Dear Messianic Brothers and Sisters:
What do you think of what is going on in Gaza? I’ve been watching a real horror movie on my small television. Hundreds of people are dead and many are injured. Blood is spilled everywhere! I’ve read the newspapers and understand the different political views but I am concerned about the wedge that the war against Gaza might create between us.
Your response is not only a political concern but it is also a theological one. How should we Palestinian and Israeli followers of the son of God perceive what some call the “war against Gaza” and others call a “massacre”? ٍShould we be limited to the political terms: liberation from occupation, retaliation, just punishment, etc; or should we create our own language to describe a situation that breaks God’s heart? How can we express God's love and justice in the midst of war and bloodshed? How do you reconcile the death of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli hands and then shake our hands when we fellowship in our meetings? Frankly, it is hard to accept the perception that we can be political enemies but religious brothers and sisters especially when the word “enemies” entails “approving” the death and injury of hundreds of people, including innocent children. We cannot justify hurting some innocent people in Ashdod or destroying hundreds of Palestinians and injuring over a thousand people in Gaza. Many of them are children. There are surely better ways to resolve the pertinent issues.
Moreover, it seems to me that our relationship with the son of God must transform our political perceptions in a way that will make us more critical of the policies of our governments, more vocal of our support of divine mercy, love, and justice. Our connection with the Kingdom of God must lead us to the path of love not the bloodshed of children or adults. Please make no mistake; I am against killing any innocent people whether they are Israelis or Palestinians. But I want to hear from you. Your silence is loud and I am hoping that I misunderstood you. What do you think and what are you going to tell me next time when we meet?
I challenge you during these harsh times to consider not only your responsibility before your country but also your responsibility before the Lord, before the people of Gaza, and before the Palestinian church. I challenge you to adopt a theology of peace rather than justify a theology of war. Will your relationship with the prince of peace make your response different from the Israeli army in Gaza? If not then how will you look me in the eyes next time we meet and shake my hands while the hands of your army are still wet with the blood of my people!? As for me, I cannot accept spilling innocent blood on any side, but what about you? How can the Messiah bring us together if you are supporting the continuation of bloodshed to my people?
Rev. Yohanna Katanacho, Ph.D.
Academic Dean of Bethlehem Bible College
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In looking at what is occuring in Gaza, I have noticed the following facts(?):
1. Rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza every day. If the only way to stop this is to dismantle Hamas - should they not have that right? Any other country in the world would!
2. Hamas has hidden their rockets in civilian areas - including hospitals, homes, schools and churches. To me - the Palistinian people should stop Hamas from doing that - if not, they are responsile for their own lives and that of their families.
3. Israel often has given advance warnings prior to destroying a building. This is ludicrious! It even has allowed Hamas to put innocent civilians into those buildings to show their deaths on both TV and the internet.
Based on these things occuring, what would you recommend that Israel do - and are the wrong now? I would really like to know.
Israel illegally occupied Palestinian land, made Palestinains homeless, and call them terrorist. So if you stop the occuptaion you will stop the violence.
Yes I agree, I believe that there are many things we do not hear about and that we really do not know. Israel has to do this and I pray that the truth of what is really going on would be unfolded to all people.
Should Israel defend itself??? NO. Should the Palestinians be killed, no actually murdered because they democratically elected a party that wants to defend its' rights as a State??? NO. No one is saying it is okay for Hamas to bomb Israel, however, of all the states in the Middle East, Israel is the only one with Nuclear capabilites and the most aggressive and hostile to it's neighbours. Lets not forget their war against Lebanon last year!!!
Lastly, people are talking about the Palestinians being responsible for their own deaths as they voted in Hamas. Let me ask....would it have been okay for Iraqis to go over to America and kill innocent people because the Americans in their bid to get rid o Saddam killed many civillian Iraqis. I know no one who would answer yes to this question as it is ludicrous, so why are you blaming the Palestinians???
Please pray for peace and stop the finger pointing!!! It is out of our hands but under Gods feet and one day we will all be give account of our thoughts and actions regarding this tragedy!!!!
Now last time i checked Israel wasnt God, so i dont know who put you above us all, and who made you refree to this football match, but not everytime some Jew feels THREATENED does Israel have the right to launch a full-scale attack,killing thousands, wounding a multitude,and destroying all infrastructure to be found.
War never was the only option, rather, war has always been the choice of the bullies of this world, those who dont have mature communication skills, and who choose to flex their useless muscles rather than scratch their sleeping brain.
It grieves to see so many citizens have become casualties of a conflict between two malicious groups, namely Hamas militants and operatives of the U.S. supported State Israel (specifically its military organisation and intelligence service Mossad).
Earthly kingdoms battle by power and might to rule. The Messiah's Kingdom, however, is not of this world. We want to urge followers of Christ in Gaza, the modern Israel State, and the United States to unite despite their percieved differences, and no longer accuse like the accuser.
To support eachother in prayer, assistance and kindness.
P.L. - Christian Amalgamated Intelligence
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen. (St. Francis of Assisi)
As the end of this statement. I want to say that I am neither Arab or Jew , but married to a Jew and I have lived in the land and have tied myself to this land for more than 25 years. This is why My heart breaks. I love my Arab brothers and sisters in Christ, and we as a household and as a congregation are praying for the body of Christ in this area to be stong and we love you all.
Just as Jews, Palestinians are not cattle and cannot be deported anywhere. Also, the countries themselves would have to be willing to receive them. None are, none will be and none can be forced to accept them.
You cannot just apply some Biblical verses to the day of today and murder a whole people just because they are ruled by terrorists.
You forget that God would not have destroyed Sodom if there were at least 10 righteous people. There weren't and Sodom was destroyed, but not before God had removed the few righteous out of harm's way. It would be great if you would act and think the same way.
May our Father be with all of us who see His light for He will have all of us account for what and who we are.
May all of you stay safe and God be with you.
_ _ _
A time for war, and a time for peace. To our sorrow the time is not yet when war is no more.
Randi and I have just returned from a day in Beit Sahur, Bethlehem, and Beit Jala. We went despite -- inspite of -- the situation on the ground. Last night, I called up our friend, Nihad, pastor of a large and growing church in Bethlehem, to ask him to honestly tell me if he still wanted us to come up as planned today. He said, 'yes', if we wanted to. It is just at times as this that our reconciliation through the cross of Yeshua is demonstrated. We did not go to 'sympathize' with the Palestinian people, nor to justify Israeli military action against an avowed enemy. We went to be a witness that in Jesus alone is there peace for those who believe.
Please pray not only for their protection [of the believing soldiers], . . . but that they would serve the Lord and their nation honorably.
May many [of those in authority and ordinary Jews and Arabs] be turned towards the one true God and His Son for salvation and eternal life.
Peace in His righteousness and truth,
Howard and Randi
_ _ _ _ _
As long as our Palestinian/Arab brothers over-sympathize with the Islamic agenda to wipe out Israel, your own voices will not be heard by those who are opposed to the truth of Jesus, in whom you trust for salvation, or by those who believe that the one true God knows what His Son suffered for in order to accomplish what none of us deserves.
I do love you, Hanna, as my brother for many years. It grieves me that in your desire for your view of justice, you have written off the truth that Jesus Christ will again come in the flesh to judge your people, and mine, to teach the nations what righteousness really is.
I have a question for you: Do you think that God want us to have peace only in our hearts and in the church? Or does God want us to actively participate in spreading the comprehensive peace of God?
Further, I am not sure what you mean by writting off "the truth that Jesus Christ will again come in the flesh to judge your people, and mine, ..." I surely assret the second coming of Christ but I don't subscribe to a vision of a predetermined history in which we justify bloodshed because of satanic activities. Brother: the blood of Arabs and Jews are our responsibility before God. We are not only citizines of heaven; we are also citizens of earth.
Moreover, tt seems to me that the issue is not just a cognitive disagreement; it is an issue of identity. A follower of Christ is a person who is full of mercy, compassion, justice, peace, and love. Let me be blunt, if our eschatology is merciless then we will become a people who lack mercy especially if we make such eschatoloty our defining feature. I am glad that your thoughts are centered on the Messiah and I truly hope that His mercy, love, justice, and peace will empower your congregation and mine for I pray that all of us will become like Him. Last, I remind you that salvation is not being saved from a wicked physical world but it entails a divine transformation of a fallen world, our world. This transformation starts now not after we die. We are tools in God's hands in extending His Kingdom, a kingdom of salvation not only for the individual but also for the communities. The biblical concept of salvation is no doubt more than regeneration even though it entails it.
Brother: We must stand against any institutionalized evil and injustice. It is our moral responsibility before God. I want to meet you but I also want to see both of our hands fighting injustices among Jews and Arabs. We fight evil with Good. We fight lies with truth. We fight hatred with love. We fight killing by preserving life. Let us fast and pray, write common statements, and formulate a contextual theology that honors the lord of peace in a land of war.
Messiah is not divided: we can not parcel our theologies based on a particular piece of the Rock. The only true knowledge of God is what He says of Himself and what, therefore, the Holy Spirit makes known to us through the Word of God.
The world under the kingdoms of the world will remain opposed to the righteous Kingdom of God which the Lord Jesus Christ alone will bring. Until then, yes, preach the gospel; do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith; be light in a dark world; be salt which helps bring painful healing, but which also preserves the covenants which Yeshua Himself asserted will be fulfilled in their entirety -- both on this Earth and in the new heavens and new Earth when that 'time' comes.
You state in another article of yours about Bethlehem that, "Bethlehem is compared to Zion. The latter was entrusted with a cosmic vision in which chaos comes to an end and peace dominates the world (Mic 4: 1-5). Zion and its people failed to accomplish this vision. Consequently, humanity's hope for divine peace collapsed. They will not see the end of the tunnel of their sins and condemnation. The Hebrew text employs the repetition of the word "now" (עתה) to express this depressing reality (Mic 4: 9, 11, 14 [English 5:1])."
Thank God that this is NOT TRUE, Hanna! Otherwise there is no hope for anyone, not to mention any people or nation. Just as you and I were saved from our sins and given forgiveness and the realization of God's grace reigning through HIS righteousness -- and living in the new relationship of sons to our Father in Heaven -- so, too, will YHVH God save the full remnant of His chosen nation Israel by grace, when those in His great mercy see Him whom they have pierced in our rebellion and hatred of Him.
Hanna, as a non-Jewish Christian, the Lord has entrusted you with a special commission to provoke Israel/the Jewish people to jealousy, while at the same time showing mercy to them. As it is written (and the Scriptures cannot be broken), "Concerning the gospel they are enemies for YOUR sake, but concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, THAT THROUGH THE MERCY SHOWN TO YOU THEY ALSO MAY OBTAIN MERCY. For God has committed them all (Gentiles and Jews) to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."
Does your correct insistence on a 'proper theology' include this, not for individuals only, but also for nations?
The same prophets of YHVH, and the same apostles of the Lord and Messiah Jesus, who spoke to Israel also spoke to some very other significant nations and peoples in our region. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but the Word of God abides forever: it will not be changed; it is we who must repent and be changed and healed, reconciled to God in all matters. Jesus is the Head of the Church in ALL things. Praise God!
I am glad that you are boldly addressing important theological issues. It seems to me that you agree that our differences are not only political but also theological. This is a good starting point. It seems to me that we have different understandings of:
1. The relationship between culture and faith.
2. Epistemology and Hermeneutics. Although there is absolute truth, no one can claim %100 ability to know it fully. Thus we need to listen to each other and do theology in a community allowing different perspectives to interact with other. Otherwise, you will quickly dismiss me even though I truly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and seek to live according to its standards.
