“Yea, has God Said?” and Was it Truly So?

Dr. Herbert Hillel Goldberg

Dr. Herbert Hillel Goldberg

Already in Paradise, man was confronted by opposition to God’s Word. The cunning serpent, inspired by Satan (the Adversary), queried, “Yea, hath God said?” and reinterpreted it to mean “you shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:1, 5). There was a temptation which enticed them (v. 6).

The temptation continues

The Replacement Theory is also a temptation. In the Bible there are numerous assurances of God’s faithfulness to His covenant with the chosen people of Israel. In contrast, there is no proof text for the false teaching that God has cast Israel aside and replaced it with the Christian Church. In the New Testament, Israel’s continuing status is even confirmed in the 11th chapter of the Letter to the Romans. There Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, admonishes the gentile Christians, who were grafted in among the branches of the good olive tree, to not boast. He reminds them that “you bear not the root, but the root you” (13-18). Gentiles receiving the fruit and blessings of salvation of God by being grafted in does not mean dispossession for the Jews, or their replacement.

Whoever sets him- or herself in Israel’s stead has fallen to temptation. Pride separates from God’s delight and produces spiritual stagnation and secularization, which is exactly the situation in many churches today.

Although God’s covenant with Israel continues to remain in effect, He speaks of an additional covenant: “Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31). With the exception of the covenant God made with Noah “and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. 9: 8-9, 12, 16) after the Flood, each covenant has been made with His covenant people Israel.

And there is still one more covenant to add, the covenant of the Messianic Kingdom: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezek. 37:26-28).

Christians are told that they should provoke the Jews to jealousy through their conduct. That a review of history by the Jewish people would hardly cause them to follow the Christian example hardly needs explanation. There are, of course, exceptions of Christians who love Israel, and of pro-Israel prayer groups in some churches. Instead of provoking Jews to jealousy, however, innumerable Christian leaders – and again there are exceptions – are themselves jealous of the election of the Jews, or simply envious. This situation has various nuances which I would like to consider briefly.

Too big a love for Israel

Some friends of Israel have discovered that their participation in pro-Israel events led to their being derided as Israel fanatics, or their pastor proclaimed that some people love Israel too much. When I have asked one or the other minister how often he had a Jewish guest speaker, or how often his service was Israel-focused, he usually admitted to barely a few per year. Is that all the time available for the people through whom so much was given from God? Someone familiar with the Bible should know the abundance.

In some congregations it is frowned upon when someone sends a gift to Israel. It is easy to forget Paul’s collections for Jerusalem and his admonition to help the Jews materially out of gratitude for the spiritual gifts received (Rom. 15:26-27). Spiritual leaders who fail to carry out this ministry should know their flocks are being deprived of great blessings.

Is it even possible to love the Jews too much? More than God Himself does? We need only take notice of this Bible passage: “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour: I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honourable, and I have loved you: therefore will I give men for you, and people for your life” (Isa. 43:3-4).

And again: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you. I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Israel: you shall again be adorned with your tabrets, and shall go forth in the dances of those who make merry” (Jer. 31:3-4).

Moses also recognized it: “Happy are you, O Israel: who is like you, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your excellency! And your enemies shall be found liars unto you; and you shall tread upon their high places” (Deut. 33:29).

“For you are a holy people unto the LORD your God: the LORD your God has chosen you to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth….You shall be blessed above all people” (7:6, 14).

And it is so central for God that this people would return to their land that He Himself would bring them from the ends of the universe to fulfill His Word: “If any of you are driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there will He fetch you: And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers”

Israel does not claim to be better than other nations. It is, however, conscious of its godly election and appointment for global tasks, as has already happened, and which, in part, still lie before us in prophetic fulfillment. The Most High expects Jew and non-Jew alike to be in accord with his choices and decisions and not to rebel against HIM. There is no half-measure here; one is either for or against God, likewise either for or against Israel.

Denial of History

campWhen my family went through the most awful time of suffering, and experienced the death of many of our loved ones, we could never have imagined that one day the Holocaust would be denied. Exactly that is taking place, and that by leading personalities. Thousands of documents, massive remains of death factories, and even officially erected national monuments are being branded untrue.

In the courts of law of every free government, eyewitness testimony counts as evidence. According to Jewish and Christian principles, an event is proven by “two or three witnesses” (Heb. 10:28). In Israel today there are 250,000 survivors, hence witnesses. Tragically, a third of these live below the poverty level.

It is unnecessary to grant Jew-haters attention in this regard. I have said for decades that the day would come when it would be frowned upon to even mention the Holocaust. In some British schools it has already been removed from the history curriculum so as not to offend Muslim students and their parents. One can imagine that the subject will disappear completely, deemed something that could be psychologically harmful, therefore better banned.

Some deniers claim there could not have been so many victims. Would that episode have been less horrible if there had been three million instead of six million? Archives opened in post-Communist Russia suggest the number is even seven million. Whatever the true number, it was genocide, the systematic murder of a people. In 1938, Hitler declared himself a prophet and proclaimed that, in a few years, there would be no more Jews living in Europe as a consequence of their total “extermination by root and branch.”

Israel is a people that cannot be extinguished, for the Eternal God said to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you” (Gen. 17:7).

God reminds us of the eternal covenant: “Be mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which He made with Abraham, and of His oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant…” (1 Chron. 16:12-17).

At the same time, He warned the host countries regarding their treatment of the Jews: “And when [the Jews] went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people….He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not My anointed, and do My prophets no harm” (vv. 20-22). Did the nations heed God’s warning? They did the opposite, yet some Jew-haters would deny it is so.

