Prelude: It is a typical tactic of the media when one speaks about Jews or Israel to label the writer anti-semite. This article is about how some Christians are influenced by what the Bible says about Israel and how some leaders and many in the media want to rush to war with Iran in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. It is meant to separate fact from fiction and allow the reader to come to their own conclusion about what our leaders should do regarding Israel. It is meant to only bring awareness to what the agenda may be by those who feel it is the United States destiny to be the policemen to the world.
Over the weekend I attended an Israel 101 lecture at a local Church here in San Diego. It was given by a Jewish, Christian pastor who has a good understanding of Israel and her people, especially from a historic perspective. I wanted to see how he would utilize the Bible in his historical descriptions of Jesus and the disciples as well as which version of the Bible he would reference in support of his views of Israel.
The Pastor started off with the fact that Jewish people represent .02% of the world’s population but have won 20% of all Nobel Prizes. He went on to say that it was Jews who wrote the Bible, except for one person, Luke, who was Greek.
The pastor spoke of famous Jewish people, including Columbus, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein and Larry King to name a few. Of course he left out some other infamous Jews like Howard Stern and Bugsy Siegel and Bernie Maddof. It doesn’t matter what race or religion one is, there are bad seed everywhere. Only one can be called perfect.
The pastor started out quoting the King James version of the Bible. Many people may not realize there are many different versions of the Bible. It might make sense for the reader of this article to do a little research of their own to understand that the verses of the Bible can say completely opposite of what the intent originally was when first written centuries ago. It is for this reason, based on my own research, that I personally use the King James version of the Bible, which even it has had modern changes made to it (so be careful to get the original 1611 version). Also understand that I have many reference sources to understand the intent of various Bible verses, including other versions of the Bible (there are 30 different English versions you can find at Bible Gateway where they compare verse by verse). We didn’t live at the time the Bible was written and while open to interpretation at times, it is the collective word of God, His message to us all via His commandments and Jesus teachings in the New Testament, that are quite clear.
The Pastor only used the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible for the first few verses from Genesis. Genesis 2: 7-8 and Genesis 22: 17-18. For the rest of the presentation, he used the New International Version (NIV). I compared all of the NIV verses he quoted in the presentation with that of the KJV and they were similar enough in message. But it was when the Pastor got to the point of drawing conclusions that the presentation went awry. All he said in relation to what is going on in the Middle East was point to Ezekiel 38 and say it’s all there; Russia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and of course Israel. He didn’t make a reference as to how we were supposed to interpret Ezekiel 38, but then referenced Exekiel 37 v 1-3 and Ezekiel 37 11-14.
1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
The next part of the presentation was in reference to his visit to a Jewish cemetery in Poland and a visit to Auschwitz.
The last reference was to two more quotes from the Bible. Ezekiel 36: 8-11 and Isaiah 27:6.
8 “‘But you, mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. 9 I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, 10 and I will cause many people to live on you—yes, all of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of people and animals living on you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
6 In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.
The Pastor then showed scenes of modern day Israel with flowing fields of grain and flowers. This was the end of his presentation. No mention of Gaza and the Palestinians.
I attended the Church this Pastor spoke at the following Sunday. It was during this service that another leader of the Church spoke about the Pastor’s Israel 101 presentation and told the congregation that “we need to look out for Israel,” and that “Iran is very close to having a bomb.”
I left the service after hearing that for reasons I will disclose in Part 2 which will delve into politics, a Nuclear Iran, Israel’s next move and Christian Just War Theory.