Commentary from Israel
Monday, January 31, 2000
R E V I S E D & C O R R E C T E D
Shalom from Jerusalem,
There is a poison in the Land. There are tares amongst the wheat. If the Saints are destined to judge the world one day, shouldn't our task begin at home? Rav Sha'ul (Paul) made the same argument to the congregation at Corinth. I think its time we start to listen to him.
Reconciliation has become a frequently used word in the vocabulary of the church recently. Leaders in dozens of ministries the world over have all decided that they like the sound of that word, and each has embarked upon different agendas to "reconcile," turn around, mend or otherwise apologize for what they feel are the causes of our woes in this world.
A closer look at many of these "reconciliation" attempts will reveal however, that the centuries-old "Babylon Tower Construction Co., Ltd" is still in business. They've even acquired a new company, called "Ecumenism, International," and profits are very strong in the first quarter of the year 2000.
Yes, friends, Ecumenism is afoot in Christendom today, no less in Jerusalem, and it has a been given a face lift and a new name as part of its marketing strategy.
"Lets right the wrongs of history and of the world," they say, "and we'll make G-d proud of us. Then perhaps He will bring Jesus back, when He sees how nicely we've been able to get along and how we have finally found a way to mass produce unity."
Of course, ecumenism and doctrinal integrity cannot co-exist in the same time and space. One must to give way to the other. Sure enough, doctrinal integrity is sacrificed every time by our new reconciliation salesmen. Nevertheless, sales remain at an all-time high.
This is an unfortunate repercussion, but a necessary evil which leads up the return of Yeshua. Its just another step which brings to our attention the inevitability of the "great falling away" that we were warned about in the teachings of the Apostles, which would take place at the end of days, before Yeshua's return.
Living in Israel, I want to bring to your attention one such ecumenical movement which not only betrays the word of G-d but which seeks to divide Jerusalem for its own selfish political gain. The leaders of this ministry call themselves "Believers," use the same language that any Believer would normally use, but their real motives are self-evident, as is their fate, if they do not soon turn and run, and get the hell out of Babylon before its too late.
This recent movement of reconciliation is between Arab and Jewish Believers, and it is called, "Musalaha," led by Salim Munayer, academic dean at the Bethlehem Bible College, an Arab evangelical Bible school.
They raise millions of dollars each year from Christians internationally with very clever promotional schemes. And do you know what? It works. Christians who don't ask the right questions, proud of their liberal world view, and who rarely open their Bibles, are writing their checks daily in support of Musalaha's teachings.
The rest of this position paper is dedicated to presenting an overview and some detail of these teachings. You should know who they are, what they teach, and why many in Israel, including myself, cannot stand with them in order to contrive some kind of artificial unity in the name of Jesus. I've chosen several articles from different authors and compiled views from a number of sources to express our collective outrage as these weeds grow up and "choke the Word, making it unfruitful."
Who is Musalaha?
Musalaha is an Arabic word meaning reconciliation. This ministry seeks to foster reconciliation between Jewish and Arab believers through tours, camping trips, and conferences with church leaders from both Arab and Jewish congregations.
How Much do they Spend?
Musalaha spends more than $100,000 per year to reach its goal; it tries to raise most of its budget from foreign mission groups working in or with Israel.
According to the Musalaha Budget Proposal 2000, their expected budget this year is $320,000. Given their hope of raising at least two thirds of this from Christian sources, one has to wonder, "Does anyone really benefit in terms of Biblically-based spiritual growth which would promote and produce a healthy witness for Yeshua in the Land of the Bible."
By the way, this figure includes Salim's annual salary of $41,400. By comparison the average annual salary in Israel is about $14,400, though statistics show that the average family of four requires $22,200.
What is their "Modus Operandi"?
Musalaha's focus is trust, fellowship, and mutual ministry among Jewish and Arab believers. Feelings of alienation between formerly hostile ethnic groups are not easily resolved, and pride in "Palestinian" and Israeli identities is not easily surrendered. But the desire to transcend political and ethnic origins and to encourage dialog on the what they see as the "reality of Christian beliefs" provides their motive and fuels their method of conveyance.
Their Position on Evangelism
"As far as the Musalaha believers are concerned, dialog and agreement must precede evangelistic outreach."
This quote was taken directly from their own published materials.
Their Identity and Allegiance
"Palestinian" believers in the territories resist strongly the name 'Israeli'. This was apparent when the "Palestinian" believers of Jerusalem and the territories wanted to carry the "Palestinian" flag as symbolic of their separate identity at a 1995 meeting on world evangelism.
[Note: I have placed the term "Palestinian" inside of quotes. Reasons for doing so will become apparent after you read through the interview presented further on with Attorney Marvin Kramer from Haifa.]
Incitement. How is it's Subtlety Accomplished?
While reading through the Musalaha Budget Proposal 2000, I made a few observations...
1. There were at least 25 occurrences of the term "Palestinian." However, whenever the term was used in the context of describing people-groups of Believers in Yeshua within Israel, NEVER is a reference made to "Israeli" Believers. They are always "Jewish" Believers. But whenever the counterpart of "Arab" Believers are discussed, they are always referred to as "Palestinian Christians" or "Palestinian Believers."