An Ersatz Jesus

In a brazen misrepresentation of history by the “Palestinians,” the phony Philistines, they have been proclaiming at the highest levels that Jesus was a Palestinian, not a Jew. Actually, it should be no surprise, as Abraham has been declared a Muslim, and the sacrifice of his son Isaac has been replaced by the sacrifice of Ishmael.

That Jesus and Mary have been converted into Palestinians (thus pseudo-“Philistines”) has struck a welcome chord among some liberal clergymen. This certainly puts their history education in question for it would be assumed they have read that Jesus was born in “the land of Judea.” Matthew says it three times in his second chapter, in verses one, five and six. His Jewish lineage is clearly listed in the Gospels, which are older than the Quran (Koran) or Islam.

The renaming of Israel and Judea into Palestine by the Roman occupiers in the year 136 was for reasons of suppression of the Jews–and had nothing to do with demographics or ethnicity.

Remember, too, that at the time of Jesus there had been no Philistines for centuries already. They were and are an extinct people. Consequentially, it is pure nonsense to see in the Arabs today even the slightest connection to the Philistines. Such a claim is utter fantasy.

Denial of the Temple’s existence

wallIt is denied that the city of Jerusalem is the earthly seat of the One God and the capital of Israel. The world wants to compel Israel to give part of it away to Islam. Jerusalem was only divided once in all its history, from 1948-1967. On the basis of this 19-year-long partition as the result of a war of aggression, the world views that part, along with the Jewish heartland Judea and Samaria, as Arab territory. But the absurdity goes even further.

From the highest Muslim authorities in Jerusalem it is asserted that the Jewish Temple never existed. Yet, when the Muslims built their mosque, with space for tens of thousands, into the Temple Mount in the past decade, huge quantities of Temple remains were found during the excavations. They were partially smashed to rubble and dumped in debris heaps nearby. Jews found the remains. Israel’s Antiquities Authority reacted with horror.

It is a stark reminder of the 19-year-long occupation of part of Jerusalem by the Jordanians in 1948. The Muslim occupiers desecrated and destroyed 58 synagogues and yeshivot (Jewish theological schools) in Jerusalem. They wanted to erase all traces of Jewish presence. Since the liberation of 1967, Israel has made great efforts to rebuild the synagogues and yeshivas, which the United Nations, European Union and United States are trying to hinder.

Jewish faith is not shattered by some people’s denial of the Temple’s existence. For 2,000 years since our expulsion we have turned daily all over the world to pray facing that holy site in Jerusalem. Further, our Torah and holy writings are sufficient proofs for us.

At any time of day or night, Jews are found praying at its renowned Western Wall. The Romans managed to destroy the Temple structure, but they could not drive away the God of Israel. That is why we believe He answers petitions and intercession made at this holy place.

Christians cannot remain indifferent about denying the Jewish Temple either. They should even consider it a defamation of their faith. If the Temple had not existed, then all references to it in the New Testament are lies, fabrications. Then Jesus was not there as a 12-year-old (bar mitzvah). Whenever Jesus spoke of the Temple, it was untrue. Jesus’ presence in the Temple, as reported in the Gospels, would be fairy tales. In short, the carpet is being pulled out from under Christians’ feet whenever Muslims deny the existence of the Jewish Temple. It is irresponsible and dangerous for believing Christians to remain silent.

Those liberals in Christianity who tolerate the Islamization of the Christian West, condone the rapid construction of mosques, and are digging their own graves while their empty churches are being sold, need to be reminded that, “in 2009, 150,000 Christians died in Muslim (and Communist) nations” (Christian commentator Stanley Sjöberg, in Hemmets Vän [Sweden], December 17, 2009).

Assorted substitutions

There are other attempts to replace or duplicate, which are aligned against God and against Israel (see “A Parallel of Rebellion,” Hashivah, vol. 30, no. 4):

  1. The Jewish state is guaranteed by God; the Arabs want a (second) Muslim state on the same land;
  2. Jerusalem is the guaranteed capital of Israel; the Muslims want Jerusalem as the capital of their replica state;
  3. Israel has a Law of Return for Jews from around the world; the Arabs demand a similar law for the descendants of those they themselves ousted in 1948.

Muslims who favor a Muslim state alongside the Jewish state are called moderates. But when we pay close attention to the multitude of radicals, it is clear that the goal is the total eradication of Israel. Muslim fundamentalists go so far as to claim that their messiah, the Muslim 12th mahdi, can only come when there are no more Jews. To accomplish that is their holiest aim, their jihad, holy war. Whoever recognizes this will have no illusions about making peace with Islam.

Which border is the border?

borderA point that is all-too-often overlooked: We hear much talk about a “green line,” beyond which the Jews are not allowed to settle, to build. That is the cease-fire line of 1949. But since 1967 we have a new cease-fire line. Neither is an international border.

The United States also opposes Israeli building “over the green line.” Ironically, though neither “line” is official, it is the one from 1949, the result of a war of aggression against Israel, which served occupation by Arabs for 19 years, which is accepted. The one that resulted from the liberation of occupied territories and the cease-fire of 1967 is being rejected. A 19-year-long forced occupation qualifies as legal? At that time, no one accused Jordan of occupation. Yet the current status–over 40 years of freed Jewish heartland–is being called Jewish occupation of Arab land. The tables have been turned! It is unrighteousness that cries to the Heavens! In Israeli vernacular, the cease-fire line of 1949 is called the “Auschwitz border.” These are the borders to which the world wants to drive us.

It is in Israel where the largest Jewish population in the world now resides. That is very significant. The rest of our people will also still return to the land He “gave to their fathers” and “to their own borders” (see Jeremiah 30 and 31). Every square meter of our land is needed. We must “build the waste cities” and “raise up the former desolations” (cf. Isa. 61:4; Amos 9:14-15, and others), just as the biblical prophets foretold. WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN.