There comes a time in life when we all look inside and see who we really are. I have heard this from self help guru's before and never really understood what this goobity gook was all about. Well, recent events have begun to change my mind about goobity gook, and made me really think about who I am and where I came from.
The World seems to be on fire with things looking worse and worse everyday. Many aspects of my life seem normal enough but when you watch the news or get the headlines from online I see things that I do not like. I've never really understood the "Middle East conflict". Brother Stroud once taught a bit about it in an Institute class I took. Lately I have been striving to learn what it is all about. For a summary (mostly for myself) Israel is a Sacred place, chosen by God for His people to rule. As a Latter Day Saint I believe that just as Adam was the Firstborn of all God's children, Israel is the firstborn Nation of God's nations. Jewish people obviously have a special relationship with the land of Israel. Their history in this land goes back thousands of years. Christan's also have a special relationship with the land of Israel. Jesus was born in Bethlehem which lies south of the city of Jerusalem, which of course is where the Temple was that Jesus taught in as a young boy. Jesus was also crucified and sealed int he Garden Tomb from where he resurrected. These places are also in Israel near Jerusalem. It is believed that the "Foundation Rock" which God created the earth from is still in the "Dome of the Rock" in Jerusalem, currently under Islam rule. Which brings me to the third group of people that have connections to Israel. Mohammad was the founder of Islam and the Koran teaches that Mohammad rode to Jerusalem and from there was transcended into Heaven.
Obviously all three core religions have a desire to visit these places and 'rule' them. Radical Islamic leaders however, are taught that unless they purge the Earth of all gentiles they are not following God's commandments. This ideology makes it difficult for Jews and Christians to cooperate with ruthless Islamic haters. The Jews have control over most of Israel today and Jews, Christians, and Muslims are free to worship, shop, sell and speak. Just over the border however lies Pakistan, Egypt and Syria. These countries are ruled by Sharia law and freedoms are very few, especially to non-Muslims, and women. The Muslims also control the "Dome of the Rock" simply because they were in possession of it during the war between Jews and Muslims and the Jews would not desecrate the Holy Temple with violence to overtake it. Bethlehem and the Garden Tomb are also in Islamic land and Jews are forbidden to visit, Christians are able to visit but it is dangerous and should be done in small groups.
So why do Radical Muslims hate Jews so much? The Koran teaches to hate Jews. Mohammad was converted from o Jew when he claims to have been visited by angel telling him to create Islam. At first the two religions were able to co-exist, but when Mohammad became upset with the Jews over political issues his hatred came out in his writings. Today strict followers of the Koran are indoctrinated to hate Jews and Christians. They believe the only way to Heaven is to encourage and fight for an all Islamic world.
This reminds me of a ruler who wanted an all Aryan world, and to be ruler of it. So many things today are similar to that of Nazi Germany. Everyone had their own problems, times were tough, jobs were hard to find. People in the US felt that as long as they had something to eat and no one was sending them or their families to the gas chamber then they should just stay out of it. Later, Americans realized what had happened but it was too late.
So why is any of this important? Well, remember I was trying to learn who I am and where I came from. In our Church we believe in Patriarchal Blessings. There is a Patriarch with the authority to declare a worthy members linage. I received my blessing the same year I was baptised and I learned I was a descendant of Ephraim. I took it for what it was and never gave it much thought until recently when I have been trying to connect with the people of Israel. I thought "Why do I feel such a connection with these people?" They are thousands of miles away in a world I know only from news stories about violence. So after studying a bit more about Israel and Jews and Nazi Germany and Islam, I decided to study myself. Ephraim is the son of Joseph, grandson of Jacob, descendant of Abraham and Issac. Jacob adopts Ephraim in Genesis 48 and bestows on him and his descendants the Abraham covenant, the same covenant Jews and Hebrews honor today. So I am literally an Israeli.
So now, what does that mean to me? I will stand with Israel against the violence coming at it from all sides. I will not be guilted or scared into forsaking it. I believe Israel has the right to defend itself from any attacks foreign or domestic and that the Jewish people of Israel deserve the land to worship how they please and freedom to live in peace. If the guillotines come to America and ask me to chose, life or death, I will choose eternal life and not forsake Israel, Christ or my freedom to worship him.