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Titus, the Temple, and the Fire of Judgement

Titus and his armies destroy Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

Titus and his armies destroy Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

Was it judgement? In 70 C.E. the then general Titus captured Jerusalem. Although Josephus (possibly disingenuously) disclaimed Titus’ responsibility, the Temple was destroyed and burned to the ground. In witnessing the event Josephus recalled:

the roar of the flames streaming far and wide mingled with the groans of the falling victims; and, owing to the height of the hill and the mass of the burning pile, one would have thought that the whole city was ablaze. And then the din–nothing more deafening or appalling could be conceived than that. There were the war-cries of the Roman legions sweeping onward in mass, the howls of the rebels encircled by fire and sword, the rush of the people who, cut off above, fled panic-stricken- (Jewish War 6.272-3)

Titus was the general in who took the city and was responsible for these events. His father, who had been charged with putting down the revolt had gone to Rome, having been elected as Emperor. Nine years later, Titus would take his father’s place. It would be 79 C.E. when Titus became Emperor himself. In exquisite irony, it would be that very same year that Vesuvius would erupt, engulfing Pompeii in burning ash, extinguishing the vast portion of the population of that great yet decadent city. Titus, while visiting Pompeii to assess the damage would get yet further bad news. Back in Rome, the great fire of 80 C.E. had broken out. While less destructive than that of Nero’s day, this fire would result in an equal loss of life and the destruction of many great structures – notably on Capitoline Hill, the Temple of Jupiter, the Pantheon, and the theatre of Pompeii.

The destruction of Pompeii as Mt Vesuvius erupts in 79 C.E.

The destruction of Pompeii as Mt Vesuvius erupts in 79 C.E.

Could it not have been noted in that day, what the comforter Eliphaz said: As I have observed, those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it (Job 4:8).

Maybe Hashem was saying something.

Our daily prayer is May it be your will, Hashem our God and the God of our forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days. Grant us our share in Your torah, and may we serve You there with reverence as in days of old and in former years. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Hashem, as in days of old and in former years.


Yom Hashoah and the Righteous among the Nations

Today, 28 April is Yom Hashoah. Israelis across the country have stopped their cars in the middle of the streets and highways as the country came to a standstill to remember the unspeakable evil perpetrated in the Holocaust.

Paradoxically, I spent the eve of Yom Hashoah (27 April) in Berlin, honouring one whom I would term a ‘righteous gentile’. Horst Stresow, a founding member of Beit Sar Shalom Evangeliumsdienst has throughout his life demonstrated love for the Jewish people including those of us who believe that Yeshua our long-awaited Messiah. Messianic leaders came from Holland, Israel, the United States and of course the United Kingdom to recognise his exceptional love and faithfulness.

I was reminded of the other ‘righteous gentiles’ but for whom I would not exist. My mother, born in Berlin in 1933, has often told me ‘I was born in the year Hitler came to power.’ It was because of Hitler, the Nazism and the Nuremburg laws of 1935 that she lost her father. His death, however, resulted in her survival and life.

Shortly after, her mother remarried to a German-British Christian man called Frank Schmidt. I knew him as ‘Opa’. Frank Schmidt refused to be cowed by the Nazis and like Horst Stresow, chose to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Subsequently, as events unfolded, he found himself concealing the identity of a German-Jewish girl, Jutta, right under the noses of the Nazi regime in Berlin.

I am grateful today for the German official who noticed my mother’s papers were not in order, and instead of pursuing the matter, tore her papers up concealed the matter. That was not only something out of order – and Germans are famous for their carefulness to do things rightly and in order – but it was at considerable personal risk to the official.

I am grateful for the neighbour in Berlin who, when my mother, as a little girl, played with her daughter and wrote her birth name instead of her assumed name, came up to her apartment and remonstrated with her parents. To give away such a distinctively Jewish name in wartime Berlin could also result in exposure and death.

And so, I am grateful for all who at risk and cost choose to advocate and protect the Jewish people. Today the news from Ukraine is that a mayor has been shot in the back. At this point CNN has not reported the fact, but Arutz Sheva has: the mayor is Jewish. That is not likely to be an insignificant aspect to the news, and one has to wonder if CNN was unaware, was not able to verify, or simply did not want to report this aspect of the story. As Jews, we need people who stand with us and for us. We remember the lost, but we remember those who did what they could.

London, 28 April 2014 / 28 Nisan 5774

The End and the Eschaton

TKCbannerKings Evangelical Divinity School and Chosen People Ministries are jointly sponsoring a conference to be held in London on 17-18 October 2014 highlighting Scriptural passages and approaches that bear on the eschaton.

Entitled Thy Kingdom Come: A Conference on the Bible, Theology and the Future, the event includes well-known theological speakers, including Derek Tidball, Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock. Full details are available at the event website – www.thykingdomcome.org.uk. There is also a Facebook page which you are invited to Like to help get the word around.

 The organisers have also issued a call for papers. There are more details regarding that here.

Messianic Jewish Coalition Accuses the Church of Scotland of Promoting Christian Anti-Semitism

May 30, 2013 – The Church of Scotland (COS) has been involved in an international firestorm of controversy throughout the month of May because of what has been widely perceived as an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic report by its Church and Society Council entitled, “The inheritance of Abraham? A report on ‘the promised land’”. This report, which has now been overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly of the COS, asserts that Israel has no special Biblical right to the historic land of Israel despite the clear Biblical record and the voluminous prophecies contained in it concerning Israel’s return to the land in the latter days. Soon after the report’s initial release, the Church was forced by international and interfaith pressure to withdraw it for revision. However, the revised report that was accepted by the General Assembly included only cosmetic improvements, but did nothing to address its underlying errors and distortions, or to support the unjust recommendations with which it concludes.

