He is a smooth operator that Jurgen Buhler (Jürgen Bühler) of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). In a latest video offering “The calling of Israel”, the question is how can Christians be involved? Of course Jurgen has all the answers. Beginning with the smoothly shaved depiction of Abraham [no doubt this Abraham needs a beard], a reference is made to the benefits of blessing Israel to the detriment of not blessing Israel apparently! Now of course Just what blessing Israel means in the mind and/ or theology of the ICEJ is something of mystery for a number of reasons which will be illuminated below! By the end of the video I kind of got the implicit me$$age that blessing Israel meant making a cash donation to the ICEJ. How else are they gonna keep knocking out these slick videos for starters?
In a related video/ article by Rev. Malcolm Hedding, the former Executive Director of ICEJ there are 5 defining points based on Paul’s words found in Romans 9-11 to help with the Gentile Christian’s response to bless Israel. The most jarring (point number 2) to the Jewish reader being that:
God has used Israel’s unbelief to bring salvation to the Gentiles (Romans 11:11). This has an element of mystery in it, yet the passage is clear that there is a Church in the world because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus. Paul encourages us to view this fact with gratitude and not disdain. Their fall, he says, “is riches for the world”. The Church should have shown kindness and appreciation to Israel. That is, we should have been a provocation to jealousy.
Israel’s unbelief is an interesting statement since it is couched in the idea that Israel’s unbelief is in the rejection of Jesus! In contradistinction, a read of my TaNaCh consistantly tells me that our collective unbelief is in not keeping the commandments. Nowhere do I find the idea that its all based on disbelief in a divine/ human messiah. Just linguistically I find that the word ‘messiah’ refers to Priests who are messiahs[Lev 4:3], Kings who are messiahs[1Sa 24:6], G-d’s people who are messiahs[ Psalm 105:11-15] and a non-Israelite King Cyrus who is a messiah too[Isa 45:1]!
Now you might think that I am being a bit picky, in fact whole generations of Jews across the ages have also been somewhat picky about this too! Of course to get around this problem of Jewish pickyness another useful word in the ble$$ing to Israel is the word mystery. In fact the word mystery appears again in point 5 of the 5 point action plan to help Jews and Israel be ‘evangelised’ , whoops I mean blessed. One more mention of mystery and we could have had a trinity of mysteries here, spooky!
Just to be informed dear reader, the New Testament has 28 such mysteries and the whole Jesus thing is the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people[Col 1:26]. Which means that nobody knew about the whole divine/ human sacrifice atonement, eternal BBQ thing or else until Jesus came on the scene. God had been keeping it hidden for ages and generations apparently!
The convenient use by Christians of the term mystery allows deliberate ignorance of context of scripture and the role of the Jewish people as part of G-d’s plan for the whole of humanity. It is little wonder that Christians can make the wild claims for Jesus based on their misrepresentation and false idea that Jesus came on the scene and made a new revelation which had been kept hidden for ages and generations.
In stark contrast there are no mysteries in the ‘old’ testament. In fact it is quite the opposite:
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deut 29:29
I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right. Is 45:19
If the Torah is considered, God sets down before His people a passage[Deut 30:1-10] which gives a clear portrait of the Messianic era. The clear portrait is not one that is ambiguous and murky. Rather, God used sharp and well-defined brush strokes to paint this portrait. From the passage, the return of Israel to her land will be precipitated by her repentance. The passage teaches that repentance means turning back to obedience of God’s law as Moses taught it (i.e. all 613 commandments). The passage also teaches that repentance is effective even when Israel is in exile and when it is not possible to bring a blood offering. Further, the passage shows that God will accept exiled Israel’s repentance even before He circumcises their heart. Finally, from the passage it is learned that the commandments that Moses taught us, will be fully observed in the Messianic era. In stark contradistinction, Christianity teaches that Israel’s return to the teachings of Moses, will play no part in the ushering in of the Messianic era (cf Mal 4:4 – 6).
A defining feature of the messianic age is the desire of gentiles to learn the Torah:
And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law (Torah), and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3
If G-d had wanted the Jews to know the importance of Jesus as per Mark 16:16 and all that believe in him alone/ or it is the eternal BBQ for you nonsense, he would have told us way back then would he not?
But of course Jurgen Buhler is much smoother to be drawn in by the above arguments. Instead the very convenient use of Dispensational Theology gets around the problems of “replacement theology”, an invention of the early church apparently. The glaring disparity is that Dispensational Theology has its origins and is expounded in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–82) and the Plymouth Brethren movement. So Jews are to believe and be blessed by a theology that was not in place until at least the 1800s and just ignore the blood libels, inquisitions etc.. that went before?!
