What God gives for our blessing, instruction and edification, Satan, ably assisted by fallen Man's sinful nature will seek to degrade or pervert. Purim today in Israel has departed greatly from how it first began. From being a joyous festival of deliverance, it has taken on a rather more secular character, and some young women once happy to dress up modestly as Queen Esther, now appear more in the attire of Delilah or Jezebel! Understandably this has given rise to complaints in newspaper columns that such attire, that leaves very little to the imagination, is overly alluring (to put it politely) and altogether inappropriate.
Esther is the only book in the Bible where God is not mentioned, but it is understood that He is present for those who can discern. But God is not the only one operating behind the scenes, for those who can see it, Satan too is present, working through his agent Haman for the destruction of God's people. So even the somewhat distorted modern day celebration of Purim gives us a visual parable from which we can learn: particularly from the Rabbinic tradition of "Ad-Lo-Yada", and the degrading of Purim into what it has become. These things are a visual parableÂ which can teach something about spiritual seduction, (Jezebel -the type of prostituted and adulterated faith) and how spiritual adultery blunts or even destroys our ability to discern.
Close to Purim time, there was another kind of parade going on in Bethlehem. Yet another of the "Christ At The Checkpoint" conferences. I know there has been some comment already made about this event, but I thought it worthwhile to add something more in this bulletin, because the seriousness of this event should not be underestimated. CATC is a moral inversion of the whole original idea behind Purim. It has its shows, its masks and its clowns, but this is Purim according to Haman, not Mordechai or Esther. The CATC/Sabeel movement is indeed dangerous, but not only in the way its supporters and adherents think. The greatest danger of CATC is not to evangelical support for Israel, but for those who cleave to it, for if anything illustrates spiritual seduction and "Ad-Lo-Yada" at work, it's CATC, which contained such features as:
An opening pledge of loyalty to Mahmoud Abbas (holocaust denier and paymaster of the '72 Munich massacre and who wishes any future Palestinian state to be Judenrein) and their current prime minister (patron of the Sbarro Pizza Restaurant bombing re-enactment "celebration").
Stephen Sizer; notorious paramour of anti-Semites, holocaust deniers and any bona fide Israel hating evil regime where'er it may be found, who regards Israeli believers as "an abomination to God", and has stated so on at least two occasions.
Saleem Munayer, architect of the laughingly called Musallakha "reconciliation" program, proudly boasting of the links his family has with notorious terrorists.
Statements to the effect that European Jews have no real connection to the exiled biblical Israelites at all but descendants of a Turkish race called the Khazars, who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. (This kind of fatuous nonsense is usually found on conspiracy theory nutter sites or neo-nazi hate groups but it's very popular with haters of Israel).
At CATC 2014 (and previously) at least the following were apparent:
- A call to theologically divorce the modern state of Israel from any connection to biblical prophetic fulfillment.
- A pressure to de-legitimise Israeli believers as regards to their connection with, and residence in, Israel.
- An attempt to de-legitimise even the Jewish identity of Israelis by redefining them as European impostors with no genetic relation to the seed of Abraham whatsoever.
- To re-educate, indoctrinate and re-program evangelical believers into the Palestinian Liberation Theology narrative, in order to erode and destroy evangelical support for Israel.
- To seduce evangelicals into a moral relativism where an Israeli soldier who may kill terrorists while defending Israeli citizens becomes equated with a Muslim terrorist who deliberately blows up a bus filled with women and children.
- A strong ecumenical element.
The amazing thing about this vile event, and the odious organisations associated with it like Sabeel, Musallakha and the notorious Bethlehem Bible College, is how blatant they have become about both their aims and which dubious organisations theyÂ lovingly embrace and offer their loyalty to. They are completely unabashed about their links with terrorist organisations, evil regimes (who persecute genuine Christians) etc; and yet no CATC adherents seem to notice or care about these things. Quite the contrary in fact. Some like Brother Andrew see Islamic terror acts against the West as "justified". Does not this tell us that those people who support Sabeel, Musalakha, CATC and their associates, have already had their moral sensibilities eroded and been spiritually seduced? They have arrived at a stage of "Ad-Lo-Yada", when they can no longer discern between Haman and Mordechai.
Jacob has often said that while getting our doctrine about Israel right, won't mean that we automatically have everything else right, but if our doctrine about Israel is wrong, then it is axiomatic that something else with our theology will be seriously wrong somewhere. Bad doctrine on a subject as central to biblical theology as Israel, if unrepented of, will sooner or later leave us open to spiritual seduction and error in other areas, so it comes as no surprise, that at a supposedly "evangelical" conference there were ecumenical elements as well.
CATC provides us with a living illustration of the power of spiritual seduction. There is a biblical correlation between spiritual discernment and faithful obedience. On the other hand the willful disobedience, faithlessnessÂ and denial of the Word of God which CATC represents can have terrible consequences, as Paul declares in 2 Thess. 2.
