Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Welcome to this first segment of Search the Scriptures Daily and our continuing discussion of Dave Hunt’s latest book Judgment Day! Israel, Islam, and the Nations. We’re in chapter 12 titled “Some Important Distinctions,” and the primary distinction addressed is between Roman Catholicism and biblical Christianity.
Dave, as we mentioned last week, the majority of Jewish people—practically all, you could say—make no distinction between Catholics and evangelicals, which leads to some serious misunderstandings.
Dave: Tom, as we mentioned last week, one of the biggest complaints that Jewish people have against Christians, or Christianity, is that it was the Christians that persecuted them down through the centuries. Hitler was a Christian, wasn’t he? Well he was never excommunicated from the Catholic Church; neither was Mussolini, so they have a misperception that Catholics are Christians. Now, you can’t call yourself a Christian unless you follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, unless you follow the Bible and the gospel, and the Catholic Church—we won’t get into a big doctrinal thing about that—but the Catholic Church openly says it does not just go by the Bible, it goes by church tradition, as well. And as you know, an ex-Catholic, tradition is on the same level as the Bible.
Dave: Furthermore, you can’t really understand the Bible; the church alone can interpret it, okay? So the Catholic Church itself was one of the worst persecutors of Jews down through history. It was the popes who first put them in ghettos and made them wear an identifying badge, or a yellow hat, or whatever. The Crusades, as we mentioned, the first Crusade under Pope Urban II slaughtered Jews all across Europe. We document this more thoroughly in A Woman Rides the Beast, because that’s not the major topic of this particular book, but it’s very important to this subject. And when they got to Jerusalem, they chased the Jews into the synagogue, set it ablaze…they slaughtered not only Turks, but Jews, as well. Okay?
But these were not Christians! They waved the cross. They were members of the Catholic Church, but they were not evangelical Christians. There’s a big distinction, and that distinction somehow isn’t made by most Jewish people.
Tom: Dave, what surprises me is that some of the books that you quote (very insightful) by Jewish scholars and so on, they even miss this.
Tom: It’s a little hard to believe…hey, you know, maybe not! Many evangelicals don’t know what Roman Catholicism teaches and what they believe, and we see a trend that seems to be growing rapidly that there is no difference between Roman Catholics and biblical Christians.
Tom: Or born-again Christians, evangelical Christians.
Dave: Right, so in the book we’ve taken a little bit of time, a few pages, to point out that the Catholic Church killed more evangelical Christians than it killed Jews! So they couldn’t have been evangelical Christians. Why did they kill them? Because they would not give their allegiance to Rome. These were not even Protestants. This was before the Protestant Reformation. They weren’t protesting anything. They never had given their allegiance to Rome and to the popes. They were outside of that Church.
Tom: Dave, we’re going to get on to Israel’s true friends, evangelical Christians, and we’ve been—I used the term, you used it a number of times, just now… For our audience, for those listening to us who don’t really understand the term, how would you define an evangelical Christian?
Dave: Well, an evangelical Christian, an evangel, that refers to the gospel, to the good news. And it is good news that Christ died for our sins on the cross, that He was buried and rose again the third day, that He paid the full penalty for our sins—nothing else is needed.
Tom: And that’s critical, because much of what you just articulated, Roman Catholics would say, “Well, wait a minute, I believe that,” but not paying the full penalty for our sins and not accepting it by faith and faith alone.
Dave: The Council of Trent met 1545-63 in response to the concerns of the Reformers who didn’t want to leave the Catholic Church, they wanted the Catholic Church to be reformed, and so these were the leading bishops and cardinals and so forth. And so the Council of Trent—Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent—pronounced more than 100 anathemas, damning to hell anyone who denies the teachings of Roman Catholicism. For example, whoever says that one can be saved by faith alone in Christ’s finished work on the cross, without the rituals, the sacraments of the Catholic Church, which they say are essential to salvation, beginning with baptism: Anathema to you!
Anybody that says baptism is not essential to salvation: Anathema to you!
Well, the thief on the cross wasn’t baptized; many people haven’t been baptized.
Anyone who dares to say when we take the bread and the cup (as Christ said, in remembrance of Him) that this is merely a memorial commemorating a work that was finished on the cross 1,900-and-some years ago and denies that it is an ongoing propitiatory sacrifice being offered for the sins of the living and the dead: Let him be anathema!
But an evangelical says, “No, when Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ He meant it is finished!” And that in the King James is the translation of a Greek word, tetelestai, which they stamped on promissory notes in that day and it meant “paid in full.” So back to your question.
Tom: Well, Dave, these are clear distinctions between what Roman Catholics believe, and you used the term “anathema,” meaning to condemn, to excommunicate…
Dave: Damn to hell.
Tom: Right. So these are clear distinctions that the Roman Catholic Church makes between what evangelicals believe, Bible-believing Christians, and they believe.
Dave: Right. And December 31st, 1995, Pope John Paul II, in celebration of the opening of the Council of Trent, said all of its canons and decrees, everything that it decreed, is still in full force and effect.
Tom: And they have to be, because the Church claims to be an infallible church, and these councils claim to be infallible councils.
