As a Christian, I say to Mike Bickle: A thousand times no!
Dear Jewish readers,
It was with deep dismay that I read in the February 10 edition of the Times of Israel (which was also published elsewhere) that a 2016 American presidential contender has welcomed the endorsement of an influential Evangelical Christian who holds and propagates some very troubling beliefs.
According to the report — if you missed it — Republican Senator Ted Cruz expressed appreciation for the support given his candidacy by Mike Bickle, the founder of the Kansas City International House of Prayer (IHOP).
Bickle is on the record as saying things about the future of the Jewish people that seriously offend, hurt and probably frighten many Jews unfortunate enough to stumble across his teachings. I do not want to air his statements here — the video at this link has them first hand.
Many of you who hear what he has said may well feel confirmed in your suspicions and well-founded fears about the agenda behind Evangelical support for modern day Israel. You believe that many of us — for I am one such Christian — are energized by and support the return of your people to your ancient land primarily because we believe it will help bring about the fulfillment of Christian interpretations of biblical prophecy, never mind that it is always, always at the expense of the Jews.
I wish to go on the record as personally repudiating — before G-d — everything these recordings say lies ahead for the nation of Israel/the Jewish people (who in my understanding are one and the same). What’s more, I believe every Christian Zionist who has his insight from the pages of the Bible, rather than from the teachings of popular prophecy experts, will spurn and denounce such views.
At the heart of them, these views predict a totally devastating future for the Jews — death camps and a holocaust that will exceed the Shoah in horror and murder — leaving 10 to 14 million Jews slaughtered and the remaining five to seven million converted to Christianity.
In essence, what such preachers are saying is that G-d will force-convert Jews to believe in Jesus as Messiah at the ‘point of a sword’ — just as Crusaders and Cossacks and Inquisitors all sought to do. On top of that, they hold that G-d would lure His ancient Chosen People into a trap, promising them peace and safety back in their land, but all the while intending to let the wolves into the sheepfold He has brought them back to, only to tear two-thirds of them apart.
(It is noteworthy that ISIS and other Muslim clerics preach the same thing — that Allah has brought the Jews back from the four corners of the world to their great graveyard. Thankfully, the Allah of Radical Islam and the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not the same being at all.)
What a sick, twisted interpretation of the Scriptures that carry such a weight of wonderful promise for your re-gathered and restored people; how frightfully misrepresentative of the words and guaranteed assurances of the One who calls Himself the G-d and the Shepherd of Israel.
What I want to say as clearly as I can, is that the Christian beliefs that inform me — and inform other Christian Zionists like me who wish to devote our lives to standing with and fighting for Israel — are jam-packed with a strong message of hope for the future of your entire nation.
Yes, the Bible — starting with Moses and all the prophets at their time of writing — did foretell a bleak history for Israel. Because of their unfaithfulness to G-d, your ancestors were mass slaughtered and driven from the land into the captivity of the Diaspora — not once but twice. And as Moses said would happen, you wandered among the nations with no place to rest your feet and fearful of how you would survive.
But what we know to be true is that, from where we stand on the timeline of Israel’s history, that is the bleak path that has already been taken; that path is behind you, behind your nation that has endured and miraculously emerged from 2,000 years of bleakness — of unending persecution and repeated efforts to exterminate them.
You Jews barely survived. It’s a miracle that you did at all. But you did, because the same G-d who warned of the curses that would come upon you pledged that He would cover a remnant of you with His hand to preserve you. And that He would restore that remnant to the place He gave exclusively and forever to be your land.
You have come out of darkness into the bright light of G-d’s mercy and grace that is rising once again over Zion. The Bible tells us that He has brought you back to do you good and not evil in your land. And that He will not cease from doing you good. Be at peace about this. Yes, there is danger and there is hatred and in this generation too there are those who rise up to seek to destroy you. But Israel, in the words of your G-d through Isaiah, you have as a nation paid double for your sins. And your G-d, our G-d, calls us to comfort you, His people, and says that He will make us Gentiles who love and worship Him to be with you as His people.
Like Ruth the Moabitess clung to Naomi, we choose to cling to you and ask you to let us go with you into the future because we have heard that G-d is with you.
You have a guaranteed glorious future, dear people of Israel. Only be strong and of good courage, for the L-RD your G-d goes before you, to safeguard and plant you in this land, never to uproot you again. He has promised to gather you back in your own land and to keep you here as a Shepherd keeps His sheep.
Trust Him. You know that you can. I do. He has always been faithful to His Word