Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christians Must Honor Jews

Jew First and the Greek 2
John R. Houk
© November 27, 2012

Christians of history past, particularly Roman Catholics, Lutheran Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians (More modern Eastern Orthodox antisemitism), emerged as Jew-haters by calling the Jews Christ-killers. Were the Jews of pre-Resurrection Jesus the murderers of Jesus the Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing). The accusation is a particularly heinous indictment since Jesus came FIRST as the Savior of the Jews and then as the Savior of the World, i.e. the Gentiles (non-Jews).

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”[b] (Romans 1: 16-17 NKJV)

Take note that Salvation is to the Jew FIRST and also the Greek (i.e. Gentiles). Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul included this in the Epistle to the Romans AFTER Jesus was nailed to the Cross, died and arose bodily from the grave.

Did the Jews kill their own Messiah? NO! Rather the Greek oriented Sadducees and tradition minded Pharisees in the Temple authority known as the Sanhedrin feared that Jesus’ popularity would remove their political influence bequeathed by Roman hegemony over the Jewish faithful. Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate called for Jesus’ Crucifixion only in the fear the Sanhedrin would notify Roman Caesar Tiberius that a rebellious Jew called Jesus bar Joseph was set free.

In my mind the responsibility for Jesus’ death on the Cross lay at the feet of the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman government as administered by Pontius Pilate. If Christians blame Jews as Christ-killers because of the actions of the Sanhedrin, then Christ-killer blame must be shared with the Roman government. At the time the Roman government was Italian-Romans. Do we call all Italians Christ-killers? And think of this: the Roman Catholic Church is a vestige of the Latin speaking Roman Empirical government so do we call all current Catholics Christ-killers? Or think of this: the official liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church until the 1960s was spoken in ancient Latin. Do we call all the people that speak a derivative of Romantic languages (e.g. Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and so on) Christ-killers? I believe you get the idea.  

The Jews have problems with Christians, especially the proselytizing Christians even though most of those proselytizers are lovers of the Jews. The problem Jews have with Christians is their/our past Jew-hating persecution including the blood libel of Christ-killer. Yes friends I am talking of the kind of persecution that led to pogroms, genocide and/or death march expulsions.

Orthodox Judaism has a problem with the theology that their Messiah according to Christians is the Son of God making a human co-equal with God Almighty. Indeed, once religious Jews picked up on the preaching of Jesus that His Father is God and Jesus did co-equalize Himself with God by the Father and the Son is One. The pre-Resurrection Lord Jesus mystically walked away from many stoning opportunities from the Jewish faithful.

Christians must abandon the notion of Jewish Christ-killers and Jew-hatred. Christians must embrace the notion the Jews are the Chosen People with the Promise of specific Land to Abraham and the Abrahamic descendants.

Part of the Abrahamic Covenant is the Child of Promise. Sarah was privy to the promise of a great nation. With Abraham and Sarah being a bit aged to have children, Sarah thought she’d God a bit of help and told Abraham to make a baby with her slave Hagar. What a surprise: Abraham thought for about a half a second and said, “Okayyyy”. The progeny of that escapade with slave girl Hagar was Ishmael which everyone presumed was Abraham’s heir apparent to the Promise.

Sarah’s plan was not God’s plan. God promised aged Sarah a child and it happened. The Child of Promise then was Isaac and the child of the slave was Ishmael. Thus Ishmael was not the heir to the Promise but rather Isaac.

The Bible that both Jews and Christians call Holy shows the Promise of Abraham in having descendants as numerous as the stars and the Promise of specific geographical Land. The Jews call this portion of the Bible the Torah and the Tanakh. The Christians call the portion of the Bible with Abrahamic Covenant the Old Testament and the first five books of the OT the Pentateuch. The essence of the differences in interpretation of the Old Testament is the view to who the Messiah will be (Jews) or is (Christians). Of course the theology chasm has widened over years as the Gentiles began to dominate Christianity over the Jews. Regardless of that growing Jewish-Christian theology chasm it is incumbent upon Christians to honor in the plan of Salvation knowing that part of that plan is the Jews FIRST and then the Gentiles.

I found a John Piper article posted at Desiring God that highlights the reasons of why to embrace “the Jews First” and the theology that is equal between Jews and Gentiles.  I am just listing the points in the article I do encourage you to read the whole thing. The title is “To the Jew First, and Also to the Greek”.

First, then, how are the Jews "first"?