The leaders of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance (IMJA), the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC), the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS) and the British Messianic Jewish Alliance (BMJA) are shocked and dismayed that another denomination that purports to believe the Scripture is God’s Word and to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and believe in a Jewish Messiah and Savior for all could wander onto the well-worn path of Christian anti-Semitism. “The inheritance of Abraham?” sows anti-Semitic thinking into the very fabric of the denomination through the following flaws:

  1. It ignores the clear contextual teaching of Scripture in favor of a faulty, out-of- context, and biased theology. The Church of Scotland joins efforts by other denominations in recent years to oppose not only specific Israeli policies, but also the Jewish character of the state. But it goes beyond other recent statements in basing this opposition on its theological argument—repudiated in much of the Christian world today—that the ancient Jewish claim to being chosen or special in God’s sight is invalidated by the New Testament. “If Jesus is indeed the Yes to all God’s promises [2 Cor. 1:20] then for Christians the promise to Abraham about land is fulfilled through the impact of Jesus. . . .  To Christians in the 21st century, promises about the land of Israel shouldn’t be intended to be taken literally.” The target of this report, then, is not only specific Israeli policies, and not only the Jewish character of the State of Israel, but a foundational aspect of Jewish thought and identity over the ages.
  2. The report seeks to delegitimize Zionism and the modern state of Israel. The report embraces a caricature of the modern Zionist movement and the birth of the state of Israel as the product of colonialism. It cites without question Naim Ateek, head of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, who claims that “the sole ambition of Zionists, Christians and Jews alike, has been the acquisition of the land for the Jewish people.” Such a characterization ignores the millennia-old Jewish hope for a return to their ancient homeland; it ignores the presence of a Jewish population within the Jewish homeland throughout that period; and it ignores the actual historical context of Zionism, which drove Jews not to seek “the acquisition of land” but to seek a restored place of refuge for the Jewish people who were being pressured out of Europe well before the rise of Hitler. Far from being a product of imperialism, Zionism required the collapse of one imperial power, Turkey, and the withdrawal of another, Great Britain, for its hopes to be accomplished.
  3. The report claims to seek justice and reconciliation, but violates the most basic premises of justice. First, it reflects only a Palestinian and anti-Zionist narrative and accepts its allegations uncritically. As a result, the report claims that “reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended.” But it provides no context for the “occupation” and blockade, and no demand upon Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel or to renounce their support for rocket attacks and other terrorist acts against Israeli civilians. Second, the report supports a campaign of financial pressure, including boycotts, against Israel alone of all the nations of the world. It is tragic to see a Christian denomination advocate punishing the Jewish state with the same sort of action used against the Jewish people so unjustly in the last century.

Combining the argument that the Zionists seek only land with the denial of any special Jewish claim upon the land produces the outrageous, unjust, and yet undeniable, implication of this report: justice can only be achieved if Israel denies its very raison d’etre as a place of refuge and safety for the Jewish people.

In short, “The Inheritance of Abraham” remains an instrument not of peace and reconciliation but of religious arrogance and hypocrisy. It is ready to impose its interpretation of the Torah and Prophets as “Christians of the 21st century” should understand them upon the Jewish people. Based on its own skewed interpretation, the Church is unashamed to demand that Israel unilaterally place itself in a weaker position amidst its hostile neighbors and abandon its founding vision as a refuge for the Jewish people. The report claims a commitment to peace, but actually serves to undermine the possibility of peace by delegitimizing the Jewish State of Israel. The bias and arrogance evident within “The inheritance of Abraham” deprive the report, its concluding recommendations, and the Church of Scotland itself, of any genuine moral force.

 Representatives of the Messianic Jewish Coalition


John Fischer, President

Paul Wilbur, Executive Director

International Messianic Jewish Alliance


Kirk Gliebe, President

Russell Resnik, Executive Director

Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations


Paul Liberman, President

Joel Chernoff, General Secretary

Messianic Jewish Alliance of America


Jeffrey Forman, Chairman

International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues


Mr. J. Mendelsohn Esq, President

Mr. D Nessim, Vice-President

British Messianic Jewish Alliance


Contact: Joel Chernoff, joelchernoff@mjaa.org, 610-304-2237
Russ Resnik, rebrez@umjc.org, 505-440-2265

Israel and the Church

Increasingly, British Christians are becoming perplexed about the relationship between Israel and the Church. Political and Theological positions are becoming melded and divorced in surprising ways. Sometimes this is due perceptions regarding the state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Sometimes this is due to other factors, such as the perception that the Jewish people no longer have a key role (or any role) in the Plan of salvation for the world.

Into this quandary have stepped various authors and pundits, as well as Chosen People Ministries and Kings Evangelical Divinity School, with a conference entitled Israel and the Church: A Common Heritage and an Uncommon Future. This is a unique conference to be held on the campus of the London School of Theology on 8-9 October, 2010 .

Israel and the Church will explore the often tense relationship between the Church and Israel and provide insights into the Middle East Crisis, encouraging Christians to pray and evangelise among Jews and Muslims – in Britain and abroad.

Registration is only £30. To hear such speakers such as Darrell Bock, Barry Horner, Calvin Smith and more – it is a bargain. Not to mention the free concert in Hammersmith that will follow, by well known Messianic artist Marty Goetz.

To register, just go to  Israel and the Church: A Common Heritage and an Uncommon Future and follow the link.

Distorted view of Arab population growth in capital – The Boston Globe

Distorted view of Arab population growth in capital – The Boston Globe

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