Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where shall the Prince of Peace go?

Why do (some) Christians support the state of Israel unconditionally?
I mean, how can anyone miss the fact that contemporary ‘Christian’ media and ‘ministries’ stand one hundred (and forty-four thousand) per cent behind Israel, no matter what it does? These same people (and many others, non-religious, even non-Christian, but influenced by them) minimize Israeli self-defense manoeuvres and maximize the self-defense acts, some of them truly horrendous, of the indigenous peoples of Palestine (and their allies). They say things like, ‘they got him outnumbered about a million to one, he got no place to escape to, no place to run,’ emphasizing Israel’s claim to a tiny slip of land smack dab in the middle of millions of square kilometers of Arab-dominated real estate. They ask, ‘Why can’t the Arabs leave Israel alone? All they want is the land God gave them.’ Yes, the last statement poses a very good question that these folks entirely miss, ‘the land God gave them.’

What is not hard to miss, if you read the Old Testament of the Bible, is that in the process of choosing the Jews and hand-crafting them to be a people worthy of Himself, God has them do many things that today are considered crimes against humanity, and indeed they are. The God of the Old Testament can be pretty harsh. Yes, there is capital punishment for acts we now consider normal and acceptable. Yes, there is genocide. But as Christians, what do we then make of Christ’s saying, ‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,’ or again, ‘the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’? Is this God ‘the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ then the same, or not the same, as the Old Testamental ‘Jehovah’?

Good question, but one that the Church long ago decided (conforming to the Mind of Christ) and answered for us (even though we weren’t asked to agree or disagree)—God is God, the Old Testamental Jehovah is the Father of Jesus Christ. Perhaps not pertinent to the topic, we also found out that this One God whom the Jews worshiped at Sinai is at least a triad, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit, and nearly two thousand years later, this fundamental discovery is still the ground of Truth in the Church, the pattern and proof of our communal life on earth, and our deification in the world to come.

The state of Israel, again defended by its Christian cheerleaders, has every right to have the whole land of Canaan, because God gave it to the people of Israel forever. Little does it matter that when their Messiah came to them, the one Christians worship as not only man but God, the Savior of the whole human race, their leaders rejected Him, as did many of the people. Little does it matter that, following the strictest interpretation of the scriptures, those in Israel who rejected Jesus of Nazareth continued to fight on, against Rome, against the world, to secure their right to the land.

Little does it matter that their great and glorious Temple (though it never had either the Divine Presence—that is, the Cloud—or the Ark of the Covenant with its Mercy Seat) was utterly destroyed by the Romans, so that Israel would never again be a power, and a troublemaker, in the world. The Christian supporters of Israel hang their hopes on a restored Israel ‘in the land’ and a ‘Third Temple’ which both must occur and be built in order for the second coming of Christ to take place. As if we could do anything to prevent or promote the Parousía of our living, resurrected Lord!

The problems created by the establishment of the state of Israel in the land of Canaan have grown larger and more menacing than anyone could have thought possible. The ultra-fundamentalists among the Christians that have created a new form of Zionism, ‘messianic’ they name it, rejoice as they see the region, and the world, heading for the edge of the abyss, the borderlands of Armageddon, and they can’t wait to take their places on the winning side. Little does it matter that Zionism is essentially an atheistic or at least agnostic movement, purely social, economic, and political, and that ‘religious’ Jews have only accommodated themselves to it, since it has provided for them a protective enclosure in which to practice their faith without fear of ‘Christian’ persecution.

Little does it matter that thousands of indigenous people, mostly Arab in language and Islamic in faith, but also including the original Christian inhabitants of Palestine, have been bullied and terrorized out of their homeland, all in the name of fulfillment of prophecy and the promise, the ‘eternal covenant’ between Israel and their God. This is just ‘what has to happen’ because Israel has title to that land. Little does it matter that the secular Israeli state will, in the end if no one or nothing stops it, completely empty the land of its indigenous inhabitants, no matter what it takes. Little does it matter, especially to the Christian Zionists, that the indigenous Church, the Orthodox both Greek and Latin, is being depopulated in a legalized war of attrition, as long as their adherents, ‘born again’ prophecy-believing messianic Christians, continue to grow strong. But in the end it will come to, little does it matter that Christ has been excluded from the Holy Land.

Then, where shall the Prince of Peace go?

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