This leaves the distinct impression in the mind of the reader that as far as Musalaha is concerned, if you are a local Believer in Yeshua, it is fine to be "Jewish" but not acceptable to be "Israeli." for this would conflict with "Palestinian" as an acceptable term which defines an "Arab" geographical heritage which is distinctly NOT Jewish. In other words, it's OK to be Jewish, so long as you DO NOT in any way connect your Jewishness with the land properly termed [in their view] "Palestine."
2. In an introductory letter, followed by the "Visions and Goals" section of their proposal, here is what Salim Munayer says...
"...as we follow G-d's calling to be reconciled one to another, Reconciliation has become a central issue within the Body of Christ here in the Land." "We hope to emulate and teach Christ's model of forgiveness, mercy and love, breaking down the walls of enmity that so easily embitter and ensnare." "She is a ministry that seeks to PROMOTE Reconciliation...the central theme being that Christ's atonement on the cross are the only hope ..."
Sounds good, right? "We are all about "Reconciliation!" Ok, let's see how they are going to accomplish this.
"Musalaha has placed an emphasis on the THEOLOGY OF THE LAND, through conferences and seminars with local and international speakers."
In other words, the primary engine which is going to deliver enough horse power to take Musalaha and its constituency into the bliss of Reconciliation, is their "THEOLOGY OF THE LAND" teaching. Shortly, we are going to take a good look at just where this theology is headed. But it certainly doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out at this juncture, how counter-productive "reconciliation" attempts are going to be, if the first thing you emphasize is, "The Land, and why is DOES NOT BELONG to the Jews." Given the region in which we live, wouldn't common knowledge dictate which tools ignite which gasoline spills, and which ones extinguish the infernos?
3. Nevertheless, here is the model Musalaha has chosen:
A. Confess -- State the truth. Acknowledge
the unjust or hurtful actions of myself of my people-group toward other people
or categories of people
B. Repent -- turn from unloving actions
to loving actions.
C. Reconcile -- Receive forgiveness and pursue intimate fellowship
D. Restitution -- Attempt to restore that which has been damaged, wherever we have power to act or influence those in authority to act.
As we read on, the goal here becomes obvious. A. Confess that the State of Israel is unjustified on the world scene. B. Repent of holding onto "Zionist" ideals. C. Reconcile with the "Palestinian" Christian and have intimate fellowship with him on their terms, and D. Do what you can to influence Governments to divide the Land and give it back to the "Palestinians."
Is this diabolical or what?
4. One of the the big social activities that Musalaha sponsors are "Desert Tours." I've even been on one, a few years ago. Here is their sales pitch...
"Leave behind the distractions of social and political pressures on their desert tours. This will eventually change cultural misconceptions and stereotypes."
In other words, lets separate ourselves from day to day realities, so we can put the Bible on the shelf, (or in the toilet in some cases), and learn to adopt the "Palestinian" national charter instead, but only after we are no longer distracted by the social stigma and political enigma of the Jewish State.
5. Finally, the incongruency of it all is stated in their affirmation...
"We know that it is His protection and strength that keeps and sustains us, and BY HIS WORD ALONE THAT ALL THINGS ARE HELD TOGETHER."
How then, BY HIS WORD, is Israel dissected and dismantled in their view? Lets find out.
Coming Clean or Getting our Hands Dirty?
Here are some selected quotes from a publication entitled "NEW CREATION BOOK FOR MUSLIMS" by Phil Goble and Salim Munayer...
"We who are new creation Muslims
have already tasted
of the world to come."
Muslims by definition are followers of Islam.
"This present world has not experienced
creation through the Word of Allah, who is Isa."
The "Allah" presented in the Koran, and who is portrayed in Islam must not be confused with the Holy One of Israel, the G-d of Avraham, Yizchak and Ya'acov.
"THE ADHAAN (78) The Muaadhdhin (Caller to prayer) in our messianic mosque services stands to make the announcement to pray and in so doing recites to the congregation our Al-'Aqeedah (creed): Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar God is greater, God is greater."
The very same credo and inciting prayers chanted by millions of Muslims as they call for Jihad "Holy War" against the Jews, and especially the cry which goes forth and precedes every terror attack in Israel.
"The Jew who hates the Muslim hates the G-d of their common father Ibrahim for the Muslim and the Jew are brothers. But what does the Scripture say? "Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him!" (I John 3:15)"
It seems to me that Yeshua defined who his brothers were, when he said, "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50). Are the Muslim's really my brothers, in the context that John is speaking about?
Where the Rubber Meets the Road, or "FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS"
In September of 1997, Musalaha hosted a Theological Seminar in Jerusalem which brought together "Palestinian" and Messianic [Note: NOT ISRAELI Messianic] Leaders. I have selected specific quotes from the published materials which Musalaha released, which I feel speak for themselves. Get ready for some shock therapy...
Seminar 4. Dispensationalism: A Critical Appraisal
The political question is this. How
should we as Christians view the situation in Israel/Palestine
today, where two peoples claim the same territory?
Specifically, do we believe the Israeli authorities should continue to resist Palestinian aspirations to autonomy and statehood? Should they continue to occupy, settle and annex more and more of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, creating small urban Bantustan reservations for Palestinians living under military occupation within a exclusive Jewish state.
I oppose anti-Semitism (remembering also that the Arabs are a Semitic race).
1. The Relationship of the Old Covenant
to the New Covenant
Revelation from God is understood in
terms of New
Covenant reality not in terms of Old Covenant shadow.