Let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?Â And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; even he , whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Note that it doesn't say here the Antichrist is necessarily making too much effort to hide himself at this point. He has just after all sat in the Temple of God and proclaimed himself to be God;--yet Paul says clearly that those who will be eternally lost at this point, will not be lost solely because of the power of Satanic deception, but because they have been sent a working of error, a strong delusion, from God; because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. They had become so hardened in disobedience that now in response, God hardens them, unto their own destruction. When God hardens, even the most obvious and outrageously unbiblical or ridiculously nonsensical errors (like the Toronto Blessing) or, as in this case, climbing into bed with killers will not shock the deceived into wakefulness. The fact that key figures in CATC are arrogantly cavorting with advocates of terror, mass murder and genocide, and aherents are applauding rather than being appalled, should tell us that this movement has already been given over to strong delusion and a reprobate mind. Nothing illustrates this more than the sorry spectacle of Brother Andrew, once considered a hero of faith for smuggling the Word of God into countries that persecuted and repressed Christians; but now cheer-leading those who would exterminate believers instead. He and other CATC-ites are committing a horrible betrayal of genuine Arab Christians who have the misfortune to live in the Palestinian Authority or other muslim controlled areas; because by cosying up to Islamic terror and providing it with an apologetic, they have sent out a message, that these evil regimes and Islamic groups can do whatever they wish to Christians in their control, and Brother Andrew, Stephen Sizer and those who are [purportedly] their brethren in the Lord at CATC, care not one fig,Â nor will thye so much as lift a finger in protest, because these so-called brethren believe that only those who support Hamas and the PLO have "God on their side".
The Wright Stuff, Satanic Rebranding
Once I worked for a company that wholesaled CCTV equipment. Once I was looking through the product catalogue, and saw differently priced items, that though differently branded looked suspiciously similar. "What's the difference between product X and Y?" I asked, "they look exactly the same. . ." My colleague replied "Yeah they are, it's the same muck, but in a different bucket."
A catchy product name is always important to good marketing and attracting customers. But there is a particular problem for foreign companies trying to introduce their products into Western markets. Understandably an Asian savoury snack that is spelt in English letters as "Only Puke" or a Latin American chocolate bars with names like "Plopp" and "Bimbo" (yes, these are real product names) may lack appeal in the UK. To attract consumers in another part of the world, a product is often given a brand name different from that in its country of origin. Satan understands this principle very well, and so do his agents in CATC. To insert his foreign product (Replacmentism, hatred of Israel, and theological Antisemitism) into the doctrinal thought life of Evangelicals, a certain re-branding is necessary. Thus one of the main supports of the CATC theological attack on biblical prophecy is the so-called "New Perspective" of N.T. Wright. Wright is massively respected in evangelical circles, and seems rather too uncritically revered by some almost to the point of guruism. For them Wright can do no wrong. His opinions are massively influential and unfortunately his work has provided a nicely rebranded, more nuanced Supercessionism and Replacement Theology tailor made for the CATC target market. While I am not accusing Wright of being anti-Semitic, one thing is clear, bona fide theological anti-semites and Israel-haters are adoring his work and lapping it up.
To some extent Wright's re-labelling of "Replacement" as "Fulfillment" Theology has wrong-footed many lovers of Israel, particularly if their theology of Israel is closely based on Left Behind Dispensationalism (which while not being supercessionist, contains serious flaws in its doctrine of Israel), because Wright's anti-Israel theology is expressed in a more nuanced and subtle manner which precisely targets Dispensationalism's grievous weaknesses. Ultimately though underneath all the shiny packaging and new "Fulfilment" or "Enlargement" brand name, is the same old "God has finished with Israel, He never intended to keep His promises regarding the Land to Abraham anyway" etc. Through Wright's view of Israel, God's character is still being called into question by the "Did God really say that . . ." lie of Satan, just as it was in the Garden of Eden. It's the same muck, but a different bucket.
In the third chapter of Esther Haman presents his extermination plans for the Jews, masked behind "betterment of the kingdom". He does this by blackening the Jews in the eyes of the king, while simultaneously hiding/conveniently omitting to mention it is his own hatred of Jews that is the really driving force of his Final Solution initiative. In the same way CATC using terminology like "stopping oppression", "building the kingdom" and "justice" seeks to blacken Israel while remaining mute about massive human rights abuses in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas controlled areas and of course the inconvenient record of their murderous attacks on Israelis and persecution of genuine Christians in Palestinian controlled areas. CATC also seeks to portray those who hold to a literal prophetic hermeneutic (one that believes God actually means what he says); as knuckle-dragging Fundamentalist theological Neanderthals, or worse, gun-toting, Arab-hating, warmongering Christian Zionists bent on precipitating World War Three.
CATC/Sabeel/Musalakha etc, are serious deceptions that pose dangers not only for evangelical support of Israel, but for those who join the Palestinian "Ad-Lo-Yada". For many believers it may be a watershed moment in their spiritual lives or even their eternal destiny. To wed oneself to such movements that have so prostituted themselves to serve as theological front-men for Islamic Antisemitism and terrorism, can only end in a seared conscience. Not only so but because Wright's/CATC take on the Land promises denies literal fulfillment, for those who get taken in by them, we can expect more denials in other areas of prophetic Scripture too,Â and consequently lurches into ever greater error regarding the end times. Scripture says that "that Day should not overtake us as a thief", not that it could not. Those who cast off "the more sure word ofÂ prophecy, to which we would do well to take heed", and slipped their eschatological moorings, being thus cast adrift, may find themselves numbered with those that Day should not have overtaken like a thief but did.
A Publishing Venture
I may have mentioned before that we have become involved in a scheme to work with local congregations to make introductory biblical literature freely available to those requesting it.Â This is a real growth area in the ministry and we would welcome your prayers for its success and development.
The Hebrew Web Site
At long last this is up and running, though there are gaps and things to finish off. One of the main problems we experienced was finding translators who had time and the necessary skills to work on Jacob's articles. This has caused a real bottleneck. Thankfully we now have two more individuals to help with the translation work, though articles still have to be adapted for a Hebrew speaking Israeli audience before translation.
I was going to put a link in here to my blog, but unfortunately I am presently experiencing problems with it. I hope to fix them as soon as I return to Israel, as I am currently out of the country. When I have rectified the problem, you are most welcome to visit it.
May the LORD bless you,
Elon and Hadas
April 16,5, 2014