June 2010 Yavoh

 I don’t normally offer any political commentary in my articles and public teaching; I try to stay focused on Scripture and its lessons.  On several occasions I have addressed issues concerning modern Israel, linking them with Bible prophecy. In this article I would like to point out a political issue now happening in the United States that is slowly coming to worldwide attention.  More than that, it illustrates the principles of a Biblical concept that we need to clearly understand.

This spring, the State of Arizona passed a law directing Arizona police officers to begin enforcing the laws of illegal immigration.  This law encourages and permits Arizona officers to request documentation proving that a person is a citizen of the U.S. or a visitor according to the immigration laws of the United States.  Just like any other laws that police officers enforce, there must first be “probable cause” before implementing this part of the immigration law.  For example, if the officer had already stopped the person for a traffic violation and the person could not produce a driver’s license, he can then try to determine the legal status of the person in Arizona.  Stopping a person because he was “Mexican looking” and possibly an illegal alien would not be proper.  There is a specific provision in the law forbidding a police officer from “profiling” and/or discriminating against any person while enforcing the law.  However, opponents of the new state law are up in arms about it, complaining that it might lead to police officers picking out American Hispanic citizens of the U.S. and harassing them for their “papers.”  They compare it to the Gestapo tactics of WWII and say that the law is unconstitutional.  Some in other states have called for economically boycotting the State of Arizona.  For example, the city of Los Angeles recently called for such a boycott.  National leaders from the President to members of his cabinet, including the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, have publicly scorned the law as “discriminatory” and in violation of civil rights and the Constitution.  The Attorney General of the United States has made veiled threats that he may file legal suit against the State of Arizona.  The national media have jumped on the band wagon featuring every complaint possible against the new law, highlighting scenes of Hispanics and others in public protest.  Meanwhile, the majority of Arizona citizens and the people of the United States are in favor of the law.  In fact, most of them are asking, “I thought this already was law.”

Recently, a high level government official who has stimulated much of the discord and protest against the law had to testify about his opinions on the new law.  In the course of the questioning, the Attorney General of the United States (the chief law enforcement officer) was asked directly, “Have you read the Arizona law for yourself?  Are you aware of what it actually says?”  Reluctantly and very sheepishly he responded, “I have not read it yet.”  He wasn’t the only one.  Every outspoken critic of the law is now being asked by reporters and other government officials if they have read the Arizona ten-page law about to take effect.  Surprisingly, NONE of the critics and protestors have read the law.  John McCain, the senior Senator from Arizona, asked the Secretary of Homeland Security if she was aware that the very law she called “discriminating” had the very statement forbidding it.  She also admitted that she had not yet read the law.

The State of Arizona apparently established this law because the federal government has failed to secure the U.S./Mexico border.  The southern border of Arizona is a large portion of that border.  As a result, drug operators from Mexico are smuggling their product into the country in the desert areas and harming U.S. citizens they come into contact with while bringing it in.  At the southeastern and southwestern corners illegal immigrants, many just looking for work and a better place to live, are flooding in faster than the border patrol can round them up.  As a result, crime in Arizona has reached record levels and state aid to illegal immigrants such as medical and welfare, have exceeded state budgets.  The state is out of money and the majority of the citizens in Arizona want the new law to arrest and deport the illegal aliens.

With that in mind, I want us to focus in on the presumption by some that the new law is “discriminatory.”  The detractors have made the claim before the law is enacted; the law does not take effect until July and there are no cases of discrimination yet, but critics of the law have said discrimination might happen yet they themselves have never read the law nor understand what the law specifically says.  They have presumed something to be a cause against the law when it fact there is no cause.

This is an excellent example of what is happening more and more in the world we live.  People hate things without cause.  They do so out of ignorance and lack of knowledge.  They fail to understand the matter but they are opposed to it just the same.  They say and do extreme things devoid of any wisdom or logic.

This is what many new Messianic brethren face when sharing their new Messianic perspective with their family or Christian brethren.  Suddenly and without cause they discover that their family members or brethren are filled with hatred against them and the things of God.  These critics are the same people who spoke highly of the “Word of God” or who said that “We should obey the Lord,” but they go further.  Many new Messianic believers find themselves ostracized, cut-off, and personally scorned and HATED for simply repeating what God has actually said.  We are talking about disagreement and real disdain. 

How in the world can such things happen?!