The same principle applies to the promises concerning the Land which are also anticipating God's future purposes, not only for one small people the Jews, but the whole world, revealed fully and finally in Jesus Christ.
2. The Meaning of the Abrahamic Covenant
The land of the Bible is not and never
ever did flow with milk and honey. It is a beautiful land which
points to a restored paradise in the future.
The tabernacle, was never intended to have a settled location in God's plan of redemption. It will ultimately be experienced in paradise.
The Land never belongs to Israel in the Torah. The Land is never at the disposal of Israel for its national purposes.
Don't be misled by the statement God
made to Abraham that the land would be "an everlasting possession."
To insist on an interpretation that now gives people of Jewish origin an exclusive title deed to Palestine in perpetuity runs contrary both to the promise itself within its Old Covenant context as well as its New Covenant fulfillment in and through Christ.
3. The Promise of Exile and Return
The possession of the land was never
perfected. Dominion over the land remains a struggle and
tantalizing possibility which never comes to full realization.
It is the Jerusalem above not the Jerusalem below that is the mother of us all.
Never again would the revelation from God suggest that his people should aspire to the paradigms of the Old Covenant. Retrogression to the older shadowy forms of the Old Covenant were forbidden. To suggest therefore that the Shekinah is to return to a single local geographical shrine to which we must come to worship is to regress from the reality to the shadowy, to apostatize from the New to the Old Covenant. It impugns the atoning work of Christ.
4. The Ethical Requirements of the
The promise of land was never an unconditional
right, but always a conditional gift.
On the basis of such a passage, (Leviticus 18:24-28) the present brutal, repressive and racist policies of the State of Israel would suggest another exile on the horizon rather than a restoration.
The assertion that the events subsequent to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 indicate God's blessing on the Jewish people is totally without foundation in Scripture.
Indeed, since the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and the Jews exiled from the land, as Jesus taught, as a judgment for their failure to recognize Him as the Messiah (Luke 19:41-44). Never therefore can the promise of the land be claimed by those who fail to exercise true faith and faithfulness in the Redeemer provided by the Lord in the Covenant.
5. The Land in the Teaching of Jesus ------------------------------------
Teaching about the Land is conspicuous
by its absence
in the teaching of Jesus. Since the Land was such a
fundamental part of Judaism at the time of Christ,
his silence can only have been deliberate.
Jesus of Nazareth died accursed on a cross and so polluted the land. By that act He shattered the geographic dimension of the religion of his fathers. By his cross and resurrection, He broke the bonds of the land.
Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. He did not promise there would be another return to the Land.
6. The Land in the Teaching of the
The nature of the kingdom of God now
meaning of chosenness. The extension of the kingdom
of God throughout the world necessitates their exile
from the land and indeed the turning of their backs
on Jerusalem for ever. They are sent out into the
world but never told to return.
Jerusalem has lost whatever theological status it
previously possessed. The way the Old Testament
ascribes to Jerusalem a special, central and sacred
status within the on-going purposes of God is not
reaffirmed by the New Testament writers.
"Access to the "Jerusalem above" had nothing to do with the Jerusalem below... Christian identity...was not bound up with the physical Jerusalem... The Christian gospel did not offer a new validation for Jerusalem; on the contrary, the Christian Church needed to be set free from the 'slavery' that was inherent in the 'present Jerusalem'.
The present Jerusalem continue to be in slavery, without God and without hope in the world.
There is no suggestion that after Pentecost, the Apostles believed that the Jewish people still have a divine right to the Land, or that the Jewish possession of the Land would be an important let alone central aspect of God's plan for the world.
In the Christological logic of Paul, the Land, like the Law, both particular and provisional had now become quite irrelevant.
Jerusalem has lost whatever theological status it
previously possessed. The way the Old Testament
ascribes to Jerusalem a special, central and sacred
status within the on-going purposes of God is not
reaffirmed by the New Testament writers.
7. The Future of the Jewish People
There is no suggestion that the future salvation of the Jews is related in any way to the Land.
Abraham's descendants would inherit not the Land but the world or cosmos. For Paul the children of Abraham are those Jews and Gentiles who through faith in Christ have been made righteous.
Politically, Israel will only be able
to maintain its
hold over the Occupied Territories with continued
massive funding from America and by superior military
might. She will never enjoy peace with her neighbors
until she acts with justice and reciprocity toward
Israel is a materialistic society,
an apartheid state
practicing repressive and dehumanizing measures
against the Palestinians in flagrant disregard of the
United Nations and UN declaration of human rights.
Like Isaac's children Jacob and Esau, it is time to stop fighting over the birthright and start sharing the blessings.
WE NEED A NEW GARDENER. THESE WEEDS ARE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL!
Hillary Clinton remarked not long ago, "I think it will be in the long-term interests of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state."
I wonder if Musalaha has received US Federal Funding? It wouldn't surprise me.
Lambert Dolphin, a retired physicist and Bible Student for over 40 years, has made more than two dozen trips to the Middle East. He has a keen interest in ancient history as well as current events in and around Israel. Here are some of his remarks after reading up on Musalaha's "THEOLOGY OF THE LAND."
There has never been at any time in
history a country
the Middle east called Palestine.
Even before the Arab conquest of the Middle East and to this day, no ruler ever allowed "Palestine" to be an independent country.
