Focus On Jerusalem

Title

God's Criterion for Judgement
by: Norbert Lieth






God's Criterion For Judgement Upon The Nations
by Norbert Lieth

Comments by Darrell G. Young--FOJ (I have often received questions about the judgment of the nations, and how God judges the nations. This article by Norbert Lieth is an article dealing with this subject matter that I can highly recommend. )

  How should a Christian behave towards the Jewish people? Does it even matter?

  God made it clear through the prophet Isaiah that there was no interruption in history as far as Israel's election was concerned: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name" (Isaiah 62:1-2).

  Even beyond the time of the Church of Jesus Christ, God will not be silent where Jerusalem is concerned until righteousness goes forth in the return of His Son. And in this very judgment upon the nations at the Lord's return in power and glory, the full validity of this Word will be recognizable. Let's go back seven decades: When Nazism arose in Germany, more and more Jews were pushed out until in 1933 a general boycott was proclaimed. One man stood in his pulpit and cried, "Whoever does not cry out for the Jews cannot praise God!"

  On November 9th 1938, the 1,300 synagogues throughout were set on fire and destroyed, this man stood up and publicly proclaimed, "Western history is irrevocably connected with the people of Israel, according to the will of God...an expulsion of the Jews from the West will mean an expulsion of Christ, for Jesus Christ was a Jew...if the synagogues are burning today, tomorrow it will be the churches." That is exactly what happened. This man had underlined verses 8-10 of Psalm 74 in his Bible: "They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long." Beside these verses he wrote the date: 11/9/1938. This man, who dared to stand up for the Jewish people condemned the National Socialist regime, was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We may not agree with him on all theological issues, but he openly confessed to his belief in the "endtimes return of the people of Israel to Christ and their spiritual significance." This attitude cost him his life. He was thrown into prison and killed by the Nazis shortly before the end of the war. While in prison, he wrote a very famous German hymn. A doctor in the concentration camp, Buchenwald, testified, "This man doubtless had a living union with God. I have never seen a man pray like that..."

  In 1940, Bonhoeffer wrote, "The Church confesses to having seen the deliberate use of brute force, the physical and psychological suffering of innumerable innocent people, oppression, hatred and murder, without having raised her voice in protest, without finding ways to help them. She has become guilty of the murder of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ." A time will come that will be similar to that of the Holocaust, but much worse and more violent. A man like Hitler will arise, but he will be more brutal. The Bible calls him the Antichrist. The book of Revelation contains the program for the end-times. In Chapter 12, we read how the "dragon" pursues the woman who has given birth to a child (Jewry, which brought us Jesus Christ), and how he tries to destroy the Jews through the Antichrist and his regime. In the darkest time of the Jewish people (which is still future), everything will depend upon how the people living at that time behave towards Israel. In my opinion, it is already decisive today how Christians behave towards the Jews. Do we join forces with this world and just accept everything the media writes about Israel? Or are we on Israel's side because God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ the Jew, are on Israel's side? As we shall see, throughout the 2,000 years of history since the birth of Christ, it has proven true that whoever touches Israel touches the apple of God's eye (compare Zechariah 2:12).

The King Will Return

  In my opinion, Jesus' discourse on the Mount of Olives refers to the Jews who are living in their own land again in the end-times and will have to go through the Great Tribulation before Christ's return. The Lord's words make it clear of the position that the Jewish people have in God's eyes, even if the whole world is crying out in protest today.

  In chapters 40-47 of his book, Ezekiel wrote that the Temple would be built in Jerusalem. Jesus will return and seat Himself on the throne of glory. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" (Matthew 25:31). His throne will stand in the middle of Jerusalem for 1,000 years. We may conclude from God's Word that the Lord will be accompanied by angels and His Church at His return (Jude 14, 1st Thessalonians 3:13 and Zechariah 14:5).

