As the year comes to a close, we want to share with you an opportunity to impact lives through this radio/podcast ministry. We need to raise $10,000 to meet our financial goals for this year.
Would you prayerfully consider a gift so we can continue to bring these truths to you and others as well?
Interview: Trevor Stewart-Sweet
We welcome Trevor Stewart-Sweet to the program this week. Trevor is one of our representatives in the United Kingdom. Living outside of London, Trevor shares with us the climate there towards the Jewish people. History shows that the UK has been a friend to Israel and the Jewish people, but can this friendship last? Chris and Trevor discuss the anti-Semitic threat in the UK—both politics and the culture.
Trevor also shares how he is busy working in area churches and inside the Jewish community. The United Kingdom still has many evangelical supporters of the Jewish community but they need your prayers!
→ To support Trevor and his ministry in the United Kingdom, please visit foi.org/stewartsweet.
Steve Conover: This is The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is Chris Katulka. As the year comes to a close, we've been sharing with you an opportunity to impact lives through this radio broadcast. First, we're asking that you tell others about the teaching you hear through The Friends of Israel Today and if it's been a blessing to you, we're asking that you share this with your friends and help multiply our ministry. Second, please prayerfully consider a gift so we can continue to bring these truths to you and others as well.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, Steve, we still need to raise $10,000 to meet our financial goals for the year end and we want to thank those that have already contributed to our radio broadcast. Your gift will help us reach people all around the globe with our message of truth to bless the Jewish people. Now, if the Lord leads you and you believe Christians need to hear the truth about Israel and the Jewish people, help us reach our goal of $10,000 before the end of 2019. Now to give to The Friends of Israel Today, simply go to foiradio.org, that's foiradio.org or you can call our listener line at 888-343-6940.
Again, that's 888-343-6940 or finally you can write to us at FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Thank you so much for supporting The Friends of Israel Today.
Steve Conover: And on today's program we invited Trevor Stewart-Sweet, our Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Representative based right outside of London and Trevor and Chris will talk about the rise of antisemitism in the United Kingdom and the current elections between Jeremy Corbyn and incumbent Boris Johnson. Before we hear from Trevor, let's take a look at the news. The Washington Free Beacon has reported that the Israel Group, a nonprofit organization that combats anti-Israel bias, exposed the identities of a group of people who edited Wikipedia pages to promote anti-Israel bias and causes.
This is a first of its kind effort that's unmasking, a global online network of Israel. Critics who contributed for the online encyclopedia. The Israel Group found more than 325,000 edits that harbor anti-Israel sentiments.
Chris Katulka: This is kind of sad too because Wikipedia is one of those places I'm sure everybody likes to go to to get some information. When you go to google.com, usually your first round of information that pops up when you want to research something is Wikipedia. Wikipedia prides itself as an encyclopedia that is written and edited by anyone with internet access. And I'm going to tell you this is the problem. Because to me, it's no surprise that some editors would abuse the system to promote an anti Israel agenda. And this is bad because many people take Wikipedia for gospel.
Friends, next time you use Wikipedia for information, this is so important, be sure to check your sources and the content to make sure the information is truthful, especially when it comes to Israel.
I'd like to welcome our dear friend from the other side of the pond, Trevor Stewart-Sweet. Trevor is our Friends of Israel representative in the United Kingdom and really Trevor connects with churches and believers all around the UK, sharing with them the truth about what the Scriptures say about the Messiah Jesus and Israel. And so it's such an important work that he's doing and I can think of no one better to talk about this issue of what's going on in the United Kingdom, the rise of antisemitism that's going on over there, than Trevor. Trevor, great to have you on The Friends of Israel Today.
Trevor S-S.: Great to be with you. Chris.
