This year, on Pentecost, hundreds of Christians came to pray for Israel on the southern steps of the Temple Mount. But when they arrived, they found themselves confronted by hundreds of Orthodox Jews who were agitated and attempted to block their entrance to the holy site.
This could have been a watershed moment if the Christian community would have stopped and asked the question, why is our coming to Jerusalem to pray such an offense to the Jewish people? But instead, they pointed the finger and accused the Jews who opposed them of intolerance and oppression of Christians.
Unfortunately, most Christians have little or no understanding of the devastation that has been visited upon the Jewish people in the guise of Christianity, and if they do, most have never taken responsibility for the sins of their forefathers in the faith to restore the relationship. In the Christian Scriptures, it says “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
When the Jewish people hear that the Christians are coming, it does not bring any comfort. Instead, it raises memories of almost 2,000 years of persecutions, expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, and the Holocaust. All of these were done in the name of Christianity because Jews would not convert or submit to the teaching of the gentile church. They held to the promises and covenants that God gave them and would not bow to any other religion or dogma.
Now, after 2000 years, the Jewish people are finally home, they are free to worship, rebuild the ancient cities, restore the Land, and raise their families. The promises of God and the covenants He made with Israel are being fulfilled right before our eyes – and this new generation of Jews are walking the land of their forefathers.
Then they suddenly hear about Christians converging on Jerusalem, coming to pray at the most holy site in Judaism, and when they investigate their websites, they find that Christians are once again coming to pray and convert Jews, stealing them away from the faith of their fathers.
One can understand the questioning of Christian agendas. The Jewish People have been down this road many times before, and now Christians are coming to the very place Jews have finally found refuge, the place God promised to bring them back to—the Land of Israel. Do the Jewish People not have legitimate reason to fear, question, object and protest what could be seen as an invasion by a people who have historically tried to destroy them?
To my Christian friends—we have only reached this miraculous milestone in history because the Jewish people refused to surrender their identity, the Torah, the covenants, and their inheritance. Israel is a country and Jerusalem is the capital because the Jewish people were faithful to the covenant and would not relinquish their calling by the Lord. Christians would not be able to gather at the southern steps of the Temple Mount—it would not have even entered our minds—if God had not brought the Jewish people back to their homeland and given them victory over their enemies.
There are millions of well-meaning Christians around the world, who truly love Israel and are praying for her. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of antisemitic and replacement theological views in our Christian worldview. Much has been done to expose and eradicate the theologies that perpetuate this heresy, but until we start taking responsibility for our past, and show respect and honor to our Jewish brothers and sisters, nothing will change.
Perhaps the cure to this division is simpler than we think; what if we would start humbly living out God’s Word as spoken in Zechariah 8? “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”