How can high government officials charged with securing and protecting the border (who have failed) scorn and disdain a majority of the citizens (in a republic), accusing them of being discriminatory without their actual knowledge of the substance of the new law? This is prejudice – pre-judging before the facts are known.

I have an answer.  It comes from an ancient Biblical principle.  It is called “hated without cause.”

If you go back and ask critics of Messianic believers, “Have you ever read the Law (Torah)?” you will get the same answer given by government officials in the debate in our day.  Oh, by the way, if you ask further, you will get that “I don’t need to read it for myself; I know I’m right,” which is also what our federal government officials think.

Yeshua specifically taught about being hated without cause, telling us what to expect and explaining why we will receive such treatment.

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates Me hates My Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.  But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law [Scriptures], “They hated Me without a cause.”  JOH 15:18-25

Yeshua referenced the Law of Moses in making his argument. In addition, there are two instances in the Psalms that speak of the concept hated without cause.  The first speaks of the hatred of enemies (personal hatred) and how they need no logical justification.  They create their own justification, which is not a valid cause.

Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. For they do not speak peace, but they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They opened their mouth wide against me; they said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!” You have seen it, O Lord, do not keep silent; O Lord, do not be far from me.  Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right and to my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness; and do not let them rejoice over me.  Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!” Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress; let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.  PSA 35:19-26

The second reference of Psalms speaks directly to the concept.

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, what I did not steal, I then have to restore.  PSA 69:4

Yeshua the Messiah should have been welcomed by the people of Israel when He came.  In particular, the religious leaders, those who knew the prophecies best, should have announced Him and rejoiced at His coming.  They should have investigated to see if He was fulfilling the prophecies.  Do you remember that story about Yeshua as a boy, speaking with the teachers in the temple?  Mary and Joseph had to go back to Jerusalem to retrieve Him.  The teachers of the nation were introduced to Yeshua early on.  Why didn’t they continue to follow His growth and progress?  Even after He began His public ministry and healing many, why didn’t the leading teachers go to hear His message that accompanied His healings?  Actually, they did hear about His teaching and they realized that many people were listening to him.  They were filled with envy and sought to discredit Him.  They became His enemies…they wrongfully became His enemies.  This is what is meant by the expression being wrongfully my enemies.  This is a key component of hatred without cause.  All He did was good, but this was ignored to make room for hatred.  These same leaders knew that the Law forbade a believer from hating a fellow believer, yet despite the Law, they chose to hate Yeshua, wrongfully hating Him.

Hatred in itself can have a cause.  Hatred with a cause is permitted by the Law.  Even God has this kind of hatred.  God Himself states there are many things that He hates.  For example, God hated Esau, the twin brother of Jacob.  Many believers aren’t sure why but the Scripture clearly says it.  That is another teaching.  God also hates some specific behaviors and we are commanded to hate the same behaviors.

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate.  PRO 8:13

Interestingly, the Scripture says that someone who hates you is NOT sufficient cause for you to hate them.  Instead, the Scripture commands us to love those who hate us.

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  LUK 6:27

How then do we deal with our brethren who hate us inappropriately?  We teach them how to resolve conflicts among the brethren.

You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.  LEV 19:17

Hating without cause is the sin.

The federal government should support the government of Arizona to help capture and remove illegal immigrants.  This is what the federal border patrol supposed to do.  Instead, national leaders are actually promoting unrest and racial strife against the Arizona State authorities.  Is this the law of our land?  Absolutely not, but it illustrates what typically happens to us in the faith.

Likewise, Christians, who make up the largest body of like-minded brethren in the U.S., should show support for the smaller community of Messianic believers whose beliefs are very close to their own, although perhaps more zealous, instead of scorning and ostracizing them.  They have wrongfully become enemies. 

How does this happen?  Family members and fellow Christians actually hate others in full violation of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Sadly, I have seen many of my Messianic brethren lose their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, parents and children to this kind of hatred without cause.  I have seen loving Pastors turn on former members of their flock, actually tearing them apart from the pulpit.  I have known best friends cut off and treated as vile enemies because the Messianic believer rests on Saturday and ceases to consume pork and shellfish.  I know of one instance where a measly piece of shrimp separated the best of friends.  I can assure you that shrimp does not reach to the level of cause for hatred, yet it happened.

Being hated without cause is a part of being Messianic.  It is what all believers face when they follow the Messiah and hold to the righteous of God.  Now, let us go back and examine more closely what Yeshua spoke to His disciples.