3. We have a different understanding of "Israel", "the chosen nation", eschatology, and God's plan. I assert that God's plan is rooted in the Christ not in Israel.
4. Fourth we have a different understanding of the promises. Read my essay Christ is the Owner of Haaretz published in Christian Scholar's Review 2005.
In addition, I assure you that I love all Israelis from all backgrounds and I want them to be saved and to know Jesus Christ just like any other nation. They can join the church.
Last, I am smiling how a simple challenge to condemn the killing of innocent people is creating all this theological discussion. I hope that our different theological positions will not be used as an excuse to overlook injustices or ignore practicing mercy and love towards the childern of Gaza who need someone to speak on their behalf.
Howard: I will be glad to coordinate with you a theological conference in which both of our communities deal with our differences aiming at stating what we agree upon and we differ on. But I urge you to clearly and strongly condemn killing innocent children.
I appreciate your boldness and honesty and challenge you to express your beliefs as well as to listen to what God might be saying through your Palestinian brother. I continue to challenge the Messianic community as well as the Arab Christian community to contemplate the meaning of Biblical Mercy in the midst of war. WE must be different in our standards of righteousness for we are the letter of God to a fallen world. It is a letter written by the blood of Christ not by the blood of the children of Gaza.
Hanna, there is NO comparison between Israel's general policy (and I say this as one who knows how Israel acts towards those who believe in Yeshua) of trying its best as much as possible to avoid killing in military actions 'innocent' civilians not engaged in the battle (which is not always easy to tell anyway) versus Hamas' and Hisbollah's and other Muslim terrorist groups who DELIBERATELY target 'innocent' civilians. From a Biblical point of view, one is not innocent if, in their heart, they agree with those who do evil. Biblically also, we are to submit to the civil governments under which we live and to pray for those in authority. The Holy Spirit NEVER teaches us to rebel or overthrow; if we resist because of standing against what we believe is evil, then we must also be willing to pay the price for coming against the ruling authorities. God can use even that for His glory.
It is one of the double honors, perhaps, that I happen to belong at present to both Israel and to the Church (the Body of Messiah). But, God helping, when it comes time for the Son of God to gather to Himself all that are His at the first resurrection and rapture (which I believe will be near the end), I am going up! And with Christ, my Lord and Husband even, I will be part of that great multitude of the first-born in Him to rule and reign with Him over Israel and the nations. What a privilege we have to be part of His righteous government. The Church is not Israel, nor is Israel the Church. The Church is a different and transcendant priesthood.
In the meantime, let us do what the Lord has given to each of us to do until He comes. Sadly, many more "innocent" people will die in one way or another, despite the truth that Jesus has already won the war on the cross. This is our message to those who have not heard in the world as it becomes more and more desolate: we are ambassadors of another Kingdom and of another King, who gives His peace to those who believe in Him with thankful hearts.
I've often wondered what it would be like if all the believers in the Middle East countries would not take up arms, what effect that may have. But since that is not the case, maybe God has other ways to deal with the 'state of things' in this present evil world to deter evil-doers.
My brother we know each other for a long time and I am really surprised to hear you say that "s long as our Palestinian/Arab brothers over-sympathize with the Islamic agenda to wipe out Israel" because that is not fully true, Hamas did say that if Israel will go back to the 67 borders then we can talk peace, but Israel did not want to go back. Also in the Israeli parelemnt there are many groups who beleive that even Israeli Palestinian shoudl be kicked out of the country so that Israel will be Jewish State only, that was the latest statement of your Foriegen Ministry Livni. I think we need to stop that hate towards Mulsim and pray for their salavation, the same as some of the Jewish fundematist who also beleive of wiping the palestinian of the map. And again, let us not forget the OCCUPATION which is the real reason behind all this blood shed.
Please no, that is not about us fighting ecah other, but about Justice and Human Rights. About us, the Children of God being peace maker and standing up against violence and injustice.
We are in agreement, Tanas, about standing up against violence and injustice. But we may disagree if we each look at it from a different perspective. That is why our unity is in Messiah alone, who died for us even though we were (and sometimes still seem to be) ungodly and enemies of God.
It is clear that we do not agree about the occupation and the reasons behind all the bloodshed. But we both agree that the situation is not just and terrible.
I do not justify Israel in all she does, because God Himself makes it very clear that Israel is not righteous. As a legitimate sovereign state, I do justify the government's moral obligation to protect all of its citizenry and inhabitants, especially those who are not criminals or enemies, whether they be Jewish, Arab, or other nationalities.
What I do try to do is 'justify God' (Ps 51:4 Eng): He is just; He is right; He alone is good. We are redeemed sinners, unworthy of such hope that He has given us through our common salvation in Yeshua/Isua/Jesus. He has made covenants, and He will keep them according to His righteous ways. We do not often understand the ways He goes about His business, nor His time and timing.
YHVH God will judge and punish the guilty -- whoever they are -- but He will save many from all peoples. It is my prayer and hope that many Gazans and Israelis and others will turn towards the only true God and Savior through this war and its consequences.
God will also save His chosen nation Israel AS a nation, because He is both faithful and just. It will cause many of us much hardship while He carries His purpose through till He accomplishes it. May the Lord be merciful to all His children to enable us by the power of the Holy Spirit to remain faithful to Him and His covenants. He cannot and will not deny Himself just to please us; it is we who must deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus in order to please Him.
I thank God for you, Tanas, and appreciate some of the anguish and frustration you feel. You are not alone; we are in it together. Perplexed, but not unto despair!
I love my brothers and sisters both Arabs and Jews. I have many friends among “my people” and “your people”, they are all my people as we are all saved by the grace of our Lord and were brought into His kingdom. As you may know, we are sharing the good news of salvation among Arabs and Jews, I visit and eat with Arab brothers and sisters and they visit me and eat with me at at my home. Our children are friends and our wives share recepies. There are brothers in Nazareth that I would trust my life with sooner then I would some of my Jewish neighbors.
I am very grieved to read your "letter" here. In this letter, you condition unity and the ability to shake hands on politics and political stand rather then on the complete work of the Lord on the cross.
You call on us to stand against the policies of our government (which many of us do many times), while I have not heard you stand against yours. While calling for unity under the unclear term "theology of peace", you use terms like "hands wet with blood of my people" in reference to us and our sons and those are words that fan hatred and strong emotions, I have not heard you use this terms towards your people or even Hammas or any other terrorist.
I do not want to get into a discussion of whose hands are more wet with blood and who targets civilians, since we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that includes me and you. This is not the point.
The point is that I do not feel that your letter is a genuine call for unity, but rather it is an accusation against us Messianic Jews, that we do not take your political stand and stand “against our people” while you are not willing to stand against “your people”.
I am sad because I think that your letter was not meant as a call for unity and for the breaking down of the wall of separation but rather you try to build it instead.
We have the unity of the spirit, let us be diligent to keep it! (Eph. 4:3)
Love in the Messiah,
Rev. Israel Harel
The issue is the bloodshed of innocent people. Can we agree that it is against God's will to spill the blood of innocent children? Are you willing to state that you condemn the spilling of the blood of innocent children in Gaza? If you are then please do say that clearly! I did not read your condemnation. As for me, I stated and state again that I am against spilling the blood of innocent citizens in Ashdod and other Israeli places. This is a political as well as a theological position. Sometimes the separation between politics and theology is artificial; read more about theopolitics. I am simply stating that it is wrong to kill innocent children and in this case the children of Gaza. But sadly I am not hearing your agreement.
Last, my brother: it is because I love you and am willing to expose my thought before you that I have written this letter, for I believe a proper unity is based on a proper theology. Unless we condemn evil in all of its forms whether against Arabs or Jews our unity will be superficial. I clearly condemned killing innocent citizens but what about you?
Do not tell me that all you said was that you wanted people to condem killing of inocent people, that is not what you said. You called my son and my friends' sons, people with blood on their hands. Your statements reveal your heart, and your reference to us as people with blood on our hands is valid for you as well, we all have blood on our hands, the blood of the real innocent Son of God. look in the mirror.
When you say that true unity is based on a proper theology it sounds so great, that is if you would have meant the salvation by grace ONLY through the death of the Son of God, fully human, fully God, on the cross.
But what you really say is something else. What you are actually saying is that our unity is depended on our view of what is happening in Gaza. I quote you: "Will your relationship with the prince of peace make your response different from the Israeli army in Gaza? If not then how will you look me in the eyes next time we meet and shake my hands while the hands of your army are still wet with the blood of my people!?"
I do not support the shading of innocent blood! I do support the actions of our army in Gaza as it tries to stop the murderers of Hammas from Killing our innocent people. They are also the ones that murdered Ranni from the BS, or have you forgot? I do not know of any other army in the world that calls civilians that live in a house where the enamy has placed weapons and tell them to leave the house because they are going to bomb it. The Israeli army does. We do not want to kill civilians and we do not TRY to kill civilians. I am sorry that people that have nothing to do with them get killed. It breaks my heart! But the option of NOT resisting and fighting evil is even worse and IS NOT biblical. If we will not fight evil because people that are not involved may get hurt we will not stop murderers, thives and many other criminals. We will not have police, laws or justice. We will not have life.
If we seek unity on the base of theology that is other then the basics of our faith, we become secterians. Do we not have unity with people that baptize babies? Speak in tounges (or not)? In fact we probably will not have unity even with our wives as they may understand a verse or two a bit different then us.
I do not think you are bold or sharing your heart, I think you are angry, bitter, and hurt. I am really sorry that you are that way and I do ask you to forgive me and any of my people that has hurted you.
May you experience the joy and peace of God!
There is a difference between sinners from a hamartiological point of view and between innocence from an ethical or legal point of view. I think that you are mixing between the two.
Every human being is a sinner by nature but not all us are going to be put in a human prison because we are sinner. Innocence is the absence of the guilt of disloyalty to God's standards. See for example Matt 27: 3, 24 (see also Num 5: 19, 31). The babies of Gaza are sinners by nature but are innocent and don't deserve to be punished with bloodshed.
My dear brother: Yes the Palestinians have blood on their hands and may God have mercy on us. I weep before him for his mercy. We have sinned against God as a nation several times.
But remember that we are not competing who is more sinful than the other. Otherwise, every sermon preached can be rejected saying that the preacher is a sinner. The question at hand is: Is the excessive killing of innocent children in Gaza acceptable to you? It seems that your answer is yes. I am so sad to hear that. Further my heart is broken when I hear you justifying your view from the Bible. No one said that we should not fight evil but remember that we don't fight evil with evil. We fight evil with good. Tell the children of Gaza that the Israeli army killed their brothers and sisters because you are fighting evil. As for me I will tell them that Christ put his life to grant them life. Wars are not the best path for revealing the love of God.
Last, my brother notice that I am always calling you a brother in Christ. I understand that defining our membership in faith is not dependant on marginal doctrinal or ethical issues; nevertheless there are indispensible cognitive and behavioral content to faith. I am sure that such elements distinguish us from heresies. In my letter or responses I have never, not even once, questioned your faith but challenged your perception that is related to Gaza. I never attacked you personally but tried to dialogue with your belief system. On the other hand, because I disagree with you, you think that I am bitter. I want to assure you that I truly love you and I am angry against sin and not against you. I pray that the Lord will bless you and grant you the theological vision that of divine love and complete respect even when we disagree.
