that these activists will turn the majority of American evangelicals into Israel haters. They do not have to. The real danger is that they will teach their fellow evangelicals a moral relativism that will neutralize them. The day that Israel is seen as the moral equivalent of Hamas is the day that the evangelical community—and by extension the political leaders it helps elect—will cease providing the Jewish state any meaningful support.

Those who reject such facile moral equivalence must take this threat seriously. They cannot let the evangelical community go the way of the mainstream Protestant leadership. They must not forget that big lies must be confronted early and often. And they dare not ignore the fact that Israel’s enemies are telling very big lies to some very influential Christians—and telling them quite well.

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From The Times of Israel:

A Romanian public broadcaster aired a Christmas carol celebrating the Holocaust.

TVR3 Verde, a television channel for rural communities, presented the carol on December 5 during its maiden transmission.

Sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble, it featured the lyrics: “The kikes, damn kikes, Holy God would not leave the kike alive, neither in heaven nor on earth, only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the kike is good for, to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”

In a statement, TVR3 (Romanian Public Television Channel 3) distanced itself from the broadcast, saying it did not select the carol but only broadcast songs that were chosen and compiled by the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture, which belongs to the eastern county of Cluj.

TVR considers the selection “an uninspired choice and therefore notified the Cluj County Council of this,” the broadcaster’s statement read.

MCA Romania, a local watchdog on anti-Semitism, has written to Romanian President Traian Basecu and to Prime Minister Victor Viorel Ponta, to complain about the broadcast.

“We are shocked to see that the Romanian Public Television Channel 3 broadcast an anti-Semitic Christmas carol,” Maximillian Marco Katz and Marius Draghici of MCA Romania wrote in the letter. “It is outrageous that none in the audience took a stance against the anti-Semitic Christian carol that incites to burn the Jews.”

They added it was “absolutely unacceptable that TVR 3 tried to deny responsibility” by claiming it was the responsibility of Cluj County.

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Hebrew Roots teaching is all the rage right now, you are seeing a large number of false teachers running about telling Christians that they cannot properly understand God’s Word or be able to “Rightly Divide” the word unless they understand the Original Hebrew and or keep all of the Jewish Festivals and Old Covenant laws.

As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:6-9:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,  which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

And: Galatians 2: 19-21:

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

And: Galatians 3:1-4:

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among youas crucified?  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

And: Galatians 4:21-26:

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. 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.

And finally: Galatians 5:1-2

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

One such false “Hebrew Roots” teacher is a “Dr.” Roy Blizzard, his false teaching is infecting many pentecostal churches due to their abandonment of  Biblical Doctrine in favor of any lying spirit that will make them shake, utter gibberish and have a warm fuzzy feeling!

His false teaching has even infected a former “church” that my family and I attended.

“Dr.” Blizzard has an affectation for Rabbinical Jewish Teachings, and he teaches that to properly understand God’s Word not only must you understand Hebrew but you must interpret that Hebrew using Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

Not many Christians know it today, but all Rabbinical Jewish Teachings find their origin in the Oral Tradition or Oral Law of the Pharisees. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D., Pharisaic beliefs became the liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism. The Mishnah written around 220 A.D. put into written form those oral traditions.

In Galatians the Apostle Paul is warning new Christians about some who were coming in after he had established the Church in Galatia, and convincing the new Christians in Galatia that they needed to be circumcised and follow the Oral and Written Jewish Law as interpreted by the Pharisees.

This “Dr’ Roy Blizzard is doing the same thing, I have posted an article from him below on Genesis 3:1-7:.

Now to give you some context “Dr’ Blizzard does not believe that Satan exists! He uses modern Rabbinical (Pharisaic oral tradition) teaching to say that Satan, the Devil is actually just allegorical terms for the bad side of human nature, known in Rabbinical Jewish Teaching as the “Yetzer Hara” or evil inclination.

Read the article below and weep for the Christians who are being seduced by this false teacher attempting to drag Christians from the liberty that they have in Christ to the Bondage of Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

From Bible Scholars:

Genesis 3:1-7

By: Roy B. Blizzard Posted: June 04 2012

The Passage in Translation for today is going to be Genesis 3:1-7.

Biblical commentators have found extreme difficulty in explaining this passage and especially the nature of the serpent. Some commentators have suggested that the serpent was Satan; one who was separate from God and in opposition to God.

In popular thought and language, the concept of evil is strongly associated with the serpent and hence the serpent is chosen out of the animal world as a symbol of evil. However, we must not regard the serpent as an independent entity in opposition to God. A special characteristic that the Bible attributes to the serpent is “cunning.” Since there is no other quality ascribed to him, the intent is to convey that the evil flowing from the serpent emanated only from his cunning. In the ultimate analysis, we have here an allegorical illusion to the craftiness to be found in man himself. That is, the duologue between the serpent and the woman is actually in a manner of speaking, a duologue that took place in the woman’s mind between her wiliness and her innocence clothed in the garb of a parable.

In reality, it is not the serpent that thinks and speaks but the woman who does so in her heart. There is a play in Hebrew on words between the word “cunning” arum and “naked” arummin. They were naked because of their ignorance of good and evil, or their lack of knowledge. However, they were not lacking in cunning. The woman emphasizes that the tree from which they were forbidden to eat was in the center of the garden. And, she adds the additional statement that God had said, “neither shall you touch it,” which of course he had not. But the clause “neither shall you touch it” is simply synonymous with the preceding clause “ye shall not eat thereof.” The woman concludes that the underlying cause must be none other than God’s jealousy. He who knows everything does not wish his creatures to possess the same knowledge as himself.

