By Dr. James A. Vineyard. Source: e-mail, August 7, 2007.
Mr. President, the orthodox Jew says his prayers at least 10 times each day:
Upon opening up his eyes, he thanks God for "restoring his soul," (for, many of the orthodox Hebrews believe that every night God takes his soul from him while he sleeps, and by a special act of grace, HE restores his soul to him upon waking - which, of course, enables him to awaken from his sleep);
Then, he repeats another prayer when washing;
This is followed by the morning prayers, which would put us born-again Christians to shame for their length;
Then, before eating breakfast, they will repeat a Psalm, which I understand many times is the 23rd Psalm;
And, when the meal is ended, another set of prayers is said, with this process being repeated at each meal;
In the afternoon, there are the "oblation" prayers;
In the evening, there are the evening prayers;
And, before bedtime, there are the special night prayers when every pious Hebrew commends his soul to God for its safe keeping.
Just knowing what these orthodox Hebrews do on a daily basis in the way of works puts this hell-deserving but grace-forgiven, humble, and simple servant of their Lord God of Israel to shame in his daily acts of consecration and dedication to my Lord and Savior.
Mr. President, the Jew is the key that unlocks four mysteries:
If you want to understand the Bible, you study God's dealings with the Jews. He is the key that unlocks four things:
First, Sir, the mysteries of divine revelation in both the Old and the New Testament. The Bible was written by the Jew, inspired of God. You cannot understand the Divine purpose in this world unless you understand His purpose in dealing with and through the Jew.
Second, Mr. President, the philosophy of history. If you want to understand the strange things in human history, he is the key that unlocks the past. If you want to understand how God raises up and how He puts down rulers, kings, emperors and empires and nations, you study His dealings with the Jews. If you want to understand the destiny and fate of ancient Egypt and Babylon and all ancient nations, you study God's dealing with the Jew.
Third, Sir, the only explanation of the present map of the world. If you want to understand the strange happenings of this present hour, I say to you he is the key that unlocks the mystery of things that are going on now. If you want to understand the Near East - if you want to understand the politics of all Europe - you understand God's dealings with the Jew.
The only outstanding result of the great war, the only clear-cut result was what? Not indemnity, not reparations, for that isn't settled - they are fighting over it still - the world is trembling in the balance, wondering whether we will be plunged into another war, but one thing was clearly settled and that is that Mohammedan rule ended in Palestine and that country was given back to its rightful owners - the people that God gave it to in the beginning.
Fourth, Mr. President, if you want to understand the future, he is the key that unlocks the unknown future. Great as his history has been in the past - as related as it has been to the nations of the earth - the greatest purpose that God has yet for the Jew is yet in the future. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem" - every Jew has it in his blood - that his right hand would lose its cunning and his tongue would cleave to the roof of his mouth before he would forget Jerusalem - that city - the most important city in all the past and of the present and of the future - from that city in the future the law shall go forth to the end of the earth - the religious capital of the world in the past and will be the religious capital in the day of Millennial glory.
Sir, the Bible says, Isaiah 2:1-5: The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
"And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
"O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD."
Mr. President, our Founding Fathers saw that American Citizens and Jews have common interest.
Now, I want to address myself briefly on this word: Why then should there be any enmity or prejudice between the Jews and the English-speaking people? There should be the closest sympathetic relationship between these two mighty races. After all, the Jew may not be so different himself, and we may not be so different from him. Shakespeare says: "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passion? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as the Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die, and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, shall not we resemble you in that?"
I will tell you what you do - you go to persecuting him and you are digging your own grave. He isn't going to fight you back. No - he won't burn your house down; he won't shoot you in the back - no - no danger of that; he isn't going to do that - but you lay your hand on him and God will put His curse upon you - that is what He says - "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." Is the Bible inspired? Let's take that first promise - the Abrahamic covenant - God says I will bless him that blesses thee. Everywhere you find a people blessing and helping the Jew in ancient times - take for example - what happened at Jericho - the city was destroyed but the scarlet woman with her household was saved, and why? Because she gave protection and succor to the spies of Israel.
Mr. President, yonder in the land of Egypt for 400 years they were ground down by cruel, heartless, conscienceless taskmasters. Go and look upon those splendid rows of Pyramids and the Sphinx. They are now excavating tombs with their millions of wealth buried through the centuries. Go yonder in Central Park, New York, and look at the obelisk that was taken from the ancient city of Memphis, a few miles out of present Cairo - look at it with those hieroglyphics on the four sides. That obelisk tells Americans, that the people who persecuted the Jew, that their glory is buried in the sands on the banks of the Nile, and the Jew lives on.
Come with me to the ruins of Babylon where they dug up the cuneiform records, where they have excavated the history of government - this empire - that took these people into captivity and stole their golden and silver vessels from the temple and drank out of them as they held them in their blasphemous hands at the midnight hour - that nation went down in defeat and their city was so utterly destroyed that it is a place for bats and owls and for satyrs to dance!
But, Sir, the Jew lives on!
Go yonder some moonlight night and look through the open windows of the old Coliseum at Rome, see the half broken walls, and listen to those strange voices from the dead past - what does it mean - Rome, that mighty power that oppressed and persecuted the Jews, went down in defeat?