I was contemplating if I should continue this discussion since it causes me much grief.
I will say a couple of things.
1. You did accuse me, my son, my friends and their sons of having blood on our hands. You cannot escape that.
2. I do not agree with killing of people that are not fighters, and great efforts should be made not to. Not fighting is not always the option.
3. You confuse our role as Believrs in the society and neighborhood of not fighting evil with evil, with the role of governments that hold the sword. It is the role of a government to protect its people and if needs to be to do it by force.
4. God is not a pacifist, He is the Lord of Armies (Hosts) and he fight and will fight against satan. The people that aline themselves with satan will recieve his punishment; eternal fire.
5. Unlike you, I do not expect a sinful governement (any) in this world to behave as christians. They are not.
6. As Arab and Jewish believers we have more in common then what seperate us. We have the Mesiah and His redemption. Your insistence on emphesising what seperates us rather then what unites us is very sad and causes a lot of pain to a lot of people.
May God have mercy on us all.
You seem to think you have reached the pinnacle of courage and morality by univerally condemning the killing of innocent children and implying that Israel Harel can't quite match up. Sorry, Hanna, but even Vladimir Putin could say "amen" to your righteous stand.
Certainly war always has awful consequences. Consider all the innocents killed by the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany. But spiritual maturity based on knowing the God of the Bible requires something more--spiritual discernment of spiritual realites operating behind the scenes. If God is grieved over the death of the wicked how much more is He grieved over the innocent! But He has not come down and made war impossible. In fact, the Bible clearly tells us that even war becomes an instrument in God's hand to move men to repentance and accomplish His purposes.
Yes war is terrible. But so are earthquakes. Everyone knows this. It is all the more terrible when innocent children are the victims. And we all weep. But here Hamas has for years been shooting at and traumatizing innocent Israeli children while hiding behind their own and their people's. They have murdered a Palestinian evangelist and driven out the local evangelical witness as much as possible. The people of Gaza are imprisoned and oppressed by them. It is a terrible price to pay but who will set them free? Maybe, in allowing this awful thing to happen, God cares much more about the people of Gaza than you do or are willing to take a stand against unrighteousness for. If you did not want this to happen, perhaps you should have been doing much more to stop what has provoked it--something even Muslim Abbas is willing to identify. The blame here should be squarely on Hamas and all who support them--not on Messianic believers whose sons also may die to set the Gazans free. God's thoughts are not of human origin and condemning the death of innocents does not give a monopoly on knowing His ways or His heart.
May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
p.s. i`m ready to provide the link for the sermon when you ask for it.
Please clarify what do you mean by "anti Israel".
does it mean that he is not pro Israel as much as you want him to be?
How does one sound "strongly anti Israel"?
I'm not trying to be picky here, but I think this is something that needs to be clarified. because, for example, for some pro-Palestine means anti-Israel.
While I myself condem many of the things the Israeli government does, presenting Israel as all bad, justifying the terrorists and presenting the PLO government as so good (while we all know of the corruption that lead to their lose in the elections), to me is a very strong anti Israel stand.
Israeli governement is lead by sinners and so is the PLO government. Yassar Arafat was not the messiah.
I love brother Bishara, I apreciate him, and I command his courage in his retirment and passing on the leadership of the college. I know his political stand and it never intefered with our fellowship and my love and appreciation of him.
I believe that every born again don't love to see people who are killed.
last thing please stop it.
who do u think you are to ask our brothers and sisters this?!! please be humble.
i pray to our lord that he open your eyes and that you stop playing with dirty politics.
and i didn't hear u when Sderot was attacked!!!
Let us talk about our differences with respect and love. First, state your name if you want to interact in a bold way. Second, read your bible and tell Isaiah, Jermiah, and the rest of the prophets to stop it too, for they too condmned spilling the blood of innocent people.
Third, I never said that I define membership in the kingdom of God based on what people think of Gaza. This is a distortion of truth. Further, the bible is the book that teaches us that a follower of Christ lives and thinks like Christ. We need always to check our hearts before the Lord. Trust me my Arab believer that I always do. God knows!
Last, I said many time that I am against spilling the blood of innocent people whether Arabs or Jews but what about you? Can you stand before God and tell Him that it was only a political issue and you really don't care? I hope that you do care and that you will help those poor children who die because of violence and wars. May God bless you and bless all of your family. But I also pray that the Lord will grant you His eyes to see His tears over the children of Gaza!
who do u think you are to ask our brothers and sisters this?!! please be humble.
I will ask you:Who has he to be to share his heart with the Messianic brothers?Why should an Arab guy be "someone" to be able to share.This is an attitude of feelings on inferiority.Jesus has liberated us and we should not be afraid to state what we believe in the Lord and this is what Dr. Hanna did.Thank God for bold corageous people like him.
* Hamas deliberately targets civilians in Israel,
aiming to kill them. It has done this since 2005.
* Israel aims at military installations and only kills
civilians who are in or near those installations.
* Palestinians refuse to recognise Israel's right to
exist, make war on them continuously and
engage interrorist activity when they can. Isn't it
somewhat disingenuous to then complain when
Israel responds with force?
* Palestinians need to set up a viable working govt
that can cooperate with neighbouring states
rather than base its entire political & religious
life on hatred.
2. Houses are not the same as military installations. I know Hamas hides rockets in houses, but that doesn't make them into military installations. Besides that, Hamas doesn't ask permission to the house-owners and woe to the one who dares to protest.
3. This statement is just as stereotyping and outrageous nonsense as statements like "Jews refuse to recognise the Palestian state to exist and make war on them continuously, etc." Palestinians are not any more "all the same" than Jews.
4. Do you think the average Palestinian doesn't know this? A bit less patronizing wouldn't hurt.
You find it hard to sympathise with Palestinians? What would you think about someone stating he finds it hard to sympathise with Jews, because of what "they" are doing to....etc, etc?
Maybe you consider Palestinians an enemy. Then I think it's a good idea to reread in the Bible those statements about loving your enemy.
Thank you for replying, but I don't think you have responded to the specific points I have made.
1. The fact that the first rockets were fired into Sderot in 2001 compounds the point I make rather than diminishing it. The reasons you give for Israel leaving Gaza in 2005 don't legitimize Palestinian attacks on Sth Israel.
2. The fact that Hamas victimizes it's own people should not be blamed on Israel. Israel must be allowed to target the weapons aimed against it. It is Hamas that should be blamed for civilian deaths in Gaza if what you say is true.
3. Gaza is ruled by a group (Hamas) which refuses to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. This is not stereotyping anyone. Gaza govt also continually makes war on Israel.
4. My point here was that Palestinians need to concentrate on making their own state viable. They cannot do this by making the State of Israel the focus of their hatred.
I certainly don't hate Palestinians but I do pray that Israel will be allowed to live in peace in their own country without repeated attacks from their neighbours.
1. I didn't say anywhere that Palestinian attacks on Israel can ever be legitimized.
3. The Gaza is governed by Hamas so they are the Gaza government. However, not all Palestinians are or have been supportive of Hamas.
Thanks for your reply. I am writing from "the ends of the earth" far away from the actual conflict and live in a country where the media is very anti- Israel. Simple justice makes me want to redress the balance. When I read something which talks about the the plight of Gazans but makes no mention of the huge number of rockets fired daily into Israel from Gaza and which provoked the Iraeli response, I wonder why no one mentions that it was in fact Gaza that declared war on Israel.
We need to pray for the preservation of Israel in peace. If that could happen, I'm sure the world would discover that Israel would be a constructive and kindly neighbour.
When next we shake hands the blood on my hand will mingle with the blood on your hand for together we crucified Messiah. Neither of us has cause to be indignant. Both of us must hang our heads in shame before the King of all creation that the governments we represent cannot find a way to live in peace. When we shake hands we must do it on our knees.
I agree that both of us are sinners. I even have no problem if you claim that I am more sinnful than you. But does this mean that we cannot challenge sinful actions in the world. Then how can we proclaim the messages of God.
I would be honored to kneel down and pray for God's mercy to come on both of our peoples. It would be great to follow in the footsteps of Nehemiah, Ezra, and other great men and women who humbled themselves before God seeking his mercy. This approach will be much better than trying to justify spilling the blood of innocent children.
May God bless you and do remember us in your prayers.
I appreciate you sharing your honest feelings about what is going on in Gaza. Indeed I have spent the last number of days praying for all the people on both sides of this conflict. At first I wasn't sure whether to respond, but I would like to point out several important things that it seems you may have missed:
- The Lord has called us to be first and foremost citizens of His kingdom, period. We must die to our national identity. In your letter you feed the "us and them" attitude, by elevating national identity above the common ground of Christ. When we meet, there are no Israelis or Palestinians or Jews or Arabs. There are only children of God, sinners saved by the blood of Christ. The supernatural power of Christ is seen when we are able to show love in the face of injustice, when others respond in hate and revenge.
- You speak as if you blame your Messianic brothers for the decisions made by the Israeli government. This is highly inappropriate. The secular government of Israel, as we both know, does nothing to help or support Messianic believers, and Messianic believers hold no sway over the government. How can you hold them responsible for the blood on the hands of "their" army, while you do not take responsibility for the blood on the hands of the Palestinian people. Are you responsible for the blood of the innocent people killed by Hamas and others? You say you are against the killing of innocent people. Well, has it ever occurred to you that the percentage of innocent people killed by terror attacks and rockets is 100%! This is far higher than in planned military operations. (According to the UN, 62 of the 383 killed so far are civilians. This is 16%.)
- If you want to make a brave stand for what is right and true, why do you say nothing about radical Islam and Hamas, while they threaten and kill innocent Israelis? In addition, as you well know, they continue to threaten and even kill Palestinian believers. You must also be aware that Hamas uses the Palestinian people as human shields. This is incredible injustice and disregard for the innocent! The way they draw violence to population centers is insanity. Your silence on this issue makes me believe that you do not see this as injustice. Brother, if you are looking for Israeli believers to come with a repentant heart to you, then you must also come with a repentant heart to them. There is no such thing as a one-sided conflict. I challenge you to stand and condemn loudly the injustice done by your own people against innocent Israelis and Palestinians.
- Lastly, I find it rather odd that you group all the Messianic believers together and accuse them of "approving the death and injury of hundreds... including innocent children." Do you forget that many of these believers have loved ones directly affected by this conflict? I do not know a single believer who is happy about this, or sitting back with an attitude of approval. In fact, everyone I know is very sad, on their knees praying for all involved on both sides, especially for the believers.
The Palestinian people need and deserve a new type of leadership that will lead in a new direction. Hamas has failed them, Fatah has failed them, Islam has failed them. They need to see the power of the blood of Jesus. As the academic dean of a Bible college, I hope that you can give the Palestinian people something different than the same anger that is seen in the Muslim Palestinian leadership. The power of the blood is shown strongest in repentance, forgiveness, and love. This is what is required from every believer, whether Israeli, Palestinian, or anything else.
May God Bless You and your ministry.
I thank God that you are praying for both sides. This is a godly thing to do. I too pray for both sides for I don't want their blood to be spilt. I pray that they will experience the love of God and be transformed.
I am not sure why our national identity has to be in conflict with our celestial identity! Admittedly, there are some times when there is conflict but we must not see our national identity always as something negative. It is in fact a blessing from God. We are citizens of earth and heaven at the same time. We must hold our faith and our culture in dialogue and not exclude one for the sake of the other for we cannot interpret the Bible without a preunderstanding that entails cultural components. We are all located in a sociolinguistic context. We further should not let our culture determine the meaning of the word of God. Gladly, God created a multicultural church so that the One divine Truth can be expressed in multiple forms.