Chris Katulka: Trevor, the United Kingdom's Community Security Trust, the CST, which is a British nonprofit that has been logging antisemitic incidents in Britain since 1984 reported just at the end of the summer that acts of a hatred toward the Jewish people, antisemitism, is up in the UK 10% from last year. They also cited this is the third year in a row that the UK has seen a rise in antisemitism. Trevor, what is going on in the United Kingdom?
Trevor S-S.: Well, I guess if reading all the reports, a lot of this is to do with the general rise in antisemitism I guess pretty much around the world, but in the UK it's probably exacerbated by the current situation with Brexit and the politics, political situation. But I think there's been a general trend upwards for quite a couple of years now and the CST report certainly gives us some interesting figures.
Chris Katulka: Now you were talking about the fact that the elections are taking place and I believe those elections will happen in December. And this seems to have a major play. I was just listening to some reporters on the news saying this really comes down between an election of Boris Johnson who wants to, it's a Brexit issue with Boris Johnson and on the other side you have someone like Jeremy Corbyn who says that terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah are his friends. How did the UK come to this point where Corbyn actually stands a chance to potentially become, the polls aren't going in that direction, but that even has a chance to be a potential UK Prime Minister?
Trevor S-S.: He's been leader of the Labour Party for quite a few years now and I guess what's happened now is that politics over the last six to 12 months or maybe a little bit longer, it's become more and more polarized over the Brexit issue. Jeremy Corbyn has become a very strong player. He's a very able speaker and he's probably telling the people what they want to hear in terms of his latest manifesto. So I guess he's reaching out to those that are suffering in terms of finances, etc., and he's wanting to nationalize a lot of things.
Beyond that, it's hard to tell quite how he's got to where he is, except that maybe the way that he's put himself there is to ensure that the people that are on in his party are those that are on his side.
Chris Katulka: And I just recently heard too that Corbyn said if he becomes prime minister, he is going to essentially accept a Palestinian state, which will be one of his, almost his first acts if he becomes Prime Minister of the UK. Is that news true?
Trevor S-S.: That's something I think is true. I can't honestly say that I've heard him say that myself, but I think it's generally accepted that that would be the case.
Chris Katulka: Now, let me ask you this. When it comes to issues of Israel, here in the United States of course there is polling that shows that the United States is generally pro Israel. We have a pro Israel administration. Many Americans across the political spectrum support the state of Israel. There's a low percentage of people that, it's not that they don't support Palestinians, but they want to make sure that Israel is supported and they believe that Israel has a right to the land. They're Zionists in some capacity. Is that the same for the United Kingdom right now in the state that it's in, especially the political state that it's in?
Trevor S-S.: I think generally the consensus is that the country itself is more pro Israel. I know our local member of Parliament is, and the Conservative Party generally is. There are supporters of Israel in all the political parties. Each political party has got a friends of Israel section to it. We probably aren't quite as pro Israel as the United States on reflection. But certainly we're not against the United States. Boris Johnson's being behind it. And in fact even previous Labour MP, Tony Blair was very, very supportive of Israel and still remained supportive of Israel.
Chris Katulka: I want to come back to this issue of the rise of antisemitism, the hatred towards Jewish people in the UK. We talked for a moment about the fact that there are the current political issues going on with the election Johnson and Corbyn being someone who's definitely an anti-Zionist. Someone, I don't know if I would label him as an antisemite, but he definitely doesn't have the positive outlook of the Jewish people that Boris Johnson has and the outlook on Israel. But is it just politics, Trevor, or is there something else going on in the UK as well that we see that rise of antisemitism that's been happening over the past three years steadily?
Trevor S-S.: I think politics probably has a part to play, but if I look at the figures and the figures have been rising gradually for the last four or five years. I think it's like everything else. Antisemitism is something that like lurks just beneath the surface in every society and sadly it doesn't take a great deal to bring to the fore. There are people that are definitely antisemitic and anti-Zionist and there are those that are definitely pro Israel and pro Zion. And I think you get all points in between. I think over here, the general consensus is that the country as a whole would be supportive of Israel, but that's not always reflected in our politics or in our media.
