By Harmony Grant
25 September 2007
Rabbis in Jerusalem forbid Jews from participating in a major evangelical event this week.
Thousands of Christians will arrive in Jerusalem for the 28th annual Christian celebration of Succot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. This holiday is observed yearly by Israelis and also thousands of evangelicals. They have been welcomed some past years.
This year, Jews are banned from attending—even though Christians promise to say nothing about their Lord and Savior!
Evangelicals must, of course, view the ban as a slap in the face. But they have no right to be surprised. Jews—both in Israel and the US —have long been leery about accepting support from the millions of “Christian Zionists” who want to hurry Christ’s return by unconditionally blessing the Jewish state.
Many American rabbis refuse to embrace this alliance, even boycotting John Hagee’s “Nights to Honor Israel.” They support Israel’s bans on Christian witnessing. Jewish activists of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith seek to ban the Bible and Christian evangelism in our country as well, through ominous “anti-hate” legislation.
Some Jews appreciate Christians’ support and disagree with the rabbis’ decision to forbid Jews from joining their celebration. But even these Jews accept Christian Zionists without supporting authentic Christianity at all.
Jerusalem Post columnist Michael Freund nagged that this is “no way to treat our Christian friends.” But he disapproved of the rabbis’ decision only because Christian proselytizing was already banned. How much friendship does he offer real Christians, who seek to spread their eternal hope? Precious little. Freund writes that “The threat posed by missionary activity in Israel is real, and steps must be taken to curtail it.” He says evangelists “surreptitiously seek to bring about our spiritual demise,” and he’s glad their work is illegal. He’s only sorry that Christian Zionists—who’ve promised to forbid the name of Jesus—are falsely grouped with these subversives.
I’m sorry, too. Things would be simpler if those who agree to be silent about the gospel would quit calling themselves “Christian Zionists.” Zionist would do. Their actions are not those of Christians. And because they deny the name of Jesus, He has promised to deny them before God.
Unfortunately, far too many misled evangelicals accept the lie of a “dual covenant” in which Christ’s blood is only needed by Gentiles, and Jews can be saved without accepting Him. Such Christians have silently and voluntarily accepted a ban on sharing the gospel, for the past 27 years of parades and tours of Israel.
Their big September event will add $18 million to the local Jewish economy, and hugely boost its tourism industry, according to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. This means that evangelicals contribute $18 million in one week to a society and government that bans them from speaking, with love, of our Savior!
This self-imposed gag on the Holy Spirit would nauseate believers throughout history and in other countries, who spill their own blood before denying the gospel. Throughout Christian history, believers have been martyred, imprisoned, and tortured rather than shut their mouths about Christ.
John Bunyan, an English preacher, spent nearly twelve years in prison where he wrote his masterpiece Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s said John was offered his freedom if he promised not to preach and he replied, “If you let me out of jail today, tomorrow I will be preaching again.” That is the spirit of a true Christian.
Yet modern evangelicals have gone silent voluntarily! They are like a woman who left her husband for the seductive lover of Zionism, only to slowly wake to a cold reality of being beaten by that lover. Evangelicals have lost their theological loyalty to Jesus Christ and to His church in this world, which is presently being persecuted by unrepentant Jews in Israel and in the United States as well.
Such Christians should return, repentantly, to Jesus whose name is worth any price.
And the Jews who persecute their message would do well to remember the Pharisee Gamaliel, who wisely advised a group of rabbis about to persecute some early believers. Gamaliel said to let the Christians go. “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail,” he said. “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Why are Jews so afraid of Christians’ witnessing? Maybe it is because true believers, throughout the world, testify to the real power of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Maybe it is because two thousand years after Jesus returned to heaven, His light still brightens our world with a power that persecution only intensifies.
Modern evangelicals must value this light far more than they do, and proclaim the name of Christ as the joyful news it is. They should exalt His name in Israel as loudly as they should in the US . When they do, then there will truly be something to celebrate in Jerusalem.
Harmony Grant writes and edits for National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog group.
Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
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