The "Palestinians" constantly and loudly proclaim their goal to seize Jerusalem and all the Land westward to the Mediterranean Sea.
No one has a right to parcel out and give away land whose title resides permanently with Israel.
Persistent disobedience would cause the Jews to forfeit TEMPORARILY the right to live in THEIR land. there is nothing in the Bible to suggest they will be removed again for disobedience.
The Jews were to be fair in treating strangers and foreigners who were GUESTS in their land. One does not give title deeds of one's house to a guest! The ONLY physical nation on earth which has the right to claim a covenant with G-d is Israel.
Idolatrous nations have no "rights". G-d can not give the Land of Israel to a foreign people because He can not lie and can not change what he has promised. The Jewish People are the insurance policy to the rest of the nations.
"for G-d's gifts and His call are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29).
I wonder what concrete plan Salim would propose to change the status quo in Israel? He does not advocate careful evangelism to convert Arabs and Jews so they are reconciled to G-d. He shows no compassion for reconciling the various peoples who live there. He makes no reference to a living G-d who moves and acts in history. In his view, it is all up to us.
How is it that Musalaha and Co. rewrite the Word of G-d and invent their own interpretations of that which is unchangeable and immutable. And if they do, what does that tell me about them? How do they play with my Bible to come up with a message, so thoroughly out of sync with the whole counsel of G-d?
MAKING AN ARGUMENT or STARTING A WAR
Tsvi Sadan, Editor and Publisher of the Hebrew Messianic Monthly "Kivun" decided to run a story about Salim when a unique opportunity was afforded recently during a public lecture/debate in which Munayer faced off with a Messianic Jew. No guess work here. The lecture was recorded, and 30+ students heard first hand what Musalaha's agenda is. Here is Tsvi's report...
(Pre-Publication English Translation ONLY, used by permission, from original Hebrew. Article is due to be published in Kivun's mid-February, 2000 Issue)
Can Two Take Counsel One With The Other? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Body of the Messiah by Tsvi Sadan
Could it be that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists also in Congregations which have etched upon their banner the merits of love that was preached to them by Yeshua?
Despite the fact that Messianic Jews try not to mix religion with politics, the controversy between Israelis and Palestinians on the subject of the borders of the Land touch directly upon the words of the Prophets, when it comes to Israel settling in its own Land. The problem which presents itself before those who take seriously these prophecies, is that the Land of the people of Israel is also the same place where Arabs make their home.
In our modern world the notion held is that the rights of the Jews for the Land are equal to the Palestinian's right to it. Yet contrary to an environment, which too often shapes our world-views in opposition to the Scriptures, Yeshua's disciples must submit even their political aspirations to the Word of G-d. But is this really the way which Believers, both Jews and Arabs, are relating, or can it be that theology has given way before politics?
Today, a chasm exists between the interpretation Palestinians give to the Bible and that which is offered by Jews. A testimony to this schism was presented at a discussion/debate that took place last December at "Israel College of the Bible," within the framework of a "Christian-Jewish Relations" course moderated by Menachem Ben-Haim. Amidst the discussion, the following dialog was heard:
Arab Participant: "Within the
context of your position
as a soldier do you carry a weapon?"
Jewish Participant: "Yes!"
Arab Participant: "And if it will be required of you, would you use it against Palestinians?"
Jewish Participant: "I follow orders, and if a situation arises which will require this, I will use my weapon against Palestinians."
Arab Participant: "What you are saying reminds me of what the Germans said some 50 years ago."
This dialog took place between Aviel Schneider and Salim Munayer. Thus, what was supposed to be a cordial discussion between brothers in the faith, turned into a heated discussion saturated with intense passionate emotions which brought Munayer to compare between Schneider's response and the excuse which Nazis gave to justify their crimes.
Aviel Schneider, editor of the German language magazine "News From Israel," was a soldier in the elite "Givati" Unit when the Intifada broke out. "News from Israel" is considered a moderate-right wing publication, and enjoys a fairly wide circulation in Europe.
Salim Munayer, an Arab-Christian, was born in Lod, and teaches today at the Bethlehem Bible College. Ten years ago, Munayer founded the organization "Musalaha," whose purpose is to bridge relations between Jews and Arabs. Salim stands to complete his doctorate shortly for which he studied in England.
So then, to whom belongs the rights to the Land?
Schneider opinion was unequivocal: The Land belongs to the Jewish people, and the reality of them dwelling in it today is a fulfillment of prophetic vision. The root of the conflict between Jews and Palestinians is centered exactly on this point. The Arabs who live here are not prepared to come to terms with the fact that the Land was given to the Jewish people by Divine command. To demonstrate this connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, Schneider quoted Rabbi Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, who compared the Land of Israel to a Flat, God to a Landlord, and the people of Israel to tenants. The Flat, i.e. the Land, belongs to God, who leases it to Israel perpetually.
In Munayer's view, this comparison allowed him to hold on to the exact opposite position. If the renting Flat-dweller example is true, isn't it equally true that when the tenant becomes disorderly under the terms of the contract, it becomes the right of the owner to terminate the rental contract? G-d's covenant with the people of Israel is conditional. Behave properly, and they will receive. Don't behave properly, and don't receive. The Land, according to Munayer does not belong to the Jews or to the Arabs, but to G-d. The people of Israel are entitled to the Land only if they are faithful to the covenant. Therefore, since the State of Israel has broken the covenant, in that she has acted unrighteously towards the Palestinians, it must be true that the Land no longer belongs to her.