Chris Katulka: I want to ask you this because this is why your ministry is so important to us, Trevor, here in the United States as you serve with The Friends of Israel is that you are standing up and you're supporting Israel and the Jewish people. You show solidarity with them. Can you share with us quickly about some of the work that you're doing in England that show that solidarity with the Jewish people, that evangelical Christians love them based on what The Bible says, that we have a love and a compassion for them and we stand in solidarity with them?
Trevor S-S.: Yeah. I think one of the biggest things that we're doing is trying to make sure the church is aware of especially replacement theology that's big in a lot of places. And it's a talk which I give fairly frequently to help people understand why the church should support Israel. And basically it's because of who God is because he says in his word that he chose his people in Deuteronomy chapter seven verses six through 10 and he commands us in Romans 11 to make them jealous. And how can we make the Jewish people jealous if we don't love them?
How can the church love or hate those that God loves? There's so much that the church needs to understand. And I think one of the things that we do is to try and help the church understand so that they can actually explain that to others, when need be. In terms of supporting the Jewish people, we attend a lot of meetings that are organized by the Jewish community and we are often, if not the only Gentiles in the room, one of the very few Gentiles in the room and therefore we can actually share with the Jewish people. We'll often say, what synagogue, what shul do you go to?
And we're able to say, well, we're not Jewish, but we're Bible believing Christians who love and support Israel and the Jewish people. And that often sparks conversation.
Chris Katulka: Amazing. And you know what? I'm going to tell you something. Evangelicalism in the United Kingdom has an amazing history when it comes to even the establishment of the state of Israel. For our listeners, it's so important to remember the Balfour declaration, which was a promise to give the Jewish people the land of Israel after World War I comes out of England. There are a lot of the emphasis of the creation of the state of Israel, something that comes out of the United Kingdom. And we've been talking with Trevor Stewart-Sweet, who is our representative in the UK.
And, Trevor, I want to close with this. We've only got a few moments left. What can Bible believing Christians do when it comes to the United Kingdom? Thinking about the rise of antisemitism, thinking about the political movements that are happening over there right now. What can Bible believing Christians in America and Canada do for you?
Trevor S-S.: Pray. Bottom line, top line, pray. This country needs prayer. Years ago we were the ones that sent missionaries out. Now, today, I feel that it's the country that needs the missionaries to come in. So your prayers are very much coveted, and it's the one thing that we can do is to pray. Obviously the support The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry in all ways because of the work that the ministry is doing worldwide as well.
Chris Katulka: Thank you, Trevor. For our listeners, please be sure to support The Friends of Israel, especially our international work that's going on. Trevor is one of the beneficiaries of that as he continues to teach the truth about Israel and the Messiah while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people in the United Kingdom. Trevor, thank you so much for the work you're doing and thank you for joining us and catching us up on the rise of antisemitism, what's going on in the UK politically and the importance of how we can be praying as Christians. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Trevor S-S.: You're welcome. It was a pleasure to be on the program, Chris.
Steve Conover: If you or someone you know would like to learn more about why Christians should support Israel, we recommend Dr. Thomas Ice's book The Case for Zionism. This book answers many of the contemporary arguments being used by both secular and religious communities to undermine what we believe is the hand of God at work in our day.
Chris Katulka: You know, Zionism is just the term that we believe that the Jewish people have a right to exist in their ancestral homeland, their ancient homeland, Israel. That's what Zionism means. And while support for Israel remains high in most evangelical communities here in North America, we are seeing the beginning of a decline, especially among younger evangelicals who are questioning whether the modern state of Israel really relates to end times Bible prophecy. And that's why this book is so important. We need to educate the next generation of Christians on the truth about Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: To purchase your copy of The Case for Zionism, visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. We'll have a link to the book on our homepage or you can call our listener line at 888-343-6940 and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's 888-343-6940. To order the book in Canada, call 888-664-2584. Again in Canada, that's 888-664-2584.
