A Letter to Open Doors
Thank you for your detailed response to our query about your position on Israel. We carefully read The Declaration on the 60th anniversary of Israel which you sent and which was signed by ‚ Eddie Lyle and Brother Andrew ‚ of Open Doors. We have been supporters of the ministry for several years because of ‚ the work among suffering Christians. But it concerns us that you have signed The Declaration.
We showed your letter and The Declaration to two Christian friends. They are brothers of Lebanese origin and they came to faith in Christ many years ago, along with their sister, at an evangelistic meeting. They love the Bible, which has opened their eyes on the whole question of Israel and the Jews. These men ‚ are a blessing to everyone they meet.
Their family had a business in Haifa, Israel, in 1948, but were told by their own Arab leaders to get out of the country while the Arabs destroyed the Jews, and that then they could return in safety. ‚ The Jews were not destroyed, and, like most of those who fled the land at that time, our friends’ family never returned. But they did get on with their lives. They did not remain in refugee camps. They left the camps, they worked, studied, found jobs and careers and prospered. They did not remain locked in hatred, and now their descendents, our friends, have come to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
They both love Israel and the Jewish people, recognising that God formed them into a nation for His own purposes and gave them the land ” “ much more than they now possess.
When we showed the Open Doors letter and The Declaration to our friends, both of these fine Christian men had the same response. Here is a summary of what they said:
” ˜This is not biblically accurate. ‚ Israel was born in a day (in1948) just as the Bible predicted and the Jews are back in the land. ‚ It is ridiculous to call it a diaspora of the Arabs (Palestinians).
” ˜The Declaration talks of the struggle for restitution for Palestinian Arabs and mentions the figure of 700,000 whom it claims were uprooted from their homes. We do not believe the number was that high, as we have heard the figure 4-500,000 ” “ so what about restitution for the more than 700,000 Jews who were uprooted and forbidden to return and had to leave everything behind in Arab countries?
” ˜In 1948 the Arab high command gave a warning on the radio to get out of Israel because they were going to get rid of the Jews. They also put out false propaganda that the Jews were destroying villages. ‚ Our ancestors got out and never went back, but we do not believe they were forbidden to go back. In fact the Jews told their people not to take over homes etc because our people were coming back.
” ˜The Palestinians are not a people. They are a mix. Arabs just go where things are best. They (the so-called ” ˜Palestinians’) are suffering because of their refusal to go forward. In Lebanon the Palestinians are kept in a state of degradation and used as pawns. They will give them ‚ £25,000 if they sacrifice one of their children, but won’t help them with money to build a house.
” ˜Jordan is Palestinian, so why don’t they and the other Arab countries let the refugees settle? (The Palestinians were expelled from Jordan.) ‚ Syria wanted workers, but would not accept Palestinians because they wanted them to stay focused in hate in the camps. They are being used as pawns.
” ˜Egypt ‚ said it would refuse to take control of Gaza when it was suggested that Israel offer it to them.
” ˜We recommend the book ” ˜From Time Immemorial’ by Joan Peters which gives the true facts about all this and true numbers taken from official documents.
” ˜The Declaration quotes Micah 4.4, but that refers to the Millennium, the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, when everyone will indeed sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree and no one will make them afraid. ‚ But we are not in that time yet. We are living in the time leading up to Christ’s return, and there will be trouble, particularly in Israel, until the Prince of Peace comes back. The Jews are God’s ancient people, re-gathered for judgement, and they will face the hatred of the world alone until, with all the nations of the world against them, at last they will accept the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. Then He will return, when they recognise Him and call for Him.’
One of the brothers added this: ” ˜I was in Lebanon when the 2006 summer war began, on the receiving end of Israel’s bombing. ‚ I saw the destruction and damage done, yet have no anger toward them for what occurred. ‚ In fact I continued to pray for friends there in the land of Israel and family in Lebanon. ‚ The land belongs to God (He often refers to it as ‚ “My land”..) and He gave it to Israel. They are the tenants whom God has drawn back there in fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. They are only occupying a small part of the land which was originally promised and allotted to them under the Balfour Declaration, and they are content to live there in peace with their neighbours, but have the sovereign right to defend themselves using whatever means are necessary to their survival as a nation. ‚ “He shall make Jacob a devouring fire to the nations roundabout.” (not verbatim)
That was the response of two men who could well be full of hatred and bitterness, but instead are peaceful and happy. We count it a privilege to know them.