In other words, while Schneider would lean upon the promises of G-d to Israel, Munayer chooses to lean upon their ability to keep the covenant. For Schneider, the promises are not conditional. For Munayer, the promises cannot be separated from the covenant which G-d made with Israel.
This lines up with the whole agenda which Munayer followed, according to Richard Margalit, a student who was present at the lecture. "Muyayer did not have a single good thing to say about the Israelis."
For example, Munayer implied that unrighteousness expresses itself not only in "conquering" Arab territory (which Schneider insisted should have properly been termed "liberated"), but it also exists in the way Israel has chosen to write its history.
"The history that they taught us in school," according to Munayer, "were only myths." The Israeli position which has already won the nickname "Revised History" claims for instance that "the Land was empty from inhabitants before the arrival of the huge waves of the new immigrants at the end of the 19th century," whereas in Munayer's view, it was already densely inhabited (by Arabs). The relatively small number Arabs in Israel came about, according to Munayer, as a result of "ethnic cleansing" which was carried out during Israel's War of Independence. The Bridge to better understanding between Jewish Believers and Arabs can be found according to Munayer, in the lessons about priorities. It is incumbent upon the Believers to prioritize peace over Land. They must serve G-d in spirit and in truth" instead of searching for Him on Mount Zion.
Schneider, on the other hand, claims that the approach which assumes that the faithfulness of G-d to His people is conditional ONLY upon their doing justice, does not line up with the Biblical story. Indeed, one cannot disclaim that Israel has acted from time to time unjustly, and for this is paying a heavy price. "But," Schneider remarks, "Israel does not have a monopoly on acting unjustly. In addition, any disadvantages of Israel's unethical behavior would not include the nullification of G-d's promises. He remains faithful to Israel even when they do not remain faithful to Him." Schneider concluded his remarks on pessimistic note, "Today, despite the fact that we are brothers of the same faith, Messianic Jews and their Palestinian brothers do not get along one with the other. I belong to the Jewish people, and the Palestinian to his."
The discussion of Munayer and Schneider exposed the flaws which exist in the artificial unity which many try to present. In opposition to Schneider's view, who claims that the Land belongs to Israel, including the territories which were taken back during the six-day war, Munayer presents a Christian / Palestinian / National stance, which claims that Jewish injustice has caused their rights to the Land to be rescinded.
It would appear that despite the honest efforts which have been made over the past few years, it has become apparent that a cup of coffee in the desert [on one of Musalaha's sponsored desert tours] is not enough to bridge the significant gaps of opinions which exist today between Jews and Arabs. Is the Body of Messiah also destined to be confined within this cycle of hostility between two peoples, or is there another way?
From ancient times, the Land provided continuous excuses for border disputes. It wasn't for nothing that Rashi, who never actually lived in the Land, nor did he even visit it in his days, wrote, "For what reason does Genesis open with the story of creation, rather than with commandments? Because "He has shown His people the power of His works, giving them the heritage of other nations." (Psalms 111:6). For if foreign nations will say to Israel, "You have pirated the Land when you conquered it from the seven nations," say to them, "All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He. He created it and given it in accordance with His good pleasure. It was His will to give to them, and His will to take from them, and give to us."
"Palestinian" Misnomer? or "SOMETHING IS VERY FISHY HERE!
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of G-d and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths ." (2 Tim. 4:1-4)
How true the above statement is today, particularly as it relates to the situation dealing with the issue of so-called "Palestinians". The acceptance and use of that term and the recognition of any right to establish a "Palestinian Homeland" within the borders of Israel, is to reject the plain and straight-forward teachings of the Word of G-d regarding Israel and the plan of G-d for Israel today.
Marvin Kramer, an Attorney in Haifa, writing about spiritual deception and the error of replacement theology, gave us these important comments...
"To our great regret, many believers today have fallen prey to the deceiving whispers of the enemy of our souls and have bought into the lie that G-d is finished with Israel and that the Abrahamic Covenant was never intended to be established through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the children of Israel, namely, the Jewish people. Instead, they have allowed themselves to be swayed by political and social issues, which have been spawned by the Devil to de-hydrate the water of the Word and detract many brethren from the spiritual dynamics and realities of G-d's promises to Israel. In short, they have allowed themselves to be confused into accepting replacement theology, due to a concern over political and social issues and "ethical" considerations relating to the Abrahamic Covenant.
The Word of G-d never referred to a people known as Palestinians and any attempt to identify the Philistines of the Old Testament with the modern day Palestinian Myth necessitates dissecting the Biblical map of Israel and moving pieces around in order to make them fit in accordance to their own desires."
Though few in number, there do exist Arab Believers in Israel who accept this premise. On such Arab Israeli Believer who asked not to be identified because of fear of political repercussions shared, "I do not think that the Jews should give up this Land because there would no longer be a Jewish State. If we look at the Bible, G-d gave the Promised Land to the Jews, not to the Arabs. I have done much research and I still have no evidence that the Philistines in the Bible are the so-called "Palestinian" Arab Israelis of today, like myself. Even it we were, it doesn't matter because G-d said to Joshua and Caleb that the Jews should go in and possess the Land. My people are much better off here in Israel under an Israeli government than our "Palestinian" brothers are under Yassir Arafat's regime."
