Pray for the Catholic leaders in the Middle East
A new headline in the Jerusalem Post reads: “Vatican synod calls for end to Israel’s ‘occupation’: At conference on Christians in the Middle East, US Melkite archbishop says: ‘There is no longer a chosen people.’” The New York Times headline reads: “Bishops at Meeting Urge Israel to End Its Occupation of Palestinian Territories.” The Times reported: “In a final communiqué at the end of a two-week-long meeting at the Vatican on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, the bishops also urged Israel not to use the Bible ‘to wrongly justify injustices,’ apparently referring to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. But in a news conference Saturday, the archbishop in charge of the committee that drafted the communiqué, Cyrille Salim Bustros, appeared to go further, saying the Bible did not justify a Jewish presence in Israel. ‘The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians,” he said. “Sacred scripture should not be used to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestine.’” But with all due respect, the Vatican leaders who spoke out at the final press conference saying that the Jews are no longer the Chosen People and that the Bible cannot be used to justify Israel’s ownership of the Holy Land are wrong on this issue. The entire Bible — from Genesis to Revelation — makes crystal clear again and again the Lord’s love for the Jewish people, His decision to choose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants for His very own, and His eternal promise to give the Holy Land to the Jewish people.
What’s more, the Apostle Paul prophetically anticipated that the Christians in Rome would one day think that God would reject the Jewish people and His promises to them because many Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah. So Paul wrote this in his letter to the Romans, chapter 11, verse 1 and 2: “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” The New Testament again and again affirms the Lord’s love for the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel. Indeed, in the Book of Revelation, we specifically see the nation of Israel regathered and playing a key role in the End Times. God defends Israel. God fights for Israel against her enemies. God blesses Israel and the Jewish people. And then the Lord Jesus Christ Himself comes with His saints to reign from Jerusalem. To deny such truths is to deeply and fundamentally misunderstand the Word of God.
Please pray for the Catholic leaders in the Middle East that they would study the Bible more carefully, and that the Holy Spirit would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see God’s heart for the Jewish people, that they are the “chosen people,” and that He did give them the land of Israel. Please pray, too, that Church leaders of all denominations would develop a deeper Biblical understanding of God’s heart for Israel and her neighbors, and show great love and compassion to all the people of the epicenter.