Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Conflict Between Hamas and Israel - Evidence that the Church Has Not Replaced the Jew

About two years ago I had lunch with one of the Pastors of a church that had subtle leanings toward the area of replacement theology which, in essence, purports that the Jewish people had been replaced by the "Church". He asked me "Do you really believe that the Israel of today is the same as the ancient people of the Bible?" My response to him was "If you don't believe that the Jewish people of today are the Israel of the Bible you don't understand the depth of the nature of the love of God. That's what the Book of Hosea is all about... the passionate unrelenting love of a man spurned by his unfaithful wife as an illustration of the passionate pursuit of a God who never gives up on the people He loves."

Today we are witnessing some the fruit of God's unfailing pursuit of His people. Israel, half of her people with trowels and half of them with spears (Nehemiah 4) has created, without doubt, the most compassionate army in the history of the world.

War is a product of evil. Evil draws good people into war out of necessity. Israel has been drawn into a war which, upon her success hinges the very survival of the Jewish people.

Israel's enemy is motivated by an ideology of evil and a cult of death. The leaders of this enemy band seek only to murder. They seek to kill any Israeli be he young, old, male, female, military or civilian with absolutely no strategic plan. Their only goal is to destroy. Furthermore the very people they have allegedly been entrusted to govern, the Palestinians, are used as expendable pawns to be "martyred" for the cause of their false god heralded by their pseudo prophet Muhammad. The deaths of these poor people are put on display before the television sets of the world so as to arouse international hatred for their Israeli enemies.

Israel has absolutely no recourse but to defend herself. She has gone through great lengths to provide protection for her citizens, and although not perfect, she has done her utmost to spare the lives of Palestinians. She has used phone calls, leaflets, dud bombs and other advanced warning methods to implore Palestinians to get out of harms way in advance of a pin-point attack to destroy a weapon or a specific enemy combatant. She has also hospitalized wounded Palestinian including those who were enemy combatants.

Statistics from Al Jazeera (a not-friendly-to-Israel news organization) reveal that the majority of Palestinians killed in this conflagration have been men between the ages of 18 to 38. In light of the fact that the average Palestinian age is 14 and that the enemy combatants use women and children as human shields, this truly reflects Israel's extraordinary efforts to spare life. If Israel had the same mentality as her enemies she could have simply carpet bombed Gaza and gotten over with it.

The contrast between the attitudes of Hamas and Israel are breathtaking. The former wishes to promote death. The latter wishes to preserve life. The former is egged on by a phony god promulgated by a phony prophet. The latter is a people whose history has been guided by the God of Israel who has used Torah, history, millenia of persecution, galute (diaspora), rabbinic tradition and even rejection of rabbinic tradition to create a "segula"... a people who are a prized possession regardless of their belief or unbelief. They have become an exemplary but imperfect people with an imperfect but nevertheless comparatively compassionate army.

We are now stepping into a new age where it will be more and more obvious that the nations of this world will be judged by their acknowledgment or lack thereof of the contrast between Israel and her enemies. Woe to those who do not see that contrast.

I can also say with relative confidence in light of Romans 11:17-21 "Woe to the local church that would seek to keep the Jewishness of Jesus off the metaphorical front page headline of the Bible" and assume that the Church has replaced the Jewish people. What is going on today is further evidence that the Church has not.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One's Faith ought not be in Miracles but God is performing them anyway in Israel

I'm not one that hangs my hat on miracles.  Even Satan produces miracles.  Often Christians look to miracles for evidence that what they believe is valid.  They pray for a miracle but if the miracle for which they yearn is never answered, their faith goes bankrupt.  They lose faith or "backslide".

Faith in miracles can lead to excessive emotionalism.  It adds validity to the notion that one can "be so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good".  It seems hard to believe, however In HaTorah we recall that the Children of Israel at the time of the Exodus saw one incredible miracle after another and yet they didn't have the faith to take on the "Anakim" after the spies had entered the land.  They'd witnessed 10 incredible miracles in Egypt (as well as hearing about the turning of Moses' staff into a snake), as well as the parting of the Red Sea and drowning of the Egyptian army (As my friend Avner Boskey used to put it, while growing up, his Rabbi used to say that Moses knew where the sand bars were).  The children of Israel saw water coming from a rock, being led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  They'd seen thunder and lightning and heard sustained trumpet blasts as Moses went up to the top of the mountain to talk with God.  They were fed with manna in the wilderness and as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, their clothes and sandals never wore out.  And yet, they had not known God well enough to trust that He would go before the "Anakim" in the process of conquering the land that God had promised to Abraham.

