I did say last week that the Middle East conflict was a picture of what was happening here in Britain, but I didn’t realise how literally true that would turn out.
The mass protest of pro-Palestinian supporters was perhaps inevitable, but the ugly scenes of anti-Semitic abuse perpetrated against the Jewish community of north London was beyond the pale.
What we are witnessing is nothing short of a re-emergence of the Nazi spirit of the 1930s. In Israel, every rocket fired from Gaza is fuelled by vicious hatred for the Jew. The evidence is absolutely clear: young Palestinians are simply taught to hate Jews, who are regarded as ‘sub-human’ in much the same way as Hitler denounced them.
Such vile propaganda doesn’t take long to germinate in a society where the school textbooks, along with the mullahs and the sayings of Mohammed collaborate to fill youthful minds with wicked lies.
Neither would it take long to become embedded in the hearts of British citizens, generations of whom have already been taught that the unborn are sub-human and that their lives are therefore expendable.
We have just marked the birth centenary of a brave young woman who, with just a few others, challenged the evil might of the Third Reich and, as a result, paid with her life. Sophie Scholl, one of the tiny White Rose group which called for resistance against the Nazi regime, lived only to see her 21st birthday, but no more. A Christian woman of such talent, she had so much to lose, but she gave it up for the higher goal of defeating a great evil.
I also mentioned last week the case of the school chaplain sacked for questioning LGBT ideology. The Christian Legal Centre has called on three leading clerics – the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of Derby Libby Lane – to publicly support the chaplain. But no such statement has been forthcoming.
What chance would we have if a neo-Nazi regime took power, and church leaders remained silent? It happened in Germany, of course, with dire consequences. British Christians are in danger of allowing evil to thrive in our midst because we haven’t the spine to stand up and be counted. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” (Isa 5:20)
In rightly condemning the blatant anti-Semitism displayed in north London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was particularly appalling that the incident occurred over Shavuot, a hugely significant Jewish feast also known as Pentecost, the Christian festival which, for various historic reasons, is held a week later this year (this coming Sunday).
At Shavuot, Jews celebrate the giving of the law through Moses at Mount Sinai. This is the law (specifically the Ten Commandments) on which Western civilization itself has been built, though every effort is now being made by the wokerati to dismantle it. With a focus on loving God, worshipping him only, loving our neighbour as ourselves, refraining from murder or covetousness or giving false testimony, what’s not to like?
Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that the enemy of Israel should bombard the people of the Book with missiles at such a time? He has no interest in loving God, or his neighbour, but only in giving false testimony. (I am of course speaking of Satan, not Arab people who in most cases have simply been used as his pawns).
But there is good news. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of a time when God’s people would be spiritually renewed: “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek 36:26b & 27)
He was speaking of what we now know as the Day of Pentecost, when Jews from all over the world – in Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot – were filled with the Holy Spirit, generally regarded as the birth of the Church. The law written on tablets of stone was now written on tablets of human hearts (2 Cor 3:3), enabling recipients to obey the law in the power of the Spirit.
But there is a double application to this passage. The context implies that such an outpouring would also take place after the Jews had returned to their ancient land from all the countries to which they had been exiled. (See Ezek 36:24-28) We are surely talking here about a revival of worship for the true God; a national revelation of Jesus as their Messiah.
There is, I believe, a similar double application in the passage of Joel quoted by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost. While explaining how the strange sounds (of speaking in different tongues) were a fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy of an outpouring of the Spirit on all people, giving supernatural dreams and visions to God’s servants, it also pointed to a time when the earth would witness “blood and fire and billows of smoke” – when “the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Acts 2:19f)
The spiritual awakening of Israel will usher in the coming of their King, Yeshua (Jesus), and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). “For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance…even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” (See also Joel 2:28-32)
It will be a day of judgment – a ‘dreadful’ day – for God’s enemies, but a day of rescue and salvation for his people. (See also Joel 3:1f, Zech 12-14)
As Haman of old made a rope for his own neck in plotting to destroy the Jews of Persia, so Hamas will bring judgment back on its own head if it continues to seek Israel’s destruction. Whose side are you on?
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International; and King of the Jews, also available from Christian Publications International.