PHARISEE WATCH: Not Right, Not Following Christ
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http://www.straitgateministry.net/ (then click Pharisee Watch)
The Christian Right: Not Right, Not Following Christ
Charles E. Carlson
Christian Right pastors and spokesmen in thousands of churches swear that Israel has a biblical right to bomb Gaza and Lebanon. They teach that to resist Israel is to interfere with God's Plan. The normally Israeli-sympathetic network media is giving wings to the neo-theology of the Christian Right. We continue to examine the scriptural error and the media's willingness to support it.
A recent story in the Baltimore Sun reveals a rare honest glimpse of the weapons superiority of Israel over Lebanon's rebel Hezbollah. While The Sun report made little mention of Israel's offensive weapons it does describe its technical superiority, and it described the so called Katyusha rockets that Hezbollah uses as "a cheap metal tube stuffed with fuel at one end and explosives at the other," that "no one can guide or control." (1)
In Contrast, a story by Haaretz, an Israel leading daily, on July 22 reveals an unannounced rush deal has been consummated to provide US high precision guided missiles to Israel. And last year we know that depleted uranium warhead "Bunker Busters" used in Iraq and Afghanistan, were delivered to Israel. (2)
Why do the Christian Right pastors and spokesmen in thousands of churches swear that Israel is right? Because God ordained Israel's acts, they tell us, but not one can present a credible argument from scripture. A real life example of "God told them to do it" comes from our local Christian Right community. Darien Bennett is one of several pastors at upscale Scottsdale Bible Church, a success story with a membership of 6000. Bennett received substantial airspace to promote his views on Saturday, July 15, Channel 5's, 10:00 PM news.
Bennett was clearly supportive of the bombing of Lebanon because it fits his biblical view of "Armageddon," the "rapture" and the "end times." Pastor Bennett let it be known to CBS listeners that he believes the invasion of Lebanon might well be part of the end time scenario involving God and Magog of Ezekiel (Chapter 39 of Ezekiel), who are destined, he expounded, to do battle with the Israelis in the "end times." No contrasting view was presented.
Pastor Bennett displayed a large study bible open to the book of Ezekiel, from which he made reference to the Lebanese cities of Tyre and Sidon which he says God prophesied to be destroyed in the book of Ezekiel. (Sidon and Tyre are the 3rd and 4th largest cities in today's Lebanon.) Bennett let it be known he sees the destruction as likely signs that God's march toward Armageddon is by way of Gaza and Lebanon. His unspoken message came across loud and clear on Channel 5:
"Israel's war is God's war and let no man stand in the way."
Tens of thousands of preachers who think like Pastor Bennett carry, preach from, and lean on the Scofield Reference Bible, which has been edited as a manual to justify Israel's concocted right to take the land of the Philistines by force. The bombing on Beirut is justified by Pastor Bennett by 2500 year-old prophetic references to the destruction of ancient cities of Sidon and Tyre, cities in today's Lebanon.
God planned this war all along according to Pastor Bennett, and Ezekiel's prophesy in the 39th chapter, makes it is all part of the "End Times," as the world is approaching the Armageddon experience. In his eyes God hand on Israel is now destroying Sidon and Tyre, with Beirut thrown in for good measure. He is sure no Christian would want to defy God by siding with anyone but Israel.
Some Christian-Zionists leaders as well as Israeli secularists have also quoted the beautiful Christian book of Isaiah as justification for Israel to destroy the state of Syria. We will no doubt hear a lot more of this as the administration and Israel scheme together for an excuse to bomb Damascus. "Unfulfilled" prophesy of the decimations of Damascus, Syria, is buried in this old book of Isaiah, which the Israelis would be quite happy to fulfill:
1 Behold, DAMASCUS is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from DAMASCUS, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.
Some Israeli-Zionists already claim this is an excuse to invade Syria. A contemporary Israeli book talks of Israel's destiny to nuke Damascus. If the USA gives Israel the green light to nuke the millions in Damascus the Christian-Zionists would flock to Isaiah 17 to proclaim it is God's will. More deadly Christian-Zionists scrabble, which would seem nonsensical if it were not so evil.
Damascus is incidental in the book of Isaiah, which is and always has been a warning to a corrupt Israelite people leading to a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, Christianity's Lord Jesus Christ. The ancient Israelites rejected this prophesy, just as Isaiah predicted, and just as the modern Israelis reject Jesus today.
But Frederick Handel did not ignore the meaning of Isaiah when he wrote his magnificent "Messiah" using many verses and phrases taken from this wonderful prophesy of hope, which is sung and heard by millions every Christmas. (Isaiah 53):
"He was despised, rejected, a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief"
"All we like sheep, have gone astray, and turned, every one, to his own way"
"And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
and many more beautiful lines for those who follow Christ. Isaiah promised that the fallen monarchy of King David would be restored, and all Christians believe that from his chain of linage a carpenter of Galilee named Joseph became the adopter-father of Jesus Christ. The purpose and message of this book was to foretell the Messiah whom the Jews of today ignore and denounce; it was not a declaration of war on the 4 million Arabs who are trying to live in Damascus, as Israelis and Christian-Zionists would have it.
How can any one fail to notice that the captured Israeli corporal was not "kidnapped" as if he was a little girl with a lollypop grabbed at the day school; he was an Israeli soldier on active duty in an ongoing war in Gaza he was likely nabbed on Lebanese turf, and he is a prisoner of war by any measure. His captors (Hezbollah) acted humanly not to kill him, as they could obviously have done. Hezbollah is no more or less than displaced Palestinians and sympathizers in Lebanon who have formed a resistance to the ongoing 55 year old imprisonment and exiling of their kin,
Israel holds some 8000 Palestinians captive, who were mostly captured on their own home ground and who have been removed to Israel and are held without trial. But the press does not make this 8000 to 1 comparison. It labels democratically elected Hamas "terrorists' but supports Israel's claim to have a right to assassinate and replace the government elected by the imprisoned Philistines of Gaza city. This is rarely mentioned on CBS, and Pastor Bennett may never have thought of it.
Whenever Israel incinerates a Gaza family in their home they are usually identified with a "suspected" terrorist, a Hamas official, or are someone thought to have fired homemade rockets. But the press has never, not once, investigated these reports to find out if the characterizations are truth or propaganda. The dead are forgotten before they are in the ground, and the label becomes permanent because there is no one to protest!
Restoring an Affordable Policy of Peace. by this author stated:
Mr. Bush has already spent all his political power and will be lucky to ride out his term in one piece. The Warmakers need a proxy front man to start the next war, and provide an excuse for the USA to be drawn into it. That proxy is Israel; US citizens pay the bills. (2)
The Christian-Right-Zionists trade on a deadly game of scriptural scrabble that kills every day in the Mideast. Those who are Jesus followers can be rescued from their leaders because they will recognize truth and can respond to common sense. Many evangelical Christian churchgoers and pastors are not Christian Zionists, they are simply involved in the culture of the mega church. This writer was one of these and was corrected by someone with a well-studied view of scriptures, coupled with a modicum of good judgment. I am not the only one.
Pastor Bennett and every pastor needs to be told that those who support un-Christian serial killings in the name of God have the blood of the innocent on their hands. The Christian Right is not right about preserving life, therefore, it cannot follow Christ, they mock him. Religious leaders bear an added responsibility for veracity because they are trusted; therefore, they need to be called to account directly in front of their congregations. This is the mission of Project Strait gate. Join it. (5.)
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