JewishIsrael Responds to Rav Eliezer Melamed's View of the Christian Role in Prophecy (Part 1)

The following is part one of JewishIsrael's rebuttal to Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’s article,"Christians Fulfilling the Prophecy of Isaiah", as it appeared in the Times of Israel on September 17, 2013. Quotation from Rabbi Melamed's article, below in red, are followed by JewishIsrael's response.

Rav Melamed: "Since the foundation of the State of Israel, the numbers of philo-Semitic evangelicals have increased. They see with their own eyes how the Jewish people is returning to its land…They see new settlements and vineyards flowering in the very areas described by the Bible, and they areexcited by our miraculous return to Zion. They are overwhelmed by the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of the prophets of Israel."

 “… Jews must deal with the question of how to relate to friendly Christians. For close to two thousand years, Christians have persecuted the Jewish people – murdering, debasing, expelling, or forcibly converting them. How is it that suddenly Christians love us?...

 “…The most serious problem we have with Christianity is its denial of God’s choice of the Jewish people and of the eternal relevance of the Torah. Christians have classically believed in supersessionism, maintaining that they have replaced the Jews and that the Torah and its commandments are no longer binding. Because of these beliefs, they caused us a tremendous amount of suffering.”

 “…It seems that Christian philo-Semites are undergoing a very impressive process of elevation never previously experienced by Christianity. Therefore, with the appropriate caution, we are spiritually and ethically obligated to relate to this process very positively."

 

JewishIsrael responds:

 

The reality of the State of Israel has prompted evangelical leadership to re-think their attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. However, JewishIsrael feels that it is premature to usher in a new and unprecedented era of Christian love for the Jew.   

 

JewishIsrael's academic advisor, Professor Richard Landes, notes that far from being unprecedented, philo-Semitism is part of a millennial pattern in history. Millennial Christian movements, which are strongly philo-Judaic, can become anti-Semitic or turn to an aggressive conversionary agenda after their "outreach" to the Jews fails or when apocalyptic expectations don't materialize.

 

In fact, there are an increasing number of reports which are raising concerns about a possible change in attitude among evangelicals which does not bode well for Israel. A recent example:

"One obvious problem is that, for Christians, a literal interpretation of the Bible is keyed to the New Testament, which announces God’s covenant with man through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The people that evangelicals are supposed to bless, the Jews, don’t believe in Jesus as the messiah. At a certain point, evangelical support for Israel based on a literal reading of scripture has to confront the thorny question: Why support a state that by definition rejects Christ?

'That’s precisely the question some pro-Palestinian evangelicals are asking,’ says Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. ’Evangelical support for Israel and the fact that Jews don’t believe in the risen Christ is always going to be in tension,' says Van Zile." (Tablet Magazine, November 6, 2013)

 

God's Choice of the Jewish People

Jewish return to the land of Israel has done much to inspire Christian end-days scriptural aspirations. The recognition of the "chosenness" of the Jewish people has fueled the modern and unfortunately successful missionary movement which, according to today's statistics, has claimed hundreds of thousands of Jewish souls - including a significant toll in Israel. Indeed one of the most virulent and aggressive missionary organizations targeting Jews today is named "Chosen People Ministries". The current evangelical rhetoric referring to the Jews as "God's Chosen" is in no way indicative of a dramatic reversal in Christianity's conversionary doctrine or theological dogma. 

 

Supersessionism/Replacement Theology

Contrary to Rabbi Melamed's understanding, Supersessionism or Replacement Theology is still being preached to many millions of evangelical believers by "pro-Israel" pastors, such as Nigerian Mega-Church leader Pastor Enoch Adeboye, whom Rabbi Melamed himself hosted not too long ago.

 

In 2011, Rav Melamed participated in a widely disseminated Shomron Liaison Office media campaign which welcomed and honored Adeboye of the international Pentecostal denomination known as "The Redeemed Christian Church of God" (RCCG). Adeboye, sometimes referred to as the "African Pope", was invited to Israel by Shomron Regional Council Governor Gershon Mesika. Pastor Adeboye teaches what can only be described as  Supersessionist Replacement Theology to his purported millions of disciples (RCCG also has several parishes throughout Israel):

 

"The physical Jews expect Isaiah 49:23 to be fulfilled but they failed to realise that a change has occurred. These promises have now been transferred to the Church. Any physical Jew who fails to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will together with other unbelievers bow to us Christians someday."

