“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Jer. 31:31-33)
You are Israeli. You are eating dinner with your family. Suddenly the floors start shaking. Your son ask you, “Dad, what is that? Why is the food moving on the table?” Do you tell him? “Avi, that is just Hamas rebuilding tunnels so they can attack us here in the kibbutz [i].”
That’s right. Residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip “complained that tunnel digging into Israel from Hamas-run territory has come so close to their homes that it has caused their floors to shake.” (timesofisrael.com)
Stealing From Their Own People… Again
This came to light about a week ago on several television news shows and, until just a few days ago, our government had done little to stop it. Hamas is digging tunnels into Israel—by the way, using materials that are supposed to go to rebuilding the city—in order to carry out terror attacks and we are doing almost nothing to stop them. Hamas is taking the 3.5 million tons of building materials donated to the people of Gaza and instead of rebuilding homes (the intended purpose of the aid), they are building terror tunnels into Israel. The E.U., which often criticizes Israel when a Palestinian stubs his toe, has been largely silent in condemning Hamas.
Iran confirmed the resumption of tunnel digging by posting a video Sunday of a Hamas terrorist in one of the tunnels, boasting that it is 3.5 kilometers long and goes into Israel. The Iran report was clear, celebrating the intended goal of the tunnel—to carry out acts of terror.
The Israeli Left Demands Action
Only after massive criticism from the left-leaning opposition here in Israel, as well as a national outcry for the Netanyahu government to act, did the government begin to do something. Well, we assume it is the government—it may just be the hand of God.
Major General Yoav Mordechai warned Hamas today of consequences if the terror tunnel digging continues, “The tunnels that Hamas is digging will bring disaster to the Gaza Strip. They are tunnels of death.” (jpost.com)
IDF or the Hand of God?
This week three different tunnels collapsed on terrorists. Two terrorists have been confirmed dead and eight others missing. A week ago seven terrorists were crushed to death as a tunnel collapsed upon them. Ironically, as 250,000 Gazans came out to honor the dead terrorists at their funerals, a roof collapsed as several young men were standing on it, injuring many more. (Video below)
It is unclear if these tunnels collapsed on their own, due to rains (as Hamas claims) or because of action from the IDF.
“When asked whether or not Israel has had a hand in the collapse of the terror tunnels in recent weeks, [General] Mordechai responded saying ‘God only knows.’” (jpost.com)
This is a serious escalation and despite the fact that the Islamic terror problem is growing globally, the E.U. still sees Hamas as a legitimate representative government of the Palestinians in Gaza. Instead they should be viewed just like ISIS. Silly western cowards believe the Hamas rhetoric and not their actions. Today Hamas denied that it has any interest in renewing the fight with Israel.
If that is true, then why is Avi’s kitchen table shaking?
[i] a communal settlement in Israel, typically a farm
Who doesn’t love a good dose of Debbie Downer? So when I saw that Rachel Dratch made an anti-gun commercial I gave it a watch. Not only was it not funny, it was stupid (to borrow a phrase from DT) and misleading. The premise of the ad is that Rachel, a mom, is doing everything she can to keep her kids safe. But when she goes out to eat, the restaurant is loaded (get it) with white men with all kinds of weapons, from shot guns to assault rifles. And this scares her kids. One guy, who we are to assume is drunk, even clumsily knocks over his loaded shot gun—at a pizza joint.
I have never been in a restaurant that even closely resembled that scene. Gun-owners tend to be highly responsible when it comes gun safety. I have never seen even one shotgun in a restaurant in my life.
When kids in Israel (where I live now) see a hand gun on someone’s waist in a restaurant they feel safer. They know that that person is trained and willing to risk their life to protect others from terrorists.
In my congregation, knowing that we have enemies who may seek to harm us, it makes me feel more secure knowing that one of our pastors has a handgun as well as the guard at the door.
The problem with guns in America is not legal gun owners, but criminals. However Dratch’s pitch for “Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” misses the mark badly as it takes aim at responsible gun owners and is silent on drug violence, inner city shootings and mental health issues. You can’t tackle the real problem because it is politically incorrect—so let’s aggressively attack a fake one.
I think it is safe to say that when large numbers of American Jews, particularly non-orthodox, secular Jews, make Aliyah (move to Israel) the end is near. For most American Jews the idea of living in Israel is laughable. But what this one leader in the video below rightly identities is that Israel is becoming the only safe haven for the Jewish people. Indeed our father Theodore Herzl became a Zionist only when he saw unbridled anti-Semitism against a French officer who was banished to Devil’s Island. Herzl concluded 40 years before the Holocaust that the only safe place for the Jewish people would be our own country.
Jeremiah spoke of two ways the Jewish people would come home.
“But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.”
Fisherman are those like Herzl and this women in the video below, pleading with Jews to come home to Israel. Fisherman pull. However, if that doesn’t work the hunter’s, the anti-Semites, will drive the Jewish people back to Israel. As horrible as radical Islam is, God will use it to bring the Jewish people home.
