"WHY SUPPORT ISRAEL?"
by Pastor John Stocker
So often, I am confronted by Christians who look at me as if there is something just a little bit strange. I realize that I am a bit strange…but they don’t seem to understand the Israel thing. People have learned that if they are anti-Semitic, they just better shut their mouth because they will be in more deep trouble than they know. I am not afraid to speak out. I don’t encounter that so much. But what I do encounter all the time is that people look at me as if …”well…that’s nice that you have a heart for Israel…that’s nice that you think that way…but you need to recognize that that’s your deal and not everybody’s deal.” Let me say something to you…it ought to be everybody’s deal. Every born again Christian ought to be as passionate about their love for Israel and about helping the Israeli people as what this pastor is. Let me explain that to you.
I was talking with a friend of mine who Pastors in Missouri and he was telling me about a book he was planning to sell in his Church. It’s an anti-Semitic book predicting the total destruction and complete annihilation of the State of Israel in the next ten years. The author of the book sent it to me and I wrote him a nice little letter (ha, ha). I told him he was never welcome in this church again until he repented. My friend in Missouri was going to sell the book. He called me to come down there and preach and I said "here’s how it is…if you sell that book in your Church, I will never come again. I will never darken the door of your Church again because I have to make a statement." And he said to me, “Stocker, you’re a zealot.” And I said, “Yes I am, and if you keep calling me that, I may tattoo it on my arms. Zealot and proud of it.”
People look at me and think…that’s a little bit strange. You’re a little overboard. This is something that you’ve developed in your life and it’s become a cause with you and that sort of thing. It’s your deal and we don’t have to be that involved.
Let me tell you a couple of the reasons why I feel the way I feel and I believe you should join me in my pursuit of blessing Israel.
Folks, I want to ask you a question. If someone walked up to you today and said to you, “prove to me that Christianity is valid and prove to me that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the only true God…. and that Allah is not the true God…prove it!”
What would you say to them? You’d have a hard time proving anything. Hello, think about it for a minute. How can you prove anything? How can you even prove that God exists? It’s quiet in here right now! Let me tell you something. You need something to say to those people.
When somebody comes to you and says, “can you prove that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exists?” You ought to have something to say to those people. The one thing and just about the only thing that I know that I can say is simply this…I can take you to the Scriptures…not the Koran…not the book of Mormon…I can take you to the Holy Scriptures and I can show you thousand’s and thousand’s of years ago, God made a covenant with a man named Abraham. God said to that man some very specific things and promises. One of those promises was that He was going to give him a land and that that land was going to be passed down from generation to generation. And then God spoke to his son Isaac and his son Jacob and reconfirmed the promise of that land.
And then God also said something else…He said that “if my people do not serve me…my chosen people do not serve me…I will drive them…I will punish them…I will drive them out of that land”. Then God said something else. He said, “I will never ever cut them off, never reject them and at some point in the future, I’m going to bring them back to the land that I promised Abraham that I would give to him. I will bring those people back and I will establish them in their land”, and as Eliezer has already pointed out, in the last verse of the book of Amos, “They will never again be plucked up out of that land.”
Now Church, please hear my heart when I say to you, that the validity of your Christian faith depends on whether or not God is a God of his word. Either the Bible is true or it is a myth and if any part of it is a myth than all of it is a myth. And if what God said to Abraham is not real and is not going to be fulfilled, I just tell you right now…we’ll just close the doors (of the Church), lock ‘em up, close shop and say that we have been believing a lie.
I made a statement a number of years ago. I shocked people when I said it. Afterward I said to myself, “John, have you spoken too quickly”? I thought about it a lot and I’ll say it again today. "If the State of Israel ever ceases to exist and those people are driven out of that land, I will become a Muslim."
NOW YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I AM SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS CAUSE?
Some of you are thinking…we’ll I don’t think that’s right that you would say that, Pastor. You’re faith should be stronger than that. Well, my faith is in the word of God and if the word of God isn’t true then I have nothing to put my faith in.
And so, for me, this has become a cause. I am a zealot.
I realize that at stake is the very believability of the word of God. God tells us this is the way it’s going to be. Where do the replacement theology people come along?…I need to talk about Replacement Theology. Some of you don’t know what that is. It’s basically a belief system, a teaching that says that the Church has replaced Israel and that the promises God made to Abraham, have been fulfilled in Christ and that when Israel rejected God, and served idols, then God rejected them. It states that God has picked a new people and that that is the Church. Israel as a nation has been cut off from God and God no longer deals with them as a national identity.
Folks that would be very believable except for one fact. That fact is the modern nation of Israel. Here we have a people, the Jewish people, who by and large have very, very few who are believers in Yeshua. The vast majority are not believers in Yeshua…in fact, many are agnostic or atheistic because of all the things that have happened to them as a people group. Yet in spite of the fact that they have not accepted Yeshua, God is obviously still bringing them back out of the nations to their homeland, establishing them in their homeland, and causing all the things God said would happen to these people… to happen to these people. And so your replacement theology goes out the window. You can say what ever you want to, but the facts are this is what is happening and God has not forsaken Israel.
God has not forsaken the Jewish people. So you look at all of that and begin to realize why this is one of the most important things to the heart of God. And if you want to know why it’s so important to my heart…it’s because it’s important to the heart of God. Boy, I hope you get a hold of that. I hope you understand that Israel is a passion in the heart of God. It is more important to Him than just about anything else in the world.
There is another reason why I am so passionate about this. I’ve shared it before but maybe some of you haven’t heard it.