 

"If you are a spiritual Jew- a Jew by reason of your new birth experience in Christ Jesus, you qualify to claim all the promises God made to Abraham. So what happens to the nation of Israel? To be relevant, they have to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and become a part of His Body- the Church."

 

The Shomron Regional Council's marketing of Adeboye in a media blitz ran from August through October 2011. The campaign featured Adeboye with Rav Melamed in a video press conference. Photos of Pastor Adeboye and Hayovel's Tommy Waller with Shomron leadership appeared in large ads in Israeli newspapers and magazines. There were plenty of photo-ops.

 

Yet perhaps the most disgraceful moment caught on camera is posted at the RCCG Israel website, featuring Shomron councilmen Gershon Mesika, David Ha'ivri and Yossi Dagan seated at a dinner table with none other than Israel's #1 street missionary and meshumad,  Yaakov Damkani and his wife, Elisheva.

 

[NOTE: In February, 2013, Damkani posted pictures of himself among Jewish children in the Shomron]

 

The gala event was arranged by then Israel Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov to honor Pastor Adeboye for his generosity and support for Israel. JewishIsrael notes that Gershon Mesika traveled to London in April 2012 for Pastor Adeboye's 70th birthday celebration.

 

In his article, Rabbi Melamed stated that, “we are spiritually and ethically obligated to relate to this process [of Christianity's elevation] very positively”, albeit with "appropriate caution".

 

It will become evident as this full report unfolds that appropriate caution is not being exercised and that there may be very practical, spiritual and ethical problems with the parties who are advising Rabbi Melamed on Jewish-Christian relations.

 

Part 2 of this report will challenge Rabbi Melamed's view of Tommy Waller and Waller’s Hayovel Ministries and will expose Hayovel's past and present missionary agenda.

 

Related Reports:

 

A JewishIsrael Statement of Concern: Regarding Rav Melamed's Position in Support of Messianic Christian Volunteers

 

"Jumping the Geula Gun" - a Response by Rabbi Sholom Gold to Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

 

Shomron Leaders Court Christian Missionaries Who Target Jews for Co...

 

At what price will a “Christian Zionist Visitor Center” be establis...

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Tags: Christian Zionism, David Ha'ivri, Gershon Mesika, Hayovel, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Philo-Semitism, RCCG, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Replacement-theology, Shomron-Liaison-Office, More…Shomron-Regional-Council, Tommy Waller, Yaacov Damkani, Yehuda-and-Shomron

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Comment by Batya Medad on November 9, 2013 at 8:58pm

This post has been included in Shiloh Musings: Vayeitzei, Let's Go Out to Meet Some Blogs, aka Hav.... Please visit, share and enjoy.

Comment by Yehoshua Friedman on November 8, 2013 at 3:44pm

I still think that hands-on is still better than hands-off. Don't you know that they use Artscroll and all sorts of other English language Judaica and do what they want with them. At least you have some communication and can find the good guys and maybe reach them.

Comment by Jewish Israel on November 8, 2013 at 9:54am

It must be very rewarding to teach youth, they are so energetic. But transition can be a dangerous thing. At least that's what we hear from the  former young Christians we know who converted to Judaism.  They report that 90% of their truth-seeking Hebraic Roots friends couldn't shake the concept of jesus, and dropped out of conversion classes.  Many of them end up taking the Torah and rituals they learned from empathetic rabbis and teachers, and they proceed to wrap it around their belief in jesus.  Add to that the attachment to the land of Israel and you have some very potent and dangerous sects whose members are trying to make aliyah. And there's a lot of very capable young Messianc Christian lawyers at work to change the Law of Return. Many of the followers of FFOZ are certainly young and deceptive "Torah observant believers" in god incarnate.