I disagree with you that we must die to our national identity. Instead, I argue that our national identity need to be sactified by our God. Even before the throne of God in heaven every nation and every tongue will exist (Rev 7: 9). The cultural identities will not be eliminated but sanctified.
Brother: I want to assert that I condemn spilling the blood of all innocent people including Israeli blood. I cannot biblicaly justify killing innocent Israeli civilians nor Palestinian civilians. But the issue is not me. So let us move away from an ad hominem argument and focus on the spilling of innocent blood in Gaza. Let us not divert the discussion but address the issues in a prayerful and godly manner. Children are dying and we are not willing to condemn spilling innocent blood. We say only 62 civilians are dead! Even if I accept this number are you then saying that it is okay that they have been killed! I have clearly condemned spilling innocent Israeli blood but are you willing to clearly condemn spilling innocent Palestinian blood in Gaza. If you are not then you are approving it and should give an account before our Lord.
Last, remember that I am addressing Messianic believers as brothers and sisters challenging them to come forward to Our lord. I am committed to see them as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am also committed to be honest with them and to explain what I believe God has put on my heart. I agree with you that all of us, Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews, need to repent before God and to ask for His mercy for we have not spoken loud enough against evil and we have overlooked the spilling of innocent blood.
Thank you for your response to my comments. And I appreciate your prayers. Today a rocket landed less than a kilometer from my apartment, and I appreciate your prayers for me and my family.
Concerning national identity, I do agree with you that God placed each one of us into the country and culture where we were born, and that He enjoys receiving worshipers from every tribe, tongue and nation (Rev 7:9). However, I also see a great example for the believer in the life of the apostle Paul. He sacrificed completely his national identity for the sake of the Gospel - he considered his background to be dung!! (Phil 3:8) He even sacrificed his name!! (Acts 13:9) His sermons to the different groups at Athens (Acts 17) and at Lystra (Acts 14) show amazing cultural sensitivity - he reaches them exactly where they are at. All that is to show that our first citizenship is in Christ's Kingdom. Whether I am Jewish or Palestinian or Israeli or anything else is only secondary. In action, this means that we must allow our heavenly citizenship to rule our relationships with each other, and not sink back to an earthly level.
On an a more earthly level, however, I do want to make it clear that I do condemn the shedding of innocent blood in Gaza as well as in Israel. I am horrified and saddened that children have been killed in this conflict. I do NOT think that is ok. I want to make that very clear that I do not approve or support the killing of innocent people anywhere. In this I completely agree with you. My thoughts on the cause of this bloodshed may be different than yours, however.
I believe that Hamas and radical Islam is responsible for most if not all of the bloodshed of innocent people in the last week. I have seen the videos, and it is horrible how the Hamas fighters place themselves next to homes of families, and use innocent people to be their shields. This tactic is inhumane and sickens me. I do not want war, or death for anyone. That is why I believe that the rockets must stop falling in Israel. Sadly, it seems the only way to stop Hamas is by force. Their charter and their actions clearly show that nothing will stop them except death. I do not think that Hamas men who are killed while loading rockets to shoot at my family are innocent. I hope that you will agree with that at least.
I also realize that for you, it is very dangerous to take a public stand against Hamas. To do this, you are taking your life in your hands. I respect you for what you have said already, that it is not right for Hamas to kill innocent Israelis. Many who stand up against injustice end up facing threats themselves. Please continue to stand for truth, and please also be careful for your own welfare.
Peace to you,
Messianic Jews have a different theology. Their identity as believers is not separated from their identity as Jews. The persecution and fear of annihilation cannot be underestimated. These are questions with deep and realistic repercussions. It is not easy for them to think in pacifist terms without feeling that a part of their existence will be lost.
However, what happened in the past is in the past and what is happening now is open to change. A history in which the Israeli is not the victim, he is also the aggressor. Whether you agree the counter attack is justified, do you agree with the intensity? if 81% of the public support the attack, how come only 6% think it will stop the launching? why is no one within the Israeli society criticizing the operation?
The same applies to us, Palestinian Christians. How are we voicing our presence among our society? We do not support Hamas and their rocketing. The Palestinian is not solely the victim, he is also the aggressor. It may be justified and it may not be, depends on your personal experience i presume.
Both of us are caught in the middle and that can be a source of power and influence.
Jesus taught us to challenge our social norms, how are we doing that?
If BOTH sides were not led by wicked, sinful haters of the risen Son of God, this might not be happening!
YOU CAN GET TOGETHER
THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS.......
JESUS SHED HIS BLOOD
THAT YOU MIGHT NOT...
HIS BLOOD CAN CLEANSE EACH SPOT
A SPOT OF SIN~ A SPOT OF HATE
IT IS TO HIM YOU NEED RELATE!!!!!
HE LOVES YOU BOTH....
BEFORE HIM BOW~
DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As RECEIVED by Barbara Knowles
Copyright (c) 1995
WHEN GOD GAVE ME THIS I WAS SHOCKED~
IT WAS SO BLUNT THEN (1995)
HE KNEW WHAT WOULD BE "NOW"
GOD'S SOLUTION FOR THE POLLUTION IN MEN'S SOULS~ BORN AGAIN HIS ANTIDOTE FOR SIN...
first, let us NOT CONFUSE the blood of the lamb with the blood of people shed in war. yes, we all have the blood of christ not only on our hands, but all over ourselves. and SO DID KING DAVID. yet, God did not allow kind David to build his house because of all the blood that was on his hands.
stop these games. for the love of God.
jesus was not a social reformer, but though his reformation of the human soul, he wanted us to become not only vessles of the spirit, but to share this spirit with the others also as seekers of peace.
to my jewish fellows, your brothers, sisters, and maybe yourself took part in fighting many combats. and have literal blood on your hands. i am not here to condemn you for that for i know i have done bad things in my life as well. so did everyone. but ,my problem with you is that you wouldn't acknowledge that what you did, or what your army does is wrong. and i find it really weird that you would try to help poor people, give them shelter, help little kids who come from tough backgrounds, yet, you wouldn't do a tihng to try to stop the killing of innocent men and women, and kids. YES ! INNOCENT ! politically at least.it's part of the common sense that God gave to us. none of you would agree of getting an innocent man into jail for something that he didn't do. well, why ? aren't we all guilty ?
at the same way, you won't call it justice if a guilty man walks around free. there is such a thing as a social innocence.
the good samaritan didn't "condemn" what was done to the beaten man. he took action, and helped him.
we, as christian arabs, do all we can to condemn and even work against every kind of terror against innocent people. and the big majority of us even feels sorry for every soldier that gets hurt in combat. even if we don't agree with his political view. he is a man. created in God's shape. and he is precious and unique to God.
so please.. please.. do not politicise innocence.
How about if I turn YOUR own words around? I challenge YOU .....to consider not only YOUR responsibility before YOUR country but also YOUR responsibility before the Lord, before the half million Israelis who have endured Hamas rockets for years. " I want to hear from YOU. YOUR silence is loud." How about YOU writing letters and taking a stand against the years of atrocities committed by Hamas. "How do YOU reconcile the death of hundreds of" Israelis by Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers "hands and then shake our hands when we fellowship in our meetings?"
"What do YOU think and what are YOU going to tell me next time we meet?" "how will YOU look me in the eyes next time we meet and shake my hands while the hands of YOUR" Hamas terrorists "are still wet with the blood of my people!?" "How can the Messiah bring us together if YOU are supporting the continuation of bloodshed to my people?"
YOUR reflection does not sound the same coming from the other direction does it? I am greatly offended to be lumped together with those who would kill innocents. Do YOU want to be accused of supporting terrorists and terrorist actions?
One last challenge to YOU. If YOU will write a letter to Hamas or to Islamic Jihad and condemn them for their actions toward innocent Israelis and tell them to let us live in peace. I make a promise that I will write letters to my government and to all the Israeli newspapers and condemn our government for very poor decisions that can result in the killing of innocents.
I accept your challenge with modifications. Unlike some who are not willing to condemn killing the innocent children of Gaza and are insisting on diverting the issues, I am condemning any violent acts that cause spilling the blood of innocent people. Allow me to use your own careful language substituting Hamas for our government: "I condemn Hamas for any poor decisions that can result in killing innocent Israeli citizens"; and I plead with them to consider peaceful negotiations and spare the blood of children. In the same breath I condemn killing innocent children in Gaza by the Israeli army and hope that you will do that too. Now I am holding you to your promise. I am willing to write a statement with you condemning all violent actions that cause the spilling of innocent blood whether Palestinian or Israeli. I am willing to send it to Hamas and to your governemnt if you write it with me and we both agree on its content. Are you willing to write it with me? Only this will demonstrate whether you are serious in your promise!
Last, I am sorry that some of my people have sinned against your people and I pray that God will grant you His grace to forgive and to resist evil with good. I as a Palestinian ask for your forgiveness for the hurt that ungodly violence has inflicted on innocent Israeli citizens! I hope that you too will consider a similar approach. I plead with you to consider the children of Gaza who need your prayers, love, support, and protection. Help those children if you can and speak as a prophet on their behalf. When we honor God, He will honor us and bring healing to our community.
My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your flock in this time of great challenge. As a believer living in the US, I cannot begin to understand the challenges you face as a Palestinian believer. Thank you for staying faithful to your calling despite the great opposition.
The primary disagreement I have with your argument is that your "open" letter present only one option deemed compatible with faith in the Messiah -- that is, "condemning the spilling of the blood of innocent people".
As a belever sincere in my desire to walk according to the pattern of my God, I struggle with the notion that using military force isn't justified to resist evil, even when that force results in the death of innocent people, albeit unintentionally. On the contrary, I feel that governmental authorities are morally obligated, when justice demands it, to engage the enemy with force.
In other words, I challenge the notion that a Christian can only be true to his faith by opposing war in any form in any circumstances. The very use of the term "spilling of innocent blood" implies that war is inherently evil, and does not take into account HOW that war is engaged and who is taking part in it.
The voice of the Christian in the Land --Jew or Arab -- needs to be one of justice, not (necessarily) pacificism. We all need to call evil what it is and condemn it in every form. However, this is not equivalent to condemning the killing of innocent civilians (although in certain circumstances it may be). Unless we are careful to make this disctinction, we fall into the ditch of relativism and hinder our ability to testify of our God's justice and His mercy in the earth.
1.Israel is the occupier and source of evil therefore supporting her is not like supporting a people under opression and occupation (even that their means of struggle is not justified).
2.Messianics are right wing and support the militant anti Arab groups.Arab Evangelicals are moderate and seek groups that work for reconciliation in their community.
3.Messianics can voice their criticizing views of the government without fear.Arab Evangelicals will be hung in the town plaza if they do that.
Amanda-a non jew married to a muslim.
The Palestinian Christian silence over the years of the death of the Jewish people has be deafening. You are asking for that which your community has never extended. I work with Arab Christians who have never once offered an ounce of sympathy to this Messianic Sister during the times of attack and death. Not one Arab Sister or Brother ever walked into my classroom (in an Arab Christian school) or called on the phone--- ever-- to hug away my tears. You have shaken my hand while your peoples hands are wet with bloodshed. It is convenient to write what you do now... did you write it to your own people over the last years.
