Recently, the leaders of the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches and the National Council of Churches sent an appeal to Congress to end military aid to Israel. Consider the death and destruction of innocent men, women and children in Israel that could have occurred from the 1,500 plus rockets fired between November 14th and 21st by Hamas without the US funding of the Iron Dome defense shield. There would have been no Operation Pillar of Defense for Israel to protect the Jewish people.
The mainline churches continue the same anti-Semitic obsessions from 2,000 years of demonizing, persecuting and murdering Jews. These churches all share the belief in the displacement of the “Old Testament” by the “New” and the permanent exile of God’s people. They support the Arab propaganda without question. Yet, they are blind to Christian persecution in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the PLO controlled areas in the, so-named by Jordan, “West Bank” and all Muslim countries that deny freedom of religion to all other religions.
This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines. Matthew 15:8-9.
Eliezer Berkovits stated in Faith after the Holocaust that “[t]here is no other witness that God is present in history but the history of the Jewish people.”1 Great empires do not testify to divine presence in history for they can be explained as a worldly power in the context of power history.2 Only a small ancient people, whose very existence is forever attacked by the forces of power history and yet survives and has an impact on world history out of proportion to its size and material power, testifies to God’s “powerless” guidance in history.3
A people, who exist not by its power but only by its commitment as God’s witnesses, provide by its very survival the testimony to God’s Presence in the world.4 Without God in the world, the existence of the Jews surpasses all human explanation.
Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did the Lord desire you and choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples. Rather, because of the Lord’s love for you and because He observes the oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. You must know that the Lord, your God – He is the God, the faithful God, Who safeguards the covenant and the kindness for those who love Him and for those who observes His commandments, for a thousand generations. And He repays His enemies in his lifetime to make him perish; He shall not delay for His enemy – in his lifetime He shall repay him [the wicked may be rewarded in this world, but not in the World to Come]. Deuteronomy 7:7-10.
You are My witnesses – the word of the Lord – and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you will know and believe in Me, and understand that I am He; before Me nothing was created by a god nor will there be after Me! Isaiah 43:10
Israel does not witness, nor was it chosen, because it knows, believes and understands.5 It has been made the witness and has been chosen, so that it may know, believe and understand by faith history, not by power history.6
During the Christian dark ages and Middle Ages, the mystery of the Jews’ survival was explained as the work of the devil.7 The Jews endured by His hidden and mysterious strength unrecognized in medieval Christian lands. Satan’s people of medieval Christianity was replaced by the secret international conspiracy of the Elders of Zion. Jewish survival cannot be explained in terms of power history.8 The “secret world government” of the Jews under the theories of the Elders of Zion is God’s guidance in history of His people.9 The Nazi extermination of a powerless Jew was a metaphysical fear of the true mystery of God’s “powerless” presence in history as “revealed” in the continual survival of the Jewish people.10 The Nazis represented a satanic rebellion to dethrone God.11
The transformation of the State of Israel after each Arab invasion in 1948, 1967 and 1973 for existence can only be described as history on a metaphysical level. The redemption of mankind includes the redemption of the Jewish people in the Land of the Jews – the messianic significance of the Land.12 Jewish history is part of the cosmic drama of redemption.13 Only messianic redemption can bring meaning and justification to Israel’s martyrdom.14
God is hidden to enable us to have free will to choose God or reject Him.15 Without free will, man would be only an android.16 Evil is the consequence of this human freedom.
“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come . . .” Mark 7:21.
The stereotype representation of the “Old Testament God of wrath” versus the “New Testament God of Love” brings forth the anti-Semitic position that the God of the Old Testament as not the one revealed by Jesus. Christians believe that Jews follow the commandments in the Torah to earn God’s love or a place in heaven and is a religion of “works righteousness” rather than of grace. However, the election of the collective Jewish people is based on grace, not merit or works. All Israel has a share in the world to come as it is part of the covenant. Divine love is already present; it is not earned.
There were two major theological events in Jewish history, the revelation at Sinai and revelation beginning with Auschwitz. Sinai was a revelation of God’s Presence by the giving of His Word to the Jewish peoplehood and the revelation beginning with the Holocaust and the re-birth of the State of Israel “. . . is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8.
Is the evangelical Christian community the means by which non-Jews can come to worship the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Can evangelical Christian belief be seen from the Jewish perspective as producing a benefit of the great numbers of those outside the Jewish community now aware of the coming of the Jewish Messiah?
Copyright © 2012 by Martin M. van Brauman
1 Eliezer Berkovits, Faith after the Holocaust. New York: KTAV Publishing House, Inc. (1st ed. 1973), p. 114.
3 Ibid., p. 115.
7 Ibid., p. 116.
10 Ibid., p. 117.
12 Ibid., p. 146.
13 Ibid., p. 152.
15 Ibid., p. 117.