Is Jesus God?

by Brian Schrauger / 31 May 2007 / Encore 31 May 2010

It's a biggie. But this question is not my primary problem with God.

Still, no doubt: the issue is a sizzler. About 12 days ago [from 31 May 2007] an Israeli news agency reported: Chief Rabbinate Finalizes Ban on Christian Women's Conference. The facts are pretty clear. Israel's Chief Rabbinate (CR) issued a ban forbidding Jewish participation in two "Christian-sponsored conferences." The reason? In spite of advertised objectives to focus on social issues, the CR decided that both events were subtle attempts to persuade Jews "that Jesus is Messiah."

Neither conference was cancelled, however. And last week all sponsors announced success.

But oh the uproar that this ban provoked. Is Jesus the Messiah? Is he God?. In 131 Talkbacks there was a scathing storm of words. People on all sides of the issue called each other liars, idolaters and traitors.

It was nauseating. Not because people embrace different answers than I. And not because of anyone's intensity or passion. This question is anything but easy. Arguably it's not even nice. Those who wrestle with it should be fighting hard.

But for heaven's sake with God, not each other! Why? Because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob blessed his people by naming them Israel, a wonderfully descriptive word that means "he who contends with God." It is a designation that is an invitation too.

The idea of God inviting us to wrestle shocks a lot of people. In fact I think it's self-evident that most monotheists believe God is someone to whom we must submit or die.

The word Islam, for example, means submission--although Muslims are hardly the only ones who approach God from this paradigm. Many if not most Christians believe the only way to God is submit or die. Sure they have different dogmas than Islam, but it's still submit-or-die.

And me? As a defendant in God's Court of Law here's my affidavit: Jesus is the Messiah. What's more he is the uniquely singular Son of God. Meaning that he is, at once, completely human and completely God.

So, this means my faith's at ease because I have "right" answers? Oh sure, life's a breeze. The 10 zillion problems raised by my affirmations don't bother me a bit. Like: if this answer's true, why has God allowed so many atrocities in Jesus' name?

Ah, but perhaps my sworn testimony is an attempt to convert those who disagree--or maybe recruit gullibles who've never thought about it, hmm? Right; as if I can change anybody's heart about anything. Shoot, I can't even convert myself to stop eating junk food.

But at the very least doesn't my affirmation mean that I regard myself superior to those who answer differently? God forbid. Hear me on this: regardless of your answer, you are alright with me.

Why? Cuz charm is deceitful, beauty is vain, and words alone are cheap. Anyone can say anything. This is Torah truth, not mine: it is the heart God is after. And what kind of heart? Get this: a circumcised one; yup, one that's been cut up with a knife, then left wounded and scarred for life.

And that's why my biggest problem with God isn't the question about Jesus.

What is it, then? Go ahead, take a look. My wife and I are proud parents to 3 sons. They are wonderfully unique. I love each one so much I would gladly give my life to rescue theirs.

My biggest problem with God culminated 7 [now 10] years ago today. That's when one of our sons died. His name is Taylor and he was four days shy of turning 12 years old.

[SeeTaylor's YouTube story, embedded below]

He didn't die at the hands of evil men or by a sudden accident. Instead for 2 long years he fought a war with cancer. It literally hacked off an entire hip and leg, then maimed his torso too. In spite of all my tearful prayers, God did not rescue him from 24 months of torture or from a horrific death.

So what have I done with this, my biggest problem with God?

I have done the same thing Taylor always did with me. Even in agony and knowing that I could not take his place, he always accepted my invitation to move toward dad.

Sometimes his fists wailed away at pillows that I used to help absorb the blows. But most of the time my son turned to me and held on tight. Resting his head on my chest, we talked and laughed and cried. Somehow he found nourishment in my heartbroken love. It is the greatest honor I have ever known.

That's why I thank my divine Opponent for naming his people Israel. Sometimes it's tempting, but I don't have time to fight with you. I'm too busy wrestling in muck and mire with God, clinging in my woundedness to him, crying out in protest and in pride,

My son! My Son!! MY SON!!!

Apocalyptic fever, by Brian Schrauger

The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is not Iran’s erection of nuclear weapons or Ahmadinejad’s publicly declared lust to use them against the Jewish state. Neither is it Hamas, Hizbollah or Fatah. The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is a global epidemic of apocalyptic fever.