All I can say about my dear Brothers letter is did he give this cry to his own people over the years of Palestinian attack on the Jewish population. Never once,,, not ever,,, have any of my Christian Arab brothers or sisters made an outcry against the bloodshed of my people. They have extended hands of fellowship to me while their people's hands are dripping with our blood. He is assuming that we are not for peace. He is forgetting the our army is one that is protecting his church also from radical Islam that would destroy his community.He wrongly assumes that we rejoice in the Gaza operation. We do not. But Hamas has chosen this path not we. We do chose a path of peace. But all too often our enemies do not truly want peace.
Our Palestinian Family here has a problem. They are 'family' with the terrorist by relation and are not able to separate themselves from them, in essence, due to disloyalty or even fear of death for themselves. As Messianic community we walk a tightrope of the love of God, knowing His Biblical mandate for Israel (which most Palestinian Christians refuse to acknowledge) and still trying to keep the Unity of the Body. Our precious Brother wrongly assumes that we are delighting in the death of those in Gaza. We do not wish to see anyone perish but ALL come to faith in Y'shua. That however is not always to be as the Enemy has a grip in this world also. Our dear brother forgets, or doesn't deeply understand, that we- as Believers- are at war--- war in the heavenlies and that puts us on the same side.
Also, the fact that you didn't hear the outcry from your Arab brothers and sisters that you apparently expect them to make doesn't mean they don't care about it. Hanna has made clear in his article that he is worried about both Israeli and Palestinian victims in this conflict.
Today I read in Dutch Christian media (usually pro-Israel) that a 14-year old Christian Palestinian girl in the Gaza strip died because of heart failure. Christine Turk lived in a home that was bombed by the IAF. The explosions were too much for her and her heart gave up. Posting sites is not allowed here, so I can't give you the URL.
Maybe now you understand Hanna's article a bit better?
Yahanna may be well intentioned in his own mind but he is actually quite deceived. No wonder Hadassah took it personally. Nonetheless, may God use what is happening to set the precious souls of Gaza free from the yoke of Hamas wickedness and oppression! And may the hearts of many Jews and Arabs be turned unto Him, that the veils of darkness and deception be removed!
If you (and Israel) know so well the killing of innocent Palestinians is a Hamas propaganda trap, then why is Israel stepping into that trap with both feet?
Yohanna wrote: "your army". That's still not the same as "you". He didn't say that Messianic Jews are personally responsible for innocent victims, but you should know that Messianic Jews going into the Israeli army is a very sensitive issue for Arab Christians, of whom too many (yes, also Israeli Arab Christians) have been treated quite roughly by that same army. Jews are always considered innocent until the opposite is proven in court and so it should be. Arabs however are considered terrorists by default and it's up to themselves to prove they are innocent and so it should not be, not even according to Torah (Leviticus 19:33-34 and many places elsewhere).
Today I read in Dutch Christian media - usually they are pro-Israel - that Christine Turk, a 14-year old Palestinian Christian girl (your sister in the Lord) died of a heart attack when the house she lived in was bombed by the Israeli army.
Maybe now you understand a bit better what Yohanna meant? Feel free to go to the parents of Christine and explain to them that they should feel consoled by the fact that their daughter was "only" killed by accident, not in a Hamas terrorist attack.
Israel is doing what it needs to do in order to stop Hamas and (I hope) destroy its capability of sending rockets at Israeli civilians. It refuses to refrain from this any longer despite Hamas strategies. But under the circumstances it is going to extraordinary measures in war to minimize civilian casualties. No doubt if the shoe were on the other foot Hamas would do no such thing. Rather it would do what it could to increase civilian casualties.
If Hanna was not suggesting that Messianic Jews were personally responsible for the shedding of innocent blood by their army, why would he ask how they could look him in the eye? What else could this mean?
The death of Christine Turk is very sad and tragic, and unspeakably so for her parents. None of us could help but weep with them. But they should hold Hamas accountable for causing this to happen. This is what you refuse to recognize--but not for the real good of the people of Gaza. For Hamas leaders, Christine's death is another feather in their caps. Why can't you see this?
Regarding the mistreatment of Arabs (Christians and Muslims) by Israeli soldiers, I fully sympathize with you. But the presence of Messianic Jews in the army is one thing that can help stop that.
I clearly spoke about "Hamas terrorist attacks". I also said that innocent dead people is a "Hamas propaganda trap". What more should I have said?
The Arabs in Gaza and in Israel are still Hanna's people. It's a bit too simple to expect them to state that it's all Hamas' fault and that Israel is completely free of any blame whatsoever, also because many of them don't have the best memories of what Israel has done to them, all in the name of "security". To my best knowledge, no children died in Sderot of heart attacks and that's not because their hearts are so much stronger. Both Jews and Arabs (and not just only the Arabs) and also all the other peoples on this planet have to learn to walk in the shoes "of the other".
I know that in general the presence of Messianic Jews in the army can help stop the mistreatment of Arabs by the IDF. However, this is not true for each and every Messianic Jew. Last year I was at a Pesach meal with a Messianic Jewish couple with some guests who had clearly right-wing extremist and sometimes openly racist views about Arabs. The husband even said that the commandment in Leviticus to destroy the original peoples in Canaan still applied today. They also stated that they are the rightful owners of the land, conveniently forgetting what's written in Leviticus 25:23 where God tells His people in no unclear terms that the land is His and that they are just aliens and His tenants. Anyway, I almost walked out. Maybe I should have.
I know that most Messianic Jews don't have such extremist views and the leader of their congregation who has many contacts with Arab Christians was clearly shocked when I told him what they said, but some of them have still a lot to learn about loving your neighbour, including your non-Jewish neighbour.
In general, the more personal (not just business) contacts people have with "the other side", the more moderate their views about the other side become.
I am very sorry to hear about your experience in the passover meal. Sometimes Jewish believers (especially ones that immigrated lately) do not know any Arab brothers and therfore only think of you as images they have from what they have heard, not as real people. That changes after they get to know some Arab believers.
The key to us living our unity in the Messiah is personal relationships and that we know each other in a deep personal way. That is why I felt so hurt by Hanna's arctical, as he wanted our unity to be based on someone's stand on the Gaza conflict. He was trying to build the wall of seperation and not destroy it.
I have many Arab friends and I pray that I will have more. We have a testimony to our peoples of what Yeshua can do. Let us build it and not destry it.
I'm way off base, likely, but I'd like to know what Israel should do with Hamas firing rockets into Israel? Sit there and let them continue bringing terror to its citizens? That seems to be what many believe Israel should do. Hamas has purposely put its military facilities in the middle of where innocent Gazan citizens live. Hamas is hoping to get mileage out of such propoganda, and it seems they are getting their way.
I will not stop praying for the peace of Jerusalem, the City of OUR God! And I will not stop praying for our brothers and sisters caught in the middle!!!!
At least we as believers in Jesus as the Messiah know that in the end, we win!
Your Sister in Christ,
Hamas has built many rocket launching pads in the midst of heavily resided residential areas with the obvious results that if Israel hits back at those launching pads, that it would cause civilian casualties. Why don't you protest these evil Hamas' moves against the civilian population?
Messianic Jews has suffered in Israel and sometimes more than Palestinians and the Arabs in Israel. The Arabs in Israel are not expected to serve in the military but the Messianic Jews are expected and yet they do not have full rights like other Jews.
I do ask you to protest Hamas' treatments of Arab Christians in Gaza.
May your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
Give us each day the food we need.
Forgive us our sins, for we too forgive everyone who has wronged us.
And do not lead us to hard testing."
"Moreover, I myself say to you:
keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who goes on asking receives; and he who goes on seeking finds; and to him who continues knocking, the door will be opened."
May God bless you
The link of the article :www.linga.org/showOneNews?Subject=varities&NewsID=792
Written by Yohanna Katanacho, Ph.D.
Dear Brother in the LORD,
I do not agree with everything the Israeli Government decides to do or has done in the past. Much injustice was done in the relationship with the Arab population.
Nor do I agree with many Christian Zionists who demand that Israel should seize the whole land if necessary with force of arms.
A balanced view on a biblical basis is needed.
What kind of peace on earth do you have in mind when you ask your Messianic brothers and sisters to oppose an act of self-defence? Hamas has vowed not to rest until Israel is annihilated and is determined not to compromise on this position. Even PA President Abbas has officially declared that Hamas could have avoided this conflict with its renewed pain and suffering by calling a halt to its incessant bombardment of Israel’s southern cities. The inactivity and unofficial silence of traditional Arab states is screaming in our ears. What the truth is behind some “window-speeches” is easy to guess.
We as Christians in the West are praying that the Good News from Jesus will continue being preached in and again go out from Bethlehem. Will this come true if nobody takes action? Our information about the situation in Bethlehem spells serious worries.
Jesus was not a pacifist. He was fighting for the victory of the gospel and did not avoid harsh words like in Math. 10:34 and Luk. 12:51.
Apostle Paul is teaching us:
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.
This word of God is instructing us not to start a fight “if it depends upon us”! But where has the LORD denied us or anybody in the world self-defence?
The LORD will bring His peace His way and this includes actions which we would rather like to avoid. But if we have done everything possible to bring His peace we are not condemned to inactivity.
What have you done publicly when well over 8.000 rockets and mortar grenades plummeted on Israeli territory terrifying and traumatizing innocent adults and children alike? Don’t say there were only few casualties compared with those in the Gaza Strip. No state in the world can tolerate such an aggression! How can you without casualties stop rockets being launched from the roof of schools? How can you hit a military base intentionally hiding cowardly in densely populated areas? Israel is trying to avoid collateral casualties; the HAMAS is DELIBERATELY targeting civilians in their attacks.
The theology of peace is based on the gospel. Without the gospel it will and cannot work!
Please reconsider your position. Was there ever a problem for your Messianic brothers to shake your hand in spite of the fact that very often the Jewish blood on the hands of Arab terrorists or jihad fighters was not dry yet?
Blessings from our LORD
Eckhard Maier, Germany
Our country is going through a harsh season that is dominated by spilling blood and enmity. What is the message of the people of God in these hard times? The prophet Joel says, “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly, summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord” (Joel 1: 14). Thus I strongly urge all the churches to have special public meetings in which we can pray for stopping all forms of violence and killing and call upon God to bring peace and truth instead of wars and oppression. I strongly urge you to call upon all the society to come to these prayer meetings and to gather offerings in order to help all the needy and all the ones that were hurt without exceptions. I strongly urge you to assert during these hard times the voice of divine love which does not distinguish between Arabs and Jews. We pray for all those in authority offering requests and supplications to God, the Lord of Peace.
“Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people” (Joel 2: 18). Let us put the seed of hope and a godly anticipation in the hearts of people asserting that God is a merciful, loving, just, and omnipotent God who is able to do wonders in our midst and to heal our country from the epidemic of wars that dominates over us since a long time. I urge you to be light, salt, and yeast of love in a time that is marked with darkness, corruption, and hate. Let us assert together the teachings of our lord Jesus Christ to whom all the glory belongs. He said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt 5: 9), “You have heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5: 43-44).
Last, I urge you to strongly assert rejecting violence and spilling the blood of the innocent whether they are Palestinians or Israelis whether they are from Hamas or from the Israeli army. Instead of advocating wars and revenge, let us spread God’s love and peace.
