As I watch the Bush administration in its “Roadmap” dealings with Israel and its Arab neighbors, a sinking feeling of despair overwhelms me. There is something horribly wrong in the way the American government treats Israel. Anyone with an open mind can see the hypocrisy when America spares no cost and gives no mercy in chasing down to kill or capture Osama and Saddam, and yet demands that Israel be restrained in its handling of Yasser Arafat, the prince of terrorists. It makes no sense at all. Also, when President Bush was calling on nations to militarily join his “coalition of the willing” against Iraq he ignored Israel’s powerful army, which in times past single-handedly defeated all of the Arab armies in a matter of days. This appeasement of the Arab world would not make me feel loved and secure if I were an Israeli citizen.
As I have written over and over in past articles, as a Christian, engaging in carnal wars and killing of one’s enemies is no longer part of my life. However, while waiting for Jesus Christ to return in great power, who alone can fairly judge and execute his enemies, we in Christendom must speak out boldly and publicly to a world that is filled with anti-Semitism. Even though the Jewish people have, as a whole, rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the promises and blessing of God remain on them. Any person or nation that tries to judge Israel “for” God, or takes it upon themselves to coerce or dictate to Israel to divide their land that God gave them, is destined for eternal destruction themselves.
The relationship between America and Israel is most puzzling. Sometimes I get the feeling that America considers Israel to be its 51st state and other times it seems they view Israel as a nuisance and a hindrance to world peace and security. And President Bush’s contradictory remarks and actions are even more perplexing. Either President Bush is a closet anti-Semite or he and Prime Minister Sharon have a secret plot to end the war on Islamic terrorism. We shall see shortly, for the time of the end, what the scriptures call “the great tribulation”, is at the door. And trust me, when the door opens the God of Israel will reveal himself in very public ways. Will you recognize that it is him when these things happen?
Listening to and watching all these prophetic things unfold has moved me to ask questions of myself, and in turn, I hope all that read this will do the same. How much do I really love President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon, and for that matter, all people like them who reject the coming Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do I really love people as Jesus did when he was on the Earth? Am I willing to die that they might know the truth and be eternally saved? Listen to the Apostle Paul as he grieved over his kinsmen in the flesh:
Romans 9:1–5. (1) “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, (2) That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, (4) Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; (5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”
Paul’s Jewish kinsmen were, for the most part, always contending with him over the truth of Jesus being the Messiah so long promised to Israel. And Paul openly called them to repentance. He did not shy away from confronting them with the truth of Jesus Christ. He loved them. Christendom in America is consumed also with much strife over Jesus and what he taught. Most Christians today are aware of the great contention and wrangling that is happening in Christendom over the “rapture” doctrine. For those reading this who don’t know, the rapture is the catching away into Heaven of the living followers of Jesus Christ at the time of the end predicted in the Bible. It is also the resurrection of the bodies of all those who have died in Christ for the last two thousand years. Simply put, it is the opening bell of the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. Tremendous strife and argument is taking place among Christians as to the timing and details of this glorious event.
Even though I understand what the scriptures teach concerning the rapture, I wish in this article to make a far more important point than the timing of our Lord’s return. For there is a direct connection between our attitude towards lost brethren and the rapture doctrine. Sadly, many pre-tribulation teachers, those who think the Lord could come any hour of any day, are bringing shame on the gospel by the “way” they teach the rapture. They arrogantly, and from lofty positions of great comfort and wealth, tell a lost world that unless they become like them they will be “left behind”. They are also the most patriotic and militant of all of Christendom, and were the ones leading the charge into the deserts of Iraq. These Madison Avenue prophets of health and wealth are making a mockery of Jesus’ commands to…. “love your enemies, to bless them that curse you….pick up your cross….go as sheep in the midst of wolves….be content with what you have.”
Many believers, who truly understand the bloody cross, who long for Jesus to return, after watching the shenanigans and circus like atmosphere surrounding these Christians, then abandon the pre-tribulation truth of the rapture doctrine. I understand their frustration and thinking even though I strongly disagree with their decision to “delay” the Lord’s return by joining with those who are called mid or post-tribbers, Matthew 24:48. They have thrown the proverbial “baby” out with the bath water. Others have done the same kind of thing by rejecting the truth of the trinity, just because the Catholic church has that one right and almost everything else wrong.
Here is the point I’m trying to make. Those in Christendom who long and look for Jesus to return, who would rather be with Him in Heaven than anywhere else, must, like that of our brother Paul, cry out to God in our hearts…” Lord, leave me here that I may one last time tell others of you and your truth….I’m willing to stay behind that my lost brethren and family may be saved.” Whether or not Jesus leaves us behind is his decision not ours. It’s the sincere attitude and motivation of love that pleases him.
Like Paul, we must be willing to give our lives for the sake of others, and this includes our enemies. My dear friends in Christendom, this is the mind of Christ, the attitude of one who loves the Lord God of Israel and his neighbor more than himself, Philippians 2:5-8. Did not Jesus himself live this way and went to the bloody cross of humiliation and death, that we might be saved. I beg my fellow Christians, whose hearts are on themselves, who teach the imminent pre-tribulation rapture from their lofty mountaintop perches, to come down and show this lost world the true love of Jesus Christ. Instead of glorying in America’s smart-bombs that bring nothing but destruction and death, let us all pick up our cross and tell the Islamic world of the coming King of Kings.