Chris Katulka: Prior to the break, we discussed the rise of antisemitism in the United Kingdom. And as you heard, this is something that we need to be praying about. But, I want to take you back about 150 years ago to the mid 19th century in London. It was a time when Jewish people were actually excluded from British Parliament, which is in and of itself a form of antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people. And yet somehow a Jewish man worked his way up the ranks to become England's first Jewish Prime Minister. His name is Benjamin Disraeli and Benjamin Disraeli is a very complex figure.
First, he's Jewish by birth. His family were Italian Jews who immigrated to England around the turn of the 19th century. His grandfather, Benjamin, was a very religious Jewish man who was extremely involved in the synagogue where he lived. In fact, he served as an elder there. Disraeli's father Isaac, who was raised in the synagogue by his father, grew apart from his faith. In fact, he came to believe that the Jewish faith did more to set Jewish people back than to help them advance in the modern English culture.
Well, as soon as the elder Disraeli died, Isaac, his son, distanced himself from the synagogue and had his Jewish children baptized in the Anglican Church. Benjamin Disraeli was baptized into the church the very year that he was to be bar mitzvah'd. Benjamin Disraeli came to as he was growing up, he came to love literature and he wrote several novels. But eventually he entered into the world of politics. Now think about this. If Disraeli's father Isaac had never baptized him into the Anglican church, he would have never had a chance to enter into British Parliament.
Just because he was considered a Christian, that didn't mean he left behind his Jewish roots. In fact, knowing his heritage connected him more to his Jewishness. He's quoted saying that he's the blank page. I love this. He's the blank page that exists between The Old Testament and the new he. He really kind of saw himself as a bridge type figure, and this even came across in his politics. He was very influential in bridging the gap between the aristocracy of England and the populace, the people of England. His life was really changed though when he took an extended trip to the Middle East between 1828 and 1831.
This was just before he entered into politics actually. He traveled to the Middle East and he landed in Jerusalem and he was very impressed with Jerusalem. He even said that Jerusalem is the messianic destination of the Jewish people. So when he returned to England from his trip to the Middle East, he became obsessed with the idea of the Jewish people longing to return to their ancient homeland, Israel. And as a result, some people even like to call Disraeli a prodo Zionist. A politician, a British politician who solved the need and desire for Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland.
And as I was talking about earlier with Trevor, this becomes influential for men like Lord Balfour, who ends up writing the Balfour declaration, which promises the Jewish people a homeland after World War I. Disraeli worked his way up the political ladder in London and eventually became Britain's first Jewish prime minister. Now listen, he was a staunch conservative. He entered into politics in the 1830s and it wasn't until 1858 that the Jewish Relief Act was signed, giving Jewish people the right to enter British politics, allowing Jewish people to swear on the Tanakh, which is The Old Testament, The Hebrew Bible, and not The New Testament.
Benjamin Disraeli, remember, because he was baptized into the Anglican church and was considered a Christian, was actually able to participate in British politics, and he played a role in bringing about this Jewish Relief Act of 1858 that actually allowed Jewish people to finally enter into British politics without actually having to convert into the Christian Church. But what's amazing is that Disraeli actually believed in the church. I love this. He promoted the work of the church. He never shied away from his Jewish roots either. He believed that Christianity needs Judaism and that Judaism is unfulfilled without Jesus the Messiah, he believed that.
And as a Jewish Christian, Disraeli was able to disarm many of the antisemitic critics of his time by emphasizing rather than downplaying his Jewish origins. Disraeli is such an influential individual in British politics and important men and women throughout history like Disraeli used their platform to stand up and defend and show solidarity with the Jewish people. And that's why I also want to commend our worker, Trevor Stewart-Sweet, who is in the United Kingdom right now, really continuing the legacy of Disraeli, to show the value of what it means to be a Christian who stands up and supports Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Recently, I have been working near the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and sometimes I have contact with the students there. They try to act very intelligent because they are studying at such a fine school. One day I told them, "You think you know everything, but you still have much to learn." They responded, "We know about great people such as Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Einstein, Mozart, Brezhnev, Kennedy, others like them."