Rev. Yohanna Katanacho
Academic Dean of Bethlehem Bible College
What are we doing to reach Muslims for Christ . Muslims and Jews need the Gospel. I am a Jewish believer and love my Arab brethren. Are we not one in the Messiah. Why write all this nonsense and this ungodly language and cause division in the body of the Messiah? Who are you trying to impress ? Do you honor our Savior ? If you cant shake hands with your brother then you need to examine you heart . Have you ever read 1 john 3:16 ? Then let us put it into practice! Be blessed.
I am writing from afar. I live in California, USA. I am neither Jew nor Palestinian, though I have studied in Israel and visited Bethlehem. I write to you because of my deep, deep love for the Palestinian people, as well as the land of Israel.
First, I agree with you that our Savior would compel us to seek solutions through peace, demonstrating the goodness of God to all parties. I believe that we have yet to engage Heaven sufficiently to gather all the wisdom available to us to resolve this seemingly impossible situation. But someone should. There are answers deep in the heart of God and they can be accessed by people of humility and grace, who are willing to be prophetic voices and apostolic leaders in their region.
I greatly appreciate your willingness to dive into a most controversial position. We in the US simply do not feel the pain that you have expressed. Many of my theological colleagues here want to apply very simple answers to thorny, complex questions, like, Israeli supremacy over Palestine. Yet you have voiced a clear and poignant alternative view. You have also pointed out how really bankrupt our western theology can be from the comfort of our air-conditioned mega churches. For that I thank you.
I want to encourage you, exhort you, admonish you: Please, continue to be a prophetic voice in your region. Please, become an apostolic leader to your people, and all people in your region. Expect favor from God and from leaders around you. Expect opportunities to speak from the heart of our Beloved to those who will have ears to hear, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Love without ceasing, and without conditions. Pour out cool water to those who are thirsty. Provide spiritual shelter for the spiritually homeless, food for the hungry, and covering for the exposed. You are God's instrument in your region. I only wish I were physically there, to stand beside you, to weep with you, to pray with you, and to work with you. My heart breaks with Heaven over what is going on. My heart breaks for His people on both sides of the wall who must live through this.
May the blessing and favor of our Savior, the God who lives for ever and ever, fill you life, your family, your work, and your heart, in the wonderful name of Jesus!
I do not know you, but I love you,
Dr. George Bowker
It is my prayer that the Palestinians will be spared further attacks, and find a way to get rid of Hamas once and for all. They have their own system of government- why can't the Hamas be kicked out?
Today on the radio, I heard a proposal that Egypt take over governing Gaza. The implication was that the Palestinians there can't seem to take good enough care of themselves. What is your opinion?
Did Israel give up land?!
For your attention:Arab Palestinians had 100% of the land before 1948.In Camp David Barak (the "moderate") refused the offer to give the Palestinians 28% of historical Palestine.
Israel is an arrogant occupying intruder that robbed Arabs their country on the basis of a false interpetition of od's will.
You also condemn yourself to your own arrogance, which the Apostle Paul expressly and directly warned against to Gentile Christians towards Israel and the Jewish people, when, in another response of yours, you write off the Israelis as the apple of God's eye since Christ has come. Again you leave out much of even New Testament teaching. Thank God His love as a Father waits for a beloved prodigal son to come back home where He belongs! Your attitude betrays a hardness which would even deprive your Father His joy over your brother and His son.
By your own words to 'Larry'' - "quoting half a verse outside its context is a dispicable thing to do." - you are guilty of doing a despicable thing.
Your arrogant answers also have you ignoring the verse, "Let your conversation always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one."
Your tone contributes little if anything towards striving for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It grieves me to have to even answer to you or anyone else in this way.
Lest you misunderstand by your own methodology of interpretation, the war is terrible for all concerned, and may the return of the Lord Jesus Christ be in our days, and make wars to cease and righteousness to reign!
My heart breaks when I hear of civilian deaths. Innocents are dying while armies battle each other. What is a Believer in Yeshua to do? Pray without ceasing. I will pray for you and for those you hold dear. That the Creator of All things protects you, sees that you have food and are safe, and that He will surround you with His presence continually.
Chances are that you and I will never meet here on the earth; but please know that there is a Brother in West Virginia praying on behalf of you and those you hold dear. He who has promised to protect and keep us is faithful and true.
You are my Brother, I love you and am praying for you from today onward.
Israel you've been taking it for so long- giving up your homes in the Gaza strip at the request of ignorant world leaders People who have no idea what they are doing, please forgive them. They have no clue that when you mess with Israel You mess with God. If indeed Israel is the apple of God's eye, You are indeed poking God's eye.
Get a world map out-and any one can see that thier is plenty on land elsewhere to occupy, World leaders need support Israel, not tell her to give up more land to those who hate her and want to see her anhilehalated and then tell them to stop bombing in defense of thier own country??. that is crazy politics
- Who are we to tell another country not to defend themselves.
We wouldnt tolerate that here in the States if Canada or Mexico wanted our land or bombed us, now why the double standard? why would we ask Israel to give up land & then condemn her for defending what's remaining!
As they say: no Yeshua, no peace
know Yeshua, Know Peace
When He The Prince of Peace YHVH shua Ha Meshiah returns through the Eastern Gate and establishes His Kingdom in Jerusalem as Prophecied- then and only then shall true Shalom Reign Supreme in Israel & the rest of the world.
The Bible is clear, Every knee shall bow and every toungue shall confess that YHVH Shua Ha Meschiah ( Jesus the Messiah the Christ ) is LORD to the Glory of G-d. So you can either bow now or later- you choose.
We are commanded to pray for the Peace of Israel so I pray, Please come LORD Yeshua establish Your Kingdom. May Your peace invade Israel and her neighbors. may you grant creative ideas- and for bridging the gap. You are our only hope for true peace! Shalom. I pray this in His matchless Name Above all names.
Remember that this is a war that only Messiah Yeshua is able to end.
You are in my prayers and I love you and may God bless you and protect you and keep you safe in this time of conflict as we continue to look for the blessed day when He will return to earth and put an end to this problem.
My heart is really pained within me to know what is happening and what is coming.
I love you
Yours ister in Christ
As a believer I am compassionate toward Israel, the Palestinians and all of humanity that will suffer has been suffering because of this conflict. America has a newly elected president that set his foreign policy way before he was voted into office. He told the Israeli Defense Minister that if it were him being bombed he would hit his enemies with all he has. So now, all of the world has America's blessings to do like wise. So you see what politics has done. You should also see that when men have no integrity no matter what kind of cease fire is laid out someone will break it because the heart of man is evil. The only thing that will bring peace and not a lasting one will be a treaty between the parties but we who study the Bible knows that 3 1/2 years into it it will be broken.
 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.  Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.  An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.  The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.
An evil has indeed come into the land. But where God will not have pity He will have mercy. We should pray for mercy while there is still this time of grace. Pray that all parties will show mercy to each other and that we who stand outside the doors looking in will pray, give aid and let our light so shine without adding to the conflict by stirring up each other to take sides. All of humanity is suffering until His return. Prophecy is unfolding before us and while it is yet day we must each do what we are lead to do: feed the hungry, give drink to those that thirst, clothe the naked, visit the sick, those in prisons, take in the strangers and care for the widows and orphans. Also we must pray without ceasing and pray for mercy for us all. For Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab nations, Darfur, those dying in the Congo, Zimbabwe, the Pakistani, India situation, Iraq and all of the nations that are in trouble of being wiped out.
Intelligent men and women should propose what each of us can do rather than comment on what others have already stated and no resolution in sight. We change the world one person at a time.
Each of you should ask the Lord what you can do to alleviate the suffering of those next to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors, your city, and your nation and then onto the uttermost parts of the earth. Those believers in each sector of conflict are strategically placed there to make a difference. To long we have been preaching to ourselves and not reaching outside the four walls of the church building so when all around us begin to explode we cry foul. But what have I done or you?
Let us each look within our own selves and see what difference we each can make or God help us when we find we could have done more and did nothing.
I thought hard about what bothered me when I read the article. I must say it took me some time to put my finger on it but here it is.
I never thought it right to categorize people even if they had things in common! I think it is not fair to use terms like the hand of your army, is it really their army? I am not sure it is, is the entire group of the same mind set? Do they all agree? Can they really be accused of committing the same acts, can we attribute good deeds to all of them as well as bad deeds? I am not sure.
The second thing that bothered me was the assumption that they (Jewish believers) have not spoken or have not moved a finger I think it is an unfair thing to do although you do express doubts about your assumptions(Your silence is loud and I am hoping that I misunderstood you) I still think you could have done better with out this part.
I do think that you are right to ask people to take a stance, I believe that our lord asks us to be honest and clear about what we think with out fear, equally I think it is important to accepts others with their weaknesses “if we see them as such”, this I am sure you do with out any conditions.
I put quotations on the word "sides" because I hate it. This word in its very nature assumes division and misunderstanding. In my 10 years of being married to an Israeli Palestinian Arab Christian Believer (yes, that is his full, earthly and heavenly identity!), I have had many internal debates and conflicts with how to reconcile what I believed and was raised to believe (as a daughter of a Messianic Pastor in the states who then moved to Israel to support the Jews here) with what I was hearing and learning from my experiences with my husband, his family, and friends here in Nazareth.
I still don't have all the answers. I don't think any of us can in all honesty and humbleness before the Lord really proclaim that we do. There are many scriptures that can be quoted which seemingly contradict each other - including subjects of our identity, who are the Jews in light of the new covenant, what are God's plans for this land, and even pacifism as opposed to justly defending yourself when attacked. I am not trying to make here any claims or proclamations one way or the other - partly because for me the jury is still out on some of these issues, and partly because I truly believe it takes our eyes off the ultimate truth of what God has done for us and desires for us in our lives.
One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible for me to live by is "For God so loved THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER should believe in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life." The other is "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..."
Talking about the political issues of this temporal world get us nowhere, and detract from the real issue of what us Christians/believers are here on earth to do - bring people to the Lord. And although I appreciate Hanna's call to the churches to pray for peace and an end to the killing of all innocent people, is that really the most important thing we are supposed to be praying for? What about salvation? Because without salvation, even if these people live longer lives here on earth, without Jesus they are still going to hell someday. That includes both the Palestinian and Jewish innocents.
Another point I would like to bring up about praying for war, is that Jesus himself told his apostles that in the end, "And ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye not be troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." Matthew 24:6 & 7
Wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations are all symptoms of this world and its sin, as well as the precursor of the second coming of our Lord. I don't say that this means we should be hardened to killing, or oblivious to pain and suffering, but I don't believe it will stop until Jesus returns. So, in the meantime, let's focus on what can be changed until then - men and women's hearts and lives through the redeeming power of the cross and the Holy Spirit's work. Let's pray for salvation and repentence for those we know and those we don't. And, let's break down the walls of partition between ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the Lord - no matter what earthly nationality - because let's face it, we will be spending eternity together, no matter what we think about their theological or political views!
My "challenge" to everyone reading this, is to reevaluate what message you are promoting from your soap boxes. Let's make sure it is one designed to bring love and heavenly peace to our relationships on every level, and that it is designed to bring ALL PEOPLE to Jesus.
Your sister in Christ Jesus, or as I was raised to say, Yeshua HaMashiach,
I beg you to remember that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against pricipalities, namely Satan and all his tricks. He came to kill, steal and destroy in any way that he can and that we let him.
The Bible reminds us that we are not the citizens of this world. Although Father God predestined each of us to be born and live at a specified time and place, He did not do so in order to divide us. As long as we live in this world that rebels against the authority of the Sovereign God, there will be wars, justified or unjustified.