"Those who would spiritualize and negate the validity of the Abrahamic Covenant and its relationship to the Jewish people, try to deny G-d His absolute right to sovereignly "choose" a people for His own purposes, whether for good or bad. G-d chose the Jewish people, not because they were great or wonderful or even doers of justice. Indeed, they were small and insignificant. But, more significantly, G-d loved them and was faithful to keep the promise He made to their forefathers and brought them out with a mighty hand and redeemed them from the house of slavery in the land of Egypt (Deut. 7-8). Were the so-called Palestinians promised that they would be brought out from slavery in Egypt?
The arm-chair replacement "theologians" try to justify the negation of the Abrahamic Covenant as being applicable to the Jewish people, by pointing out that G-d's promise was made to Abraham, while he was still childless. They overlook the fact that the greatness of Abraham's faith lay in the fact that although he was childless, he whole-heartedly received and believed G-d's promise that his descendants would become a people and inherit a land - a physical land with physical borders that were stated. This fact of childlessness is then turned around with the argument that the promise was intended to be for the spiritual descendants of Abraham, not the physical. In so arguing, they ignore that G-d constantly made a distinction between Ishmael and Isaac and between Esau and Jacob and continues to exercise His sovereign right to do so as the sovereign G-d of the universe."
Replacement "theologians" attempt to remove chapters 9-11 of Romans, wherein, among other things, Paul makes the argument clear, stating:
"For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separately from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, G-d blessed forever. Amen." (Rom 9:1-5)
What "covenants" and what "promises" is Paul referring to? Those given to Palestinians? Clearly not. Rather to his "kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites", namely, the Jewish people.
Kramer summarized his arguments by stating...
"Israel today is a country that
is far from being
perfect and anyone who expects that we be otherwise
is simply not being realistic. Secular Israel does
not have G-d's justice, truth and righteousness as
its standards for living. It always wanted to be like
its worldly neighbors and has achieved that dubious
distinction. In the process, social justice is often
lacking. Rights for minorities, while theoretically
in existence, are frequently not enforced. There are
"second-class citizens" here, just as in almost
other country on this decaying planet. Saying these
things is not intended to justify them, but to point
out their existence as part and parcel of the
condition that the world is in today.
In order to validate a "Palestinian" claim to anything, the Word of G-d must be spiritualized, watered-down and ignored. When the Children of Israel were about to enter into Canaan, G-d commanded them to destroy all of the inhabitants of that land. We who reside in Israel today, like our ancestors before us, reap the results of their partial obedience to G-d's commands. If He were to repeat His commands to us today, would the brethren line up and protest because G-d's purposes and plans are not in keeping with our overly liberalized sense of justice and fairness? Would we say today, as some do, that we have problems with the "ethical considerations" of the Abrahamic Covenant and attempt to do away with it? Would we be ready to interpose our limited, prejudicial and self-centered understanding upon G-d's Word and permit our blurred vision to cloud His clearly expressed purposes? How we answer those questions and others like them should determine for us how we deal with the question of whether we are willing to accept the establishment of a so-called "Palestinian State" in the midst of the land owned by G-d and whether the same was intended to be given as a possession, in trust, to the Jewish people.
He who is the deceiver of the whole world and the accuser of our brethren (Rev 12:9-10) is also the father of lies (John 8:44), whose pride and jealousy caused him to seek to be like the Most High (Isa 14:14).
G-d raised up Israel in the midst of its enemies. Now, the deceiving spirits attempt to manipulate worldly thinking and even the minds of some brethren to bring about the goal of raising up of an enemy state in the midst of Israel. The Devil is so totally unimaginative and we, for our part, "are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor 2:11). He who has an ear, will he hear, or will he turn away his ears from the truth and turn aside instead to myths?"
FRUIT or FRUIT-CAKES?
WE have to ask the question that is begging to be asked...
Can we really call these people our brothers? Certain evidence with regard to the manner in which they read their Bible would weigh heavily against this notion and mitigate against an argument that people like this belong to the same community of faith, the same camp in which the G-d of Israel, the Torah and the teachings of the Apostles are viewed with some minimal measure of continuity.
Deception could also figure in as a major factor. With big-gun names backing, supporting and sitting as advisers on Musalaha's board, names like Luis Bush of AD 2000, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Susan Perlman from Jews for Jesus, and Dr. Peter C. Wagner, one wonders how much discernment these brothers and sisters have in subscribing to the Musalaha party line. This is not to mention a healthy following amongst several well know leaders of otherwise reputable Messianic Congregations in Israel, whose names I shall not mention, for the time being.
One thing we do know for certain as we approach the day of the L-RD's return. The sure-fire mark of a true Believer, according to the book of Revelations are "those who obey G-d's commandments and hold to the testimony of Yeshua." (Revelation 12:17).
With the plethora of false prophets roaming our congregations today, no less, and in many case more in Jerusalem, what kind of warnings are we given about them, and how shall we recognize them, judge them, and keep their teachings away from us and from our children?
I believe that Yeshua gave us the answer, when he said...
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7:15-17).
As we pointed out earlier, amongst the teachings of Salim and Musalaha, this statement was made:
"In the Christological logic of Paul, the Land, like the Law, both particular and provisional had now become quite irrelevant."
