The ancient Greeks had a saying, from the dramatist, Euripides, "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad." The devil, when he is preparing to destroy, at first deceives, being a liar and the father of lies. Then he destroys (Jn.8:44). In today's Epistle, for instance, we hear that the Israelites coveted evil things and fell into idolatry, and many were "destroyed by the destroyer" (1Cor.10:6-11). No doubt the devil was envious because God had chosen them and rejected him, and wanted to scuttle any future plans God might have for them.
Indeed, God did have a plan. Salvation would be from the Jews (Jn.4:22). Jesus would be the "bud from the root of Jesse" (Is.11:10), the "Lion of Judah" (Hos.5:14), their long-awaited Messiah and King. But His own people, deceived by pride and worldly ambition, would reject Him. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. The Roman armies would surround the city in the year 70 A.D., and there would not be left "a stone upon a stone."
Before the devil destroys, he first deceives, and in these times he has succeeded in deceiving on a grand scale, knowing that destruction must surely follow. We live with deception every day, and those who know how to escape it are few. It's like living on the Titanic. It's not an insult to say that you are no match for the devil, and that you must take refuge in a safe place, the only safe place-in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and under the protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. There you may not understand everything or know all the facts. Who does? But you will not be deceived in the things that matter. You will know the truth that sets you free. In the company of Jesus and Mary we have no need to fear deception. St. Michael and the Holy Angels will be our defenders.
But those who are "flying on their own" do not stand a chance of escaping the snares of the devil. The most intelligent and well informed can be deceived. Don't be taken in by the TV Evangelists, who misunderstand Sacred Scripture and preach the devil's lies, even though they may have the best of intentions. Many Evangelical Christians, fed by the TV, believe that the Jews will rule the earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years with Jesus as their King. The modern state of Israel, they believe, must therefore be supported, and the Jerusalem Temple must be rebuilt. The powerful Christian Coalition, made up largely of Evangelicals, falling victim to the delusions of the Jewish Zionists, has declared itself strongly in support of the state of Israel, and is calling for the U.S. to move its embassy to Jerusalem, in support of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. It has also labeled the Palestinian Authority as terrorist, and declared itself against the establishment of a Palestinian state. "Terrorism cannot be rewarded with statehood," says Roberta Combs, president of the Coalition. Thus the whole Palestinian people, many of whom are Catholic or Christian, are made to suffer for the misdeeds of a few. Dispossessed and driven from their land in 1948 at the time of the creation of the modern state of Israel, and promised a homeland of their own, they have been living as refugees for over fifty years, while enduring almost inhuman hardships and atrocities. There is no justice here.
Further clouding the judgment of the Evangelical Christians is the idea current among some that the Palestinians are the descendants of the Philistines, whom God had ordered King David and the Israelites to destroy around 1000 B.C. (2 Kings.5). In the mind of these 'Bible believing' Christians, since the Philistines were not entirely destroyed at that time, this gives the Jews of our time the right, and even the duty, to exterminate the Palestinians. Blaise Pascal said it: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." In actual fact, genetically, the Palestinians are virtually identical to the Jews, at least to those Jews who are the legitimate descendants of the ancient Israelites. They are fellow Semites. Many who call themselves Jews today are not even of Jewish blood. Do they have a greater right to the land than the Palestinians?
Not even on religious grounds do the Jews have an exclusive right to the Holy Land, or to the city of Jerusalem. The Jewish religion as it is practiced today, is not the same religion as that of the ancient Israelites. If it were, they would immediately recognize Jesus Christ as the true Messiah. The Jewish religion achieved its greatest glory and realized its fulfillment when Jesus, the true Lamb of God, shed His Blood for the sins of the world. The true Israelites are the followers of Jesus Christ. The Jewish religion of today has no purpose as an independent religion. When God gave instructions to the ancient Israelites to exterminate other nations and drive out idolatrous peoples, He was not speaking to the modern state of Israel. Thus the Jews themselves, aided and abetted by the Evangelical Christians, and the Christian Coalition, are deceived about their destiny, and are pursuing policies that will bring about their own destruction.
The truth of the matter is difficult to discern. God has not forgotten the Jews. Many of them have already found their true home in the Catholic Church. And the Church has always taught that God would bring them back from exile into their ancient land so that they might play their part in the final dramatic events of the end times, and at last find salvation. When the Jews find that their plans have come to nothing, when they find themselves surrounded by their enemies, reduced to a remnant, and about to be annihilated, they will at last turn to Jesus Christ. Says the prophet Zechariah, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn" (Zec.12:9,10).
Then Jesus Christ, their true Messiah, will come upon the clouds of Heaven in answer to their prayers. "Then the Lord shall go forth," says the prophet, "and shall fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives… And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with him" (Zec.14:3,4,5b).
We then look for the new heavens and the new earth, the heavenly kingdom in which Christ the King will reign at the right hand of God the Father. "And there shall not enter into it anything defiled," says the Apocalypse, "nor he who practices abomination and falsehood, but those only who are written in the book of life of the Lamb" (Apoc.21:27). †