These are very difficult things to write, especially knowing my own fleshly weaknesses and its ability to rebel against God and his ways. I should be the last one to tell or instruct anyone they are in dangerous error. But knowing that born again believers are broken, imperfect vessels that God’s Spirit uses to show the world the truth about Jesus Christ, I must speak out, all the while knowing that people who are looking will find many flaws in my life.
For most of my Christian life I looked up to some popular television prophets, who heralded the imminent return of the Lord, and who exposed the errors of the health and wealth rapture teachers. Even though they all are unashamedly militant patriots, I kept hoping and praying they would see their error, so I just overlooked that part of their ministry. But in the last few years there has been an uneasiness about them in my heart that I did not understand or maybe I just didn’t want to see and be honest about. The continual begging for money and the selling of their works for profit, and now even making major motion pictures to compete with Hollywood, is proving to me that something is wrong.
On top of that, these men seem to be joining themselves with the health and wealth rapture prophets, most of whom teach the heresies that Jesus “died” spiritually and that when we are born again we become “little gods.” I have therefore concluded that unless a Christian fully understands that he is redeemed through the bloody cross and resurrection, spiritually seated with Christ in Heaven, given citizenship in his coming Kingdom, and sent back to this Earth to be Christ’s ambassador, he is vulnerable to Satanic delusion, even though he can quote every verse in the Bible, Ephesians 2:6, Philippians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Do I love these compromised and fallen brethren enough to ask Jesus to leave me behind if he should come today, even as I write this article? It is so easy to say it with my lips, but do I have the same love that Paul had for his rebellious Jewish brethren and was willing to be accursed from Christ that they may be spared eternal damnation? It seems to me that Paul is saying more than just giving up the rapture, or even his own life, when he says…”I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ.” The depth of Paul’s love for his Jewish kinsmen can only be experienced through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
One tell tale sign that we really don’t love those who oppose us, and that we are not walking in the Holy Spirit, is when harm or hurt befalls them and our reaction is one of….”I’m sorry, but they had it coming… they deserved that… they are reaping what they have sowed.” If this is our reaction to the pain and suffering of anyone, we are walking in darkness and the love of God is not in control of our hearts. The truth is, when suffering comes upon anyone we should grieve for them, and reach out to help them. As I have written before, America’s unique gospel mixture of patriotism, psychology, and prosperity that runs rampant in most Christian institutions, produces the exact opposite attitude that Jesus and Paul had toward their adversaries.
As I began this article with the perplexing relationship that now exists between Israel and the Bush administration, I would like to conclude with a warning for both nations. American evangelical Christians who today say they love and support Israel, will soon betray her because they love themselves, their lifestyles, and their nation more than they do Israel, and for that matter, more than they love God. The delusion taught in the psycho-babble of self-image and self-love has paralyzed the minds of most evangelicals. America’s love affair with prosperity and the pursuit of happiness will eventually overshadow the shallow claims of love for Israel.
God forbid that America’s Christians should have “great heaviness and continual sorrow” for others, like Paul experienced. Paul would be rejected in most churches today for being divisive and a “negative thinker.” And Israel, the apple of God’s eye, will yet again pay the price for trusting in the promises of men, rather than Jesus Christ, who is their promised Messiah.
Israel’s dilemma is becoming more understandable with the passing of each day and their ongoing battle with the Islamic militants. In 1948, when God restored it as a nation, they made a calculated and determined decision to adopt the government style of the Western democracies. They are now seeing the fruit of that fateful decision. The overwhelming numbers of Arabs now living in the land that God gave to the Jews, could sink Israel as a Jewish nation, if all the land was annexed by Israel and all inhabitants were given the right to vote. So, we now see the Prime Minister of Israel, willing to give back the land and institute the “two state” solution of President Bush’s roadmap.
Israel’s decision to be like America in 1948, its decisions to obey American desires for military restraint in all the terrorism and wars started by the Arabs, and ultimately its decision to reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah, is now bringing deception, destruction and death down upon it. I am grieving in my heart for the people of Israel. I understand now how Paul felt for his Jewish brethren, for he knew these days of judgment were coming upon them. For God has always wanted them to see that Jesus is their Messiah, even in 1948. Instead they consummated a democratic marriage with America and Europe, which will bring them a “peace covenant” with their Muslim and Arab enemies, but in truth will be only the beginning of their worst sorrows, the days of Jacob’s trouble, Jeremiah 30:7.
The prophets of Israel spoke of these days we are now in. They saw the Gentile nations raging and rebelling against the Jewish nation that was to produce the King of Kings, Psalms 2. My friends, the Messiah of Israel is going to return and save the remnant of Israel that mourn for their sin, who recognize that we all killed the Messiah on that bloody cross, and that he allowed himself to be humiliated to show us how lost we are, as well as how much he loves us. There is coming, during Daniel’s “70th Week” of 2520 days, a great awakening among the Jewish people toward the Lord Jesus Christ, Daniel 9:27, Revelation 7,11.
The Jewish prophets of this awakening will call the lukewarm evangelicals of Christendom, who were “spit up” and rejected by Jesus at the pre-tribulation rapture, to repent for following “another Jesus,” Revelation 3:16. This Jewish evangelism will cause great strife and division within apostate Christian circles, even among those who walk the corridors of the White House. I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture because as believers we are called to suffer the wrath and rejection of man, but the God of Israel has promised to save us from his wrath, which is about to come raining down on this world, 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Please make that decision for the Messiah of Israel today. His Spirit will enter your heart and fill you with a love for him and others that you have never experienced before.