About fifteen years ago, I made my first trip to Israel. I had an experience that was one of those life-changing experiences. One afternoon, we went to the Israeli museum of the Holocaust. If you are ever in Israel, you must see it. We parked our bus and walked through a tree-lined area and went to the museum. There are no words to describe adequately what my eyes saw. I had a former friend. I say former because he’s former. One day I was sitting in his office. He’s a businessman. Sitting in his office, he said, “that whole thing about the holocaust is made up. It’s not true. It never happened.” That’s the last time he and I have talked. I let him know it happened. We’d like to say it didn’t happen. We’d like to believe that it’s all made up. The truth is that between five and six million human beings were slaughtered. Before they were slaughtered, they endured some of the most inhumane treatment that any humans have every endured. Starvation, medical experiments…everything despicable that the human mind could ever conceive was done to those people. And nearly six million of them died.
I came out from that museum having seen the photographs of that horrible, horrible era. I walked in to a hallway…a room, where down below you see the eternal flames of each of the death camps. I’m of German descent. My ancestors came from Germany. I’ve never been one to believe that I can repent for another man’s sins. That day I stood and sobbed. I wept until my shirt was wet with tears. And after I was there for fifteen or twenty minutes, I walked out.
It was a beautiful day. I sat on a bench for a while. I was just overwhelmed…overcome with emotion. I asked God to forgive my ancestors for what they had done.
Then it was time to go back on the bus and I walked back through that tree-lined area. As I did, I noticed that each of the trees had been planted as a memorial to those that the Israeli government declared to be righteous gentiles. Those who risked their lives in order to help Jews from the gas chamber and crematoriums. And as I stood there, and walked slowly past plaque after plaque, I began to ask myself…and I knew it was God that was dealing with my heart…and I began to ask myself…if I had been an adult then….I was born in 1943…so there was nothing I could have done…but had I been an adult then…what would I have done? Would I have been like the millions of other Christians who stood by and did absolutely nothing and let it go on? Would I have been like one of those who took the attitude of, “hey, what can I do”? As I was wrestling with all that, I asked, would I have been declared a righteous gentile? I had one of those defining moments in life that forever changed me. As the Holy Spirit of God came and spoke to me, this is what He said….”You would have done exactly what you are doing today!” If you do nothing today, you would have done nothing back then.”
If you refuse to get involved today, you would have refused to get involved back then. We can go through life having wishful thinking and grandiose ideas. The bottom line is…if you don’t have action, all you have is wishful thinking. Wishful thinking never got anything done.
I walked away that day with a commitment in my heart that said this. "I will do everything I can." For me, that started by saying, "I will boldly confront anti-Semitism every time I encounter it."
I don’t care if it’s my next-door neighbor. I don’t care if it’s preachers. I don’t care who it is. I’m going to get in their face and let them know that they better never say it around me. They better never think it because I’ll pick it up and be in their face. And I am not afraid to do that.
I’ve never told you this. About eight/nine months after my heart surgery, I went to a ministers meeting one day. There had been some violence and bloodshed in the Middle East that day. It was during the time that they opened up the tunnel. Oh, big deal! They opened an opening in to a tunnel that was already there and it caused a riot. I better not get started! I walked in to the Ministers meeting and they were sitting around the table and one of them looked at me and the first thing out of his mouth was, “well, did you see what your Jews did today?”
Twenty minutes later, he dismissed himself from the meeting. I had chewed on him for twenty minutes.
I got so emotionally upset that I started having chest pains and ended up in the hospital.
You say, “Well I think you overreacted!” I’m glad I did it. I’d do it again. I said that I would speak up. #2, I said that I would educate. I’m in the position of an educator and I will begin to educate people. Every Christian needs to be educated. We can’t sit by and say, “I wish them well and everybody has their thing and Stocker, this is your thing and go ahead and do your thing.” I will educate people that that is the wrong attitude. That’s the kind of attitude that allowed six million Jews to die. Because Christian people said, “it’s not my thing.” I said I would educate from the pulpit.
I will also educate by taking people to Israel. Once they are there, they are never the same. I’ve had entrenched anti-Semites go with me to Israel, and while there, repent with tears. So we keep going to Israel.
And last but not least, I’ll give whatever I can to see to it that that land is established as a Jewish homeland for the Jewish people.
So that’s where I’m at.
You want to know why I do something for this man (Eliezer Braun/Shuva Israel) that we don’t even do for our own missionaries…which is give a whole Sunday morning service. Because this to me is even more important. So will you do what God tells you to do?
Would you allow yourself to stand side by side with the Jews in the re-establishment of their homeland and in the bringing to fulfillment the Scriptures that God gave thousands of years ago…that prove, Halleluya, that the Bible is true and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the one true God….and proves that God is still alive and well on planet earth today… and He is going to do what He said He is going to do!
What a day we are living in folks…what a day we are living in. I thank God that I am alive to see it. I’m telling you… I began to weep when I was watching the video (Shuva Video) because I’ve been there and I’ve seen it. I walked through the land of Israel and I’ve seen the fulfillment of Bible prophesy before my eyes. It’s the most incredible experience to see it first hand for yourself and if you know your Bible, you will be able to say, "it’s happening exactly as He said it would".
I had many scriptures in my notes. But this one came from my heart.
Isaiah 14: 31 & 32. “Howl ‘O gate. Cry ‘O city. Whole Palestina are dissolved. For there shall come from the North a smoke and none shall be alone. And what shall then one answer the messengers of the nations? (Here is what you will say to the nations) That the Lord hath founded Zion.” When the nations say, “what are you doing here, what right do you (the Jewish people) have here.”? You answer, “the Lord hath founded Zion.”
Pastor John Stocker
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