The Lord Jesus died to redeem and reunite us to God and to one another out of His love and grace. Jesus told us that the house divide against itslef will be destroyed. That is exactly what Satan wants to see happening among us. Therefore, Jews or Palestinians, we must look beyond the tendency to blame and divide.
As a citizen of a country, we are affected by our government's action, right or wrong. I believe that rather than directing our disappointment or anger (resentment) toward each other, we should humble ourselves and ask one another to pray for those suffering from the war and for the leaders. That is the unity that the Love of God brings. It is the shield and counterattack to the work of Satan - division and destruction.
Please keep our eyes on the big picture, the Love of God in Christ. With that comes unity and peace among brethrens. Any personal feelings, reasoning or beliefs if against the teaching of Christ must be subjected to the Truth of the Bible and the Spirit of Love.
In Christ always.
with great pain in my heart I have read your letter, adressed to the messianic jewish brothers and sisters.In your grief you are blocking the rays of hope that have been giving to us by the grace of our faith in Yeshua , by which we have to realize our new identity in being citizens of His Heavenly Kingdom.Leaving behind all the hurts of the circumstances in which we live while on earth. - also leaving behind and detatching us from our racial backgrounds and our pride in our heritage and our religion. and becoming real brothers and sisters bought free from all earthly bondage and by the New Covenant in His Blood making us one New body.
Let us remember His Promise that we are no longer belong to any earthly ideology- religiously nor politically.But are one in His Spirit , by faith and grace only.
When we realize this we can only pray for each other and ask for His Wisdom and in order to forgive and love each other, dispite of the circumstances in which each of us may find himself, and so spread His Light every one of us in his little corner and surroundings, all the same loving each other and pray for protection, so that we can be real witnesses and lights to those that surround us,who by lack of understanding are continuously living in the reality of darkness and spiritual blindness.May we never stop and lack the zeal of sharing and bearing the Good News of His compassion and sacrifice , because He loved us So much.
Let us be one in mind and determination to spread His Light, and Love each other because He loved us first !!!!
He and he only is our hope of true Peace- which is not from this world !
John 14:27 (New International Version)
27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
22Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
23Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25"All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.
The World Hates the Disciples
18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.
. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'[c]
26"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
1 Timothy 2
Instructions on Worship
1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. 7And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing
I lived in Bethlehem from mid-Sept. to mid-Dec. and taught at Bethlehem Bible College during that time. I think it was in Sept. when the news reported that the US had sold 10 state-of-the-art fighter jets to Israel. I mentioned this to another visitor. He took out his New Zealand passport and showed it to me. I personally didn't sell those weapons of destruction to Israel to use against its neighbors, but my government did.
I have to accept my part of the responsibility as a US citizen for the current Israeli action in Gaza. My government has given the green cash as well as the green light for Israel to carry out this offensive. I don't believe my government's actions in Iraq were simply defensive to remove the threat of terrorism, nor do I accept Israel's claim that its actions in Gaza are only to defend itself against mainly home-made missiles lobbed into southern Israel, most of which do little or no harm. What does Israel expect people to do when they are choking the life out of them? Since when does the death of 4 Israelis justify the death of 400 Palestinians? My government wants to only blame Hamas. But the current US government's days are numbered. Our response to our government's injustices has been to elect a change in governmental leadership.
Christians have always been divided on the issue of political allegiances. For those who prefer a quietest approach, they interpret Christianity through the lens of the Gospel of John. But this ignores the political ramifications of the actions of Jesus and his denunciation of religious/political leadership in his day. The Apostle Paul recognized himself as a Roman citizen and was aware of the way his actions and teachings regarding non-Jews went against the religious conventions of his country.
I've been very torn as to what I can do. I pray for the people of Gaza. I pray that the Israelis will comply fully with UN resolutions and that strong Palestinian leadership will arise to guide Palestinians in the formation of an independent state built on peaceful coexistence with Israel and the western world. I've been blogging about my experience living in the Middle East, have shared with my relatives about my trip, and will be giving presentations in the coming months. I've written to my senators, the Whitehouse, and Secretary of State about my concerns that the US stop giving Israel wholesale support in its movement toward swallowing up the whole of the West Bank through the building of the Wall and the spread of settlements within the occupied territory. In the coming days when students return to campus here, I hope I will be strong enough to participate in demonstrations against the "overkill" Israel is perpetrating in Gaza now. I have a Palestinian keffiyeh and have even thought of wearing it in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Is this anti-Israel? Is this anti-US? No, this is resisting violence and injustice being carried out in part with my complicity and my tax dollars. I have a right -- and an obligation -- to speak out and criticize what my government does. I wasn't around to object to what my country did to the Native Americans. I wasn't old enough to realize what white Americans had done to the American descendants of African slaves. I was slow to recognize the equal rights of women. But I don't want to simply look the other way when it comes to what my country has been doing in its injustice and violence to the Arab world generally and the Palestinians in particular.
Timothy W. Seid, Ph.D.
Associate Dean & Assistant Prof. of New Testament Studies
Earlham School of Religion, Richmond, IN USA
But then again after reading Hanna's statements, I am not in the least surprised. The level of liberation and replacement theology I see in his statements and arguments in this whole thread, explain everything as clearly as crystal.
You don't have the least understanding of cause and effect. If you think that Israel acts the way she does out of pure pleasure you need to understand the causes.
So you think that Hamas' actions are because of Israel choking the life out of them... wrong again. Israel has always only reacted to aggression against her by the Arabs throughout history.
I admire the fact that you wish that Arabs would live in peaceful coexistence with Israel and the western world. At least through this statement you acknowledge that they do not. Read a little of the Old Testament, even though you probably think that it has been done away with and been replaced, what the future holds for the Arab world once Messiah returns. Be careful that you are not judged together with them.
You can write all you want regarding Israel settling parts of Biblical Israel, that are occupied by Arabs. Again read a little of the promises of the One True God regarding His promises to Israel. Unfortunately again you will have to read most of them from the Old Testament.
Go ahead and wear your keffiyeh at least you will be identifying with those forces of darkness, BTW there is no such thing as a Palestinian and if I could help it there never will be either.
It is also really a pity that you didn't live in Gaza for the last 3 weeks. I wonder whether you would still think the way you do.
Many Christian Arabs have long stories about bad treatment from the IDF, all in the name of "security", so your blanket statement about Israel only reacting to Arab aggression is far too black-and-white.
Don't think too quickly that God is angry only at "the Arabs" and is just happy with what "the Jews" are doing. The Jewish people were not exempt from judgement in the Biblical past and the Lord has not become nicer since then.
Yes, there are promises in the Old Testament, but all these promises are without exception also closely connected to His commandments, which the current state of Israel largely ignores. I'm especially thinking of Deuteronomy 6:5 which says that you should love God the best you can, which is simply not possible if you reject His son and Leviticus 19:33-34 which says that strangers (non-Jews) should be treated as native-borns. I don't see much of that either.
You are not God and therefore it's not up to you to determine whether the Palestinians can call themselves that way or not. The right-wing newspaper Jerusalem Post was called the Palestine Post in the far past. Why can Jews call themselves Palestinians (as they sometimes did!) and Arabs cannot?
Describing Arabs as "forces of darkness" is clear racism, just as your statement that only Arabs are subject to God's judgement.
In the first place, Israel has no right to whine about poorly armed people hitting back at their tormentors now and then - no more than American slave owners were justified in their indignation against Nat Turner. Oppressors and robbers are always filled with indignation when the subhumans prick their holy flesh, but that spirit is very far from the spirit of God.
It's no surprise when American Christians walk in that spirit. Are we not filling up the measure of our fathers, going back 400 years? Should we not consider our ways?
In 1938, the Nazis used the Jewish assassination of a single German diplomat to justify the Kristallnacht pogrom. Now, having for years systematically starved and deprived the people of Gaza of medicine and other essentials, and even the freedom to catch their own fish, the Israelis are indignant because the subhumans offered some little resistance in response to gross Israeli violations of the ceasefire. If others were doing to Israelis what these robbers and destroyers of olive trees had been doing these 40 years to their victims, would you deny the Israelis the right to strike back? You who approve the wanton slaughter of hundreds of children in the streets of Gaza, would you be indignant if Jews fired Qassams at their tormentors in that case?
You know, Moses wrote that unequal measures and unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord. That goes in the same bucket with having sex with animals and such like - abomination - and rightly so, because once you approve unequal weights and measures, you'll approve anything at all.
Moses wrote again, "There shall be one law for the native and the stranger," and again, "Justice, justice you shall pursue." How can you apologists for massacre forget that blowing off Moses as the state of Israel does must lead to calamity? If you have the Spirit of God, why don't you warn them from their evil way, instead of speaking smooth things to them, strengthening them in their evil way and enticing them to the destruction that such iniquity brought on their fathers many times before?
This what the Bible says.
So, we as a believers should not differentiate between nationalities.
Instead of challenging each other, let us pray for each other as the Bible commands.
I see in a different way that we are in a period that we should think about every person (doesn't matter Jewish or Arab) who didn't receive the Lord yet, and to be a promoters for telling those people about the way, the true and the life.
May the Lord bless you all.
I love Jews, I love Arabs.
If you do not sympathize with his suffering and condmn his people's killing then you will never have a chance to reach his heart with the gospel.
Second, don't you believe that God is an omnipotent? don't you believe that the Lord came specially for those bombers and for all the sinners?
Third, I don't support any kind of bombing. I support peace, love and unity :)
There is no such Biblical term "Messianic Jew" in the Scripture. You are a Jew or a Christian. You can not be both. I believe the so called messianic Jews invented this term for political reasons, and it has nothing to do with our Christian faith or identity. It is a shame to see them more zionist than secular Jews. Sorry: they are not my brothers in the Lord. They should rethink theit identity!!?
Please, read Acts Chapter 21 and verse 20 and tell me how do you call a Jewish who believed..
In Acts 21:20 we read of a conversation between Paul and the brothers in Jerusalem, and they reported to him that many Jews believed, BUT they did not call them Messianic Jews!!!. Later, we read in the book of Acts 26:28 that King Agrippa, who was a Jew saying to Paul "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." Notice that Agrippa said "Christian" and not "Messianic Jew. Even today, I can report to you that many Muslims accepted the faith in Jesus by the ministry of Father Zakariyya Butros, but I call them "Christians", and not: "Masihiin Muslimiin".
A brother feels and loves his brother, but I have never seen any so called "Messianic Jew" extending their hands to show love or solidarity with us here in the West Bank. in the contrary, they join the Israeli army and inflict all kind of evil against us in the occupied Palestinian land. Still, I love them and pray that they would stop it.
Jews are not just defined that way by their faith like Christians. According to Halacha (Jewish customs) a Jew is anyone born from a Jewish mother, regardless of your religious beliefs, if any. So if a complete atheist can be a Jew, why can't a Jew believe in Jesus as Messiah and still be Jewish?
The word Messianic comes from the Hebrew word Mashiach, the word Christian comes from the Greek word Christos. Both words mean Anointed one. Since most Jewish believers feel more connection to Hebrew than to Greek, they usually call themselves Messianic Jews.
Not all Messianic Jews are the same, not all of them are staunch zionists and many of them have very good contacts with Arab Christians.
It's not up to you to determine whether they are your brothers in the Lord or not. It's God who determines that and it's determined by whether they believe in Jesus as Messiah. Who are you that you judge Another one's servant?