Dave: Absolutely. So let me make sure our listeners understand this: An evangelical Christian believes that when Jesus said, “Tetelasti, paid in full” it’s finished. The work of our redemption was finished. That…
Tom: No purgatory, don’t need the sacraments, no rituals, nothing efficacious in these so-called sacraments…
Dave: Vatican II, the very first page, says it is through these sacraments of the Catholic Church through the Mass, the sacraments, and so forth that the work of our redemption is being accomplished. No! Jesus said it’s finished. The work of our redemption is finished. There is nothing we can do to add to it. It doesn’t take any of our efforts; we simply accept by faith the finished work of Christ on the cross.
And we could go to Hebrews 9—“He has appeared once in the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Hebrews:9:27,28: “As it is appointed unto man once to die, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.”
Hebrews 10 begins talking about the old sacrifices. They had to be repeated daily, and the writer—I think it was Paul, but anyway, whoever wrote the epistle to the Hebrews said the fact that they had to be repeated over and over proved that they couldn’t take away sin. And then in contrast to the repetitious sacrifices of the Old Testament, the writer says, “But this man, that is Jesus Christ, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Okay?
And then in Hebrews:10:18 says, “Henceforth, there is no more sacrifice for sin.” But the Catholic Church insists the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice. Christ did not finish the work on the cross. We are still offering Him, and if the Catholics of today believed what the Bible says, the Catholic Church is out of business! There’s nothing for its priests to do: you don’t need them as a mediator between you and Christ; you don’t need them to forgive your sins and so forth; you don’t need them to turn this little wafer into Jesus Christ and the wine into His blood and offer Him repeatedly over and over again. Okay?
Tom: Dave, obviously—I mean, I hope it’s obvious to our listeners—that is a rejection of Christ’s atonement. But it really gets worse in practice, because I was taught, growing up Roman Catholic, that I could expiate my own sins. How? Suffering, all kinds of events that took place right here in this temporal life. And then if there were residue sins, venial sins, sins that were not mortal or did not condemn me to hell that weren’t absolved, then I needed to pay for those sins, to have them purged in purgatory. Again, a very “practical” expiation of my own sins through my own suffering in purgatory. For how long? Nobody knows.
Dave: In the flames of purgatory.
Dave: But that is actually…
Tom: Which—just to add to that, Dave—which Thomas Aquinas and others (how they knew, I don’t know), but they said that the flames of purgatory were far worse than the flames of hell. I guess because no one steps across the threshold—as a Roman Catholic, no one steps across the threshold into heaven until all their sins are absolutely purged.
Dave: By their own suffering in purgatory, okay? The suffering of Christ was not enough. And then we have—Tom, we don’t want to get into the whole thing about Catholicism, but here we have a contradiction, big contradiction! It’s right there in Vatican II, right in the teaching that you’ve been given us from the Catholic Church. The sufferings of Christ on the cross were not enough to pay for your temporal sins, all right? You have to have temporal sufferings. So what do they do? They re-offer Him in the Mass. Well, wait a minute! What He did on the cross was not good enough, but if you re-offer Him enough times, then that’ll take care of it. Or someone else, while you’re in purgatory, can suffer for your sins to shorten the time of suffering in purgatory. Yet the sacrifice of Christ where He said, “It is finished!” and He paid the full penalty, that’s not enough? Tom, I get a bit angry about that, because people are being lied to, and you don’t know how many Masses have to be said. King Henry VIII of England, he left a fortune for Mass after Mass after Mass to be said in order to get him out of purgatory. I probably have mentioned it before, but a friend of mine, at the funeral of his father, he said more than $2,000 in Mass cards were purchased to put on the altar, when the priest says Mass with the name of the deceased in it so that his time in purgatory would be shortened, but no one could tell you how much it would be shortened, how long it would take, and so forth. It just keeps the Catholic Church in business, and it keeps the Roman Catholics in bondage to this Church.
Tom: Yeah, suffering widows—it’s bad enough they’ve lost their loved ones, but then to send whatever income, whatever money they have after that false idea—that’s a crime, Dave.
Dave: So anyway, Tom, getting back to where we got off onto this…
Tom: Well, this is a clear distinction between, as we’ve said, evangelical Christianity, Bible-believing Christians… If you call yourself an evangelical, if you say you’re a Bible-believing Christian, you go by the Bible! It’s as simple as that.
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: But as you said earlier, the Roman Catholic Church claims to go by the sacred Scriptures, but in fact that’s overruled by sacred tradition and the magisterium, the teaching office of the church.
Dave: Okay, so who are the friends of the nation of Israel? Evangelical Christians, and we have to make a distinction. They did not persecute Jews. They are the supporters of Israel. Probably a very high percentage of the tourists who go over there, who still have the courage to go, in spite of the terrorism and so forth, would be evangelical Christians.
Tom: Dave, you mentioned this man William Blackstone, who was an English jurist. This was back in the 1800s. In 1878 he wrote a little booklet titled Jesus is Coming, and some of the things that he says—I mean, he searched the Scriptures, and he came to these conclusions based on his reading of the Scripture that Jesus had to return, and where? It has to be to Israel.
