Loop met ons mee
For many (mainly Asian and charismatic) Christians there is no doubt about it: the Good News is gradually going around the globe, and after a two thousand year tour will return to where it all started: Jerusalem! On the way to Jerusalem, hundreds of thousands of Arabic Islamists will become Christians. And, according to this ‘back to Jerusalem’ version of events, our recently to Christianity converted Arabic brothers are by far the most appropriate members of the Christian family to make their Jewish in-laws go down on their knees. We have come full circle.
This script sounds great. What more do you want?
Unfortunately though the excited creators of this scenario ignore one ‘minor’ detail: a Good News that doesn’t make way for the Jewish people will be utterly unacceptable to the Jews. Let me explain.
Around the fourth century our esteemed gentile church-fathers decided to render the old Jewish patriarchs obsolete, no questions asked. One argued that Israel, God’s first-borne son (Exodus 4:22) was no longer relevant. Augustine thanked Israel for donating the Torah and Tenach and for bringing forth the Messiah, but that’s where Israel’s role ended. At best they can be seen as God’s librarian. From now on the gentile church of Rome would take over the baton from Israel, an act representing the birth of the repulsive replacement theology. The gentile church promoted to spiritual Israel. There you go! From now on not Israel but the Christian church will take the lead. From now on the Christian church will be the conductor of God’s worship-orchestra. As a result two thousand years of misery for natural Israel followed. In name of Christ, Cross and Church we made life for God’s first-borne son unbearable. Convinced that we were doing God a great service, millions of Jews were bludgeoned to death, burned alive or gassed. And we weren’t too bothered, were we?
Ah, well, that was a long time ago, many say. The replacement-theology isn’t that popular anymore, is it? (Is my observation correct that this theology is gaining ground again?)
In the Western world this replacement-theology might slowly be waning, but this is certainly not the case in the Asian and Arabic regions. In many countries this confused theology is alive and kicking. That’s all they have ever known, they simply don’t know any better. In these regions Israel is regarded the ultimate target for evangelism. Hundreds of charismatic Koreans are singing themselves hoarse in the hope to save a lone Jewish soul. Their mantra is simple: Jews who don’t accept Jesus will be unequivocally lost, they will burn for ever in our Christian hell.
And what about our Christian Arabic brethren? Don’t they dream dreams and see visions about Jesus? With all due respect, I would like to put my watchman’s finger on a sore spot. By far the majority of Arabic and Palestinian Christians thoroughly dislike their Jewish cousins. They cherish the replacement-theology. They don’t want to know anything about a Jewish Messiah and a Promised Land called Israel. Unashamedly they identify with the ‘Palestinian Cause’. Coptic Christians regard the rebirth of Israel a sinful deed. For these Christians even just the thought of a pilgrimage to God’s chosen land, Israel is inconceivable. Lebanese Mennonites are committed to Hezbollah, the Islamic terror organization and are seething because their Cardinal decided to accompany the Pope during his current visit to Israel.
Dear reader, just the thought that these Arabic Christians, filled with disdain for the Jews, would be able to make God’s chosen people go down on their knees, is simply a religious, bad pipe-dream. Give it up.
Believe me, the Jews are fed up with the Christian Good News. They haven’t stopped licking their wounds.
Certainly, the true Good News will eventually reveal itself in Jerusalem. Remember, there is only One who will save, set free, forgive, comfort and redeem the entire house of Israel. On arrival in Jerusalem that One won’t speak a word of Arabic though.
See you on the walls of Jerusalem!