Yeshua said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  JOH 15:19

When you decide to follow what God really says, you find yourself outside the world’s comfort zone.  The world doesn’t follow God nor listen to what God says.  There are some extreme elements who are convinced that they are much smarter than God and can change history to their advantage.  Most of the world doesn’t want to get too close to a real God and His requirements – it might make them have to change what they are doing. The world loves darkness rather than light. God doesn’t accuse people of thinking they are smarter than Him but that they love sin more than Him. Therefore, holding to the things of God makes you very wrong and odd in the eyes of the world. The world doesn’t like non-conformity.  In most cases, the slightest difference from the world is sufficient to have you scorned in the town square.  They then accuse you of the very thing they themselves are doing:  “You are a prejudiced, intolerant, self-righteous, and a cultist.”  Let me say it again.  They accuse you of being what they are.  All of this is done without any evidence or cause.  There is no truth to the matter.

In recent years the public dialogue on this subject has moved to the far side of the spectrum.  It is open season for any comedian or government official to mock and scorn the Christian religion.  It reminds me of World history concerning Judaism.  If you drop the overt testimony of God and speak of godly principles shared by most of the world’s religions, then they label you with titles like ‘right-wing extremist,’ ‘tea bagger,’ ‘nut-job.’  If you mention God while speaking of principles, then you are accused of offending an atheist or another world religion.  You are simply not going to win. 

Yeshua said it very simply: the world hates you.  They cannot accept you or anything you have to offer.  You are too different.  You are an alien in this world.

In the Middle East, the Muslim world will not accept the existence of a Jewish state.  This was the first issue in the Oslo agreement in 1993.  For the first time, the Palestinians accepted the idea that there would be a Jewish state.  They have since reneged and the present Palestinian Authority does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.  Jewish people cannot live in Arab lands nor Muslim nations.  The small pockets of Jews who still exist must remain virtually invisible.  Somehow, with all of the United Nations’ self-righteousness and the United States’ high moral ground of human rights, Jews don’t qualify for these definitions of goodwill toward all men.  To say there is a double standard would be the understatement of the millennia.  This is dramatically illustrated every time Israel does anything construed as unfair—the whole world comes down on them.

Do you remember the armed conflict approximately two years ago between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip?  For years Israel has endured mortars and rocket fire into Jewish homes and neighbors.  More than 8,000 of these mortars and rockets were fired, continuing even after Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza, evacuating homes and businesses.  Israel warned the Palestinians to stop.  Israel called upon the nations to help with the situation.  Finally, Israel had enough.  They sent in tanks and troops, destroying rocket factories, destroying stockpiles of weapons and killed a host of Hamas fighters.  As a result, others structures were damaged and women and children were injured and killed.  It was terrible; it was war.

Israel left and also locked down the borders of the Gaza to prevent weapons from coming back in; there were no more rockets and mortars being fired into Israel.  Guess what happened next?

The UN set up an investigation called the Goldstone report.  Surprisingly, this report found it was Israel’s fault for the whole mess and accused them of international crimes.  The right of self-defense didn’t come into the conclusions.  Many of Israel’s leaders were suddenly subject to arrest in others nations.

Why is this?  The answer is in Yeshua’s teaching.  Jews are different; they have a testimony of having been chosen by God. Yeshua said, “but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  Jews are part of God’s chosen people.  Any person who favors the God of Israel falls into this same category and is subject to this imbalance and hatred.

In the famous play and movie Fiddler on the Roof, the central character is a Jewish father trying to keep it together for his family and his small community.  He acknowledges that the Jews are God’s chosen people.  He then asks God if He could choose someone else next time.  It is a well known fact among Jews—we are hated because God chose us.

There is also another understanding about this concept known among us Jews.  Why are we scattered in the nations, subject to our enemies?  The Rabbis have said that we were scattered by God because we hated without cause.  Whom did we Jews hate without cause?  The answer is simple – God.  Moses even warned us.

Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, . . . You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.  LEV 26:27, 33
 
Sadly, the testimony of Israel hating God’s prophets and the Messiah Himself are a historical fact.  It is like the parable that Yeshua taught.

“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey.  When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.  The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.  Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.  But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son’  But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.’  They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him…  When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard [this parable], they understood that He was speaking about them [how their fathers had killed the prophets before and were opposed to Him as the Son of God].  MAT 21:33-38, 45

When you hate without cause, you ultimately hate God Himself.

