Israel's Greatest Friends

by Louis A. Turk

The following wise counsel was printed in the Jerusalem Post Dec. 25, 2003 in an article entitled "Respect the theology of our friends" by rabbi Shmuley Boteach:

...the Christians are our kin. So long as they support and defend the Jewish people through their current persecution, that will always be so, whatever their beliefs, and we owe them our gratitude.

The same is true of those righteous evangelicals who love Israel like it is their own country. Many Jews are alarmed at the steadfast support of evangelical Christians for Israel claiming it is insincere. It's an end-of-days strategy, they say. Jesus can't come back until the Jews have returned to Israel. The evangelicals aren't real friends because at the Second Coming, they believe, all Jews will become Christians.

What an absurd complaint. To tell people who send tens of millions of dollars to poor Israelis and who place enormous pressure on the Bush administration never to abandon Israel that they are not real friends is to be ungrateful at best and treacherous at worst.

Who cares what their beliefs are? They are our greatest friends in the world. What will happen when Jesus comes back? Hey, we'll talk about it then.

In the meantime we'll show them unstinting appreciation for their love and support against an insurgent Islam that wants to wipe Israel from the map

I of course don't mean to be flippant about any of this. My point is a very serious one. Friendships are not based on creeping into the innermost sanctums of the other's heart and discerning their motivation. Friendship comes down simply to the affection with which people treat each other.

If Jews are troubled by Mormon and evangelical Christian theology and propose to focus more on these groups' beliefs than on their actions, the logical outcome would be for the Jews to be far closer to the Muslims than to Christians.

After all, theologically speaking, Islam and Judaism are closer than any two other religions. Both are pure forms of monotheism which utterly reject the deification of a man as God, neither accepts any division in the Godhead, like a trinity, and both are based on a written law and on an oral legal tradition (Halacha and hadith).

So why aren't we as close to the Muslims as we are to the Christians? Simple. The Christians, whatever their belief, treat us as beloved brothers; the Muslims, however monotheistic, murder our children.

Let's stop with the silly insecurities that have us looking to scratch the skin of a friend and find underneath a closet anti-Semite. (source...)

I would like to add to that wise counsel the following comments:

Support of Israel by true Christians is not an end-of-days strategy.

The Bible does not teach that supporting Israel will cause Jesus to come back sooner. Nor will support of Israel cause Jews to return any faster to Israel. It would seem to me that just the opposite would be the case. If I treat Jews nice they would tend to want to remain in the USA!

My support for Israel is not based on any selfish reasons. I love the Jews because they are the kinsmen of my Savior. This is true of most Baptists I am aquainted with. We also support Israel because the hatred shown towards them by most of the world is evil and unjust. Most of all, true Christians know that Israel is the nation through which God has chosen to show His power to the world; it was through a Jewish mother that God took on human flesh so as to become the Savior of the world. This is why Satan hates the Jews so. Therefore, to fight against Israel is to fight against God.

This does not mean that Israelis as individuals are guanteed a place in Heaven just because of the nation in which they were born. As individuals, they must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ just as everyone else must, or else they will be damned to Hell.

But collectively as a nation they are God's chosen people. Though God is allowing them to suffer greatly for their rejection of Him as their Messiah, yet He will never allow them to be totally destroyed.

It is 100% true that Christians---the genuine Christians at least---are the Israelis' greatest friends in the world.

We do in fact put as much pressure as we can muster upon whatever administration is in office at the time to support Israel. We also support Israel in any other way that we can. We do this both out of love for Israel, and out of love for our own country. We love and support Israel because the Bible very clearly tells us that that is the right thing to do.

It is also true that there are phony Christians that do not really believe the Bible, and therefore hate Jews. But that does not change the facts about true Christians' fervent and genuine support of Israel. In my younger days I even considered putting my life on the line for Israelis by helping Israel fight a war. But the war only lasted for six days, and so my help wasn't needed! Eventually I came to realize that God will never allow His chosen people to be wiped off the face of the earth. I need not worry about that. On the other hand, God is allowing the Jews to suffer greatly for their rejection of Him as their Messiah. And they will continue to suffer until they repent of their unbelief.

