A Perplexing Message for Zionists & Palestinians

Let me begin with a short summary of this message. I am opposed to Zionism, the ideology of establishing a so-called “Jewish State” by appealing to the Bible or the ancient borders and people of the Land. But, perhaps, instead of opposing Zionism, which is built upon shaky ground as to who may be classified as a Jew, let us rather insist upon the Biblical classification of who is a Jew – and “throw the cat among the pigeons”. Anyone who protests against the Biblical classification of who is a Jew, is an antisemite!

King Artaxerxes included the following in his decree concerning the Jews, “And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment” (Ezra 7:25-26).

The Board of Deputies of British Jews have drawn up a document called the, Jewish Manifesto. The Board of Deputies of British Jews is described on the title page of the Jewish Manifest as follows: 

“The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the democratic and representative body for the UK’s Jewish community. We are the first port of call for Government, the media and others seeking to understand the Jewish community’s interests and concerns. The Board of Deputies acts as the Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Jews. The APPG aims to broaden and deepen connections between Parliament and the UK’s Jewish community.”

King Artaxerxes was indeed supportive of Zionism in the days’ of Ezra. The Zionist initiative in the days of Ezra and King Cyrus was for the Jewish exiles, (at the end of the seventy-year Babylonian exile), to be granted the right of return to the Promised Land where they commenced building the city walls of Jerusalem and the Temple in accord with the prophetic purpose and will of God in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. 

God is sovereign over Israel and over all the nations of the whole world. From the point of view of God’s prophetic purpose, Zionism was indeed a legitimate political and national endeavour which was not to be opposed nor hindered by any nations lest they found themselves breaking international law and being at odds with the king and with God.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews have written, among many other points, the following in their Jewish Manifesto:

“The UK Jewish community is committed to peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israel, the Palestinians and the wider Middle East.”

“Policy Ask: Advocate for a permanent, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.”

 Under the heading of “ANTISEMITISM” it says the following:

“Actions which may or may not be antisemitic – depending on the exact circumstances – but which create a sense of fear and apprehension amongst Jews can include: the waving of flags of terrorist organisations like Hamas and Hizballah at demonstrations; protests against events with Israeli or Jewish speakers; targeted boycotts of, or vandalism against, Israeli or Kosher products; and delegitimisation of the only Jewish state, Israel.”

“Delegitimization of the only Jewish state, Israel” is deemed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews as a form a antisemitism. This raises a huge controversy in itself which I would like to examine and challenge in this article. It’s all very well referring to Israel as “the only Jewish state”, but this may give rise to yet another form of antisemitism perpetrated by hypocrites who define, according to their terms, what it is to be “a Semite”.

Firstly the term “Semites” for Jews is nonsense in any case.  Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is likely that from a strictly racial classification point of view, one third of the world’s population could be Semites, including many Palestinians.

But more specifically, it is difficult to speculate on the number of Jewish Christians there were in the first century. The gospel of Jesus the Messiah was first preached in Jerusalem by the Jewish disciples of Jesus. Many Jews, including priests, believed the message.

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand (Acts 4:1-4).

The Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus the Messiah, made an arrogant decision that in their opinion, Jews who believed in Jesus were to be expelled from the Jewish community.

The parents of a blind man whom Jesus healed were reluctant to testify about his healing, because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22).

What an irony: That part of the Jewish community who rejected Jesus, were not only anti Jesus the Messiah, but were also opposed to the many Jews who believed in him. The Jews who believed in Jesus nearly two-thousand years ago, had children, who had children etc. – but their “racial” identity as “Jews” was far less important than their new identity in Jesus the Messiah. The redeemed people who believe in Jesus includes Jews, former converts to Judaism and of course many Gentiles. They all believe in Jesus according to the New Covenant which God made with the redeemed people of Israel.

From a Christian perspective, there is essentially only one way by which Gentiles may convert so as to be fully counted among God’s holy nation Israel and that is through faith in Jesus and the New Covenant. From the perspective of Judaism, a person may convert to Judaism by renouncing that Jesus is the Messiah through whom God has made the New Covenant. Modern conversion to Judaism requires denouncing Jesus the Messiah. Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the Old Covenant Laws are no longer in effect and it is impossible to observe about two-thirds of the Law of Moses.

The apostle Paul defined being Jewish according to the New Covenant circumcision of the heart, which is perfectly in accord with what was taught by Moses and Jeremiah the Prophet.

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you (Deuteronomy 30:6-7).

“I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh — Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart” (Jeremiah 9:24-26).

A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God (Romans 2:28-29).        

It is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

I contend that those who are Jews through faithfulness to the Jewish Messiah, King Jesus, and who are circumcised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, regardless of their natural birth, are true Jews approved by God. It is, therefore, a gross and unacceptable case of antisemitism to attempt to exclude them from God’s promises of redemption and from the right of return to the Promised Land if they so please. So, it is not prudent to try to hide antichrist sentiments behind a false and illegitimate counter-charge of antisemitism.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also refer to the Holocaust in their manifesto. They say in the Jewish Manifesto:

“Policy Ask: Include and expand Holocaust education in schools to prevent ignorance which can in some cases lead to revisionism or denial.”

“The Holocaust”, literally means “burnt-offering” and is a term associated with the Nazi murder of Jews. However, the Hebrew Psalmist and the writer to the Hebrew Christians had the following to say:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened— burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:6-8).

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.    Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” —though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:1-10).