Miracles don't and should not sustain one's faith.  Only the very Word of God,  prayer and acting in faith, what the Word of God requires of us should sustain our faith.  Concerning this Issue, Peter commented that he had seen, heard, and touched Y'shua (Jesus) yet it is the "prophetic Word" not necessarily past experiences that "shines like a light in a dark place".

When Operation Protective Edge (the latest Israeli military action against Hamas You can read Hamas' charter here) began, I, like doubtless many of you, began to pray.  I prayed that not one IDF soldier would be lost.  I prayed for the swift obliteration of Hamas, minimal Palestinian fatalities and that the poor Palestinian people might actually come to see Israel and the IDF as liberators from the tyranical claws of Hamas who's chief military strategy was to use the poor defenseless Palestinian citizenry as human shields.  At least from my vantage point, I don't see that really any of these prayers was answered for the exception, possibly, of the vanquishing of Hamas which, at least, has, at the present time, been humiliated.

In the past, we've seen images of nations, after a war, celebrating that the "enemy has been vanquished".  I'm not in haEretz (the land) so I can't really put my finger on the pulse of what is going on there but I suspect that the people there are in mourning.  Loved one's have been lost and, with Israeli's, life is precious.  Every person lost in war, soldier or civilian, is a tragedy for the whole nation.  Everyone is mishpocha (family).  Furthermore, Israel still faces more enemies, from the Arab nations immediately surrounding her to Iran, Russia, Turkey the Sudan and international world opinion in general, which seems to focus more on the thousand plus Palestinan civilians who died because of Israel's self-defensive actions in light of Hamas' "human shield" strategy, rather than the 100s of thousands of Christians who are being exterminated by Muslim extremists in Iraq, Syria, the Sudan and elsewhere.  It is Israel, not Islam that the world sees as the Villain.  As Isaiah put it "Woe to those who call Good Evil and Evil Good".  The entire world is about to undergo the judgment of God because of its attitude towards israel.

And so, it's not the answering of my prayers which bolsters me.  I'm just a shlemiel saved by the grace of God.  God only answers those prayers of mine that are completely in accordance with His will.  At face value, from my above description, I might seem to be a little more benevolent than God.  But He's a lot wiser than I am and He knows best.  On the contrary, it's the Word of God which bolsters me.  Hopefully I can get into eschatology a bit in the future though there are others who are probably more adept at that than I am (I'll probably link to them).  But the simple knowledge that God hates a depraved value system (calling "good" "evil" and "evil" "good") coupled with the contrast between the motives of Israel and Hamas (and Islam in general) is adequate evidence to show me that what is presently going on in the Middle East is evidence enough that we have entered into the last days.  Israel is about to become the sole bastian of freedom in a world which has a history of hating Jews.  The United States is fast on the decline and soon, the only really safe place for a Jew will be Israel.

Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that, at least apparently, God has not completely answered my prayers.  He nevertheless, is a God of Miracles.  IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers have returned from battle actually having reported the manifestation of amazing miracles.  There is no doubt that God is defending Israel.  Below are posts of two amazing miracles that have taken place during this latest conflict.  I do want to conclude with one caveat however.   Reb Jannai commented in the Babylonian Talmud tractate Shabbat 32 a that, in essence a person shouldn't intentionally put himself in harms way so that he will solely be dependent upon miracles to save him.  If Reb Jannai had listened to Y'shua in the first place, however, Y'shua said the same thing centuries before that.

Israel, according to talmudic (and consistently with Y'shua's) teaching has taken extraordinary precautions not to intentionally create a situation where she had to rely on God.  She installed Iron Dome.  She equipped herself with weaponry.  She trained her soldiers.  Israel did not choose to be in harms way.  This conflagration was imposed upon her.  And so Israel prepared.  Nevertheless God has shown up where Israel has been unable to cover all of the basis.  In essence... God has Israel's back.  Below are two amazing examples.  I've heard of others.   If anyone knows of any others please comment and share the link.

Where Iron Dome Failed to divert rockets heading for populated areas.  Check out the headline on the front page newspaper of this link.

