Spiritual Instruction for Those Called to Restore Israel
Christ at the Checkpoint: The Call for Alternatives
Hannah Weiss, 6/jul/14 --- Part 3/3
[Picking up from Part 2...]
To those Christians facing pressure as dhimmis in Muslim societies, and who go on denying their dilemma by trying to discredit Zionism, I cannot react with anything but compassion.
As for the visiting Christian speakers who came for the Bethlehem conference, told local brethren that they should make the most of their situation, and returned to a comfortable life in the free West: You would do well to memorize Bat Ye’or’s list of dhimmi restrictions. You may soon have to rely on the “Christian survival” strategies promoted at CatC 2014!
Is that warning an exaggeration? Read on.
The Muslim Reality in the Christian West
In 2013, the UN officially announced that there is no such thing as "Islamic terrorism". This step is recognized by many as acceptance of the dhimmi pact, in which the "protected" non-Muslim agrees not to "blaspheme" (defame Islam in any way). The UN vote is not the real news, however. It only reflects policies and actions already underway in Western society. Following is a sample of news stories on the subject over the last few years.
In France, there are over 750 “Sensitive Urban Zones”, where five million Muslims rule the streets; these are "no-go" zones for French police and non-Muslims.
In 2012, Australian Muslims rioted over an amateur American film criticizing Mohammed, even though they hadn't seen it. Following the familiar Palestinian tradition, small children were used to promote Islamic violence.
In Canada, up to 10 Muslim candidates are being sponsored for the next election by a group that aims to “destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam”.
The Islamic takeover of the USA is possibly the most alarming of all, since it's so advanced and yet so under-publicized:
The president’s Commission on International Religious Freedom is headed by a dedicated Islamist who upholds shari’a as superior to American law.
The current director of the CIA is reportedly a convert to Islam who has made the Hajj to Mecca. He recently redefined jihad as peaceful inner “purification” and denied that Islamic violence has any religious motivation.
The Muslim Brotherhood in America now has a political party that aims to vote in politicians in 2016 who will promote shari’a law.
Western political and religious leaders who scoff at such warnings as "Islamophobic" incitement will be waking up to a new reality as this prophecy from Isaiah 28 comes into play:
15 Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact; the overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception;"
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
17 "I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the secret place.
18 "Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place.
19 "As often as it passes through, it will seize you; for morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, and it will be sheer terror to understand what it means."
20 The bed is too short on which to stretch out, and the blanket is too small to wrap oneself in.
21 For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon, to do His task, His unusual task, and to work His work, His extraordinary work.
22 And now do not carry on as scoffers, or your fetters will be made stronger; for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts of decisive destruction on all the earth.
The Alternative to the CatC "Understanding" of Islam
I don’t think there will be a way to ride this tidal wave, or to hide from it. The alternative is sobering and liberating: Stop trying to accommodate a fantasy, and prepare for the reality.
Jewish believers who aren’t yet in Israel would do well to make aliyah while they still can. Isaiah 60:2 may apply here. Then again, the shari'a scourge of ISIS, which is currently hoping to take over Jordan and is already rooted in Gaza, could sweep through Israel too before everything is fulfilled.
But then why should my fate or yours be any different from that of millions of Jews and Christians who suffered for their faith in past generations – or those thousands who are suffering for it today in other countries?
People of the Messiah: reboot your perspective of the future. Stop thinking about how to befriend a spiritual kingdom dedicated to stamping out your faith, no matter how well-behaved you are. Downgrade the priority of trying to “survive” a few years longer on earth, or trying to hang onto the few trinkets that bring us comfort. Start thinking about our eternal home in heaven, where all wealth is safe from jizya and other forms of theft; and where no one can maim, kill, lie or terrorize.
Surely now is the time to bank on the truth of those famous verses in Romans 8:
35 Who will separate us from the love of Messiah? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
Engaging More Fully with the Reality in Israel
For the moment, the Jewish state, as well as (what remains of) the democratic West, still allows its citizens the freedom to take up this challenge from the Israeli CatC participants:
[W]e strongly encourage both our Palestinian Christian and our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters to engage more fully with the reality of the one new man in Messiah…
Indeed. It's time to form a position that unites all those in the Body who are fully committed to the reality.
Knowing that the Palestinian Authority upholds shari’a law in both theory and practice, “the one new man in Messiah” must come to agreement on what’s driving the Checkpoint conference organizers to feed believers disinformation about Christian life in the Muslim world. As I suggested before, there are three possibilities: ignorance of the truth, fear of the consequences, or deliberate attempts to deceive. Each one requires a different response.
Ignorance? This three-part article has hopefully taken care of that. Yet the blackening of Israeli-Palestinian and Jewish-Arab interaction, and the whitewash of Christian-Muslim interaction, didn't have to be taken seriously by thinking believers. Corrective information has been online for almost a decade. Since 2005, even Muslims in Palestinian-ruled areas have been muttering that things were better under Israeli rule.
Fear of the consequences? Dhimmis trapped in the PA are in a life-and-death dilemma, and it’s simplistic and unfair for us who enjoy freedom of speech to just demand that they “stop lying and own up to the truth”. We have no right to ask them to pay a price we have not been called on to pay ourselves for taking that step. Arguing with them about the Zionist messages of Scripture has value mostly for Conference participants who can return home to publicly declare the truth, without having to face outrage from Muslim overlords and panic from other dhimmis.