By laying claim to the term, “the Holocaust” as referring to the genocide of Jews by the Nazis, detracts from its more appropriate and accurate meaning of a “burnt offering” as a sacrifice required under the Old Covenant. As it is, God was not pleased with the “burnt offerings” once offered, even though they were offered according to the requirements of the Old Covenant Law of Moses. They were intended to be symbolic of the ultimate offering of the body of Jesus the Messiah as the only acceptable sacrifice to God for the redemption of, not only Israel, but all of humanity. There are many countries now who are making it a punishable criminal offence to deny “the Holocaust”, but the real denial of the Holocaust – is the denial that Jesus is the Messiah and that the sacrifice of his body was a once-for-all sacrifice, thereby doing away with all other sacrifices that were once required by the Law. In other words, Israel’s and humanity’s redemption and reconciliation to God, is not through the “sacrifice” or “holocaust” of “six million” Jews, (the number six being the symbolic number of man), but through the only acceptable sacrifice of the one perfect man, Jesus the Messiah. The High Priest in Israel at the time when Jesus was crucified, prophesied without even knowing or understanding what he was saying.

Jesus was given power to perform many miracles testifying that he was indeed the promised Messiah. Among his many miracles, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, (who had been dead and placed in his tomb for four days). On account of this miracle alone many Jews believed in Jesus.

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary (Lararus’ sister), and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life (John 11:45-53).

To this very day, Jewish people will object should any people try to lay any guilt or blame collectively upon the Jews, for the holocaust sacrifice of Jesus by the Romans. However, there are many Jews who are trying to lay the blame of “the holocaust”, the Nazi murder of Jews, upon all nations. People are charged with antisemitism quite indiscriminately. Everyone and anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of the founding of the “Jewish state” is charged with antisemitism. What hypocrisy!

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead —whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death (Acts 5:27-33).

What if a people are completely opposed to Jesus, (i.e. antichrist), they reject his teaching, they reject his atoning sacrifice made for their sins and the sins of the whole world, they reject him as the Anointed King of kings, they reject the testimony of the Holy Spirit and of God, that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he appeared to more than five-hundred witnesses? – What if such people also try to establish laws against questioning their version of what they call “the Holocaust” and their classification of who is a “Jew” – and what if they alone decide what is ”antisemitism”? Are they not perhaps also “antisemites” by denying that a true Jew is one who is joined to the Jewish Messiah by the Holy Spirit through whom they are also circumcised in their hearts? 

A Christian who is reconciled to God through faith in Jesus is not an antisemite if they preach about the love of God for all humanity and if they also happen to criticise the legitimacy of a Jewish state based upon a faulty classification as to who is a Jew.

Why did I title this message, “A Perplexing Message for Zionists and Palestinians”? 

Consider this proposal: 

Instead of opposing the Zionist ideology to establish an exclusively “Jewish” state, a state which ought to then be governed according to the Law of Moses lest they incur God’s judgement. Let us rather begin to challenge the classification as to who is a “Jew” and set forth the New Testament criteria, as follows:

A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God (Romans 2:28-29).

The process of conversion to become a true Jew, i.e. in the truest sense of the meaning of the name, “Judah – or Jew”, which refers to a person called to be a witness of the only true God and his Messiah for the praise and glory of God, is through believing in Jesus the Messiah and being baptised with – and circumcised in the heart by – the Holy Spirit?

Instead of a separate Palestinian state, let there be a united “Jewish” state according to the Bible classification of who is a Jew – which is through faith in Jesus the King of kings. Instead of making laws against antisemitism, let us rather begin to redefine – or correctly define – who is truly a Semite, i.e.one who is a spiritual descendant of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – i.e. the faithful assembly who worship the God of Israel through their faithfulness to his Anointed King.

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:5-14).

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Romans 4:16-18).   

It is racist, selfish, presumptuous and opposed to Jesus the Messiah to classify someone as “a Jew” by a narrow classification of a pedigree in the flesh through one’s mother and which rejects God’s Anointed King. We contend that we are indeed the children of Abraham and of God through being born again of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

A Palestinian should perhaps acknowledge that they are a “true Jew” through being circumcised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and thus, they are no longer a Palestinian. A Jew must acknowledge that they are not a Jew by natural descent, nor by outward circumcision, nor by racial classification, but by being called out of darkness into the light of the Messiah, circumcised by the Holy Spirit, to declare the praises of the God of Israel and his King of kings.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy – [only through faith in Jesus the Messiah and his atoning sacrifice, the true meaning of the Holocaust through which the nation of Israel is born again of the Spirit] (1 Peter 2:9-10).

If this means that the “Jewish” officials force their interpretation of Zionism and their classification of “who is a Jew” upon the people already living in the Promised Land, then so too, should the people there, perhaps, as a demonstration of their faith in the Messiah and their assurance of their hope in receiving their inheritance in the heavenly country and in the resurrection, joyfully accept then, even the confiscation of their earthly property in favour of a better reward and lasting possessions.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:32-36).   

Down with racism, down with national pride, down with dividing walls and barriers of hostility – down with trumped up charges of antisemitism, down with any state built upon racist classifications, let us become citizens of the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:26-29). 

The meek will inherit the earth. We do not need to fight for this border or that, for this strip of land or that. If we are called into the faith of Abraham through trusting in Jesus the Messiah, then we are heirs with Abraham of the whole world.

It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith (Romans 4:13).

Our inheritance is assured in Jesus the Messiah.

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