Today, the modern state of Israel has been born out of the ashes of the Holocaust.  I don’t need to define the Holocaust to you.  You yourself know that the world went mad with hatred and evil toward the Jewish people (and other “misfits”).  There was no justification or excuse; it was pure hatred without cause. 

We still live the same world that produced the Holocaust a half century ago.  Hatred without cause is still with us.  Just look at the world dynamic happening this year with Israel and her enemies.  Israel’s enemies conveniently dismiss the historical Holocaust as myth and Jewish propaganda.  They dare the world to deny the Holocaust and dismiss logic, historical fact, and living witnesses.  They are so eaten up with hatred without cause they actually defy the established truth.

The Psalmist correctly defines this hatred of the nation of Israel that we see today.

(A Song, a Psalm of Asaph.) O God, do not remain quiet; do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For, behold, Your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” For they have conspired together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant:  The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.  PSA 83:1-8
 
As of the writing of this article in late May 2010, the Middle East in on the brink of regional war.  Israel’s enemies have openly stated that they are intending to remove Israel from the map.  Their desire is to slaughter a complete people – just like the Holocaust.  Isn’t it ironic that Holocaust deniers still want a Holocaust.  Their hatred is alive and well and dates back much farther than World War II.

Yeshua said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

Yeshua was persecuted by the religious leaders of His day, yet His words are still true today for modern Israel.  Yeshua’s enemies incited others to express baseless disdain and harm toward Him.  With persecution comes false accusations and outright lies.  Today, Israel endures many enemies who conspire together, making false accusations and tell outright lies.

Yeshua said, “He who hates Me hates My Father also.”  Let me say it straight out.  Yeshua the Messiah is God.  He is the God of creation.  He is the same God who spoke with Moses in the burning bush.  He is same God who spoke His commandments from Mount Sinai.  He is the same God who gave the land of Israel to His people.  He is the same God who died for our redemption.  If God didn’t do it, then you were not saved by God! 

If a person decides to hate Yeshua, then he has decided to hate God.  If a person hates Yeshua without cause then he hates God without cause.  When you decide to hate God, it is always without cause.  God is the creator and giver of life.  Hating God means that you hate life and love death.

But he who sins against me [God Himself] injures himself; all those who hate me [God Himself]  love death.  PRO 8:36

I know the world leaders will not admit this, but the conflict between the Israel and the Middle East nations—the entire ‘war on terror’ as former President Bush dubbed it—is about hating God!  World leaders turn a deaf ear to Muslim extremists and what they say.  Muslims are in a fight to the death about Allah being the only god.  They consider everyone else as infidels worthy of death.  They have put their faith into daily practice.  First on the list to be killed is Israel and the Jewish people.  Actually, they want to kill the GOD OF ISRAEL and they are going through God’s chosen people to get to Him.  They are also opposed to all of the Western nations that have Christian principles and believers.

The Middle East conflict is a religious war.

So, why is the United States so afraid to deal with the fact that Islam is at war with Israel and Christianity?  The answer is right before us.  They cannot understand how Muslim extremists hate without cause.  It is even contrary to the teaching in the Koran.

This is coupled with our national leaders, with their “progressive” liberal ideals, favoring the disdain of Israel and Christianity in all forms.  In my generation, I have watched my own country turn from honoring God and respecting Christians for their faith to treating God and believers of God with utter disgust.

I have no doubt that we will soon see our fellow citizens, spurred on by our national leaders, begin to hate us without cause.  It will be in the form of public laws specifically set up to oppress Christians and Jews in particular.  We will see the Constitution violated to the extreme when the government makes laws to PROHIBIT the free exercise of our faith and they will ESTABLISH their version of what religion is to do and believe.  From there, they will unleash “thugs” to enforce their new religious freedom from religion.  If you think your family members ostracize you now for speaking kindly of the Torah and think it is bad, wait until you watch them turn you into the government for daring to exist on the same planet.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.  And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.  MAT 24:9-10

Hatred without cause has been here a long time.  It is still with us and will become prevalent in our days.  In fact, it has already showed its ugly head in Israel and the Middle East and will visit our towns and neighborhoods here in the western nations very soon.  What should we do when it comes?  Yeshua has an answer for that as well.

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.  LUK 6:22-23

I know that being hated without cause is a bitter cup to drink from, but I have learned that the fellowship with the Messiah is sweet.

As a last thought, I want to ask you a strange question:  What do you hate?  This question challenged me when I read this Psalm:

Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  PSA 139:21

This question is not about hatred without cause.  It is about hating with a cause.