A recent article in the Times Online entitled “Pope Benedict XVI Selects Rabbi to speak to Roman Catholic Synod” by Richard Owen in Rome (September 25, 2008) got my attention.
“In an historic move to reinforce Jewish-Catholic dialogue Pope Benedict XVI has asked an Israeli Rabbi to become become the first Jewish spiritual leader to address a Roman Catholic synod.
Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Shear-Yashuv Cohen, Grand Rabbi of Haifa, would address the two day Synod of Bishops in Rome next month, convened by the Pope to discuss the Bible, with the theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
More than 200 bishops are expected to attend. Rabbi Cohen is to explain to the bishops the Jewish interpretation of the Bible, whose first five books comprise the Torah, Judaism’s most sacred writings. He told the Catholic News Service (CNS) in Jeusalem that he saw the invitation as a “signal of hope bringing a message of love, coexistence and peace for generations.”
Rabbi Cohen is already well known in Italy and the Vatican for his active promotion of Jewish-Catholic relations. In April Pope Benedict, who has followed John Paul II in giving priority to Jewish-Catholic dialogue, became the first pontiff to enter a synagogue in the United States. He is also due to meet Muslim scholars in the Vatican this autumn.” (UK Times Online, Richard Owen, September 25,2008)
This is just another example of the emerging false unity that has hoodwinked and bamboozled the majority of people throughout the world, (and the “church”). It has always amazed me how so few Pastors will ever speak up about these issues for the fear of offending people. What a contrast this is to what you will find in the Bible, which is the Word of God. Listen to the Jewish apostle Paul as he testifies before King Agrippa:
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. (Acts 26:8-11)
This is the beginning of a true testimony from a man who had a genuine conversion to Jesus Christ. Paul by his own admission, gave his voice against many true believers in Christ, and allowed them to be put to death. Paul was an absolute madman in his persecution of the “saints” and in the prison he compelled them to commit blasphemy. Please take notice here that the “saints” were living believers in Jesus Christ, and every true Christian can also claim that title.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. (Acts 26:12-15)
This is one of the most amazing passages in the entire Bible. Here Paul is testifying before a King, by divine appointment (Mark 13:9) and he is telling him that Jesus Christ confronted him out of the sky. Paul made it clear to King Agrippa that the light he saw, was even brighter than the Sun in the sky at the middle of the day. Go outside and try to stare at the Sun at noontime to get an idea of what Paul was telling Agrippa. Do not look too long because you may cause damage to your eyes. This voice from the sky identified himself as Jesus, and this must have put the fear of God into the heart of Paul, considering the fact that he was on his way to persecute Christians.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:16-23)
We must all be amazed at the mercy of God right here folks. Paul was an absolute tyrant in his persecution of Christians, and yet God not only SAVED him, but he commissioned him to preach the very same gospel that he formerly despised! Paul was given a commission from the ultimate commander from Heaven above. That message has not changed one drop since the day that the Lord delivered it to Paul. That message is the same for Pope Benedict XVI as it is also for Rabbi Cohen, and as it is for the Muslim scholars that the Pope is going to meet with in the autumn. Paul was told to preach to the people so that their “eyes” (spiritual eyes) may be opened, and that they may turn from darkness to light. Keep in mind that Jesus is called the “light of the world” (John 8:12) Paul was told to preach so that the people would come out from the power of Satan unto God. Every person without Jesus Christ is totally unaware that they are operating under the power of Satan (the “god of this world”, 2 Corinthians 4:4). That was the case with Paul until he was confronted by the power of Jesus Christ, and that was the case with EVERY person (including myself), until the moment we converted to Christ. Paul then spoke about receiving the forgiveness of sins and the ultimate inheritance (in Christ), and ultimately Heaven.
Paul continued to testify before King Agrippa and he told him that he did not DISOBEY that vision from Heaven. He told him that he preached at Damascus, Jerusalem, Judaea and then to the Gentiles. The message that he gave to them all was that was that they should REPENT, and do works proving that they repented. The Gospel is not a gospel of works but there will be a “fruit” of a true conversion when it takes place. Take a look at Paul before and after his conversion, and that should give you an idea of what this means.
Then Paul went on to tell King Agrippa that the Jews caught him in the Temple and wanted to KILL him. Paul was formerly one of them, and now he has made a complete turn around (repentance) and he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not miss the fact that Paul told King Agrippa that he was preaching nothing outside of what Moses and the Prophets declared would come to pass. In the love of Jesus Christ, I must say that this is something that Rabbi Cohen needs to read for himself for the sake of his own soul. Paul made it clear that the Old Testament prophets had prophesied the very suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That message is what every human being needs to hear and it will never change. There is nothing wrong with dialogue as long as the TRUE GOSPEL is preached and people understand that they will die in their sins without Jesus Christ. (John 14:6, Acts 4:10-12)
The false unity that has hoodwinked the multitudes throughout the world will continue to grow, and the true believers in Jesus Christ will continue to suffer persecution. In the USA, we as Christians have not suffered what others have suffered throughout the world, in places like India, but I believe that this will change very soon. Friends, do not be hoodwinked by the false unity that is growing by the minute, but stick close to the REAL Jesus Christ, the one according to the scriptures.