Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

Times change.

They sure do.

Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was interested in visiting the Holy Land. Most of us know what that refers to: Israel. The land of the Bible.

My friend is a good man, but it’s not the only time he’s referred to Israel as “the Holy Land.” In fact, I’ve never heard him say “Israel,” except in the context of a Bible passage, particularly the Hebrew Scriptures.

The “Holy Land” is often a way for American Christians to avoid saying “Israel.” Israel, you see, is controversial. Israel oppresses the Palestinians, or takes too much annually in aid from the U.S. Or…well, there are so many excuses.

From Zechariah 2:12:

“And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”

So there is a biblical precedent for using the term, and I don’t have a problem with it. I really don’t.

Billy Graham can still say it.

Billy Graham can still say it.

I do have a problem with Christians who can’t form the word Israel when talking about the modern incarnation.

It’s been my experience that mainline Christians primarily say Holy Land rather than Israel, but it is increasingly becoming the rage within Evangelicalism. It is jarring today to hear a Southern Baptist or even a Pentecostal stick a tongue to the roof of his mouth to avoid saying Israel.

On the one hand, it’s a political issue. A “politically correct” issue. But on the other, more important hand, it’s a spiritual issue. If Christians are loath to say “Israel,” then I loathe their distaste for the name.

Intolerance for modern Israel is a growing spiritual sickness in the American church.

It is an unholy thing.

As spring approaches, travel plans are made for the coming year. One of the best decisions you can make this year is to visit Israel. I have several times and plan to do so again.

In my small hometown here in the States, I walked out of the post office the other day and was glad to hear birds singing, their songs echoing off the stone walls along the street. It reminded me very much of Jerusalem, Jaffa, and other exotic locales in Israel. There, flowers, bird song, fresh air, and swirling history are among the things that make a visit to Israel truly one-of-a-kind. I say this as an American Christian.

People often ask me about visiting Israel. Is it safe? Isn’t it expensive? Lots of questions and I’m happy to answer all of them. I feel safer in Israel than I do anywhere else, except for perhaps my back deck, which looks out on a forest, deer, and other of God’s creatures. Israel is very good at security, and I know personally you and yours would be safe there.

A trip abroad does have some significant cost, but it’s not doing to destroy your budget, and you might think of it this way: in order to have a real trip-of-a-lifetime, can you do without that new big-screen television this year? Can you wait until next year and continue to watch your two-year-old TV? I can tell you from much personal experience that visiting Israel is not as expensive as you might think. I have stayed in hotels ranging from the affordable (and wonderful!) Christ Church Guesthouse, just inside Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City…to the fabled King David Hotel and the equally plush American Colony Hotel. My bank account survived all in fine shape.

Perhaps you have a shot at just one trip in this life to Israel. Perhaps you are considering taking your first (of many) trips there. Whatever situation you are in, I say: GO!

You will never regret it.

The lush northern Galilee (credit: Israel Ministry of Tourism)

The lush northern Galilee (credit: Israel Ministry of Tourism)

As we close out another tumultuous year, half of America is hopeful and half is committed to Alinsky-style political harassment.

Barack Obama stands in the middle of all of it.

For too long, American conservatives hoped against hope that Obama’s nasty attitude toward Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu was simply an anomaly, and that he didn’t really dislike Jews or Israel.

Such hope ignored Obama’s radical background, steeped as he is in Marxist thought and, for our purposes here, a decidedly pro Palestinian bent.

The Muslim Quarter, Jerusalem's Old City.

The Muslim Quarter, Jerusalem’s Old City.

Yet his recent order to abstain from voting on UN Security Council Resolution 2334—which condemns Israeli “settlements”—is considered breathtaking, even as he prepares to leave office in three weeks.

The truth is, Obama wishes to significantly weaken Israel, and this is obvious even to the user-friendly media he has relied on for eight years.

Jake Novak of CNBC notes that the eyelash-size country in a sea of mammoth Muslim nations commands a great deal of attention from world powers:

“It’s safe to say that for a tiny nation the size of New Jersey, Israel commands an unjustified amount of the world’s attention. It can even be called an obsession.”

The supreme irony here is that while Obama & Friends (international political leaders, diplomats, religious figures, media hacks) would laugh at the idea, their obsession with the Jewish state is a direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Zechariah 14:1 speaks of a coming time when Israel and Jerusalem will become an obsession for the international community:

“A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.”

We are at a seminal moment in history. Pro Israel forces battle with pro Palestinian forces, and on any given day, each side seems to grow stronger. But for those of you with a mind open enough to consider that Bible prophecy is legitimate, hear the sad words of the prophet Jeremiah (30:13,14):

“There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you.”

We are not there, yet. Israel still has friends in high places.

But the Day is coming. The Normandy invasion of World War 2 was called “The Day of Days.” However, the true Day of Days—the great Day of the Lord as spoken of in Scripture—is still future.

It is coming. And fast.

In a recent tweet, “progressive Christian” Shane Claiborne is helping his Palestinian friends advance their propaganda in the West. Claiborne encourages viewers to check out a video about how tear gas canisters (used by the Israel Defense Forces, of course, the New Nazis as claimed by the PLO) are being made into Christmas ornaments.

It’s all part of Claiborne’s coordinated effort with other pro Palestinian, Western religious figures to convince the masses that “peacemaking” is what the Palestinians are really all about. Claiborne & Friends are unhappy over the fact that most Americans are pro Israel. In fact, a recent Gallup poll shows that 62 percent favor Israel, while only 15 percent side with the Palestinians. Claiborne and friends like Tony Campolo fervently wish to reverse those numbers.

But as usual, the seemingly affable Claiborne gives us half the story, and usually a distorted one at that. For example, he doesn’t appear to make videos about Christmas ornaments made from bomb belts carried by Palestinian homicide bombers into Israeli areas, where they are used to blow Jews to bits.

Those bloody facts put a kink in the chain Claiborne wishes to wrap Israel in, and is just one more proof that the useful idiots in the West are often willing to be so useful.

It’s no accident that progressives in religious circles idolize Barack Obama. His stand-down—while a half-million men, women, and children are butchered in Syria—stands in contrast to his rage at Israel over building homes, businesses, and apartments in their ancestral land.

A Palestinian bomb belt, packed with washers, intended to kill Jews.

A Palestinian bomb belt, packed with washers, intended to kill Jews.

It’s fascinating to note that “progressive Christians” can defame Israel, even while visiting Israel(!), and no one harms them. They have freedom of religion and freedom of speech courtesy the only democracy in the Middle East.

But let them smoke weed and sing Kumbaya and make Christmas ornaments in Aleppo, or Gaza, or Ramallah, or Yemen, and see how far they get.