To a statement so harmful, noxious, prejudicial, unwholesome, and just plain dangerous, I can do no better than to quote these teachings from the Shlichim (Apostles)...
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of LAWLESS men and fall from your secure position. (2 Peter 3:17).
Even though the man of LAWLESSNESS has not yet been revealed, Paul reminds us that "the secret power of LAWLESSNESS is already at work."
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? (James 3:11).
Ya'acov's implication is "No!" in this passage.
Now then, if the Torah and its non-negotiable position with regard to:
A. Whom the Land has been given in order to settle in it,
B. The chosenness of the the Jewish people, and
C. The eternal light found it in precepts, judgments, decrees, statutes, and commandments
...are now "quite irrelevant," what does that tell me about Musalaha's fruit? If they are without the Torah, they are "Torahless." If those involved in this ministry are found without the Law, they are "LAWLESS."
How then can those who adhere to the teachings of Musalaha be considered part of the community of faith, when the Torah itself says that if the aliens living among the Jewish people fail to keep His decrees and His laws, the Land "will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you...such persons must be cut off from their people." (Leviticus 18:26-29).
Those who find themselves within the leadership of Musalaha, should re-think their "THEOLOGY OF THE LAND," their THEOLOGY OF THE TORAH and their THEOLOGY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, lest they find themselves outside of the community of faith, by reason of disassociation with its source of life and power.
THE MEANING OF CHOSEN or "BACK TO BASICS"
To most of the nations of the world, one of the most disturbing and arrogant claims ever made by any group of people is the one we Jews make when, quoting the Bible, we insist of being the "Chosen People."
For nearly four thousand years, Jews have upheld the belief that they are G-d's elect, the "apple of His eye," His most beloved and favored nation. This claim when improperly understood, sounds like prejudice of the highest order, making the vast majority of mankind into second class citizens, a fate which has driven some Christians to seek alternate theologies inconsistent with the biblical model.
And yet, gleaning from biblical references, we find that the Jewish people were mandated from the beginning to be a distinct, peculiar people. Jews were not to marry non-Jews according to the Torah. Kosher food laws limited social interaction. We were to dress differently, speak our own language, and abide by our own unique customs, prayers and culture.
The Torah wants to secure the Jewish people's uniqueness and chosen status. But it also wants to uphold the equality of all men, and their dignity.
Does historical reality confirm the unique status of the Jewish people?
The answer is clear: Yes. The cold historical facts prove that the Jewish people stand out in three ways:
1. They experienced a most miraculous survival.
Throughout history Jews were surrounded by their enemies who were committed to destroy them. They waged war after war to survive. They were sent into exile, beaten, tortured, sometimes killed or expelled from one country to another, only to find another disaster awaiting them. They became the scapegoat for national and social hysteria. Still, they survived. Discriminated against, consistently outlawed, the oldest nation on the planet, the Jews were constantly dying... yet never died. Outlasting all their enemies, they violated all the indispensable rules of history and for this reason they became either the most irritating or the most celebrated people of the world.
2. They have made incredible contributions
to civilization, totally
out of proportion with their numbers.
Jews introduced ethical monotheism to the world, along with the concept of the Messiah. Since that day, the universe has never been the same. Their gift of the Bible turned all deeds into moral actions, teaching ethics and justice. Neither Christianity nor Islam would exist without the Jews. Based on "the Book," no international or American law would be what it is today without them. In later centuries Jews contributed to science, literature, music, finance, medicine and art -- all beyond anyone's expectations of this small, tortured and seemingly insignificant people. They were involved in many social revolutions, often becoming the leaders and thinkers of their day. They have produced great Rabbis and Sages, and even those who were on the road to assimilation revolutionized the world. Spinoza, Freud, Marx and Einstein only name a few.
3. They made an unprecedented return to
their homeland after nearly
two thousand years of exile.
In 1948 Jews managed to free themselves of their nearly two-thousand year old exile to return to the Land of their forefathers. Just moments after they had experienced their worst destruction, the Holocaust, in which they lost 6,000,000 of their fellow Jews, they picked up their bags and "went home." At a time when the whole world declared that there was no longer a future for the Jew, the State of Israel appeared -- as if from nowhere. The Jewish return to their homeland is unique. No nation, after such a long, painful exile, has successfully returned to its homeland and, despite violating all principles of conformity, built a modern state.
So Jews indeed are "a nation apart." Their uniqueness is beyond question. But how does this relate to their chosenness?
The generation of the Tower of Bavel (Babylon) represented a low point in human history. Mankind sought to build a tower high enough to reach the heavens and challenge G-d. For the first time, a whole generation stood up and rebelled against G-d as a matter of principle. The ideology of this generation was one in which G-d was deliberately ignored and in which evil was admired. This new belief system saw nothing wrong with immorality -- it elevated it instead, to the new world order.
Something was needed to challenge this new world order. It was for this reason that the "Chosen People" came into existence. For to them was given the specific task to save and uphold the honor of mankind, and present to the world a beacon of light towards which the nations could find their way back to their Creator. In their chosenness, not only did their survival become the insurance policy of the world that the Almighty existed and made promises to one day rule all the earth through the Messiah, but they became the guilty conscience of the world. As long the world had no G-d, the Jews gave it no peace, no slumber, and no escape from reminding them of their fully discontented and restless reality. Only the Jews were able to offer the world an ideology of ultimate value.