We've heard from rabbis and teachers involved in the Bnai Noach movement that mistakes are being made.We regularly hear from former Christians who attest to the active missionaries in the movement.  With all of your successes, Yehoshua, there are countless links and organizations attesting to the fact that teaching Torah to young Christians is a risky business.  The messianic Christian movement and associated sects  is  growing in a big way in Israel, and damage is being done

Maybe those Jewish teachers who feel inspired to teach searching Christian youth should do so outside of Eretz Yisrael.

Before we formulate Jewish "spiritual foreign policy", perhaps we need to take some grounded, practical steps to stem the growing jesus movement among young people in Israel.

Comment by Yehoshua Friedman on November 8, 2013 at 1:54am

That's good to hear. I also am aware of the opinions and stated positions of various Christians. I personally try to concentrate on young Christians who are interested in learning from Jews and Judaism rather than established leaders who preach to us or even only tactically make nice on us. There are people out there who are in transition, some of whom consider themselves Christians and others no longer so who are looking for a spiritual home for themselves with "Hebrew Roots". Some of these are trying to go back to 1st century minim and others have different ideas, but if they seem to have potential for growth and change, I am willing to spend time with them. I appreciate the serious work that you do and certainly pay attention to what you have to say. I am a former Yad L'Achim volunteer, ulpan giur teacher and Bnai Noach activist. I have seen the problems of all of the above and feel the need for a comprehensive Jewish "spiritual foreign policy". It is not enough to put all of the covered wagons in a circle. I would like to have a conversation with Rabbi Gold in the near future.

Yehoshua

Comment by Jewish Israel on November 7, 2013 at 6:44pm

Yehoshua,

Thanks for your feedback.  It's important for you and our readership to understand that apart from JewishIsrael's web presence , we spend a good part of our time consulting with "Jews knowledgeable about Christians, Christianity and missionaries", such as Akiva (Mark) Powers and many others, and "daring" to take the information we receive and personally approach the very rabbis and community  leaders we take issue with, such as Rabbis Riskin and Melamed.  We also met and had a very productive meeting with Rabbi Simcha Kook in his home in Rechovot where we met with representatives of Pastor John Hagee - including Rabbi Arye Scheinberg.

And as much as this situation tempts us to make judgment calls, we deal in facts and are under rabbinic supervision.

Comment by Jewish Israel on November 7, 2013 at 6:29pm

Sharbano,

It is more than a little a shocking to see that kind of theology up-close and personal -especially from a purported "evangelical friend" who has many millions of disciples .

Comment by Yehoshua Friedman on November 7, 2013 at 4:05pm

I am not in favor of ceasing Jewish counter-outreach toward pro-Israel Christians. I am in favor of Jews knowledgeable about Christians, Christianity and missionaries helping rabbis and public officials define and intelligent and informed position. Perhaps Jewish Israel is a bit machmir and not daring in its approach, which is legitimate. It is important to have a meeting of minds with R. Melamed, R. Riskin and others so that everyone is clear about the facts on the ground. Then the rabbis make their decision. Aryeh Gallin, Mark Powers and I once had a very extensive meeting with R. Simcha Kook of Rechovot on missionaries which I think was fruitful. Keep up the good work, but make sure you distinguish between facts and judgment calls. The latter are the province of poskim.

 

Comment by Sharbano on November 7, 2013 at 3:27pm

Millennial Christian movements, which are strongly philo-Judaic, can become anti-Semitic or turn to an aggressive conversionary agenda after their "outreach" to the Jews fails or when apocalyptic expectations don't materialize.

All that is needed to learn here is look at the history of Martin Luther and his evolution.

 

" Any physical Jew who fails to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will together with other unbelievers bow to us Christians someday."

This is the first time I've seen anyone openly state this. I knew it was a belief of many and have mentioned the same to a number of fellow Jews and was met with disbelief.

 

What many are not realizing is, for the moment, Xtians see the Jew as not much different than they are. Once it is determined that the two peoples are vastly different, then their perception will drastically change. One thing seems for certain, the dislike of a frum Jew. The upcoming Xtian holiday season really brings it out in the open, as I found recently with a local radio host.

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