A working definition of ‘apocalyptic fever’ is obsessive utopian beliefs that drive its victims to acts of self-destructive behavior. Like any epidemic, apocalyptic fever is indiscriminate: all nationalities, all ideologies, all religions are vulnerable.

The primary symptom of apocalyptic fever (AF) is public advocacy for immediate and extreme changes in personal and corporate conduct.

Accurate diagnosis of AF is not an easy task. Its victims may seem rational and calm while others look and sound fanatical. Contrary to popular instinct, either appearance may—or may not—be symptomatic of apocalyptic fever. The key, then, to correct detection of AF is focusing on words, not appearances; conduct, not affectations; content, not delivery.

Take, for example, the matter of globalization. Technology and trade have created a world in which all nations are economically interdependent. This is not a new development. And inasmuch as it has resulted in a general increase in worldwide standards of living, the interdependence of nations not only is a fact of life, it is a good thing.

The obvious, and literal, downside of this dynamic is today’s global recession and its attending threat of Great Depression. The world’s response is fear. As it should be.

Fear, kept fresh, is usually healthy. When we hear an angry lion roar, it informs us to move away from the beast, not toward it. But when fear goes bad it is anything but healthy.

Fear gone bad should be easy to detect. But it is not, especially in one’s self or culture. Why? Because fear gone bad is a kind of insanity. Its victims refuse to take cover from a rabid, roaring beast. Instead, they freeze. Or worse, they continue moving toward it, believing it will be conquered by taming it, joining it, or by divine intervention. In short, fear gone bad is the perfect environment for apocalyptic fever.

Fear gone bad is the prevailing atmosphere in our world today. No surprise, then, that recent calls for radical changes in global construct are welcomed and embraced.

From Cairo a secular leader calls on religious followers for a “world order” that must not fail while five times crying, “Holy Koran.”

From Rome a religious leader summons a secular institution, the United Nations, to reform itself in order to fulfill the “urgent need of a true world political authority” with “effective power.”

In response, the pluralistic-secular world applauds with relief. At the same time conservative religions are a bit too eager, a bit too certain of an imminent, if bloody, vindication by appearance of their given messiah. Meanwhile the real world continues to stagger with growing threats of horror too ghastly to imagine: nuclear annihilation, biological catastrophes, continental starvation, genocidal slaughters.

Why do we act like these threats have been resolved when, in fact, they are alive and growing? Why do we not persevere in a posture of healthy fear? Why do we drunkenly abandon our sober responsibility to act with justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God?

The reason, I propose, is because there is an epidemic of apocalyptic fever on a global scale. And its current strain is an existential threat to Israel.

It is not an existential threat because of a reluctance to recognize Israel as a sovereign state. It is an existential threat because of its demand that all states sacrifice their sovereignty for the greater good.

Supranational world orders have happened throughout history: empires led by Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. All of them knew success. But the ‘common man’ was always fodder for the ruling class. Jews were always abused, no matter how much they tried to accommodate. And every world order was centered around worship of anything or anyone except the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The only times Jews have been free are when they have been a separate, sovereign, independent state, a single nation under God, as they are today. Israel is more than a homeland for the Jewish human tribe. Its biblical charter is a blueprint for the world. Israel is mandated by God to be a nation-state with permanently limited borders on property that is owned by God.

This model is “a light unto the nations.” It is the foremost example of a broad biblical prescription for a healthy world construct: a world order that consists of nations with unique identities and boundaries. And individual sovereignties subject only to the one-and-only God-who-is, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Is there a way to inoculate against apocalyptic fever? Is there an antidote?

Yes. Israel and all who love her must stay sober and alert, abstain from hyperbole, stand firm against the seductive lure of a new world order, and live the Sh’ma no matter what the cost.

Christianity's anti-Semitic virus

Dear fellow Christians,

Over the past few months there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism around the world. It has been stimulated by Israel's recent operation against Hamas. And by a global recession that could easily turn into another Great Depression.

People are afraid, especially in wealthy Western nations. The Middle East could go nuclear. Energy supplies could dry up. We might lose our houses. Hungry, homeless indigents might coalesce.

Throughout history fear easily turns into terror, terror into blame, blame into hate, and hatred into murder. It is happening again.