But by now one thing should be clear: When we witness the forced recitation of the myth, “All would be well with us and our charming Muslim neighbors, if it weren’t for Christian Zionism and the Israeli occupation...” accepting it at face-value is the last thing we should do! Nor is it wise to urge dhimmis to admit to the truth privately. Like all oppressive regimes, Palestinian walls and streets have proven to have “ears” which can betray dissenters.
In order to support our oppressed brethren in ways that they need (but can't ask for), we have to work with uncensored information about what's happening to them. One of the best sources is Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights attorney. As far back as 2005, five years before the first Checkpoint conference, Weiner conducted a detailed study of the Christian dilemma in PA areas, including Bethlehem. A shortened version is here. Another concise history of PA Christians in general, and of Bethlehem in particular, is found here, with surprising information about past requests from this city to stay under Israeli control... and why Israel refused.
Deliberate attempts to deceive? I hesitate to go there, and some might rebuke me for suggesting it, but what else are we to conclude from the evidence? Christ at the Checkpoint in 2012 managed to violate 8 of their own commitments embodied in 12 Conference Manifesto points. Didn't our Lord command us (Matt.5:37) to let our "yes" be yes, and our "no" be no? Yet in CatC 2014 these mixed "yes/no" messages have been reinforced rather than corrected.
In fact, the very purpose of the Checkpoint Conference is open to question. If CatC aims to be "an open forum for ongoing dialog" with Christian Zionists, then why are there no recommended Christian Zionist essays to continue the dialog? Instead, we see 9 out of the 15 offerings on the Conference "Resources" page negating the Zionist side of the dialog altogether, and 5 more presenting the Palestinian experience as the defining narrative for dialog. There is only one book representing Israeli views, which is lined up next to Palestinian views after removing the "obstacle" of Biblical Zionist convictions. If these theological differences are "secondary" to affirming our common faith in Messiah (Conference Manifesto, point 11), why does a book by a Conference organizer actually state the opposite? Entitled Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon?, this CatC-recommended resource warns readers in the Foreword: "[T]heology really matters, and if the theology is wrong, the consequences are disastrous."
Whether or not we can pinpoint the motive for these inconsistencies, we will show more respect for the CatC organizers by rejecting the existing Checkpoint messages as unworthy of people calling themselves followers of "the Way, the Truth and the Life". Those seeking godly relationships with CatC promoters need to be their true friends in God, willing to confront and challenge. There can be no "one new man in Messiah" without commitment to the truth: "Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another." (Eph.4:25, emphasis in NAS)
We Israelis are citizens of the Middle East nation where "the Christian population has risen 400% since 1948" (Weiner) – and the only Middle East nation where Muslims, Christians and Jews govern the country together. We have the least excuse to sit quietly. We can and should be a voice for these muzzled Christian brethren, as well as their distressed Muslim neighbors. We don’t need permission, confirmation or thanks from abuse victims in order to act on their behalf. It’s simply the right and good thing to do – for all Palestinians, but “especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal.6:10).
We should repent of the fact that our government, in signing the Oslo Agreements, abandoned innocent Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, to the same fate that has made a hell out of the rest of the Middle East. Israeli Arabs react strongly against the idea of coming under PA rule, and a shocking number of Palestinians living in those "liberated" areas are talking about "the Israeli occupation" with nostalgia. If the whole Oslo Process were submitted to a Palestinian vote, they would embarrass the world with their choice. The fact that no one ever saw the need to give them a choice makes a mockery of "Palestinian self-determination", and as time goes on the charade becomes more and more obvious: the Peace Process is not about Palestinian rights at all.
We should confront the self-centered secular Israeli liberals who are closet racists, pushing for “separation of the populations” (apartheid) via “the two-state solution” simply in order to rid themselves of having to live alongside Palestinians. (So said one veteran leftwing activist to me, without batting an eye.) This is the only possible reason for continuing to pretend that we (Israel) are giving the Palestinian people what they want. If the Israeli Left wants to prove us wrong about that, let them work alongside the Jerusalem Institute of Justice to protest against Palestinian abuses of their own people.
We should acknowledge, encourage and support the everyday cases of Israel-Palestinian coexistence which have been taking place for years in the despised Israeli “West Bank settlements”. We should challenge the Israeli Tolerists on the politically correct side of the Green Line, and their Christian counterparts abroad, to stop trying to shut these efforts down through boycotts, and instead try to match them.
We should pray and work for the immediate rescue of PA Christians as prisoners of conscience who are living right here in our ancestral homeland. For the morally sensitive Israeli, it means "loving the stranger" (Lev.19:34); for us as believers it means caring for Family. We should urge our government to place dhimmis at the top of the list of eligible refugees: educated, hard-working, family-oriented, with a compatible culture and language – in short, a population we could easily absorb into Israel proper (or if they prefer, into Israeli settlements located closer to their roots).
All readers will hopefully realize the amazing potential witness if the Israeli Body of Messiah were to take the lead in this new direction. May the God of Israel show us how to turn these ideas and similar ones into real deeds of faith (James 2:14-17).
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