Let me take a quote that you have from him regarding God’s chosen people. We’re going to talk about that in a minute: “But perhaps you say I don’t believe the Israelites are to be restored to Canaan and Jerusalem rebuilt. Dear reader, have you read the declaration of God’s words about it? Surely nothing is more plainly stated in the Scriptures. We beg of you to read the biblical passages thoughtfully. Divest yourself of prejudice and preconceived notions, and let the Holy Spirit show you from His Word the glorious future of God’s chosen people who are beloved (Romans:11:28) and dear unto him as the apple of his eye (Zechariah:2:8).” Dave, now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Mark Twain visit Jerusalem right around that time, the end of the 1800s?
Dave: Yes, he visited Israel. He said it was a wasteland. They traveled a long distance without even seeing an animal. It was just a desert. Of course, one of the reasons for that was because the Turks, who had that for 400 years, they would tax you on trees. If you had a tree you were taxed, so they cut down the trees. They chopped down everything and burned it up for firewood. So Israel became either a desert or a marsh, a swamp. I think it was the St. Louis Dispatch had a reporter there—maybe they were following Mark Twain at the same time—and they said Jerusalem had 40,000 inhabitants: 30 thousand were Jews, 10 thousand were Christians of various shades, and I don’t recall any mention of any Arabs even being there at that time, and this was in the 1880s.
Tom: Prophecy was going to be fulfilled there, according to the Scriptures.
Dave: Well the Scriptures said it would blossom like a garden, and that is the case today. The Israelis have done that with God’s help, and it is quite a contrast to all the Arab territories around them. And there are reasons for that. Remember, we mentioned in the disengagement of Gaza that the Israelis who were living in Gaza, they had huge greenhouses, and that was the one thing they left intact so that the Palestinians who were taking over could make a living and could be productive. And the very first thing that the Palestinians did was they came in there in mobs and they just tore those greenhouses apart just for whatever piece of junk they could get out of them, the plastic or the metal or whatever—destroyed the whole thing. So there is a basic reason why Israel is productive and the nations around them are not: it’s the mentality of these people, and the mentality of the Palestinians, of course, is to hate Israel. If they would learn something from the Israelis, they could prosper. But you know, the money, the billions of dollars that were given to Arafat from the West to build factories and to make his people productive, he put them in Swiss bank accounts or used them for terrorism.
Tom: To buy arms.
Dave: Tom, I would like to read something here by a couple of authors. It’s from the introduction of a book The Secret War Against the Jews, and this may be slightly off of our subject here, but far from evangelical Christians being the enemies of Israel, as many Jews think—and they don’t make that distinction between evangelicals—the governments of this world (that’s one of the things that we point out in this book), the governments of this world have betrayed Israel down through history. Let me just try to read some excerpts from the introduction:
“It’s shocking. The major powers of the world have repeatedly planned covert operations to bring about the partial or total destruction of Israel. Long before there was even a Jewish state in Palestine, Western spies already were out to wreck the Zionist’s dream. The savage extent of the secret wars against the Jews will horrify the Western public.”
It goes on, and he’s talking about Western governments: “Our governments do not want their own citizens to know that a covert double standard has applied to the Jews, so they have lied to us for half a century. You may not be convinced that what this book declares is true in all respects, but at least you may be convinced that much of what has hitherto been accepted history is either false, or at best seriously deficient. Our only claim for this book is that it is an accurate account of how many spies view the West’s conduct toward Israel. This is their story, a very different look at history.”
So in contrast to the feeling of Israelis that Christians have been their enemies, it’s really the governments of the Western world which are the successors to the Roman Catholic Church. The popes once owned the whole world, and it is the evangelical Christians who are their true friends. And so that’s, I think, a very important distinction that needs to be made, and one which we try to make in this book.
We also make a case for evangelical Christianity not only being biblical, but being true, and we prove that from prophecy and from history.
So this gentleman William Blackstone, he convened a conference between Jews and Christians in 1890, and it resulted in the Blackstone Petition of 1891, later known as Blackstone Memorial. It was signed by 413 outstanding Christian and Jewish leaders, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller, Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed, and so forth. And he presented a petition to President Benjamin Harrison, March 5th, 1891. It requested that—“Look, this land belongs to the Jewish people scattered all over this world and persecuted. They ought to be brought back into their own land,” and you could say that was a big boost to the so-called Zionist movement. He was more of a Zionist than many of the Jews were. And there were other evangelicals—Theodor Herzl, his close friend William H. Hechler, another evangelical. So we give the details of some of these people who worked very hard to turn the opinion of the world from anti-Israel to “let’s give these people back the land that God gave to them, that belongs to them,” and of course the Bible said that they would get. And the nations of this world are still opposing God in only allowing Israel to have a very small fraction, and then they keep eroding that. Every peace proposal: “Israel give more land away.”
So I think, Tom, that we point out some things in this book that are very, very important for Christians and Jews and the whole world to know.
Tom: And, Dave, sadly our own State Department is one of the biggest culprits in all of this.
Dave: Against Israel.