The promise clear and is coming to pass before our eyes.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, `Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth. —Isaiah 43:5-6
“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness. —Jeremiah 23:3-6
Yesterday I wrote a blog about Donald Trump. It has been shared nearly 10,000 times between my site and Charisma. And as I predicted, many Trump supporters responded with the Biblical admonition, DO NOT JUDGE! In fact, I am 100% convinced that there will be some who chide people for judging the antichrist when he appears.
However, sadly, the ‘Do not judge’ passage is one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible. God never forbade all types of judging. Good judgment when choosing friends is commendable. Imagine if some drug dealer wanted to hang out with your son or daughter and in response to your prohibition the drug dealer yelled at you, “You’re judging me!” Well, yeah. We judge when looking for a spouse, when choosing a doctor or when choosing a congregation.
We Judge All Day, Every Day
The fact is that we make judgments of people all day long. An employer interviewing a potential employee will judge that person based on their experience, temperament and other qualifications. If the potential employee does not get the job, he doesn’t accuse the potential employer of judging him—he came to be judged.
If we read Yeshua’s comments in context we can see his meaning:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
People use this passage to condemn all forms of judgment, but Yeshua here is referring to the hypocritical, looking down on others, type of judging. For instance, if I said, “I don’t go to that congregation. It’s dead. The leader isn’t a good speaker. The people are not friendly.” That is the type of judging Yeshua was referring to. However, if I said, “I don’t go to that congregation because I prefer a more energetic expression.” That too is judging, but not looking down on someone or saying that my way is better—it is just my preference.
If there is one group of people that has asked to be judged more than any other group, it is politicians. The minute someone jumps into the ring to run for office, he is asking to be judged if he or she is worthy of the office. How can we not judge Donald Trump—or Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for that matter. This is precisely what voters are supposed to do. When a Supreme Court justice is nominated he or she must endure a hellish vetting process and then he or she is judged by 100 senators. While the process is often political, the idea is crucial. You can’t just allow someone to be on the Supreme Court who hasn’t been throughly vetted.
Donald Trump is asking to be the leader of the free world and some people dare say, don’t judge? That is the height of irresponsibility.
What About His Faith?
I wrote yesterday that Trump is not a Christian. Some take offense at that. Who are you do judge what he believes or doesn’t believe? That’s a valid question. Personally I don’t think that my president must be an evangelical believer. I would prefer it, but it is not a litmus test. For Trump, the issue was that he appeared to be pandering to voters by touting his supposed Christian faith. So it is essential, since he has made his faith part of his campaign, that we seek to discover if he is genuinely a Christian. If he had not claimed to be a Christian, it would not be an issue.
In this video, he speaks in a way, that seems to me, to be insincere—that is my duty as a voter—to discern…yours as well.
Reporters doing their job (and probably skeptical, as I was, that Donald really knows the Bible) quizzed him and he refused to come up with even one verse. Now, given that most believers have a favorite verse and would gladly share it with others and that Donald Trump has an opinion of everything and everyone—it is unimaginable that if he had a favorite verse, that he would not want to share it. We must conclude he was lying when he spoke of his love for the Bible and pandering to Iowa evangelicals.
Here he quotes a non-existent verse to show how the Bible has shaped him. If the one verse that you finally quote, after weeks of people asking you, is actually not a verse, you have a real problem. The only place google finds these words “never bend to envy” is on an obscure website where the author writes it next to his title, “Proverbs 23: Never Bend to Envy”. Trump must’ve assumed it was part of Proverbs 23.
Mr. Trump also stated publically that he is not sure if he has ever asked God for forgiveness. That is the very first act of a believer—to ask God for forgiveness. When Frank Luntz (who Trump now refers to as a fat slob) asked him the question, he paused to think. Come on friends, we are allowed to use common sense. If I asked you that same question, would you pause and think…hmmm… or would you immediately say, “Of course, everyday I ask for forgiveness!”
Understand, I don’t care if Donald Trump is a Christian or not (of course I long for him to be one, and to enjoy forgiveness and eternal life—but in terms of his campaign, I don’t care), what I care about is (a) is he lying to us and (b) is he pandering to evangelicals to get their vote.
In closing, no, we should never look down our noses at people or be like the Pharisee who looked at the tax collector and thanked God that he was not like him, adding that he fasts twice a week and tithes (Luke 18:11-12)—which in his eyes made him better. That is the wrong type of judging.
Yet the same Bible warns us to beware of evildoers and false prophets. If we don’t make a judgment, we cannot come to the right conclusion of these people. The Bible warns us of deception—you can’t resist deception without judging. A chunk of proverbs is about staying away from fools. Psalm 1 tells us not to hang out with the wicked, sinners and mockers—how can we identify them if we can’t ever judge?
Not only can we judge politicians, we must if we are going to make an informed decision. Let’s save the “Do not Judge” admonition for the appropriate context. Okay?
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The Sequel to ‘Identity Theft’ is Here!
I'm Ron Cantor and this is my blog. I am the lead pastor of Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv (along with an anointed team of leaders). Yeshua found me when was an 18-year-old agnostic. You can read about it in Leave Me Alone, I am Jewish!—my testimony. I have also written a novel about the first Jewish believers called Identity Theft. Both books are on Amazon. Shalom