Why? Human nature, by itself, will do anything to avoid three aspects of reality: 1) personal responsibility; 2) hardships of life beyond our control; and 3) accountability to the one-and-only G-d who Is. Instead, we look for someone else to blame, people we can hold "morally responsible." And therefore execute "with due cause."

Still, it requires something powerful to convert fear into "righteous indignation," and its attending murder into a self-justifying Final Solution.

That powerful thing is ideology, especially when, like yeast, hate is pinched into the philosophical dough of nationalism. And religion.

NOTE: Nationalism and religion are not inherently evil. But whenever they exalt themselves above G-d or take His place (usually doing so in His Name), they are easily infected by hate, converting themselves into self-righteous monsters.

Today's global fears, once again, are turning into blame against Israel and, respectively, against Jews in Israel and around the world.

For many Christians it is easy to identify the political and religious source of renewed anti-Semitism: the United Nations and Radical Islam.

But there is another ideology that is at least as dangerous. It is among us. And in us. Its viral infection began in the 2nd Century. Ever since it has been used to justify countless atrocities against countless Jews.

That viral infection is Replacement Theology.

A Facebook friend, Dot, has submitted an essay about it and opened a related Discussion Topic. Click this line to read her Facebook note.

This is a painful subject. But we must not look away. We must, instead, look it in the eye, understand it, discuss it, separate its truth from its dangerous errors. And then renounce those errors: first and foremost in *ourselves.*

We must take *positive* action by standing with our Messiah's Jewish family wherever they live, even when we disagree. And by standing with them in their sovereign Jewish State of Israel. Because it is their Promised Land deeded to them by G-d himself. Forever.

And we must unite as one. RECRUIT like-minded Christian leaders to our FACEBOOK Group, Pastors for Israel, and to its related Cause (see links to both below).

Finally, remember the nature of our souls' opponent. Keep your armor on. Stand firm. And please, pray for me as well.

Baruch Hashem: "Blessed is/be The Name"

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For more information, see Facebook's...

A. ...GROUP, "Pastors for Israel,"; and
B. ...CAUSE, "Pastors for Israel — a forum and a call from Zion Public Radio,"

Christian leaders uniting AGAINST Israel

A growing number of Christian leaders are uniting AGAINST Israel. They are easy to find.

One example is the Facebook group, “Gaza Christian Martyrs,” with membership close to 2000.

I was drawn to it because I agree: there are Christian martyrs in Gaza. But martyred by whom? According to this group these Christian martyrs are being “murdered by Israeli & Zionist terror in Gaza, Palestine.”

No, no, no. They are being martyred by *Hamas.* Hamas has instituted crucifixion as punishment for Palestinian Christians. Hamas is on record, and miles of video, calling for and carrying out execution of Palestinians who follow Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Son of G-d and Prophet. Palestinians who choose Jesus, not Muhammad.

And the Facebook officers of “Gaza Christian Martyrs?” They are *all* Christian clergy. How can this be?

Biblical Judaism and Christianity agree: there is only one G-d: the G-d of Abraham-Isaac-and-Jacob. And according to biblical Christianity this same G-d is not only fully human in His incarnation. He is also fully *Jewish.*

Has G-d abandoned his own ethnic tribe? G-d forbid. He is one of them. Jews remain G-d’s uniquely chosen people. His love for them, his own human family, along with the mission, inheritance and promises He has given them, are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29)

We Gentiles who stand with G-d’s Chosen People in their divinely Promised Land must also unite. We also must take a public stand. Remember the Shoah—the Holocaust. Never again, my fellow Goyim. Silence is not an option.

Does our stand with the Jewish State of Israel mean that we believe she is always right? No. But hello? Neither are we.

Does it mean we are monolithic in our understanding of what it means to support Israel? Of course not.

But we chose to celebrate our different understandings as creative catalysts to take a wide variety of positive actions on behalf of Israel.

What can you do?

  1. Recruit Christian leaders to join Facebook's Pastors for Israel: the GROUP and its sibling CAUSE.

  2. Initiate discussions. Post information. Stand guard against enemy infiltrators. Help lead this cause and this group.

  3. Write me, call me. Let’s pray and with G-d’s help, brainstorm.
Baruch Hashem. And, Shabbat Shalom,

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