Pope Francis’ visit to Israel

International Christian Zionist Center


He did nearly everything “right.”  Kindness, and the willingness to be a messenger of peace, kissing the hands of Holocaust survivors at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, coming to the region flanked by a Rabbi friend and Muslim cleric from his days in Argentina, and topping it off with an invitation to Shimon Peres and Abu Mazen to come to Rome to pray and seek peace.  Who could oppose this?  Who could be against such display of honest sincerity and the readiness to embrace, as indeed Shimon Peres and he repeatedly did?  So, what’s wrong with Peres and Abu Mazen prayerfully, in the presence of Pope Francis, seeking the long eluded peace?

Surely, whereas all the politicians and envoys for peace negotiations have failed, praying with the Pope in Rome could finally open the door to true peace?

But to seek and invoke the help of the God of Israel – who is the only One worthy be called God and Holy Father – a price is involved, and the price is that we all dare to pray that prayer the Lord taught us to pray to this heavenly and holy Father, that “Your will (not ours) be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

And in and through His Word – to those who believe themselves to be His people – God has left no doubt what His Will entails: That He, from the very beginning, has given His own land as an everlasting (not temporary) possession to His people Israel, and that those nations or individuals that would seek to divide this land will have to face Him in judgment, as Joel foresaw:

I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land   (Joel 3:2).

For those who would react negatively, rejecting such scriptural references (of which there are many in God’s Word) as not belonging to this modern time and age, I would emphasize the absurdity of being unwilling to let God have the final word about His land and about His people.

Flying in from Jordan, but before he arrived in Tel Aviv, Pope Francis chose to first visit the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of his Lord and Master, Whose vicar he believes himself to be on earth today.  Bethlehem – the city where not only Jesus the son of David was born, but where David himself was born; a city every Bible believer knows to be part of Judea which – as the Gospels explain – belongs to Israel. Here in the city of His Lord’s birth, the city of the Messiah and King of Israel, the Pope embraces a murderer of the Israeli athletes in Munich – a man who accompanied his fellow terrorist, Yasser Arafat, throughout his blood-soaked years – and calls him “a man of peace;” he who, after thousands of hours of negotiations, still refuses to accept Israel in whatever future borders as a Jewish democratic State.

Before Abbas has even arrived at the place where, after all these years of hatred and war, he is ready to accept and live in peace with a Jewish democratic State, he already receives two things from the head of one billion Christians: the accolade of being a ‘man of peace,’ and recognition that he is already the president of a state, the State of Palestine.

How Jesus, Francis’ professed Lord, must weep about such willful ignorance displayed before a people to whom He has given the land; a people for whom, even on the cross, He prayed asking His Father’s forgiveness!


Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center

HKP ImageRepublished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.

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