To Dignify or To Destroy
By Abraham A. van Kempen
Source: The Times of Israel
Published SEP 3, 2018
Let’s Change the Way America Thinks About Israel-Palestine …
That’s my mission. Going against the current, diving into the deepest storm and keeping my head above the rolling waves while whirling in clashing swirls to gently but firmly channel American Evangelicals back into the fullness of Christianity! So, what’s my mission? Nothing short of helping to change the way America thinks about Israel-Palestine; and, resuming my training to cross the Dead Sea in 2020, from Jordan to Israel, swimming on my back at age 70 when the time is ripe. Because … when the Palestinians are freed, so are we.
What no one seems to notice is that the politically connected 70 million American Evangelicals with their 600+ million followers worldwide have slithered their way into Israel’s ungodly inner sanctum, it’s profane and superficial holy of holies. They are the power behind Netanyahu’s throne. If only the Evangelicals rebuke the far-right, ultra-nationalist Party of the Pharisees, Modern Israel will implode from within and the Land will become an orchard of peace fueled with healing oils of compassion and mercy; God’s Holy Spirit, His everlasting grace.
Swimming the backstroke while floating on the Dead Sea is easy compared to urging Evangelicals, especially the Christian Zionists, to become Christ-like. For many, that’s like pulling teeth. You almost have got to be a Jew to understand Christianity (van Kempen, Abraham. Christian Zionism ... Enraptured Around a Golden Calf (Kindle Locations 116-117). FastPencil Publishing). The moment you know that God is part of you and you are part of Him, you will dignify the other as God dignifies you (Kindle Locations 34). Ultimately, we all have a choice. Dignify the other or destroy the other! So, what’s the choice? What is God’s preference?
When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian Quest to Co-Exist, try separating the theology – the three Abrahamic Faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – from the geopolitics. Impossible! It’s a double-edged sword. On one side a volatile cocktail fuels the fire that inflames the defining feud in our times. On the other, lies the prophetic ideals, carved in stone of an ancient faith proposing but not imposing the truth and the way, the blessings, of living side by side, our only hope (Chapter 2, ‘Still Wandering ….’)
‘Christian Zionism … Enraptured Around a Golden Calf’ pits the Holy Trinity of Israeli ultra-nationalism – One People, One Land, One God – against the Holy Trinity of Christianity – ALL people, ALL nations, One God. The New Testament ‘in-gathers’ and redeems ALL people, not just one tribe; ALL the nations, not just one state; indeed, glorifying the ONE ‘I Am’ with Many Names – in Hebrew: Hayah asher Hayah, ‘I Will Be Who or How or Where I Will Be’ or just Eloah; or, in the Arabic sound-alike, Allah (Kindle Location 14).
By faith, all Christians are Zionists but not from the Zionism as professed by Modern Israel. Christians are the true Zionists. They believe, God's Spirit resides in their souls and Christians 'reside' spiritually in Zion, His Spiritual Kingdom. Ideally, Christians live on Earth as in Zion (“on earth as in heaven,” Matthew 6:10). Modern Israel is NOT Zion. Modern Israel is NOT a heaven on earth. Modern Israel has become a hell on earth for all my people -- Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Why, then, do so many Evangelicals idolize Modern Israel?
‘Christian Zionism … Enraptured Around a Golden Calf’ is about freedom from bondage, freedom of movement, freedom from borders. It is especially about honoring the other, dignifying our respective differences. If you dignify the other, you dignify God. We are all created in His image. You know you are in God when His Spirit and His Kingdom resides within you as evidenced by your treating the other the way God treats you. But your will supersedes God's presence. You've got to want and walk the many steps on your own to love your enemies as God loves you (Kindle Locations 34-37).
The New Christian Covenant 1) frees Modern Jews from their Jews-only, ancestry-ghetto-mentality; 2) renounces Modern Israel's obsession for possession of a Land once promised and fulfilled; and, 3) refutes the Israeli edict: "What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine also” (Chapter 2, ‘Still Wandering …).
