Emeritus Archbishop Tutu of the Anglican Church in South Africa is well known world wide and is supposed to be an evangelical who calls the world to repent and prepare for eternal life according to the Way of Truth (Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life). Yet it seems as if Bishop Tutu has joined the voices from South Africa to ban imports from Israel. The action is supposed to draw attention to the 'misdeeds' of the Israelis. One wonders how many of these critics have lived in Israel for a few years to experience what it is like under the constant threat of annihilation by rockets, suicide bombers, et cetera? Why the rich Arabic nations with their vast oil resources and big countries want to destroy the small nation and area of Israel, can only be answered by the Bible. It has to do with the enmity between the two sons (Ishmael and Isaac) of the patriarch Abraham. Isaac was the one through whom the promised Redeemer would come ('it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned,' Romans 9:7b). God never rejected Ishmael. Instead He promised to bless him (Genesis 21:13,18). This can be seen in their oil wealth.
Bishop Tutu is supposed to be a Christian. That implies that his sins were forgiven by the Jew, Jesus, who lived in Palestine and died a terrible death for humanity's sins (as written down in the Bible which consists of the Jewish Old Testament and the New Testament that was written entirely by Jews, except for Luke). The Christian position is that:
- People are saved from eternal punishment for their rebellion against God, by grace, through the precious blood of Jesus who was punished, died and rose again in their place ('because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved,' Ephesians 2:4).
- People who have accepted God's provision, then become the spiritual children of Abraham ('understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham,' Galatians 3:7). It is shown in Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The latter was embraced in heaven by father Abraham ('the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom,' Luke 16:19-23). It accords with God's promise to Abraham that he will have offspring as numerous as the sand on the sea shore (Genesis 22:17), because every saved person who arrives in heaven is another of Abraham's children. The Israelites have not been that numerous, but adding the countless millions who have been saved by Jesus through the ages, it could reach the 'sand on the seashore' simile.
- Salvation for all people of all eras is from the Jews (John 4:22). This was said by the Jew, Jesus, Himself. So we cannot deny our eternal indebtedness to the Jews ('... from them [the Jews] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, for ever praised!' Romans 9:5b).
Apparently the bishop doesn't feel that his opposition to Israel in the least affects his relationship with the Jew, Jesus. Yet God said He will bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him (Genesis 12:3). The ANC in South Africa has decided to support the boycott of products from Israel. It will be interesting to see what happens as a result. Will South Africa's economy, the corruption in government departments and school failures, be turned around to prosper as a result of their opposition to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
The bishop knows about the persecution of the Jews through the ages. We are also aware of Hitler's effort to get rid of the Jews. Many claim he did it because he was influenced by Charles Darwin's idea of the survival of the fittest. Yet that doesn't sell, because the Jews were a fit nation. They are very clever and have learned through the ages to adapt and thrive. An example is how they built up Israel. Another possible reason why Hitler wanted to annihilate them has to do with the central position of the Jews in God's plan. Through them the promised Messiah or Saviour was born (regardless of the fact that many Jews do not accept it). The world hates the Jews and we read in the book of Esther that Haman got so cross at Mordecai's irreverent behaviour that he decided to annihilate the Jewish nation in the Persian kingdom (Esther 3). His whole plan backfired. The Jews were victorious and they still celebrate it with the feast of Purim (Esther 9:18-28). Maybe Hitler was influenced, like Haman, by an ungodly spirit to attempt to eradicate God's people. When we look at the Muslims clamouring for the annihilation of Israel, we see that the spirit of Haman is not dead, and it also influences individuals. People could reiterate that boycotts are not the same as annihilation. That might be so, but big things often begin with small actions.
What Bishop Tutu does is his own business. He will appear before Christ and tell Him personally why he thought it fit to join the Arab world and the other enemies of the Jews in making life uncomfortable for them. We trust the bishop knows what he is doing, since Scripture is very clear: those who bless Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be blessed, and those who curse them will be cursed.