No doubt you’ve heard 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
And while there is much to celebrate about what Martin Luther accomplished with the 95 theses he nailed to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Oct. 31, 1517, and the work he and others continued over the next 100 years, we should never overlook the dark side.
In 1618, the 30 Years War began, taking the lives of 8 million Europeans caught up in religious conflict.
In 2017, we’re still feeling the effects of the anti-Semitism and “replacement theology” that was spread by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant movement.
The gift Luther gave us was a return to Sola Scriptura – the Bible only. But the reform movement was selective in which portions of Scripture it actually heeded – especially when it came to the Israel-centric nature of the entire Bible.
Here’s a little bit of what Luther wrote about the Jews: “What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we cannot tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses and blasphemy. In this way we cannot quench the inextinguishable fire of divine rage nor convert the Jews. We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity. Perhaps we may save a few from the fires and flames [of hell]. We must not seek vengeance. They are surely being punished a thousand times more than we might wish them. Let me give you my honest advice. … their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.”
Maybe, after 500 years, it’s time for a New Reformation focused on the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith, something Luther evidently missed. Did Luther overlook Deuteronomy 32:21? “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.”
Who are those which were not a people in Moses’ time? Who is that “foolish nation”?
They are Christians over the last nearly 2,000 years. We have not very often provoked His chosen people to jealousy with our love.
If you are not familiar with this verse in Deuteronomy, maybe you know this one from Romans 10:19: “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”
We are that foolish nation. And have we ever behaved foolishly for too long.
Jealousy is not prompted by threats and terror. It’s prompted by love and obedience to God.
This new reformation should begin, in my opinion, with one big, heartfelt apology to the Jewish people and God for the grievous sins of Christians over the last 1,700 years. It should be followed by an outpouring of love for the children of Israel – God’s chosen people who gave us His Word.
May I give you a few key verses to ponder?
- “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
- “… that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rains on the just and the unjust. … Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:45, 48)
- “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
It’s simply inconceivable that one can think God is through with Israel and still believe in the literal fulfillment of Scripture. Because not only is every historical aspect of the Bible Jewish, but so is the future tense – the as-yet-unfulfilled prophecies of Jesus’ return and what those prophecies say about the coming millennial kingdom.
Perhaps it’s time for Christians to put aside the traditions and customs they inherited from their “church fathers” and get back to Sola Scriptura, as the Reformation tried to do but fell short.
Can’t make it to Israel in November? How about another opportunity for study on a spectacular cruise to Alaska with Farah and Hebrew-roots pioneer Mark Biltz?
Watch Farah’s invitation to the cruise adventure in Alaska:
Here’s a preview of WND’s Israel tour this year:
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