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Column by: E. Scorpio
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16(RSV)
14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!
Firstly, friends, let it be known that my intention today is not one of slander, nor a promotion of aggression. Contrarily, it is an issue of deep concern for the spiritual safety of those already in the refuge of the Universal Church, the schismatics inherently prone to adoption of false doctrine, as well as the descendants of the persecutors St. Paul wrote of in great detail.
For my experience, a citizen of United States in the “post-9/11 world,” the promotion of Judeophilia seemed to gain great traction immediately following the World Trade Center attacks. While the concepts of zionism, Christian-zionism and any offshoot are shockingly prevalent in our modern world, it must be understood that the Church has had to address the stumbling block of Judaizing from the earliest days. The Council of Jerusalem c. 50 AD was convened because the (largely Pharisaic) converted zealots’ protests endangered the spread of the early Church to the Gentiles. St. Justin (c. 140 AD) considered the position heretical.(1)
Therefore, one can understand that Judaizers, along with many heresies and misconceptions, are cyclical and repeating, as history in general is wont to be. Indeed, if one were to study the Hand of God in action throughout history, a Providential pattern can be observed that serves as a constant reminder of what is, and is not, pleasing to the Lord.
What then of the modern Judaizers, the Christian-zionists? It occurs to me that a large part in the Christian acceptance of this philosophy is rooted in fundamental misunderstanding. Friends, let me say first that I promote a method of explanation I refer to as “low-class Logic” (LCL). I could sit and write and quote Scripture much, quote several researchers, provide many sources. What good what it do, however, if we cannot agree on the most basic; if we cannot agree on true definition?
It is in this vein that I not only proceed, but also identify the errors of Christian-zionism (Cz). Within a few debates online, it immediately becomes clear there are easily misconstrued, oft-repeated notions that are held to as Gospel. In my opinion, there are three words/phrases/omissions that are, at least, the most common encountered. These are:
Fulfilled/Covenant fulfilled– This seems to be the concept most often used to gird oneself against any questioning of “Judeo Christian,” i.e. Cz. Adherents will claim time and again that the jews are still operating under the original covenant with God. This claim will almost always be buttressed by saying, “Jesus did not end the law, he fulfilled it.” (ref. Matt 5:17) This seems to be an inadvertent redundancy. It may seem crass, but fulfilled means ended. According to dictionary definition: fulfilled- 1. bring to completion or reality; achieve or realize. In other words, Christ brought the Old Covenant to completion. It was achieved through His coming and sacrifice, as well as implementation of the New Covenant.
Zionism/Cz– These are two ideologies that have a few definitions, most of them downright heretical. The LCL understanding of zionism is Jewish Supremacy. This includes the notion that the jews are “owed” the area of Palestine due to the Old Covenant. The founder of the modern zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, sought audience with Pope St. Pius X in 1904 seeking Pope Pius’ approval in the creation of the jewish state. The Pontiff’s response was:
“We are unable to favor this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem – but we could never sanction it. The ground of Jerusalem, if it were not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church, I cannot answer you otherwise. The Jews have not recognized our Lord; therefore, we cannot recognize the Jewish people. And so, if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we will be ready with churches and priests to baptize all of you.”(2)
As for the Christian iteration, while Cz may be more commonly accepted as being more a political or spiritual affinity or support for the state of Israel nowadays, it was originally understood to have a very different meaning. In simple terms, it was an extreme belief among, especially, eschatological-minded evangelicals to force the construction of the Third Temple in order to jumpstart the Apocalypse.(3) Keep in mind, “Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”(Matt 4:7)
I will be brief on the final point, but it is a simple, important concept to make clear for one who clings to the bewitchment of zionism. Allow me to give the LCL reduction of Antichrist. Briefly, something or someone who is antichrist either denies or rejects the Divinity of Christ. It should go without saying, but the definition of a jew is one who rejects the Divinity of Christ. A Catholic should not be engaged in promotion of unrequited fraternalism with a spirit of antichrist.
As has been established, the problem of Judaizers is not a new concept. It has been a source of confusion since the earliest days of our Catholic Church. While, unsurprisingly, Judaizing has long been both accepted and promoted by most of the endless number of Protestant sects, it is very alarming to see this ideology make inroads to the Catholic faithful. The official Church position is one of grave warning towards this practice.
Finally, to reiterate the initial disclaimer, this does not mean to espouse any call to violence or evil against the jews. Christ instructs us both to love our enemy and spread the Gospel to all nations. Work for the love and conversion of all peoples, including the enemies of our Church. Sicut Judaeis Non.