1. The Jews have a priority over Gentiles as the chosen people of God

2. The Jews have a priority over Gentiles as the guardians of God's special revelation, the Old Testament Scriptures

3. The Jews have a priority over the Gentiles in that the Messiah himself, Jesus Christ, came first as a Jew to the Jews

4. The Jews have a priority over the Gentiles in that salvation is from the Jews

5. The Jews have a priority over the Gentiles in that Paul evangelized Jews first when he brought the gospel to a new place

6. The Jews have a priority over the Gentiles in final judgment and final blessing.

In What Ways Do the Jews Not Have Priority?

1. The Jews do not have priority in righteousness or merit

2. The Jews do not have priority in how they are saved

3. The Jews do not have priority in participation in God's covenant blessings

This is what got me started on Christians must be supportive of Jews even if Jews mistrust Christians. A better writer than I (Danny Jeffrey) found a news article on Israel Nation News in which a moronic Catholic Cardinal calls Israel a bunch of baby-killers in the recent bout with Islamic terrorists Hamas. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi condemns Israel yet does not mention that Hamas shot missiles into Israeli civilian centers targeting among other location schools. Cardinal Ravasi is supporting Jew-hating Muslims that deny the Divinity of Christ and has the goal of killing every Jew in Israel because Islam calls the Bible corrupt and the Promises given to Abraham that was to flow through the child of Promise – i.e. Isaac – a lie. The Quran rewrites the Old Testament and the New Testament to proclaim the Abrahamic Covenant flows from the child of the slave – Ishmael. AND that Jesus is NOT the Son of God but rather a mere man that was a great Prophet BUT second to the butchering self-proclaimed prophet Mohammed.

This Cardinal Ravasi is outrageous and should be removed from his high Papal position by Pope Benedict XVI.

JRH 7/27/12
The Vatican on Gaza: Israel is a Baby-Killer”
Not a word was heard from the Vatican all the years Sderot babies were in mortal danger. They began noticing the violence last week.

By Giulio Meotti, Italy
First Publish: 11/21/2012, 11:45 PM

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Vatican Council for Culture, commenting on the war between Israel and Hamas, delivered a severe attack on the Jewish people: “I think of the ‘massacre of the innocents’. Children are dying in Gaza, their mothers’ shouts is a perennial cry, a universal cry”.

The Catholic Church high official equated Israel’s operation in Gaza against terror groups with the New Testament story of Herod’s slaughter of Jewish babies in his effort to kill Jesus.

Ravasi, who is one of the most popular Catholic cardinals and the director of the Church’s policy on culture, called Israelis baby-killers in a shameless form of anti-Semitism which subtly accuses the Jewish State of trying to murder the new Jesus, symbolized by the Palestinian people.

The Vatican official’s modern blood libel against Israel was delivered during the presentation of Pope Benedict’s new book about the life of Jesus. However, Ravasi's theme – the Jews as Herod, who killed all the innocent babies because his heart was set on killing Jesus – was much beloved by Medieval organizers of pogroms.

The vicar-general of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, William Shomali, said on Vatican Radio that “what is happening in Gaza now is a vicious circle of violence”. The auxiliary bishop then declared that “it’s difficult to know who started it”. How difficult?

A few weeks ago, in an interview with the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Shomali claimed that “hatred of Christians” is the Talmud itself. "The Talmud, the holy book studied by the ultra-orthodox, more highly venerated than the Bible itself, invites religious hatred, speaks badly of Jesus, and even worse of Mary and, in general, of Christians,” the bishop said, adding that “in Israeli schools, love for the other is not taught, but rather the destruction of the other”.

Talking to the Vatican News Agency, Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, said that the Gaza Strip for many years “has been living under the weight of an absurd embargo, which makes the daily lives of a million and a half of people inumane (sic)”.

Sabbah signed the recent appeal by more than one hundred Christian leaders who have asked the international community to support the recognition of the Palestinian State as a full member of the United Nations. Among the signers is the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna, a self professed anti-Semite who blessed the suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

As yet, no condemnation has come from the Pope of the barrages of rockets fired by terror groups on southern Israeli cities before Operation Pillar of Defense. The Church authorities, and Benedict XVI himself, raised their voices in condemnation of the violence that has broken out in the Gaza Strip only after Israel began bombing the installations of the terrorist movements in that territory. Not a word was heard before that.

During the Cast Lead operation in 2009, the Vatican officials called Gaza "a concentration camp". After the Nazi comparison did its work, the Jesus-killer motif has now returned to the Catholic Church.
Christians Must Honor Jews
John R. Houk
© November 27, 2012
The Vatican on Gaza: Israel is a Baby-Killer”

The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.

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