Welcome to Pastor Mark’s posting from Washington D.C. I have been serving on the Night to Honor Israel board (NTHI) for about 4 years now. Vicki and I were given an opportunity to attend the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit for the first time. I was wearing my American – Israel pin (shown) and a Jewish woman introduced herself to me as I boarded the airplane. She said that she was going to the summit too for the first time and that she was from Israel — and then with a smile on her face she said, for sale “Thank you.”
During our brief flight, I spent time reading Rev. John Hagee’s book, In Defense of Israel. While I felt called 4 years ago to serve on the NTHI board — my heart for Israel began in college when I first heard and met Ellie Wiesel a holocust survivor, then in seminary I was taught by Professor Dr. Bruce Schein who was a Lutheran pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem for 11 years. As best I can describe it, he taught us like a rabbi would. When I graduated from seminary I went with 18 other students on a trip to the Middle East. Spending a lot of time in Jerusalem and Israel. Taking in the sites where Jesus taught his people and others about love and grace.
While I believe that I have had a comprehensive education on church history, I am just now learning HOW much I really don’t know; especially in regard to the persecution of the Jewish people by the Christian church. We all know that Jesus taught us, “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15;12) What happened?
Hatred toward the Jewish people began early in the life of the Christian church. It wasn’t right then, and it isn’t right now. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem around 70 a.d. more than 1 million Jews died in that seige mostly from starvation and another 97,000 were taken back to Rome to be crucified on crosses and of that — 70,000 become slaves. Many Gentile believers in Christ fled to the near by city Pella. Thus, this rift or physical separation of the two groups would become permanent. The Jewish people felt abandoned and betrayed. And this division would become even more visible by the 4th century when Constantine “Christianized” the Roman empire.
More later…tonight we are off to a worship and praise service. Later I will show you who I met in D.C.