It is true that Islam and the corrupted form of Judaism practiced by most Jews today are theologically closer than any two other religions. This should deeply shake the faith of all followers of Judaism, and this very significant fact deserves closer examination.

Both are pure forms of monotheism which utterly reject the deification of a man as God.

Monotheism is the idea that the one God is only one person. Both Judaism and Islam are pure forms of monotheism which utterly reject the deification of a man (specifically Jesus) as God, but which results in the deification of men (they themselves) as gods. Monotheism inevitably results in atheism and humanism. It is not without reason that the two main groups in the atheistic American Humanist Association are the Unitarian Universalist Church and the Reformed Jewish movement. For all practical purposes monotheism is atheism. (For a fuller discussion of this fact, read God Redefined).

The doctrine of salvation that springs from monotheism is the purest form of salvation by works. Humanist Manifesto II clearly states this monotheistic doctrine: "There is no deity to save us, we must save ourselves." The left wing in Israel believes exactly that. Of course, those who claim to be Orthodox Jews do not deny the existence of God---to them it is more like "there is a G-d, but G-d won't save us, but rather expects us to save ourselves." That is still salvation purely by works.

Neither accepts any division in the Godhead, like a trinity.

Both Judaism and Islam deny that God is three persons. Both Judaism and Islam attempt to lower God to be like men, being only one person. Both Judaism and Islam believe that this teaching is their greatest teaching. But in reality this is the one doctrine that proves them wrong.

The first glimps of the dishonesty of Judaism and Islam is seen when they claim that Christians are polytheists. They know that this is not true. The New Testament repeatedly teaches that there is ONE God.

1 Cor. 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Eph. 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

1 Tim. 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Such verses do not sound like polytheism to any honest reader.

The true teaching of the Tanakh (Old Testament) is that the one God is three persons. The word "Elohim" is a plural word, refering not to three Gods, but rather to the fact that the one God is three persons. In Gen. 1:2 the Spirit of God is mentioned. In Gen. 1:26 we read,

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Notice that God says, "Let US ..." Who is the us? Did God need some other being to help Him create humans? Of course not! The three persons of the Godhead were speaking to each other. There was no one else present but God.

Then in Gen. 3:15 we find the first prophesy of God the Son becoming a human via the miracle of the virgin birth:

Gen. 1:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This seed of the woman would crush Satan's head. This is God the Son---the Messiah. This is not the only place in the Tanakah that we read about God the Son:

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

If the LORD has a Son, then the LORD is The Father. So we see in the Tanakah the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit---the Trinity. Trinity means tri-unity---three persons in one Godhead.

And then Jehovah says that He is the pierced one:

Zechariah 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, .... I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

This pierced one can be none other than Jesus the Messiah---Jehovah God in human flesh---, for a Spirit cannot be pierced!

If Jehovah is a Trinity, then the mono-god must be an imposter. Who is this mon-god? Surely he is Lucifer, the fallen angel.

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Lucifer wants to be God. Lucifier is an angel. Angels are one person beings, and they cannot have children, for they neither marry nor are given in marriage (Mat. 22:30). To worship the mono-god is to worship Satan and to be a child of the Devil.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Both are based on a written law and on an oral legal tradition (Halacha and hadith).

This is the root problem with Judaism. It is not based on God's word, but on the wisdom and traditions of men. Too much respect is given to rabbis and not enough respect given to the Bible.

In personal correspodance with a certain Jewish writer, I used the Old Testament scriptures to prove my points. One example I used was Is 7:14, which says, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." She responded by saying,

You are quoting from a mistranslation of the original source. ALL Christian Old Testaments are MISTRANSLATED by the Greek who did the first translation for the non-Hebrew world way back when. The word he translated as 'virgin' really translates to 'young girl'. There is a completely different word for 'virgin.'