But, Sir, the Jew lives on!
Call to mind the conquerors that have invaded the Land of Palestine - Where are they? Thotmes, Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, Cambyses, Alexander, Pompey, Caesar, Augustus, Titus, Hadrian, Omar, Saladin, Tamerlane, Napoleon - all gone - governments and empires - but the Jew remains the same unchangeable race that he was when God gave the covenant to his forefathers.
Go to the land of Russia - the land of night, mystery and bloodshed. For three hundred years the Romanoff Dynasty persecuted the Jews and sent them into cold Siberia to die in exile.
Who, Mr. President, knows but that the 15,000,000 human beings that were "liquidated" in twenty years in Russia, is the just retribution on that land - a fulfillment of the judgment, "I will curse him that curseth thee"?
Germany changed. Hitler changed. Haman issued a decree, sealed and signed by the king of the world's most powerful empire in that day, that the Jews should be put to death.
"And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey." (Esther 3:13)
But the hand of God changed the decree of the king and caused it to read: "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai." (Esther 7:10)
The Jew, Sir, will be here until the end of time. Did Jesus know what He was talking about? There is a miracle for you. Now come on, Mr. President, and tell me how that happened! Here is a people that is defying climatic conditions, social conditions, political conditions, flood and flame and four thousand years of persecution, still true to the God of their fathers.
I repeat, I make no defense of the Jew. He needs none, and would justly resent it, but I make a plea for our own Christian faith, for our own Bible.
As a Christian, I fear God: I believe in His Word, and He says, "I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curses thee," and this applies to the Jew wherever he is, whether in Palestine or elsewhere. We need to listen to the inspired prophets when they declare:
"Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of its produce, all who desire to destroy it shall be found guilty, evil shall befall them."
"Whoever touches My people, shall touch his own eye-apple."
"The Lord never changes, and you, the house of Israel shall never be destroyed."
"You are my witnesses and I am your God."
"Like the new heaven and the new earth, Israel shall stand forever before me."
"If the heavens will be measured above and the foundations of the earth will be searched out, Israel will cease to be a people before me."
Let me emphasize, Mr. President, the miracle of the Jew. Let me summarize for a moment. The miracle of all times is the Jew. Can the world show anything like it? More than twice 1,900 years old, they saw the proud Egyptian perish in the waters of the Red Sea; they heard the fall of great Babylon's power; they witnessed the ruins of the Macedonian conquests. And now they have outlived the Caesars, and outlived the dark ages. They have been through all civilizations, shared in all convulsions, and have kept pace with the entire progress of discovery and art. And here they stand today, as distinct as ever, occupying no country of their own, scattered through all countries, identical in their immemorial physiognomy, earth's men of destiny, before the venerableness of whose pedigree the proudest scutcheons of mankind are but trifles of yesterday. But have they suffered severely? One convulsive groan of agony breathing through nineteen centuries, and heard in every land but our own.
At the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, besides the tens of thousands led into captivity, it was as if in a single action of a great war the slain on one side should amount to 1,300,000; and when the remaining Jews having been expelled from their country, they attempted, sixty years afterward, to return, a half million more were slaughtered. For centuries they were forbidden, on pain of death, even to set foot in Jerusalem. Under King John of England, 1,500 were massacred at York in one day. Under Ferdinand and Isabella 800,000 by a single decree, were forced out to sea in boats, and the most of them perished in the waves. They have been fined and fleeced by almost every government known to history. They have been banished from place to place; banished and recalled, and banished again.
Here, Sir, they are holding fast to that one tell-tale face, keeping up the sacred learnings of their traditions, self-conscious in their isolation, irrepressible in their love of Jerusalem, sublime in their singular patriotism, evermore looking and longing for their Messiah, the same intense individuality as when, lord of the soil, he plucked his olives from the trees of Judea. And, what is more, these world wanderers of the centuries, these tribes of the weary foot, have not only survived, but have risen again as an element of power among mankind.
However much oppressed, Mr. President, persecuted and crushed to earth, the Jew rises again. Carry them into Babylonian captivity and soon they are prime ministers, cup bearers to the king, presidents of the councils of the empire. This has been true through the ages, and England's greatest constructive statesman was Disraeli. No Jewish ruler has ever persecuted any race or minorities. Nor did any Jew ever attempt to force unwilling subjects to embrace his faith. Therefore, shall the Jew be hated, envied and persecuted because he is the foremost, whether in science or literature or government?
In witchery of song unsurpassed, he enchants the world with some of the sweetest music it ever heard. Surely he is the standing miracle of the world's current history; the bush of Moses, ever burning, yet never consumed; an ocular demonstration of how God may energize the secret springs of a peoples' life, yet without disturbing individual freedom or social characteristics; an unanswerable refutation of that godless philosophy that would turn the Almighty out of His own universe. And for what have they thus been borne in the hands of God, all along the ages? Beyond a peradventure, if so literally have been fulfilled the prophecies which foretold their sufferings and their preservation, equally sure are the predicted grandeurs of their future.
Dr. Vineyard is Pastor Emeritus of Windsor Hills Baptist Church Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.