I replied, "To you, these people may have been very good but not to God and not to me either. They were simply gifted men. If you were in a very desperate situation in life, perhaps close to death, would you call and Shakespeare and say, Shakespeare save me or would you say Mozart help me? No, in times of trouble, people call on God. He is the one who gave himself for us and anyone who comes to him in simple faith will be saved." "If this is so," they said, "and if God has given you so much, what can he give to us?" I replied, "God will give you peace in your hearts, happiness, hope, and most important of all, he will give you everlasting forgiveness of your sins."
"How do you know all of this?" They questioned. "Have you graduated from a school of theology?" "No," I answered, "but I know in my heart that the Lord has done these things for me and it has given me the Holy Spirit who keeps me and gives me the power to talk to you in this manner." Then they said, "Of course, you must have read books on the subject." "Oh yes," I replied. "I've read a great deal, but mostly one book. This book is more important than the thousands of books you can read in your school. It's The Holy Bible and it is greater than any of the books written by your great men because The Bible was written by men, were inspired by the Holy spirit of God."
They wanted to know why I was telling them all of this and I said, " "Because I want you to be as I am free from your sins, then you won't think only of the things of this life, things that are without hope that can cause you to make many mistakes." "Don't you ever make mistakes?" They asked. "Oh yes I do," I replied, "because I am no more perfect than you are. But when I make mistakes, I go to my heavenly father and pray for his forgiveness. Then I go from there trying to do the best I can because I fear God. He protects me and keeps me from ways that are not pleasing to him. But you are not kept from sin even though you were students at the great Hebrew University."
They told me that I would make a good lecturer and that I had given them much food for thought. They then asked how I had come to know so much about God. I told them there's only one way to know about God and his son, Jesus Christ, and that is through The Bible. At this, one of them said, "I have read The Bible several times. Why don't I believe as you do?" "Because you have read it as a natural man," I told him. "If you will read The Bible asking God to speak to your hearts, you will receive what I now have, peace from him and with him." I pray that these young people will have their eyes and hearts open to God through the truths of his word.
Steve Conover: We're so glad you chose to be with us today and thanks to Trevor Stewart-Sweet for joining us. Chris, final thoughts as we close.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. This is the last month or raising and meeting our goals of $10,000 for The Friends of Israel Today radio program and number one we want to thank our constituents and our listeners that have already given. But for those of you that are just hearing this, we really hope that you get a chance to go to foiradio.org and to donate and to give to this ministry. If you believe Christians need to hear the truth about Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: If you feel led to support our work or you simply want to reach out to us, visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. And in the US, you can call our listener line at 888-343-6940. Again, that's 888-343-6940. Call our Canada office at 888-664-2584. Again in Canada, 888-664-2584 and we do ask that you would let us know where you're listening when you call or write. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, co-written by Sarah Fern. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry, communicating biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
The Case For Zionism
By Thomas Ice
The Case for Zionism by Dr. Thomas Ice answers many of the contemporary arguments being used by both secular and religious communities to undermine what we believe is the hand of God at work in our day.
Chris will take us back about 150 years ago in England and share a story about England’s former Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. In the midst of opposition, Benjamin Disraeli, a Jewish man, rose to become one of the most important figures in England.
Apples of Gold: Food for Thought
While working near the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Zvi came into contact with several students. The students, due to their studies at such a fine school, often tried to sound intelligent and boast about the great and famous names that they know of. However, Zvi explained that men such as Shakespeare, Tolstoi, and Einstein were simply gifted but not great.
In all circumstances, Zvi told the students to call on God; the only One who could give them everything they needed in life and the only One who could save their eternal souls.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.