Clecturer specializing in biblical prophecy, unconditional lover of Israel, Luke Henrist was kind enough to answer a few questions on a subject where everything and its opposite is said and repeated. I wanted to encourage this tireless fighter to allow him to remind us of some essential truths of the Bible and to teach us about what should be a just and balanced position in relation to Israel ...
Luc Henrist, you are a lover of Israel, where you lived for 10 years before being the pastor of a Messianic assembly. I get straight to the heart of the matter: can we live without loving Israel?
We can live without loving Israel as some live without loving God… But is it really living? One person said that a born again Christian cannot hate Israel because love for the Jewish people is something that one automatically receives when one gives oneself to the Lord. I don't quite agree with this statement because I know many sincere Christians who love God but have no affinity for the Jewish people (I did for many years). In addition, this notion of "loving Israel" can also mean "loving the people of Israel" and there, unfortunately, we must admit that for the vast majority of Christians today, the answer is no because they believe that if we "love Israel" (as a country) that means that we agree with everything that this country does… Which is far from being the case (it is the same thing with all the countries of the world). You have to "love" Israel from a biblical and not a political perspective!
Why is Israel a taboo subject, even in churches? And who is responsible for the lack of knowledge on the issue?
If we don't look at God's clock, we don't know what time it isIt is obvious that the Christians of the 21st century no longer take the time to read the Bible like the Christians of the 20th century. And this is certainly one of the reasons why there is such a lack of knowledge (not only about Israel but also on other subjects). Christians who experienced the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948 and the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 were able to make the connection with what they had read in the Bible and rejoiced! If that were to happen now, most Christians would not be able to make the connection. In addition, we must admit that the “political correctness” which prevails in our society and the fear of offending someone, mean that most pastors / teachers no longer dare to broach this subject because, as I have been told already said, "it is a subject which creates divisions". So yes, it has become a “taboo” subject, even in our schools where we no longer dare to teach the “Shoah”.
What is happening to our youth and what is the urgency of the hour according to you? Is there anything missing from the “Full Gospel”?
For the young Christian, the subject of Israel is directly linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because, once again, he does not base his opinion on his Bible but on what journalists or other young people say about it. Few of the young people (but there are some!) Who have taken the trouble to read their Bibles and listen to a speech other than the anti-Israel propaganda with which we are watered every day ... The urgency is that "Israel is the clock of God" but that if we no longer look at this clock (from a biblical and eschatological perspective), we will not know what time it is, and we risk missing the appointment of God. If we say we proclaim “the whole Gospel” then we must teach the priority place of Israel (as a people and as a country) in our churches. The New Testament clearly exposes this dimension, but we must have the courage to broach this subject… Most “Bible schools” do not dare broach this subject either, and therefore the young people who will be the pastors of tomorrow will be ignorant and unable to teach about it.
Can Romans 11 help us in our understanding of God's plan for Israel?
Let us be grateful to the Jews for the salvation!Certainly ! Moreover, all those who have done Bible school have learned (at least in my time…) that Romans chapters 9, 10 and 11 clearly set out the role of Israel in God's plan. Romans 11 became my “hobbyhorse” because I realized that it is a chapter that is very rarely discussed in our churches… And yet this chapter is very clear and very well written. Paul uses simple language that is accessible to everyone, even using an illustration to make us understand that non-Jews are in fact like branches of a "wild" olive tree that have been grafted onto the "blunt" olive tree ( the people of Israel of which Jesus was a part) whom God chose to reveal himself to the world! As Jesus said (John 4:22) "Salvation comes from the Jews". So what should be our attitude towards these people? An attitude of gratitude, love, compassion, support and intercession. A whole program, which I discuss in detail in multiple TV shows visible on Club 700.
Now let's talk about the Theology of Substitution. Is it a theology based on pride, is it disdain or downright a serious heresy?
I think it is a bit of the three ... It is a heresy because this notion that the Church has "replaced" Israel is not found anywhere in the Bible. And it is the consequence of the pride of the Church which, from the first times, wanted to be superior, more important than the Jewish people. And yet the Apostle Paul rightly warned non-Jews about their attitude towards the Jews: “do not brag at the expense of these branches (the Jews)…” (Romans 11:18) Unfortunately, we can clearly see this spiritual boasting among most Christians. There is a form of disdain which has led some Christians to repeat and even propagate anti-Semitic stereotypes which have resulted in the persecution of the Jews: "They are deicides, they are stingy, they have a stiff neck, they are enemies of the Gospel, they plot to take world power, etc. ”
And on the other side, what do you think of Covenant Theology, promoted by John Hagee?
Some Christians come to Israel like elephantsFirst of all, I think that we should not “throw out the baby with the bathwater”. Let me explain: I do not agree with this theology which says that it is not necessary to announce the Gospel to the Jews because God has a plan for them. But that doesn't mean to reject everything that says John hagee… It's like with Martin Luther, I do not agree with some of his statements / writings (especially on the Jews) but we must recognize that he still launched a movement of return to the Word! Nevertheless, I would like to “tone down” this notion of “evangelizing” the Jews a little because the problem is that some Christians are so “zealous” to “convert” the Jews that they arrive in Israel like elephants in a porcelain store and once left, it is the local assemblies which must "pick up the pieces" ... Sharing the Gospel is not "brainstorming" or a "Crusade" (which brings back bad memories to Jews) but the commitment of one person to another who shares out of love and not in order to add a person to his or her list ...
Many claim to be “anti-Zionists”. What are they arguing, perhaps without knowing it?
I am going to quote Pastor (Baptist) Martin Luther King who is best known as a "defender of human rights" but who in fact did not defend only blacks ... Here is what he said in 1968: "When people criticize Zionism, they think of the Jews. So, it is indeed a question of anti-Semitism ... "This is also the observation of Pierre-André Taguieff (CERN) who shows in his book" The new Judeophobia ", the fact that the old European anti-Semitism has changed. in anti-Zionism which encourages hatred of Israel and claims that it is a racist state. You should know that the very first Zionist, according to the Bible, is God Himself because He encourages the "return to Zion" many times! In reality, the rebirth of the state of Israel is due, in large part, to "Zionist" Christians such as Henri Dunant (founder of the Red Cross) or Lord Arthur Balfour (British Prime Minister). By the way, you have to go visit a brand new museum who presents these "friends of Zion" in Jerusalem!
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