  The glory of God was present in Solomon's Temple during Old Testament times. God made this promise for the future concerning the Messiah: "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Psalm 2:6). Those from the nations who have survived the Great Tribulation will have to appear before Him and be judged according to the good or evil they did to the Jews: "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:32). Three groups will be judged: the brothers, the sheep and the goats. The "brothers" are the Messianic Jews and other believers, the "sheep" are the saved, and the "goats" are the unsaved. The "goats" are judged by the Lord according to what they should have done but did not do. It does not seem irrelevant to me that their sins of omission are sixfold:

1. "Ye gave me no meat"

2. "Ye gave me no drink"

3. "Ye took me not in"

4. "Ye clothed me not"

5. "Ye visited me not"

6. "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me" (Matthew 25:42-45).

  On the other hand, the "sheep" are praised by the Lord for their sevenfold deeds:

1. "Ye gave me meat"

2. "Ye gave me drink"

3. "Ye took me in"

4. "Ye clothed me"

5. "Ye visited me"

6. "Ye came unto me"

7. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:35-40).

The Verdict Upon The Sheep

  Matthew 25:33-40 says, "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

What Is The measure For The Verdict Upon The Righteous?

1. Their treatment of Jesus. What counts is what people did or did not do to the Lord. Every sin is against God. Joseph gave a striking example of this when he was in Egypt and Potiphar's wife planned to seduce him. He said to her, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9). When we lie or harm a person in any way, we are actually lying to God first, which makes the matter so serious. That is why the nature of our relationship to Jesus is so important. It becomes serious where a person stands as far as the Lord is concerned by the way he treats his brother. Those who come to faith in Jesus Christ during the Great Tribulation will do good to His brothers and therewith to Him. From this, we see that the kingdom is prepared for them from the foundation of the world: "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).

  They not only visited Jesus but they came to Him: "I was in prison, and ye came unto me" (verse 36). There is a difference in visiting Jesus and really coming to Him, whether we pretend to be Christians or we really know Him. The "goats" to His left will be completely surprised when they hear that they did not serve Him. They will fall prey to a fatal delusion: "Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?" (verse 44). Even during Jeremiah's time, the Lord said of those who thought they were serving Him, "The priests said not, Where is the Lord? And they that handle the law knew me not" (Jeremiah 2:8, compare also with John 16:2-3 and Matthew 7:21-23).

  Christians must be for Israel or they are not genuine Christians, for the Spirit of God who lives in a born-again Christian is the same Spirit who restored Israel, and He cannot contradict Himself. When a person is against Israel, another spirit is working in him. That is why Jesus made the direct connection between Israel and Himself. What we do or do not do to His brothers, we do or do not do to Him.

2. Their behavior towards the brothers. Isaiah 54:17 says, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." And Proverbs 27:18 says, "Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof."

  In the book of Revelation, we find a reference to the help that many people will give Israel during her persecution in the Great Tribulation, "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child...and the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth" (Revelation 12:13, 16). We will not go into the question of whether Israel will in fact find refuge in Petra (Edom) during the Great Tribulation. The earth is the realm of the rule of man. There will be men on earth who will give help and protection to the persecuted Jews. The reward for this love, which comes from faith in Jesus, will be entrance into the Messianic kingdom and eternal life. They belong as sheep on the pasture of the Good Shepherd, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world... And these shall go away... into life eternal" (verses 34, 46, compare also with Proverbs 19:7; Matthew 10:40; 2nd Timothy 1:16 and Hebrews 10:34).

  A wonderful illustration of this is found in the Old Testament, "And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim (when he was fleeing from Absalom), that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness"(2nd Samuel 17:27-29). When Barzillai finally crossed the Jordan with King David, we read, "Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim...And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem" (2nd Samuel 19:32-33).

The Verdict Upon The Goats

  Matthew 25:41-46 says, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirst, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

  The righteous God judges the "goats" according to the same criterion as the "sheep" (James 2:13). The "goats" despised Jesus, and therefore His brothers also. They did not believe on Jesus, and therefore they did not help His people. Instead they allowed themselves to be integrated into the Antichrist's program and persecuted, denounced and drove the Jews and believers to their death.

  In His reproach, Jesus did not only say that they did not visit Him but He left out the words, "Ye came not unto Me." In other words, they did not have a genuine union with Him.