It seems to be the way of the world for the man to be easily swayed by the woman. However, the man was with her and evidently consenting to the action all the time.

In truth, their eyes were opened but the outcome was not what they had expected. They had hoped that by eating the fruit they would obtain divine knowledge. The cognition that had seemed so desirable to them as to warrant the transgression of God’s precept was vastly different from what they had originally imagined. The first knowledge that they acquired led not to edification but to shame. There is much to be learned from this passage and what follows. But, perhaps we can conclude with “Be careful! What you ask you may get it.”

… to be continued

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Another apostate self promoter caught in a lie!

from The Florida Courier:

FROM THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF: An Orlando-area rabbi, upset that Florida-based televangelist Paula White strongly denied participating in “scroll-wrapping” considered “repulsive and inappropriate”by some Jewish religious scholars, submitted a video that seemingly corroborates that such an act did occur. The video surfaced just hours after White’s attorney categorically and unconditionally denied, to the Florida Courier’s publisher, White’s involvement in any such act.

White’s ‘wrapping’ – allegedly symbolic of being “wrapped in the Word of God,” according to  Rabbi Ralph Messer on the video – is almost identical to Messer’s wrapping of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s Rev. Eddie Long during a controversial, widely ridiculed ceremony that went viral on YouTube.

Criticism of Long was swift and severe from Jewish religious scholars and the Anti-Defamation League, forcing Long to publicly apologize.

White is now pastor of New Destiny Christian Center, founded by the late Zachery Tims. New Destiny is one of Central Florida’s largest churches. She is also pastor of Without Walls International Church, one of Tampa’s largest churches.

How it all started

On Friday afternoon, Feb. 3, the West Orlando News Online reported “rumors that Messer will be in Orlando over the weekend to crown pastor Paula White, new leader of the New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC), queen.”

At 6 p.m. that Friday evening – just after the Florida Courier broke a story on the Internet addressing rumors of White’s possible ‘coronation’ – Messer became the focus of discussion on Orlando’s WEUS-AM 810, a local talk radio station.

Host Don Miller of “The Don Miller Show” harshly criticized both Long and Messer. One of the featured guests on the show was  Rabbi Ira Michaelson of the Beth Tefillah congregation in Clermont, just outside of Orlando.

About 10 minutes into the broadcast, Miller confirmed that he heard rumors that Messer was coming to Orlando “to do this” (another Eddie Long-style ‘coronation’) at another church.”

In response, Michaelson said, “He actually already did this to Paula White some years ago…this was after she was divorced from Randy White and before the scandal with Benny Hinn came out. He took her and wrapped her in a scroll and said the same thing – ‘I’m wrapping you in the Word of God.’”

For the remainder of the hour-long show, Miller and Michaelson continued to castigate Messer and Long. Keith Johnson, a minister, author, and former NFL Minnesota Vikings chaplain, spoke of his concern about Long’s New Birth congregation and the impact of Messer’s actions on the relationship between Black Christians and Jews.

(On Sunday, February 5, Johnson preached at an Orlando-area church about how Messer convinced Long’s New Birth congregation “to pronounce a curse on themselves. Click here for video.)

The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, an associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, spoke to Miller’s show by phone about how the New Birth ceremony was disrespectful of Jewish religious traditions.

Saturday morning call

In multiple phone calls and emails to Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II, Daniel Beirute, Paula White’s attorney, unconditionally denied that White would be ‘coronated’ as was Long.

In response to Michealson’s quoted allegation that “He (Messer) actually already did this to Paula White some years ago…”, Beirute wrote in an email to Cherry as follows:

“I don’t know where Rabbi Michaelson gets his information, but my client categorically and unequivocally denies that that ever happened.”

No longer a story

Based on White’s unconditional denial of the Super Bowl ceremony, Florida Courier editors decided that there was no longer a story and posted a “Final Paul White update with links.” But that was not to be the last word.

Rabbi Michaelson, concerned that White’s denial damaged his reputation, emailed a video to Cherry that seems to corroborate his statement about White.

The video opens up with various instances in which an energetic White picks up or drops Bibles on the floor while preaching. About 36 seconds into the video, a caption appears: “Notice Bible on Floor.” There’s more video of White preaching, speaking ‘in tongues’, and dropping more Bibles.

About two minutes into the video, another caption appears. “If Paula had thrown the Koran to the floor, she would have faced certain death. The Jews rejected her from speaking at their 2007 “day of prayer” (sic) because of the following sacrilege to their sacred scrolls,” it states.

Then, in an undated broadcast that seems to be recorded from White’s TV show “Paula,” White agrees to allow Messer and another unidentified man to wrap White in what appears to be a Torah scroll. After saying the wrapping represents protection and being “hidden in the Word of God,” Messer tells White, “Out of something that was thrown off the tracks – like your life – God says, ‘I’m going to raise it up and people will read from it and quote it for generations.'”

Messer then says to White, “…The Lord says, ‘You are so sacred to the Body of Christ, I’m wrapping you in the Word of God.’” The scroll seemed to be torn in the process. White appears to be overcome with emotion, then happily shakes Messer’s hand.

Paula White ‘wrapped in the Word of God’ – click here for an abbreviated version posted on YouTube of the video submitted to the Florida Courier.

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