by Raymond Gonzalez Sr.
Sentry Magazine, June 2002

In 1950, a decree went out from the modem state of Israel, granting automatic citizenship to "Jews" in all the world. The purpose was to get as many of the scattered Israelites (Diaspora) back on Holy Ground. Many Jews from Europe, Africa, and the Americas flocked to the land of their fathers.

But not all comers were granted citizenship. The denial to some was political, religious, and cultural. What a great disappointment, especially to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during WWII. It was not only a slap on the face but a wound deeper than the numbers tattooed on their arms. How could they be identified as Jewish, sentenced to death, and then just 5 years later, be denied that same identity by their own? It is so hard to understand. This only goes to show, it does not justify, the reason why the Nazis and others have a deep-seated hatred towards Judaism.

Citizenship is granted on the grounds of identity. In Israel, politicians have presented their own definition of a "Jew". But it is the religious arm of the political parties who insist on the terms for citizen-ship. Yet not all disqualifications are based on religious belief.

In 1958, automatic citizenship was denied to a Jew who was not only the son of Jewish parents but was a long time resident of Israel. The reason; his faith, he had converted to Christ. Had he stated that he was an atheist, his citizenship would have gone through with flying colors. Though denied automatic citizenship, it was later granted by virtue of his cultural background.

In 1968, another case involved an Israeli soldier's children who were denied citizenship based on violations of culture. Though born in Israel to a Jewish father, because the mother was not Jewish, they were denied citizenship. The father's sin was and is a direct violation of a custom handed down through the centuries, not the Law of Moses.

As we see in these examples, we can not help but remember the words of our Lord "you must be born again" (John 3:3-5). We also appreciate the words of Paul "you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household" (Ephesians 2:19) and "our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).

It is a reality that in certain areas of our world, people are excluded from memberships based on color, economic, gender, or cultural differences.

But in the kingdom of God, the rules are already set by the Lord. It is granted by obedience to the gospel, it can not be bought (Acts 22:28). It is sustained by the conduct or continued obedience to the God of Heaven (Philippians 1:27). In this common-wealth (Ephesians 2:12), we are all equal (Galatians 3:26-28). There are no inferior or second class citizens. I thank God for my brethren who treat me as their brother and fellow first-class citizen.


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