  A report on the time of the Nazis said: "On six days in the week the new elite worked in the concentration camps. On Sunday they rested and went with their wives and children to church. Despite all their religiosity and Christianity, the Nazi killers hated God and His people. They spoke against the Lord and therewith against His people. We read the lament in Psalm 44:22, "Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." Jude 14-15 says, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." And Psalm 83:2-5 says, "For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation: that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee."

  Such people will be excluded from the kingdom and will be eternally lost, which is the fate actually prepared for the devil and his angels, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41, compare also with verse 46 and Revelation 20:10, 15). These people thought they were so clever, but in the end it was revealed that they were nothing more than people deceived by the devil (Revelation 20:8-10). Hell does exist; even though it may be a hard concept for people to digest! Not everyone will go to heaven. Why? Because eternal punishment and eternal life are both described with the fateful word "eternal." If one were not eternal, the other would not be eternal either.

Christianity's Relationship To Israel

  How is it possible for Christian churches and institutions to be against Israel? Because they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and are representatives of a nominal Christianity. They judge everything with their sin-tainted understanding. But the Word of God is the truth, not humanistic concepts of righteousness. The Jews have been branded, persecuted, pursued, excluded from society, forcibly baptized, held responsible for catastrophes, and murdered from a false understanding of Scripture. And it was never realized that catastrophes came because the Jews were treated this way. These people made themselves God's enemies by siding with the enemies.

The "Stuttgart Confession of Guilt" of the Evangelical church in Germany of 1948 says of the mass murder of Jews: "Because Israel crucified the Messiah, she rejected her rejection and destiny." Is this one of the reasons for the empty churches today?

What spirit drives Rick Godwin, a leading charismatic in the U.S., to say, "What Israel? - the Church...this is God's Israel and not the stinking one on the other side of the Mediterranean."

Examples From History

The fate of the greatest empires was determined by their attitude towards Israel: Egypt under the Pharaohs (Exodus 14:23-28), Assyria under King Sennacherib (2nd Kings 19:35-37), Babylon (Isaiah 47:6 onwards & Daniel 5:23 onwards), Rome (70 A.D.), Spain in the 16th century, Russia in the 19th century under the tsars, Great Britain in the 20th century and Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

Anti-Semitism in the U.S. was followed in 1929 by the great collapse of the banks, the world economic crisis and mass unemployment.

A quotation from the book, From Eternity to Eternity clarifies the above examples: "For the people of God, Israel or the Jews are also called the 'apple of God's eye'; and those who touch it will inevitably bring the judgment of God upon themselves. Europe had to experience this pain because states, empires and dynasties that had existed for centuries fell in less than two generations. The common characteristic of these fallen empires was anti-Semitism; in Spain during the 16th century and the rest of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Anti-Semitism was massive in Russia, then in France and then Poland. In Germany, discrimination and persecution culminated in a planned genocide...England, who took in the Jews and fought against Germany's devilish regime, betrayed the Israelis in Palestine when they wanted their own state by delivering heavy arms to the Arabs. This was simultaneous judgment up-on the British empire, whose downfall could no longer be prevented. Europe, a small continent that ruled the world, sank into political insignificance within only a few decades. On the other hand, the rise of the United States began, leading to the present sole world power.

Someone once said, "The harassing of the Jews was followed by the first world war, the persecution of the Jews was followed by the second world war, and the worldwide hatred of the Jews will be followed by the third world war."

In 1215, the Roman Catholic church decided at her Lateran council that all Jews in her territory had to wear a "yellow patch." As a result, the lands within the sphere of the Catholic church's influence became impoverished. Why did the Catholic clergy issue this order? For the same reason as that which the Lord Jesus gave concerning the scribes and the Pharisees, "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me" (John 16:2-3).

During the Crusades, the Jews were locked in the synagogues which were then set on fire. The Crusades ended in 1291 with the Muslims victorious over the "Christians."

After reformer Martin Luther published his pamphlet, "Concerning the Jews and their Lies," in 1543, the Reformation, which until then had spread like a forest fire in Europe, lost half of her range of influence. Only two years after this was published, the great counter-reformation took place.