Israel, therefore, is a world-transforming nation. Its task, even today in her many sins, is to bring mankind back to its full moral and religious potential defined by our relationship to G-d. In that sense, Jews live in constant spiritual tension. They dream about a chosen mankind which has re-discovered its way to G-d and righteousness. In this lies a paradox: They struggle to survive with only the hope that one day they will be able to disappear.
The Invention of Hope
Rav Sha'ul (the Apostle Paul) once implied that after all the actions and thinking of men has been sifted through and reduced down to their basic elements, three things remain, faith, hope and love.
He concluded that Love was the greatest. But if you look under the hood of Hope, you will find a remarkable spiritual engine whose major component is faith or trust in the ONE G-d. By claiming a belief in one G-d, who is a single, Almighty and a totally ethical entity, who nonetheless responds to insignificant people like you and me, the Torah challenges paganism in a war to the death to mold the minds of the civilized world.
The Greeks believed that whatever happened to a person is entirely the result of random forces. Coincidence rules. Victims of disaster are simply "accidents" not subjects of history. Life is a collection of random events, for which a great deal of "good luck" is required to get through it, in one piece.
This is the reason why whole pagan societies like Mesopotamia historically were saturated with depression and anxiety. If you were a Mesopotamian, how could you make sense of your life? Hopelessness characterized your existence. Every illustrious culture brought the world a host of aesthetics, logic and philosophy, but they robbed humanity of the basic element of living that sustains people every day of their lives.
The Jewish idea of ONE G-d, however was a shaft of light that shone through the thick clouds of pagan culture and radiated the hope that the world can actually be good, despite rampant suffering. There is a purpose and an aim to humanity, which is more than random fate without divine destiny upon the turbulent ocean of history. The Belief in ONE G-d and His Messiah ultimately gave us Hope and sustained us. And it was the Jew, who first published these concepts in Hebrew.
In an effort to define what a Jew is, Leo Tolstoy once wrote...
Let us see what kind of peculiar creature
the Jew is,
which all the rulers and all the nations have
together and separately abused and molested,
oppressed and persecuted, trampled and butchered,
burned and hanged, and in spite of all this is yet
What is a Jew? Who has never allowed himself to be
led astray by all the earthly possessions which his
oppressors and persecutors has constantly offered him
in order that he should change his faith and forsake
his own Jewish religion.
The Jew, that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire and has illuminated with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and religions...
The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy. He who neither fire nor sword nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth. He who was first to produce the oracles of G-d. He who has for so long been the guardian of prophesy, and who transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as eternity itself.
What is a Jew? Who has never allowed himself to be
led astray by all the earthly possessions which his
oppressors and persecutors has constantly offered him
in order that he should change his faith and forsake
his own Jewish religion.
Why then, do the nations seek to destroy us, either physically, allegorically, or spiritually, desperately trying to define their world and a Bible which they received from us, quite apart from the roots of their faith and separated from the original revelation about the G-d of Israel, which we, as a people received at Sinai? The Torah teaches us that "If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the Land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. (Deuteronomy 13:6-8).
See how YOUR enemies are astir, how YOUR foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against YOUR people; they plot against those you cherish. "Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more." With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you -- the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelim, of Moav and the Hagrim, Geval, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tzur. Even Assur has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. ..."Let us take possession of the pasture-lands of G-d." ...May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the L-RD -- that YOU alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalms 83).
From the Eternal City... Shavu'ah Tov (Have a beneficial week)
Uri Marcus -------------------------------------------- Sources: * http://www.amfi.org/heartbeat/hbhp1096.htm * http://www.afii.org/texts/nvbfm * http://www.virginiawater.co.uk/christchurch/dispen3.html * http://www.virginiawater.co.uk/christchurch/dispen4.html * NEW CREATION BOOK FOR MUSLIMS, by Phil
Goble and Salim Munayer (c) 1989 * Rabbi T. Cardozo of Gateshead Talmudic
Collage. Adapted from his article which appeared in Olam Magazine,
Dec, 1999. * Rabbi M. Lamm, Professor at Yeshiva University's
Rabbinical Seminary. Adapted from his article which appeared
in Olam Magazine, Dec. 1999. * Leo Tolstoy Essay, "What is a Jew,"
Pg 26 DISCLAIMER: The views which have been expressed herein are those of
the writer ONLY, and DO NOT reflect the position of any organization,
or individuals connected with organizations, other than the writer
This message has been distributed over a PRIVATE forum whose contact
list is NOT owned or maintained by any individual or organization
other than that which belongs to the writer.
Your comments are welcome.
* NEW CREATION BOOK FOR MUSLIMS, by Phil Goble and Salim Munayer (c) 1989
* Rabbi T. Cardozo of Gateshead Talmudic Collage. Adapted from his article which appeared in Olam Magazine, Dec, 1999.
* Rabbi M. Lamm, Professor at Yeshiva University's Rabbinical Seminary. Adapted from his article which appeared in Olam Magazine, Dec. 1999.
* Leo Tolstoy Essay, "What is a Jew," Pg 26
DISCLAIMER: The views which have been expressed herein are those of the writer ONLY, and DO NOT reflect the position of any organization, or individuals connected with organizations, other than the writer alone.
This message has been distributed over a PRIVATE forum whose contact list is NOT owned or maintained by any individual or organization other than that which belongs to the writer.
Your comments are welcome.