Having once again heard the unchanging truth of the Christmas story, we sadly also keep hearing the lies peddled by some church leaders about those through whom their Saviour came.
And we need to wake up to the reality of where this is all coming from. It is surely one of Satan’s best tactics in attempting to forestall the return of Jesus, who will not come back before his own people recognise him as Messiah (Matt 23:39). But much church leadership only serves to confirm most Jews in their understandable general impression that antisemitism stems from his followers.
In the run-up to Christmas, church leaders in Jerusalem put out a statement pointedly accusing Israelis for not doing enough to prevent the desecration of churches by ‘radical groups’ and suggesting that this was the cause of the mass exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a Sunday Times article jointly authored with Palestinian Anglican bishop Hosam Naoum, seemed to back up this assertion – the implication being that Israelis are driving the Christians out.
Yes, it is true that some Orthodox Jews have an ongoing distaste for ‘missionaries’ and have at times vehemently expressed this. But global Christian charity Open Doors have laid the blame for the steep decline of Christians squarely on “Islamic extremist militants” in the Palestinian Authority-administered West Bank causing Christians to fear violent attacks – and with reason.
Unfortunately, precious little of this is reported in the mainstream media, presumably because it is not connected to Israel – the woke world’s perennial whipping boy.
Speaking of the unfaithfulness of the ancient Israelites, the prophet Jeremiah described the Lord’s lament thus: “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies… Friend deceives friend, and no-one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.” (Jer 9:3-5)
Have those who have inherited the precious legacy of the Jews – i.e. followers of the Jewish Messiah – now also inherited this tendency to spread lies and deceit about the very people to whom they owe the most?
From Cape Town in South Africa, meanwhile, a raging fire has broken out in its beautiful Parliament buildings – just a stone’s throw from where the nation has been mourning the passing of former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of its greatest sons.
Now, I have no hesitation in acknowledging his immense contribution to the downfall of apartheid, and to the reconciliation that followed, enabling a new South Africa to emerge without the anticipated bloodshed.
But he also touched the “apple of God’s eye” (Zech 2:8). As fellow South African Stan Goodenough put it, he “wholly embraced the false Palestinian narrative while rejecting the biblical, historical and legal Jewish narrative that gives the lie to his protestations.” See: A Legacy of Light … and Darkness
And by the way, he was also an ardent champion of gay rights, and has been quoted as saying: “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.” Which surely begs the question of which god he did worship? I am reminded of the raging fire that swept through York Minster in 1984 (caused by a lightning strike) following the consecration of a bishop who did not believe in the resurrection. It really does matter whom you worship. Those who touch (as in ‘poke their finger’ and injure) the most sensitive part of God’s affections (i.e. the Jewish people) will be severely dealt with, either in this life or the next. (Gen 12:3, Joel 3:2)
It’s time we started blessing God’s chosen people, particularly this month as we approach Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27th), an opportunity to demonstrate our Christian love by standing with them in their sorrow and grief and perhaps repenting of our relentless persecution of them.
We should also preach the gospel “to the Jew first” (Rom 1:16). But we need to practice what we preach. For as 19th century Old Testament scholar Franz Delitzsch put it: “The Church still owes the Jews the actual proof of Christianity’s truth. Is it surprising that the Jewish people are such an insensitive and barren field for the gospel? The Church itself has drenched it in blood and then heaped stones on it.”
Meanwhile, the outrageous fabrication of the so-called ‘blood libel’, birthed in 12th century England, has raised its ugly head again in Israel where the disappearance of a young boy quickly spread a shocking lie across the world through wholly unsubstantiated social media.
Fake news swept through the internet that this amounted to a revival of a supposed ritual in which Jews used Christian children as a blood sacrifice for their Passover feast. But the boy was later found in an unfenced cistern, full from heavy rains. It appears that he had tragically slipped and fallen, unnoticed, into the water and drowned. But the damage had been done.
For more on that tragic story, see: Palestinians, Anti-Jewish Blood Libels and Twitter
The fake theory of child sacrifice was originally concocted as an excuse simply to persecute Jews, and eventually led to their expulsion from England on 1290. Not only were such blasphemous, and sacrilegious, rituals forbidden in the Jewish Scriptures (our Old Testament), but no real proof of their enactment was ever produced.
One of the English ‘saints’, the so-called Lincoln Imp, remains as a shrine in that cathedral city. He was said to have been sacrificed by Jews, though not a shred of admissible evidence ever materialised to back this up.
Fortunately, from the 17th century Puritans onwards, a revival of biblical truth led to the rediscovery of God’s eternal plan for his ancient people. So, when the so-called “Damascus Affair” came to light in 1840, British evangelicals led by Lord Palmerston and Anglican missionaries with CMJ (the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people) intervened. They duly helped to rescue the many prominent Jews of Damascus imprisoned for the alleged sacrifice of a Christian monk and his Muslim servant who had mysteriously disappeared.
Not surprisingly, no hard evidence was ever presented, apart from ‘confessions’ extracted through appalling torture. British and French diplomats appeared initially to believe the diabolical claims – until our gallant brothers came to the aid of those falsely imprisoned. But, again, the damage was done.
It is this sort of distortion of truth and attempt to rewrite history to suit politically-correct thinking that has now become widely accepted in the halls of power across many nations; and it is our duty to expose it.
Unfortunately, the blood libel conspiracy theory still persists throughout the Muslim world, and is responsible for much of current antisemitism.
Indeed, it has spread like a cancer which has mutated into many forms, such as accusing Israel of stealing Arab land and of practicing apartheid.
But why, I was asked the other day, has antisemitism become so prevalent among the Labour left when this form of racism was previously associated with the right? A very good question. At the end of the day, it’s an anti-God thing, I told my friend after scratching my head for a while.
The British Labour Party was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, but has moved far away from these foundations – all the way to embracing militant atheism among its ranks where virulent anti-Israel sentiments are regularly displayed.
Socialism without God is disastrous – just think of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Independence from God (idolatry, in other words) always spells trouble. And, as with Marxism and its atheist philosophy, the God of Israel becomes the enemy.
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.