When Spain banned all the Jews from her country and appropriated their possessions in the 16th century, she lost her sea-power in 1588.

Anti-Semitism began to spread in Russia in 1878. The Russian-Orthodox church and the tsars ordered numerous "pogroms" (aimed at the persecution and destruction of the Jews). The result was the October Revolution, the rise of communism and the death of the tsar family and churches were closed.

Through the denial and persecution of Christians and Jews, the granaries of the world became impoverished under the communists.

The Battle of Stalingrad was lost 12 months to the day after the "Wannsee Conference" (in Berlin) where the extermination of the Jews was decided upon. This defeat became the greatest and most torturous defeat for the German army.

The so-called "Third Reich" lasted for 12 years (1933 - 1945). It seems as though God wanted to hold up the number 12, the number of the tribes of Israel, before the eyes of the world.

Germany sank in ruins and was divided by a wall in Berlin. The Germans had imprisoned the Jews (in ghettos behind walls prior to that time).

The reparation payments that Germany had to make to Israel under Konrad Adenauer from 1952 brought Germany the economic miracle.

The East German territory did not pay a cent and became impoverished.

Since 1973, when the political opinion in Europe had turned against Israel again, the German "economic miracle" had slowly subsided. In its place, problems such as the oil crisis, recession and high unemployment figures arose.

In 1989, East Germany's government decided to grant right of abode to Russian Jews. Shortly afterwards, the wall in Berlin fell without any bloodshed. The wall came as a result of anti-Semitism and disappeared with friendship to the Jews.

Examples From The Bible

When Laban persecuted his son-in-law Jacob (Israel), and was rightly angry with him because Jacob had deceived him and left without telling him, God met Laban and said to him, "Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (Genesis 31:24). When it came to the discussion between Jacob and Laban, the latter said, "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (verse 29). Notice that Laban didn't call God his God but "the God of your father."

On one hand, Laban was forbidden to touch Jacob, i.e. Israel. On the other, he knew that the Lord had blessed him on account of Jacob. "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake" (Genesis 30:27).

When the Egyptian pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all the newborn sons of the Israelites, they refused to obey him. And what happened? "Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses" (Exodus 1:20-21).

The Lord pronounced the following curses upon Ammon and Moab, "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee" (Deuteronomy 23:3-4).

In contrast, the Lord said of Edom and Egypt, "Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land" (Deuteronomy 23:7).

On the one hand, the Bible speaks of a future judgment upon Egypt (Isaiah 19:1 onwards and Zechariah 14:18-19). God probably has to punish Egypt because she oppressed, deceived and persecuted Israel, and will do so in the future. On the other hand, the Bible speaks in the same chapter of the book of Isaiah of a future blessing in Egypt and of her salvation (Isaiah 19:19 onwards) - presumably because the Egyptians took in Joseph, because the Jewish people as a nation were born there, and because they also took in the Lord Jesus later on. The blessing of Jacob is probably fulfilled here. The pharaoh of that time said to Joseph, "The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell...and Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh... and Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh" (Genesis 47:6-7 and 10).

Can A Christian Tread Down His Own Roots?

  Is Israel not a people who have been imprisoned for 2,000 years? Should we not have stayed with her, especially those who believe in Jesus as their Messiah? He said, "I was in prison and ye came unto me" (Matthew 25:36). Many people have not visited the "least of Jesus' brothers" in their "prison." Deceived by the "god of this world," they have even joined the ranks of those who are against Israel. They have robbed Israel of her biblical promises, imprisoned the Jews and isolated them. Why? Because many Christians have never come to Jesus themselves to stay with Him. He said, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matthew 25:46). The roots of the Church are in Judaism (Romans 11:17 onwards). She owes her existence to it, for the Jewish people brought us Christ. If there were no Israel, there would be no Church. It was God's plan and strategy to create Judaism, in order to build the Church from it. The Lord Jesus did not say without reason, "Salvation is of the Jews" in John 4:22, "...of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came" (Romans 9:5). When Christians are against Israel, they should realize that with this attitude they are treading down their own roots.

By: Norbert Lieth












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