Jewish, Arab and other believers are just as divided in their opinions as the rest of the world population and it's important that we do not make judgments on their being our brothers in the Lord because we (strongly) dislike their opinions on zionism or any other subject. This works both ways, of course.
Having read "Reflecting on Gaza: An open letter to my Messianic Brothers and Sisters, I can only quote part of Romans 13:4 which states concerning human government, "...he does not bear the sword in vain."
They are NOT occupiers in someone else's land, they are where God has forordained they should be. They are the rightful owners of that real estate given by God Himself.
I am a Christian and whatever our nationality happens to be, if we are Bible believers, followers of Jesus, we can come to no other conclusion.
Certainly I have compassion for the Palestinians, the innocent ones.
Also, God's promises are always connected to His commandments. In Biblical history you can see that when Israel didn't keep the commandments, God had them kicked out of their country twice. First time by the Babylonians, 2nd time by the Romans. The Lord doesn't change and has therefore not become nicer since then.
I don't see Israel keeping the commandments very well today. A few examples:
1. Israel ignores the commandment of Deuteronomy 6:5 that says to love God with your whole being because they don't accept Jesus, God's Son as Messiah. You can't love a man and hate his son. You certainly can't love a God and hate His Son, especially where they are One.
2. Israel also ignores the commandment of Leviticus 19:33,34 that says that you must treat the stranger the same as the native-born. Most Israeli Arabs (including the Christians) can tell you long stories about discrimination, humiliating treatment, abuse, etc, etc, all in the name of "security". Arabs are considered terrorists and it's up to themselves to prove that they are not. Jews, however, are considered innocent until a court decides otherwise and so it should be for everyone, not just Jews. The incorrect way Arabs are treated in comparison to the correct way Jews are treated is a clear violation of this commandment.
I strongly believe that Israel has the right to exist in peace and security for all its citizens, Jewish, Arab, etc. However, I would be careful to go to the Bible for that right, since God's landpromises and His Torah are so closely connected.
I could go on and on with this point but not in any way to justify real abuse or discrimination, things that have arisen in a unique and complex society due to many historical, religious and cultural factors that are many sided. And they can't all be blamed on Jews. When Christian Arab clerics, for example, become weapon smugglers for terrorist groups, the government is required to take measures that will affect innocent people fitting a similar profile. This happens everywhere.
Discrimination and abuse always need to be addressed and opposed. And they are. The Israeli legal system has often ruled in favor of Arab rights. There are other forms of discrimination in Israel as well, i.e., towards Messianic Jews, foreign workers, Russian Jews, Morrocan Jews, etc. But God has given us ways to struggle against these with the power of the Gospel and by overcoming evil with good. However, the pro-Palestinian mantra that blames all evil on the "occupation" is a self-deceptive copout and islamic falsehood--all the more when it is put in Christian terminology.
Yes there are biblical principles that connect Israel's obedience to her status in the land promised by God to Abraham and his seed forever. And you are certainly right, the treatment of the non-Jew in the land is a central commandment. Due to disobedience the Jews have been removed twice and scattered to the nations of the earth. But the promises to bring them back a 2nd time (not in faith but in blindness) at the end of the age are almost too numerous to count in the Bible. It is in fact in doing this (seeing that they will not be uprooted again) that God will correct and purify them as well as open their eyes unto Him they pierced. Christians are not supposed to be ignorant of this nor arrogant towards them in their partial blindness but rather to understand that their national oppostion to the Gospel has been for the sake of the nations.
Even unbelievers are amazed at the clarity and force of the biblical promises, though they may not want to give them any credence. But you are apparently amongst those believers that also don't want to give them credence. This, however, does not help those Arabs you are trying to defend, especially the Christians. Neither does it help your spiritual discernment, as you resist what the Spriit of God is revealing to open hearts everywhere. Remarkably, more and more Arab Christians, including those of Muslim background, are waking up to this truth, which in no way should be used to push them out or diminsh them--as they have full inheritance as sons and daughters wherever God has called them. Moreover, they understand this truth is not anti-Arab but it is for the glory of God--to bring life from the dead to the world! And it is to be declared to the world as well (Jer 31:10).
The fact that something "also happens elsewhere" or even "happens everywhere" does not mean that it's therefore acceptable in God's eyes. It's "hiding behind someone else's evil". Exodus 23:2: "do not follow the crowd in doing wrong" is very clear about what God thinks of that.
I stated clearly that I believe in Israel's right to exist in peace, so I don't understand why you come up with "the occupation" argument which I didn't use, not even implicitly.
The fact that God brings them back in partial blindness does not mean that that blindness is acceptable in His eyes or that we should be more forgiving to the blindness of the Jews than to that of any other people. God used their opposition of the gospel for the sake of the nations, but we should not think that their opposition to the gospel is therefore less bad than for example Muslim opposition to the gospel. It's just as bad. The Lord did not need that opposition and would very well have been able to fulfill His plans without it.
I see too often in Christian pro-Israel circles, that Arab Christians are told in a very arrogant way that they should give up replacement theology and become Christian zionists, but it's no problem that Jews don't believe in Jesus at all. The Biblical principles are shoven under the table and only the Biblical promises are highlighted. That is really double-standard. I think that believing in Jesus is far more essential than how you think about the state of Israel, regardless of your ethnic origin.
I sympathize with your pain towards innocent civilians being killed in Gaza, most Israelis and messianic Jews share your pain. I pray everyday as a messianic that the IAF/IDF will be more accurate, kill only Hamas, and miracles will happen among the Gaza civilians despite Hamas using them as civilian shields.
As Golda Meir once said,
"We can forgive you for killing our children, but we can't forgive you for forcing us to kill yours."
As someone who lives in the South of Israel in Beer Sheva and has relatives in the moshavs surrounding Gaza, I am very shocked that our Arab brothers and sisters do not stand up when especially Sderot lives under rocket attacks for 8 years. Neither do they acknowledge that Israel has stood by the ceasefire and has shown much restraint in the last eight years towards the rockets- no country would show that much restraint for eight years.
Decades of brutal opression and taking the self dignity of Palestnians by the opressive Jews go unnoticed and uncondemned by Howard,Israel,Jacoob and now Sean.
I am embarrased that my Jewish brothers are not transformed by the work of the holy spirit to a sermon on the mount attitude...but stay like non believing Jews and even more right wing and thirsty to blood and revenage
Israel is NOT a righteous nation, and will not be consciously under God's rule until Yeshua returns. I am not bloodthirsty or vengeful for upholding the N.T. Biblical right and authority FROM GOD for government rulers to wield the sword against criminals within and enemies without who transgress more than is tolerable for the welfare of the state and community. Jesus also knows how to judge those who unrighteously exercise that power and authority.
Meanwhile, God is still righteously judging and making war -- both in spiritual realms and in the natural where evil forces (SINFULNESS; LAWLESSNESS) opposed to Him and to His Kingdom are running wild. This is also true WITHIN Israel and the Jewish people. And the end is not yet, says the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. There are even worse things to come. Are we prepared for that!!
So please stop saying that we are not noticing or condemning our own people and nation for their unrepentance toward her own true God and Savior! Or that we do not care for Arab Palestinian people. The gospel is for them and for your own people both! The true gospel calls to sinners to repent from their unbelief, and their self-centered thoughts and ways.
Why are you afraid to give your name, my brother, whether you speak up for the Lord or whether you accuse us of not seeing things the way you want us to?
On the one hand old testament promises are taken by Messianic Jews literaly and meant to mean the current non believing secular state of Israel.On the other hand,I see that everything is being "spiritualized" and when I state what I observed as right wing and support of opressive actions of the state of Israel-then the answer is different.You then take the issue to a spiritual arena of all people's need for salvation but still not relating to the otrocities that the secular state of Israel is doing against Palestinians.
I would love to hear Messianics say that "Killing children in Ghaza is wrong" or that a life of an Arab boy in Ghaza is more precious than the pre-emtive strike.Or that the proportional aspect in revange should be kept.
Unfortunetly we feel closer to Meretz people than fellow Messinaics because of the compassianite hear of the former to people as such.
Evangelicals who have exposed their identity while talking against Israel or the pro Israeli Evangelicals where accused of liberalism,fellowship with them was cut and resourced denied.
That is the same thing with war and innocent people being killed, like children. It is terrible and painful, but it can not always be avoided. Poverty is also a great social problem, yet Jesus tells us that we will always have the poor with us.
The problems of this world are not going to be solved by us. That is part of what the gospel is all about: to give people real hope in a truly better world under the rule of the Lord Jesus the Messiah! If this is not believed because it includes Israel as a nation being restored and saved, then we, as I said in another letter to Hanna, are figthing God and dishonoring His holy name, and conceding to the devil some victory because of sin in the world. MAY IT NEVER BE! The devil will have absolutely NOTHING to boast about at the end, nor will anyone who believed his lies!
The current non-believing secular State of Israel is not THE fulfillment of O.T. promises; it IS, though, part of God's plan to BRING TO FULFILLMENT what He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob long ago. If we make the O.T. irrelevant to us today, then we surely will also make make the N.T. irrelevant, too. A long time does not prevent God from keeping His word, but He will always do it according to His righteousness. Israel will get nothing without repenting and believing in Jesus, just like you and I had to do. But her continued unrepentance is giving many more of your people the chance to repent and be saved. Isn't that something to be thankful for? God's ways are much better than ours. Israel's unbelief does not prevent God from doing His wonderful plan, nor will the work of terrorists.
We would all like to see the end to this war, and to all wars. We would all like to have thought that 60 years would have been long enough since Israel became a state. But God's longsuffering is in order to give more people the opportunity to repent rather than perish. His great patience gave me that opportunity, so who am I to get angry with Him that He is still taking a longer time than I would like!
Many (not all) of the children killed in Gaza are because of Hamas' evil and cowardly tactics. And many Arab Christians I know do not want Hamas to take over the government where they live. There is a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to our judgments. Only the love of God in Jesus can heal us, my A.E. brother. Those who do not know Him are under His wrath, according to the apostle of love, John. If we really do love those Gazan Arab children, let us pray for the Lord of the harvest to send His laborers into that part of His field, or that He would supernaturally reveal His Son to them if we are not able to get to them.
I really hope that Christian believers will be able to bless many of the Muslim Gazans after this war with ministries of mercy and helps that they have received from the Holy Spirit, and that these good works would be done in the name of Jesus, as a light to give glory to our Father in Heaven. I'm sorry if you think this is all spiritualizing. To me it is all very practical, yet we are not all called to do the same things.
I have read your posting regarding Gaza. Thank you for the challenge-- thank you for your heart which cries true 'soulful' tears for the bloodshed... and brave enough to put it in such plain--painful, graphic 'offensive' terms. WE NEED IT!!! It made me uncomfortable--I need it!
There are so many answers I do not have but I know that shedding of innocent blood is unacceptable---Only when we truly repent of the duality that you expose, can we even begin to expect God's wisdom for just solutions which must then be enacted-- not just talked about--and then only can we hope to see true healing from God.
I have much more to say but I am sure we will speak--Be aware and thus be encouraged--you are NOT a lone voice in the wilderness and don't allow your pain of confronting these things to diminish the peace and love of Christ, Almighty in you. Carry on with hope and faith which sees beyond our eyes!
pray for another and for our enemies.we are all flesh and blood-our destiny is to be with Him forever
listen to Mosab Kamal and Walid and Taysir and others