Beinstein column: Israeli treatment an eerie reminder of Biblical prophecy
The scriptures teach us, “Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed.” Look at Israel’s enemies, and it seems as if this Biblical prophecy is eerily coming true.
China’s government, for example, refuses to let a construction firm do work in the West Bank (or as religious people say, Judea and Samaria), because of Israeli settlements. At the same time, look at all of the pressure China’s government is under for its unfair trading practices.
Move to Russia and look at its support for Israel’s chief enemy, Iran. Russia, meanwhile, has a terrible economy with a public anxious for more rights and opportunities.
And how about the European Union? Whenever it gets a chance, it gangs up on Israel, using the pretense of civilization to engage in anti-Semitism. And look at the massive problems being caused my mass migration these days.
And then turn to America. For all its flaws, things seem to be pretty good in America. And outside of Israel itself, the most religious Jews feel no other country is as generous to Israel as the USA is, and more specifically, no leader as much as Donald Trump.
Walk around the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and you’ll hear, “Trump is truly doing great things for Israel.” From vacating the Iran deal to establishing the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the most pious Jews feel as if the Jewish Messiah is closer now than ever before.
Who knows, they argue, with a picture of Trump’s Israel ambassador next to a proposed building of a Third Temple, the rebuilding of the Temple might be here pretty soon. And evangelical Christians match this religious fervor. Sworn believers in the Book of Revelation, many Christians feel that to hasten Christ’s return for the rapture, the Jews needs to be in Israel and a Third Temple must be built.
All of which turns to a larger question: Have Jews and Christians ever been this in love? It wasn’t too long ago that American Christians refused Jewish refugees into America during the 1930s. And now you have Christians addicted to Israeli politics as much as Jews are. At the same time, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quoted the New Testament (Matthew 7:16) at a UN speech condemning Iran. And watch Netanyahu’s special, Israel: The Royal Tour, and you’ll hear many references to Jesus.
The truth is that shortly after the death of Christ, Jews and Christians faced the same persecution under the Roman Empire. And now all over the world, Christians and Jews that emphasize God over the civil religion of their country have been and continue to be in danger. But this seems to be bringing the two religions together.
Jews reach out to the “righteous gentiles” who observe the Seven Laws of Noah. And Christians still cite Paul’s epistle to the Romans, that God never revoked his covenant with the Jews as His chosen people.
American history itself matches this Philo-Semitism. Interestingly enough, each of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore did something special for Jews.
George Washington gave a famous speech at a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, outlining the importance of religious freedom for “the children of the Stock of Abraham.”
Thomas Jefferson ensured equal civil and political rights for Jews in his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Abraham Lincoln allowed rabbis, for the first time ever, to serve as co-equal members of the chaplain division of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He also dreamed of visiting Jerusalem during his last full day here on earth.
And Teddy Roosevelt supported a Jewish state in Palestine during the early 20th century before it became popular to do so. He also appointed the first ever U.S. Jewish Cabinet Secretary, Oscar Straus.
Trouble is certainly ahead for all the peoples and nations of the world. But as the Bible makes clear, He might just grant special Providence for those that look out for Israel. And watch out for those who don’t.
Alex Beinstein is a millennial who writes from Carbondale and grew up in Aspen. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent.