Latest update: June 3rd, 2013
So in February of 2006, I brought together 400 of the leading evangelicals in America – pastors of megachurches, guys who did all the television five times a week nationally, people who own the radio and television Christian networks, presidents of universities – people who are the impact people, and I presented the idea about a Christian Night for Israel.
And briefly, I said Israel is in a state of danger, we have a Bible mandate to stand up and speak up for Israel, we have never done anything as a Christian group that gets close to a unified canopy under which every person who calls himself a Bible-believing evangelical can speak up for Israel. And we’re a one-issue organization – Israel, Israel, Israel. Don’t start bringing up all of these evangelical hot button issues about which you’ve been fighting for thirty years, because we have to stay focused on what we’re doing.
And I said we will do a Night to Honor Israel in every major city in America . . . and they all of them stayed, and that’s how I knew God was in the house. And I said we’re going to go once a year to Washington and take as many of our leaders as we can. We’re not going to stand out on the grass and sing “Amazing Grace,” because Congress could care less about “Amazing Grace.”
They only care when you go in their offices, look them in the eye and say “I’m a Christian and I support Israel” and you give them a list of talking points for every one of them, and every senator and every congressmen hears the same message from Americans from Maine to California on one day.
4. In the sermon that caused the current flap, Pastor Hagee cited two biblical sources for his belief that the tragedy of the Holocaust and the miracle of Israel were part of God’s ultimate plan: Jeremiah 16 (which foretold a second Exodus to occur in the future, this time “from the North”) and Ezekiel 37 (which promised that the dead would be reborn in Israel). These are not obscure biblical references. With respect to Jeremiah 16, it may suffice to note a story told in the Jerusalem Post on April 30, 2008 (Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day) – written by former Israeli diplomat Naphtali Lau-Lavie:
Recently, while searching in the Yad Vashem archives, I came across the testimony of a survivor from Treblinka, who later immigrated to Chicago. This is what he wrote:
“In the early morning [on October 21, 1942] we arrived at Treblinka on the transport from our ghetto. On the ramp the selection process had begun. Together with a group of youngsters, I was taken from the crowd and pushed aside. We stood and watched the groups being led in the direction of the gas chambers.
“Suddenly, we heard the familiar, strong voice of our rabbi. He was standing in the midst of the Jews of his community reciting the confessional viduy prayer, said when Jews know they are about to be martyred. The rabbi said a verse, and his “congregation” repeated it after him, verse by verse …”
The Jews described were from the city of Piotrkow in Poland, and the rabbi referred to was my father.
My father’s life was taken at Treblinka after he said the viduy…. At our last meeting, as … we were standing on the doorstep, he recited from Jeremiah 16:6-7: “Both the great and the small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried; neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them; neither shall men break bread for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.”
Then he stopped for a while, looked straight into my eyes, and continued, again from Jeremiah, 13:16: “And there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord. And thy children shall return to their own border.”
Next he addressed me directly: “If you manage to get out of here, go and return to the Land from which we were expelled, because only there will the Jewish people be itself and become strong enough to prevent such tragedies.”
About the Author: Rick Richman, whose work has appeared in The New York Sun, The Tower Magazine, and The Jewish Press, among other publications, is a prolific writer who appears regularly in Commentary magazine and its group Contentions blog, where this originally appeared. He also maintains the Jewish Current Issues blog (www.jpundit.typepad.com/jci/).
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