....

The second problem with your argument is that you are seeing only a corner of the entire picture. The Bible (what you call The Old Testament) is only a small part of the Jewish teachings. In fact, it is more like an introduction to all the teachings and in Judaism it is never, ever taught by itself. We have what is called Talmud, which consists of many, many books or sections explaining each and every passage and putting the ancient language and concepts into examples that anyone from any era can understand.

We are taught that to read the Bible by itself and to take its word at face value without further explanation is to court false interpretations and thus disaster.

When I asked her if she was speaking as a "Hebrew" scholar, or merely taking her rabbi's word for the translation issue, she responded that she was a "Jewish" scholar. To which I responded, "Perhaps, but you are not a Hebrew language scholar, for you are simply taking your rabbi's word for something you obviously don't know anything about---a very dangerous thing to do. You have been duped concerning a life or death issue." I further asked her, if this virgin was not a virgin, then why did she refer to her son as Immanuel, which means "God with us"? But she was not able to give an answer.

The reason she would not accept the plain teachings of her own Bible (called by Jews the Tanakh, and by Christians the Old Testament), was (in her own words) "We are taught that to read the Bible by itself and to take its word at face value without further explanation is to court false interpretations and thus disaster." She simply lets her spiritually blind rabbis and the commentaries they have written explain away everything in the Bible they do not understand or which they disagree with! The Talmud and Halacha are simply the traditions of men, and are not the words of God. They are often wrong.

Jesus had strong words for such traditions of men:

Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Do Christians actually treat Jews as beloved brothers?

We do if they actually are our spiritual brothers. We do if they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Otherwise, we treat them as beloved brothers in the flesh to our Lord Jesus Christ, realizing that spiritually they are neither His brothers nor ours. We do not forget that by rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior they have condemned their own selves to Hell, except they repent. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Therefore, we must love them enough to tell them the truth, so that they might have opportunity to repent and be saved before it is eternally too late.

True Christianity as practiced by Baptists is a continuation of the original Jewish faith, but reorganized in the form of Christ's church which includes people of all nationalities. This reorganization was necessary because the Jewish nation had left the orginal faith given to them by God, and instead were preaching the false doctrines of the Sadducees and Pharisees---heresies which are still being taught by Judaism today. They had become self-centered and selfish, and it did not matter to them if other nationalities went to Hell. They were no longer teaching God's plan of salvation to the world, as they did not believe it themselves. Thus there are irreconcilable differences between true Christianity and the modern day corruption known as Judaism---corruptions which cannot wisely be ignored. As one Jewish writer correctly said:

It's all very nice to talk about the "monotheistic" or "Judeo-Christian" tradition in the wake of 9/11, but Judaism, Christianity and Islam are faiths with real, theologically irreconcilable differences that shouldn't be papered over or downplayed. (Calev Ben-David, "Snap Judgment: There's something about Mary," The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2003, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1072773893606)

The greatest friend Jews will ever have is Jesus their Messiah.

When the Jews of old rejected Jesus, they rejected the best friend anyone can have. Not only does Jesus have the desire to help us, but He also has the power to help us.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Even as they reject Him, Jesus continues to love the Jews, and to draw them unto Himself. The house of Israel is left unto them desolate because they have rejected their only hope. And things will continue to get worse and worse for them until they say of Jesus, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Then, and only then, will He save them.

Mat. 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The good news of the Gospel message is for the Jew first:

Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek

Dear Jewish friend, your Messiah patiently waits to save you. But He will not do so against your will. Do not allow sin to cause you to reject your best friend.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

You can be saved today by placing his faith in Jesus the Messiah alone. There is no other way of salvation.

We all need friends. Don't turn your back on your friends. Especially, don't turn your back on your best friend.





Louis A. Turk, B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.

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