For most of my life, I thought we Jews were masters of our own fate, heading toward our manifest destiny until I, too, snapped out of the trance. It happened in 2014 when Binyamin Netanyahu blitzed Gaza almost into oblivion, again. And I told him so: “I hold you personally responsible for jolting me out of my retirement. You’re to blame.” I was in the region when Israel went on a killing spree. My reaction: ‘Not again? … NEVER AGAIN!’ (Kindle Locations 2197-2199)
“The ‘Promised Land,’” says Jesus Christ, the Messiah … the Promised Land is the Spiritual Kingdom of God, a ‘Land without borders.’ The Title of Ownership, the Deed of Trust of your piece in the Promised Land, the Spiritual Kingdom of God, the ‘New Jerusalem,’ the ‘City of God,’ 'Zion,' is vested in the New Testament, inscribed in blood on Calvary; for all people of all nations; indeed, endowed by God, the one ‘I Am’ with many names of ALL, for ALL (Chapter 1, ‘A Divine Surprise’).
A year ago, I woke up from another slumber. There’s no way that all 15 million Jews alive today – all of us – could possibly be the sole and principal power behind the palace throne in Israel. Jews disagree more than agree. It’s our nature. Nonetheless, we tend not to hang our dirty laundry in public. Jews, everywhere, embrace each other especially when the goings get tough. The expression ‘All Jews are responsible for each other' is not [just] a religious one" (Kindle Location 1609).
Even when my Jewish friends become foes, calling me a ‘Judenrat' and worse, I know, we can depend on each other at the hour of need. It's an electrifying feeling that not one Jew could describe to one who isn't (Kindle Locations 1615-1617). Yes, we are tribal. That’s why 93 percent of us defends the onslaught against Gaza, then and now, despite the Better Angels within us. Approximately, 67 percent of all Jews want to do almost anything to end the quagmire, as long as we feel secure that we can go to bed at night without locking the doors, figuratively speaking. Often, I wish we become more universal. Why can’t we imagine how the indigenous Palestinians feel?
So, what empowers Israel? Who is the real power that supports Israeli atrocities and aids and abets Israel’s crimes against humanity? The 70 million politically-connected Evangelical Christians in the United States and their 600 million followers around the world; and, particularly, their 100 to 140 million diehards, who call themselves ‘Christian Zionists!’ Think how much good they could do if they shift their energies into becoming instruments of blessings for all my people in the Region?
Christian Zionists persist in holding Jewish ancestry as the central tenant of its theology, focusing on Israel more than Jesus, Judaism more than Christianity. (Kindle Locations 2018-2019) The far-right religious ultra-nationalists in Israel, together with many American Evangelicals, profess to be closest to God. But, many have lost their religious, spiritual and moral compass. In cahoots with the Christian Zionists, they impose a way of life in Israel that defies who we are as Jews (Kindle Locations 1086-1088).
Though Israel touts itself as the supra-national state – some call it a theocracy – for Jews-only, less than half of all the Jews permanently reside in Israel. What’s more, close to half the Jews, including many Israelis living in Israel are actively pursuing a change of course. What’s going on today is unsustainable. Modern Israel has managed to shoot itself in both feet too often. Soon there won’t be any feet left. It’s time to vote out the ‘rascals,’ the Netanyahu Regime (Chapter 4, ‘If You Grab Too Much, You’ve Grabbed Nothing at All’).
And surprise, surprise; a bombshell! Chapter 3, ‘A Shared Identity’ reveals why many indigenous Palestinians are more genetically related to the Ancient Israelites than most Jews who have wandered into the region, especially after World War II. Jews, like many Christians and Muslims, have a spiritual link to the Land. Because most are descendants from pagan converts into Judaism, they have no heritable blood connection to the Ancient Israelites.
And the Epilogue, ‘Fast to Feast’ talks about how we can live ‘side by side’ as exemplified by the biblical Ishmael and Isaac when they stood side by side at the funeral of their father, the biblical Abraham. The Hebrew Bible says nothing more. They stood side by side, NOT talking to each other, NOT sharing a meal together, NOT dancing with each other and, above all, NOT fighting against each other. They are brothers. The Israeli-Palestinian Quest to Co-exist is biblically preordained, living side by side, dignifying each other.
When we free our brothers and sisters in Palestine, WE FREE OURSELVES.
Christians could become like living water by flooding the region with peace.
*van Kempen, Abraham. Christian Zionism ... Enraptured Around a Golden Calf (Kindle Locations see*). FastPencil Publishing.
‘Christian Zionism … Enraptured Around a Golden Calf’
By Abraham A. van Kempen
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