(Also relevant here, our article on anti-zionist jews)
Sergeant Dodd found himself and his troop of some twenty men in a very tight spot. On the front line, with orders to “hold until relieved”, he was out-manned, outgunned, and taking many casualties, both wounded and killed. He himself received a shrapnel wound in his back. But he hung on: not until the point of surrender, since he never even considered that option; but it happened that the enemy moved away just at the point when his ammunition had run out, and he and the survivors of his troop were able to join up again with their Division.
Sergeant Dodd soon found himself the subject of a Field Court Martial, charged with disobeying orders in the face of the enemy. He was asked if he had not received further orders by radio. He explained that his Radio Operator had received a transmission which he had described as “fishy”. He was so suspicious that he was reluctant to pass it on to Dodd. He had tried to get confirmation but the line went dead. He did pass on such information as he had, which had the appearance of an order to retreat, but seemed as though it could be a spoof message from the enemy. Dodd told him to keep trying for confirmation, but nothing came, and then a bullet, probably from a sniper, went clean through the Radio Operator’s chest, and then into the radio set. Dodd thought hard about what to do. He understood the wider strategic situation, and knew that the position he held was crucial. He decided to follow the last definitely-genuine set of orders, until anything else as clear as those reached him.
The Court made the point that he was obeying the previous set of orders, not the most recent order, which he had to agree was indeed the case. The Court gave judgement, and Sergeant Dodd was taken out at 7am the following morning and shot by firing squad.
The question here is “Was the judgement of the Court just?” The narrative is not a factual account; its purpose is to throw light on a real situation.
The real situation concerns a Rabbi, not a Sergeant: Rabbi Elhanan Beck, who lives in London. Beck is a Hasidic Orthodox Jew. In common with about a million similar Jews, he is totally opposed to Zionism and the state of Israel. I was completely unaware that such Jews existed, since the media never report them, nor their protests against Israel. I travelled to London to meet with him, fairly confident that I had thought of a way that would draw media attention. In our two hour conversation he convinced me that nothing they did would ever receive coverage in the Western Media. They were regularly reported in the Arab Media, but that was it.
What really impressed me in our meeting was the man himself. I felt that I had never met anybody personally who was so utterly committed to pleasing God. He grew up in Palestine, where his mother told him how well the Jews and their Muslim neighbours used to get on. The emergence of Israel changed all that, and Beck preferred to move to London. He sees his role as protecting the next generation from all the false beliefs that surround them. Firstly, from atheists who call themselves Jews, for he is very clear that Judaism is a religion, not a race. Also from the Muslim view that takes Mohammed as a prophet of God. Also from Christianity, which has three Gods. I had to think for a moment when he said that! Also from all the surrounding influences of atheism, materialism, promiscuity, divorce, and such like. To this he is 101% committed. He is certainly no materialist. I’ve seen better cars in scrapyards than the one he turned up in. His Synagogue, a terraced house, would never win a beauty contest. That may be partly because of the increased maintenance costs due to bricks through the window. I found him humble and determined. He knows the Old Testament is from God, and he’s hanging on to it in spite of all the bricks through the window, all the people who spit on him, and everything else. (Note: the bricks and spit arrive because he’s anti-zionist, not because he’s Jewish.)
His problem, like Sergeant Dodd, is that he’s obeying the wrong set of orders. (OT not NT.) All my Christian friends think I should have told him about Jesus; but he’s heard of Jesus already. He has also received every “vaccination” possible against the Gospel. I could have asked him if it would not make sense for him and his followers to spend just a few hours reading the New Testament. It would have been like asking someone opposed to internet pornography to spend some hours, with their children, actually viewing it, to see if it is really as bad as they think. Beck is sticking with what he knows beyond doubt is from God. Regardless of the personal cost. He won’t risk contamination with anything that he thinks may lead him or others down a false path.
My Christian friends believe he will be sent to Hell on the Day of Christ’s Judgement. I beg to differ. Acts Chapter Four tells us that Jesus is the only name given among men by which we MUST be saved. The imperative here plainly does not mean a name through which ALL are saved, but the only way through which Salvation has a rock-solid guarantee. Given that our God is not only just, but also merciful, forgiving and loving I find it inconceivable that Jesus, who is the only way to the Father, does not have other, albeit far less certain, routes. I don’t believe that Rabbi Beck, on the Great Day, will suffer the same way as Sergeant Dodd for honestly, and regardless of cost, obeying the earlier set of orders.
It appears to me, from a full reading of Scripture, that the Almighty has effectively delegated decisions on Salvation to Christ. Hence “No man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14) and “I (Jesus) will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6.) It makes perfect sense for God to do that, since Jesus has lived as a man, and therefore has first-hand experience of, and sympathy with, all the difficulties that men face. The belief that those who have the opportunity to believe on Jesus and do so are saved, and all others are damned, is common. I’m certain that idea comes from Calvin’s theology, which portrays God as an ogre. What about stillborn babies? Those who died before Jesus? Those who never heard? Romans 2 explains that Gentile doers of the law will be justified when they do by nature what the law requires. Our God of Justice, Forgiveness, Patience, Mercy and Love has nothing in common with the Court that condemned Sergeant Dodd. Presenting Him as a God who does is one of the reasons why evangelism fails. Those who seek to please God do so primarily through love, not through fear. Who would ever love the Judge who executed Dodd?
I realise that in paragraph six I unwittingly used the phrase “who call themselves Jews“. That’s almost a straight lift from Revelation. Interesting?