Determining why the nations of the world are throwing Israeli Jews under the bus is an easy call. Most of the countries with abundant oil reserves are predominantly Muslim. Somehow, the convoluted logic goes, mistreating God's chosen people will lead to lower oil prices, which will result in lower gasoline prices at the pump. We all know how well that is working out.
It is far more difficult to determine the motivation behind the eager willingness of the Catholic Church's hierarchy to also diss the Jews. What have they done but suffer centuries of persecution?
The historic Christian Faith has a Jewish Messiah, in the lineage of David (the second Jewish king of the nation of Israel) being born just outside of Jerusalem, Israel's ancient capital. Jesus lived His entire adult life in the area as an observant Jew. He worshipped at the Jerusalem Temple and the Gospels record Him celebrating both Passover and Hanukkah. He was killed on a Roman cross, with Roman nails through His hands and feet. After Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, one of the first questions His entirely Jewish group of followers wrestled with was whether or not to accept Gentiles as members.
Obviously, they did. A few centuries later by the time of Augustine, arguably the most important early Church theologian, sentiment against Jews was rampant. Rome took Jerusalem's place as the eternal city and replacement theology (the concept that the Church had replaced Israel) was growing in strength. Those nasty Jews, you see, had thrown their Messiah to the Romans -- certainly an unforgivable sin.
It apparently made no difference (and it still doesn't) that Jesus was born to die on a cross. Scores of prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures gave specific details of His suffering and death. It also made no difference (and it also still doesn't) that God had given His chosen people eternal promises concerning their ownership of the Holy Land and Jerusalem.
This prejudicial attitude gives rise to very serious question about God's credibility. If He could give divine, eternal promises to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then cast them aside for their misdeed, why should someone trust Him with any promise? Aren't all of us guilty of misdeeds?
During the Reformation, Luther (an Augustinian monk) retained anti-Semitic views, as did others. By and large, today's older mainline denominations (Catholics, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians) still embrace replacement theology.
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fouad Twai as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Last week, Twai said that Israel's existence as such has nothing to do with the Bible.
But there are over 100 prophecies about the Jews returning to their ancient homeland and prospering. Jesus said: If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! The Catholic Church's leaders are in darkness and are blindly leading their flock into the abyss. Twai needs to read Scripture instead of ingesting Augustine's words.
On March 30, there was a Global March on Jerusalem with severely misguided Christians joining Muslim terrorist groups and demanding a divided Jerusalem. Once again, the Catholic Church (Christianity's largest denomination) led the way.
The 2010 Vatican synod proclaimed, We Christians cannot speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and displacement of the Palestinians.
Take heart; everything is working out precisely on schedule. Israel will be painted into a corner, as prophesied in Zechariah 12, and the issue will be Jerusalem. So be it.
Atheists say there's no proof God exists. I respectfully disagree. Two thousand years ago, John (another Jew) wrote that in the end times the world would witness a universal government, a universal economy, and a universal church. Have you looked around lately?
One last comment, all of these things would occur while the generation that saw the rebirth of Israel still lived. The shadows are lengthening. Everything, including America's decline, is in perfect alignment with Biblical prophecies.
Walt Osterman is the author of Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth. He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.