Here is our (Alan and Pat’s) view of all this:
We do not believe there ever was a people known as the ” ˜Palestinian people’. Never was there a nation of Palestinian people with a land, a ‚ unique language, a culture, a literature and a history. The land was the land of Canaan, not Palestine, when God gave it to the Jews and it became Israel. ‚ Before that it was occupied not by Palestinians, but by different tribes of idol worshippers. ‚ These tribes are named in the Bible. Many centuries later in about 135AD it was renamed Syria Palestina by the Romans to punish the Jews for the Bar Kochba rebellion. They chose the name Palestina to relate to the Philistines, a slap in the face for the Jews of that day. We understand that the Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians after Arafat set up the PLO. Jerusalem was King David’s capital and has never been an Arab capital.
One thing we have discovered is that there is freedom in Israel. Arabs who live there are not downtrodden. They can work, vote, build mosques, they get medical treatment, they get educations etc. ‚ We are told that some 5,000 Arabs in Israel are in higher education. ‚ The Arabs are about 25% of the voting citizens in Israel. The women have full rights. There are even Arabs allowed in government. ‚ What Arab country would treat Jews like this? ‚ Some Arabs in Israel are even helped by Jewish charities. We know of one Arab family whose rent has been paid for years by Jewish Christians. ‚ The so-called Palestinians are kept in refugee camps by other Arabs, not by Jews. In Israel Arabs live in freedom, a concept that is foreign to Islam. There is no mention of Islam in The Declaration.
Your letter says Christians are called upon to do all we can to work for justice and peace, but that is the wrong way round. Jesus told us to take the gospel to people so that some would repent of their sins and believe in Him. Justice and peace follow the spread of the gospel. Our number one priority should be telling Jews and Arabs the gospel, not fretting about restitution. ‚ The Declaration makes no mention of the gospel.
The land of Israel has been fought over more than any other territory in the world, but it is God’s land, and He gave it to the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. ‚ Although they were dispersed for their rejection of the Lord Jesus, some Jews always remained in the land, and God’s gift of the land to the Jewish people is indisputable, as in the scriptures following. God has allowed other people to live there, but it is His land and He has explicitly set it apart for the Jews.
Gen 12:7 to Abraham: ” ˜To your descendants I will give this land.’
Gen 13:15: ” ˜for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.’
Gen 13:17 ” ˜Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth: for I will give it to you.’ (and Abraham was dwelling in Hebron, now an Arab town)
Gen 15:7 ” ˜I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.’
Gen 15:18 ” ˜On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” ¦’
Gen 17:19 ” ˜” ¦call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’
Gen 21:12 ” ˜through Isaac your descendants shall be named.’
Gen 26:3,4 to Isaac: ‚ ” ˜” ¦for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands” ¦’
Gen 28:13 to Isaac’s son Jacob: ” ˜the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.’
Gen 35:12 to Jacob: ” ˜The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.’
Exodus 6:8 to Moses: ” ˜I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.’
Judges 2:1 ” ˜” ¦I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you” ¦.’
Other prophetic scriptures make it clear that the Lord Jesus is coming back to that very land and will reign in power from Jerusalem. We believe that time is very near. The only hope for anyone in the Middle East is the gospel, which is conspicuous by its absence from The Declaration.
We are sorry, but, having read The Declaration signed by Open Doors, we are withdrawing our financial support of Open Doors. We would urge you to read the masterwork ” ˜Footsteps of the Messiah’ by Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum. ‚ It is crucial that Christians have a sound understanding of Bible prophecy and what it teaches us about events now unfolding in the Middle East. Another book we highly recommend which clearly explains the history and biblical truth about Israel, the Jews and the Arabs is ” ˜Judgement Day’ by Dave Hunt. We hope very much that some of you at Open Doors will get these books and check these things out.
Alan and Pat Franklin