Also, out of nowhere, a fog came to blind Hamas to the activities of IDF soldiers (same link).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Would Like to Thank the Man in the Picture for Showing us the Truth.

If Islam is allegedly the "religion of peace", and that person behind the mask is really aberrant... hence, not really a Muslim, then he's really just a "thug".  

Why is it that so called "moderate" Muslims fail to utterly renounce these types of individuals?

If they do, why doesn't the rest of the world hear about it?

Why have I not heard of any fatwas (judicial declarations) that renounce violent Jihad?

Is this what Islam stands for? Not freedom but servitude if not death first? 

The truth is that Islam has an instruction manual on how it is to be practiced.  It's called the Quran and it advocates exactly what this picture represents.  

"Nothing like a little loss of freedom".  That's what I always say.

I would like to thank the man in the picture for showing us the truth.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We Jews are the recipients of "Hate Without a Cause" - Why?

Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and their ilk collectively are the face of pure evil. The atrocities that they commit around the world are beyond description. In light of their boastful assertions as “lovers of death”, if they ever had a golden rule, it would seem that their golden rule would be something like 

“We do to you what we would like to be done to us.”

As Golda Meir sagaciously stated “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” We Jews don't want to “do to them”. We want peace. Personally, for me, nothing would give me more joy than the actualization of Isaiah's prophecy...

When “swords are turned into plowshares, when HaTorah HaShem is proclaimed from Zion to the nations of the world and when peace reigns on earth.
(Isaiah 2:2)

Despite the world's incessant slander of the Jewish people and of Israel, there is no doubt that Israel has produced the most compassionate military in the history of the World. The IDF warns people to get out of harms way, feeds it's prisoners, and does whatever it can to preserve life. Those who cannot distinguish between the pure evil of Hamas and the benevolence of Israel, I believe, will face the wrath of G-d. Accordingly, I believe that G-d has begun to and will continue to use Israel to judge the nations.

Nevertheless, Israel lacks one thing. It will not see the actualization of Isaiah 2 until one thing takes place which I shall elucidate at the end of this little essay.

Today is t'sha B'Av... the commemoration of the destruction of both the first and second Temples.

Concerning the destruction of the Temples, the Babylonian Talmud says in Yoma 9B...

“Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because of three evils in it: idolatry, sexual immorality and bloodshed . . . But why was the Second Temple destroyed, seeing that during the time it stood people occupied themselves with Torah, with observance of precepts, and with the practice of charity? Because during the time it stood, hatred without rightful cause prevailed. This is to teach you that hatred without rightful cause is deemed as grave as all the three sins of idolatry, sexual immorality and bloodshed together”.

The Babylonian Talmud, itself, bares witness to the reality that despite the apparent piety of our people, in our levim... our hearts, we hated without a cause. In Psalm 69 we read...

“Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies; What I did not steal, I then have to restore.”
(Psalm 69:4)

I would hold that this is the Messiah uttering, at the time of King David, how He will be treated at some time in the future. One might dispute my exegesis of that psalm, but coupling the interpretation that I proposed with the timing of the destruction of the Second Temple, 40 years after the death sentence that was carried out on Y'shua haNatzree – Jesus of Nazareth, plus the Talmud's own self-indictment of our people as “haters without cause”, the notion that we have rejected our own Messiah, to me at least, is compelling.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Jewish people have, for the past 2000 years, been the recipients of hatred without a cause. Could this not be the consequences of our corporate attitude towards our own Messiah? Is not G-d, perhaps, giving us a taste of our own medicine? The taste is beyond bitter!

I thank G-d for Iron dome and for the most benevolent army in the history of the world. My prayer is always for the safety of our soldiers. Every loss is a tragedy beyond words. A whole nation mourns for each life lost. I do bear some good news... Am Yisroel Chai. Jeremeiah haNavi told us that we would survive history. Furthermore, I'm also pretty convinced that Israel will, in the near future, not only be victorious but dramatically enlarge her boundaries. Nevertheless, I also have bad news. I'm certain that tragic loss of life will continue. Loved ones will die. Furthermore, we will continue to be an object of hate and we as well as the entire world will not see peace until we Jews come to love the one that we hated and continue to hate without a cause.

We need to practice true t'shuva and recognize that the one whom the Gentiles worship, is in fact the Messiah whom we hated but whom we've been called upon to love.