The problem with Dispensational Theology is that the NT actually contradicts the idea of two separate entities namely “the Church” and “Israel”. According to Dispensational Theology both the Church and Israel are two perfectly compatable ways to be right with God……..in theory. In practice of course is the nagging idea supplied by Jesus himself [the way the truth and the life, no man etc..] that now as part of the ‘mystery’ without him, Jew or Gentile are doomed. An example in point with respect to the “new covenant’ found in Jeremiah:
31 Behold, the days come, says Hashem, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. (Jer 31)
In the verse above, both Messianics and Christians ignore the context of Jeremiah and project onto it the teaching from the NT that the house of Israel includes ‘grafted in’ gentiles as full blown equal citizens of Israel by virtue of an evangelical paradigm. Further added is Paul’s idea in Ephesians 2 of the barrier between Jew and Gentile now being broken down by virtue of the ‘mystery’ of the cross. A survey of the Jewish Scriptures, clearly shows that G-d consistently portrays Abraham’s descendants as a great nation and not a great religion. However, the fact is a non Israelite without conversion may only have residency in the nation of Israel by their adherence to the laws of the Torah, only stopping short of full conversion. Full conversion gives full citizenship of Israel [Ruth converted BTW].
In the Torah, there are many references to “the strangers who dwell among you” or “righteous strangers.” Israel society has always made provisions for non-Israelites to worship the G-d of Israel allowing either full conversion to Israeli citizenship or for people to selectively choose what they may wish to observe of the Torah [whilst dwelling with the people of God] short of circumcision/ full conversion and citizenship. Such a system to allow non-Israelites to worship the G-d of Israel is even identified in the New Testament with the non-Israelites referred to as G-d fearers. G-d fearers are referenced in the New Testament’s Book of Acts in Acts 13:16, which describe the Apostolic Age of the 1st century CE.
The evangelical paradigm, however, according to the New Testament, with the coming of Jesus, changed everything! Now, according to the prevailing evangelical paradigm, all of these Jews AND non-Israelites were fundamentally lost, unless and until they accept Jesus as their personal savior. The evangelical paradigm still to this day requires Jews AND non-Israelites to accept Jesus as their personal savior or they are doomed [See Mark 16:16, John 3:18, 5:24, 1 Corinthians 1:18].
Moreover, the evangelical paradigm asserts that full citizens of Israel, to the exclusion of any previously held beliefs and parameters of Israeli citizenship are now changed. Instead, Israeli citizens are only believers of Jesus and his ‘does it all, once and for all’ sacrifice. The bottom line as it has always been taught before Jesus is that non-Israelites (who do not want to convert fully) are allowed to reside as residents of the nation of Israel by believing in the G-d of Israel. The New Testament in contradistinction annuls and ‘upgrades’ the revelation of the will of G-d (Torah) by its promotion of Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit turning Shavuot into Pentecost. Ruth however, did not ‘upgrade’ by virtue of belief in a divine/ human messiah for her citizenship because no such thing is mandated in the Torah. Rather Ruth chose the requirements for citizenship as shown in the Torah (i.e. 613 commandments):
12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10
Part of the provocation to jealousy according to Paul and the theology of Jürgen Bühler of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is that the Jews are to somehow develop collective amnesia and forget the numerous disputations, blood libels, inquisitions and holocausts so they can answer ‘Who is the real Messiah?” correctly?!
Further, that the selective ‘material’ incentives disbursed by the ICEJ to the various missionary enterprises here in Israel are meant to make Jews jealous! After all which Jew cannot help but be jealous of Jewish Christian missionaries with pots of money living it up here in the holy land!? Yet further we are to be jealous when the very selective disbursement of funds to the most vulnerable members of the Jewish nation are really meant to pick off our people and convert them to Christianity? Is it just me or do get a sense of deja vu here:
“17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18 how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.” Deuteronomy 25
Gentiles and Jews are BOTH deceived if they think they are full Citizens of Israel and supporters of Israel by being believers of Jesus and providing the money under the guise of ble$$ing Israel by converting Jews to what is Idolatrous at the very least. Its idolatrous simply because our Torah says so (cf how Jesus fulfills Deut 13 perfectly):
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Num 23:19
………….Unless G-d has been lying to us?
1. The Greek word “musterion,” translated “mystery” means a truth given and revealed only to a select few that was unknown until it was revealed.