Recently, news about "Israel Prays at the Wailing Wall for China to Overcome the Epidemic" attracted the attention of Chinese Christians. For a while a lot of "Christian official WeChat accounts", one by one, hyped and exaggerated this matter, misleading believers. Many Christians rushed to post such links on their WeChat moments, forming huge web hits.
In fact, this phenomenon is not a singled-out case. As long as any news about Israel or Jews comes up, it ignites enthusiasm in Chinese Christians; for example, the reconstruction of the Third Temple, the Arab-Israeli conflict, etc., all draw great concern from a lot of brothers and sisters. The reason for this is the prevailing "pro-Israeli complex" among Chinese Christians, who believe that Jews are the chosen people of God, the spiritual people, and that supporting Israel is a matter that pleases the Lord.
However, from the perspective of Church history, the relationships between Christians and Jews have not been so good, even hostile. The traditional Church believes that the Jews reneged on the teachings of Jesus Christ and even encouraged Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus, so they were the murderers of the Lord. In the Apostolic era, the Jews continued to oppress Christians. Church leaders like Stephen and James among others were martyred.
After Christianity gained its role as the dominant religion in Europe, Christians began to persecute Jews, whom, for example in the Middle Ages, were considered murderers of and responsible for the occurrence of serious natural or man-made disasters anytime they occurred and thus were massacred by European countries.
Yet Martin Luther, the great hero of Christian Reformation, was fanatically anti-Semitic, pointing out that "I am not concerned about the conversion of Jews because it is impossible...The Jews are simply so desperate, evil, poisonous and possessed by the devil that for 1400 years they have been our malaria, plague and all our misfortunes, and they will always be. In short, they are the devil."
Moreover, the long anti-Semitic tradition of Christian countries in Europe has also become an important cause of anti-Semitism in modern times, of which the greatest tragedy was the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany during World War II, in which 6 million Jews were massacred.
So why do Chinese Christians deviate from Church tradition by being friendlier towards Jews and even showing blind admiration for Jews? That is first related to the spiritual tradition of the Chinese Church. Many Chinese believers, concerning the Christian faith, emphasize the sole authoritative position of the Bible without much emphasis on Church traditions. Some of the ideas that emerged from Church history have had little influence on Chinese believers. By reading the Bible, believers are naturally attracted by the divine-human relationships in the Old Testament, believing that the Jews are the chosen people of God and are loved by God, so caring for Israel is to act in God's will. Furthermore, there is no historical grievance between Chinese and the Jews. The fact that both of them are suffering peoples in modern times makes is easier to generate emotional resonance from Chinese believers.
Secondly, that is related to the development of the modern State of Israel. The restoration of Israel in 1948 led many Christians, influenced by "premillennialism", to believe that this was a sign of Jesus' return. So focusing on the development of the State of Israel would make clear God's will. Coupled with Israel's victory in successive Wars in the Middle East, it has led more people to believe that they are kept by God and are a nation in the will of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Jewish people have made great contributions to human development in science, technology, economy, culture and other fields. As the people with the highest proportion of Nobel Prize winners, they must be awesome, which undoubtedly increases the affection of Chinese believers towards them.
In addition, in recent years, interest in Israeli tourism has surged in China, and many Chinese believers have made pilgrimages to the Holy Land. With the promotion of and advocacy for tourism, good feelings towards the Jews are bound to increase day by day, a factor cannot be ignored in the pro-Israeli complex of the people.
It is a very beautiful thing for Chinese believers to possess no anti-Semitic tradition in their Church and to be kind to the Jews. Understanding Jewish culture can also help us understand the Bible better, bringing many benefits to life development. But if you blindly admire and ignore the differences between Judaism and Christianity, then the opposite is also true.
It needs to be clarified to us that Judaism, while claiming to believe in the same God as Christians do, is still unwilling to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and Judaists are still waiting for His coming. Additionally, the Pharisees marked the onset of contemporary Judaism, as mentioned in the Bible; their thoughts were severely condemned by Jesus, which is a strong indication that their beliefs are very different from those of Christianity.
Although the Jews are very religious in their beliefs, they still rely on the Law, not on salvation. Therefore if Christians truly love the Jews, instead of passionately admiring their country and religion, they should pray for their salvation and hope that they will soon realize that Jesus is the Messiah whom they have been waiting for.
- Translated by Charlie Li