I was deeply saddened when I read the news that
Hebrew Menorah installed in Stephen the Great park from Chisinau on December 11 was knocked down by a group of Orthodox parishioners. Nearly one hundred men, armed with the flags of the Republic of Moldova, crosses and slogans, protested in he center of the city against the Hebrew symbol installed during Hanukkah celebration. When anti-Jewish slogans were chanted, they pulled Menorah and instead planted a wooden cross. Anatoly Cibric, the rector of the ”Saint Paraskevi” Church, along with other protesters, overthrew it next to the pedestal of Stephen the Great.
This act has nothing Christian at the foundation and it deserves the condemnation of all Christians.
Let’s see what God teaches us, Christians, in the New Testament how to proceed with the Jews, meaning the people of Israel. For this I will make reference to several passages from the Epistle to Romans. So, how does God expect Christians to act with Jews who continue in their religion and do not want to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world?
1. To wish and pray for the salvation of the Jews
The Apostle Paul, who was also a Jew, like the other Apostles through which the Gospel came to us, when dealing with this topic, with pain in the heart he wrote:
Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. (Romans 10:1)(NASB)
It was also written in that news that:
Hebrew Community in Moldova has 30,000 members now. In 1900 they were more than 300 thousand. But this minority, whose presence is attested here since the time of the Roman Empire was decimated first by Czarist pogroms. The first was that from Chisinau in 1903. Holocaust and then Stalinist anti-Semitic actions almost led to the disappearance of the minority in Moldova.
Evils that hit our nation year after year are a consequence of the way we acted with the chosen people of God. Here’s what it was nice and necessary that we, all Christians would go out to that Menorah installed in the park and pray together for the salvation of the Jews and at the same time, to ask forgiveness for the transgressions we have committed as a nation against them.
2. To proclaim the Gospel to the Jews
The Apostle Paul, being a Christian and one who has experienced much injustice and persecution from those of his nation, that of Jews, after all these, he insists on continuing to proclaim the Gospel and in the same chapter he says:
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:2-4)(NASB)
How nice it would have been if the representatives of the “Holy Mother Matrona” organization and all other Christians of all denominations and religions registered in Moldova, had joined their efforts to send a nice message of the Gospel to that community of 30,000 Jews from Moldova.
Richard Wurbrand, who was also a Jew, heard the Gospel from a Romanian shepherd in the mountains, he believed, was saved and then became a great saint of God and a blessing to the whole world, having endured much suffering, torture and persecution for the Gospel in the prison from Romania for 14 years. This is because the old shepherd knew the Gospel and God’s will and did not behave with hatred and contempt against Jews.
3. Let us not behave with arrogance to the Jews
Also in the Epistle to the Romans, after describing the current state of Israel across the salvation, the Apostle Paul writes:
But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. (Romans 11:13-22)(NASB)
It was also written in that article that the priest Anatoly Cibric of the “Saint Paraskevi” Church would have said:
“We are in an Orthodox country and Stephen the Great defended it from all sorts of Jews, but they came and put Menorah. It is a sacrilege, an indulgence of the state power of today, which allowed such a thing in an Orthodox country. I call you, if you are Orthodox, get up and say your word”
If God says in His word that Jews are the “root” and Christians – “branches”, how could the organizer of that anti-Semitic act say such words?
If we are Orthodox, or true worshipers of God, let us keep His Word and not be arrogant, for if God did not spare the natural branches, namely the Jews, He will neither spare us if we behave with arrogance.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru