Interview: Bruce Scott, Relentless
Israel’s enemies are relentless. For as long as the Jewish people have existed, powerful nations have tried to dispossess them of their identity, land, and lives. Israel never seems to get a chance to catch its breath since it always faces destruction. It’s a good thing God is Israel’s protector! This week Chris speaks with Bruce Scott to talk about Bruce’s Israel My Glory magazine article “Relentless.”
Bruce draws our attention to a quote from Dr. Raul Hilberg, who explained the beliefs of Israel’s enemies in three segments: “You have no right to live among us as Jews. You have no right to live among us. You have no right to live.” It’s clear that Israel’s enemies don’t just want to deny the Jewish people of comfort; they want to destroy their whole identity by any means necessary. As dark as that reality is, Bruce leaves us with comforting reminders of God’s promises and power. The Lord will forever defend His Chosen People, and so should we!
You can read Bruce’s article here: https://israelmyglory.org/article/relentless/
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, and with me, is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you to visit our website foiradio.org, to keep up on all things related to The Friends of Israel Today program. There, you can listen to all of our broadcasts, five years' worth of content, with links to our featured products highlighted in the show. Or you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help continue teaching Biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Please visit foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, in my hands, is our most recent issue of Israel My Glory. It's all about whether or not Israel can survive. It's looking at issues that are happening in the Middle East, it's looking at the rising anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, that's occurring around the world globally, and even right here in the United States. And we're asking the question, can Israel survive?
So, today on the program, Bruce Scott, who's program director for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, will be highlighting his article, Relentless, which looks at the relentless nature of Israel's enemies, but really, the relentless attitude and heart that God has for his people, the Jewish people.
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Steve Conover: President Donald Trump signed into law, legislation that will allocate $11 million in federal funding to further Holocaust education. The bipartisan bill called the Never Again Education Act directs funds toward expanding the US Holocaust Memorial museum's education program, which supports online curriculum materials and workshops in Holocaust education and awareness throughout the United States.
Chris Katulka: Day by day, we are losing our precious Holocaust survivors. Their eyewitness testimony to Hitler's horrific “final solution” for the Jewish people is a powerful message in Holocaust education today. One Holocaust survivor recounts that her mother's last words to her in the concentration camp were, "you must fight, you must survive, and you must tell everyone what they did to us." Sadly, those voices are dying and that's why Holocaust awareness and education must continue, because, waiting in the wings are those who wish to deny the atrocities of the Holocaust, those who wish to rewrite history. We must be ready to defend our Jewish friends and educate our kids about the innocent lives that were lost in the Holocaust.
Today, our entire episode is dedicated to our most recent issue of Israel My Glory magazine. This most recent issue, Can Israel Survive? Israel and the Jewish people, they face issues all the time. They have issues today with the Iranian aggression, with rising anti-Semitism. And many are beginning to ask, "Can Israel survive all of this?" And that's the question that we're going to tackle with this most recent issue of Israel My Glory. And we're going to take you from the biblical times to the present, and then to the future, what the Bible says about what the future for Israel is.
And the good news is this, is that God has a plan. It's unchangeable, it's unstoppable, and it's going to come to fruition in his way, and in his time. We've invited Bruce Scott, who's the director of program ministries for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, to be on the program to talk about his most recent article in this issue called, Relentless. Bruce, great to have you on the program. Thanks for being with us today.
Bruce Scott: Thank you, Chris. It's great to be with you.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, your article is titled, Relentless. Why is that?
Bruce Scott: Well, it's entitled Relentless because Israel's enemies are relentless. Israel has had enemies throughout their history, people and nations who have been against the Jewish people and all up until modern times. And it just seems like they rarely get a break, and they have people who constantly want to destroy them. Really, the Bible indicates that the goal of Israel's enemies is to dispossess them of their identity, their land, their lives, or all three. And so, it seems that Israel's enemies, they never give up and Israel and the Jewish people have a virtual target on them. And that's why those enemies are relentless, they just keep going after them.
Chris Katulka: They are relentless. And you open your article, Relentless, talking about a Shabbat, a Sabbath dinner that you had with a Israeli friend of yours. And I was hoping maybe you'd tell us a little bit about that interaction and what it has to do with your article.
Bruce Scott: Sure. We bring a group of volunteers to Israel each year through our Hesed program. And one of these years, we brought this team over, and we were at the home of an Israeli family. The family, actually, one of the members that worked at Kaplan Medical Center, where we volunteer, in the city of Rehovot. And so that's one of the highlights of our trip, is we get to be invited into the homes of these dear Israeli people. And it was for a Shabbat meal on a Friday evening. And we were in the home of this family and the lady of the house, the wife, her name was Yael, and we were just talking about Israel's Operation Protective Edge, which took place in 2014 when Israel went into the Gaza strip to stop the terrorist organization, Hamas, from shooting rockets into Israel's Heartland.
Well, what happened during that time is when Israel went into the Gaza strip to defend itself, it seemed, if you watched the news, that the whole world turned against Israel. And Yael made the comment in our conversation. She said, "I just felt so alone." And tears welled up in her eyes. And I just felt so sorry for her. And I just felt like I could not relate to what she was expressing. We have it great here in our country, and we don't face people shooting rockets into our country almost on a daily basis. And it was just hard to imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by enemies and live under that constant threat of annihilation. And I was just really moved by her statement.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, it's interesting, because you and I, we've led Israel trips together for many years, and it's a phrase that we would hear often, even in times of peace and in times of war in Israel. It's not just the fact that Israel feels as though it has enemies surrounding them, but even sometimes they feel as though they're totally alone, that they actually have no friends as well. Wouldn't you say that's true?
Bruce Scott: Oh, absolutely. And that's why they really appreciate us coming over when we do come, not just for touring, but also to volunteer and to serve, because it means so much to them. I look at Israelis as an abused people. I don't know if they would see it that way, but when an abused person has someone who just shows them just a very small act of kindness, they're just so amazed by that. And that's how I feel when we bring groups over and we just indicate that, "We stand by you, you're not alone," And to do just small acts of kindness by our volunteering, and that they really appreciate it.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, in your article, you walk through biblical history and Jewish history and you show us what Israelis were dealing with in the past, and you show us what Israelis are dealing with now, the 450 rockets that were being launched into Israel. Why have Jewish people been dealing with this for thousands of years? What's the story here? Like you said, they seem like an abused people. Why is that?
Bruce Scott: Well, as I said in the article, the primary goal of Israel's enemies has been to dispossess them, to take away what God has given to them. I'm reminded of an example in second Chronicles, chapter 20, when good King Jehoshaphat heard that there were Moabites and Ammonites coming against them and others as well, and he gathered the people together and they prayed to God. And in his prayer, he said to God, "Here they are rewarding us by coming to throw us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit." And that's really been the story. Not only of dispossessing them of their land, but also of their lives, their identity as a people. And it's really been the story ever since God made his eternal covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants forever. Really, behind it, it's a spiritual conflict.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, I always like to say that what God values, Satan is always going to attempt to destroy. I've said it many times on this program.
Bruce Scott: Exactly.
Chris Katulka: And I feel like that is really the story of what the Jewish people, with Israel has been going through for millennia, is that God values them, has a purpose for them, a plan for them, that's connected to his redemption. And therefore, like you said, Israel's enemies will be relentless because it's a spiritual battle. Is that the direction, it seems, that the scriptures are showing us as it's connected to Jewish history and anti-Semitism?
Bruce Scott: Absolutely. And of course, we don't see the conflict that's taking place in the spiritual realm. We see what happens in politics and between nations and so forth. But what's behind the scenes is that the evil one, Satan, who is a real being, a real person, a fallen angel, it's his goal to thwart God in every way possible. And in his twisted thinking, his goal is still what he said from the beginning. He said, "I will be like God, I will be like the most high." In fact, when he tempted the Lord, Jesus, he said, "I'll give you all of these things if you just bow down and worship me." That's always been his goal.
And so, if he cannot have it, then he's going to try to stop God from having it, and try to thwart his purposes. Now, we know he's never going to succeed, but nevertheless, in his evil thinking and twisted thinking, he's still going to try. And so in his mind, he thinks that if he can destroy Israel, he can destroy God.
Chris Katulka: That's right.
Bruce Scott: Why? Because God's name and reputation, and promises, and covenants are directly tied to the nation of Israel. So if he can wipe out Israel as a nation, then in his thinking, he can wipe out God.
Chris Katulka: My friends, we are talking with Bruce Scott, who's the programs director for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are talking about his article in Israel My Glory's most recent issue, Can Israel Survive?, called Relentless. We've been discussing the relentless nature of Israel's enemies throughout their history, even up to this very day. And we're going to continue speaking with Bruce. If you are not a subscriber to our magazine, Israel My Glory, I want to encourage you to go to our website, foiradio.org. That's FOI, as in, Friends of Israel, foiradio.org, and there, you will find a link that will connect you to a way that you can get a one year free subscription to our award winning Christian magazine, Israel My Glory, and you will get this issue, Can Israel Survive?, right in your mailbox. So be sure to go to foiradio.org, don't go anywhere, we're going to continue our discussion about Bruce Scott's article, Relentless, from Israel My Glory.
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Bruce, in your article, you quote the famed political scientist, as you say, Dr. Raul Hilberg, who writes in his book, The Destruction of the European Jews, that "The intent of Israel's enemies can be boiled down to three components. The first, you have no right to live among us as Jews. The second, you have no right to live among us. And the third is, you have no right to live." What is Dr. Hilberg saying here when he gives us those three components?
Bruce Scott: What he's doing is he's looking at the totality of Jewish history and how the nations have treated Israel and the Jewish people over the centuries. He's boiling it down to three statements, and they really do cover all of what the Jewish people have experienced. First of all, "You have no right to live among us as Jews." There's always been an attempt to destroy the identity of the Jewish people. Just give you a couple of quick examples. One was during the days of Antiochus the fourth or Epiphanes, back in the second century BC, when he tried to forcibly make the Jewish people adopt Greek gods and Greek culture, which would have wiped out their identity as the chosen people of God, and worshiping the one, true God. And then later on, in the early centuries after Christ, it's sad to read in Christian history, that some in the church tried to forcibly convert the Jewish people, forced baptisms and so forth, saying that, "If you don't get baptized, if you don't convert to Christianity, then we'll kill you or will dispossess you of whatever you own," et cetera.
And so, Jewish people look at that as another attempt to wipe them out as Jews. And then, "You have no right to live among us." Throughout Jewish history, Jewish people have been confined to ghettos, or they have been expelled from their countries. One famous expulsion took place in 1492, the same year when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, when the same King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, expelled all the Jews out of Spain. And so, "You have no right to live among us. So we'll either confine you or expel you."
And then finally, "You have no right to live." And of course there are plenty of examples throughout Jewish history of Israel's enemies trying to take away their lives, their physical lives, to kill them, destroy them. And the ultimate example of that was the Holocaust during World War II, when six million European Jews are systematically exterminated by the Nazis. So really, these three statements, "You have no right to live among us as Jews. You have no right to live among us," And "You have no right to live," really captures, in these three statements, a scenario of Jewish life over the centuries.
Chris Katulka: I think it's interesting too, because now we have the constant debate of whether or not anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, which is the idea of, "I don't like Israel," is the fact that you don't like Israel, you hate Israel, a sign that you hate Jewish people as well. And some argue, "No, they are two different things. I can hate a country and love the people." But it's always interesting to me, especially when I look at this comment here from Dr. Hilberg, that when I look at the concept of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, there is always a link. At any time you have anti-Zionism, especially in these European countries, it always bleeds into anti-Semitism. Is there any connection you think to what Dr. Hilberg is saying here in that reality, that exists between anti-Zionism, the hatred of Israel, and anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people?
Bruce Scott: Yeah, I think there is. Because anti-Zionism is promoting the fact that Israel does not have a historical, Biblical or divine right to the land that the Bible outlines as the land of Israel. And so they call it anti-Zionism and they say, "Well, we're not against the people of Israel, we're just against the fact that they have the land." But that's just a classic example of another form of dispossession. They're trying to deprive them of the land that God clearly promised to them. And so, you cannot separate the Jewish people and the people of Israel from the land of Israel, because it's all part of the covenant that God had given to them.
Chris Katulka: There is a unique relationship between the people, the land and the promise that God made, they can't be separated. And that's why I want to turn here as we're closing, in Psalm 83, it says that... I know some people look at Psalm 83 as a single prophetic event of the future, but I don't see it that way. I actually see Psalm 83 as a national lament that can be prayed during any time of persecution, or any time of anti-Semitism that arises. I want to read four verses here from Psalm 83, the first four, it says this, "Oh, God do not be silent, do not ignore us. Do not be inactive, oh, God. For look, your enemies are making a commotion. Those who hate you are hostile. They carefully plot against your people and make plans to harm the ones you cherish. They say, "Come on, let us annihilate them so they are no longer a nation." Then the name of Israel will be remembered no more."
So, Bruce, what are your thoughts on Psalm 83? Do you see this as a connection, a lament, to the fact that there's this ongoing sense of anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people?
Bruce Scott: Yeah. I see this as you do Chris, it's more of a national lament that typifies persecution of Israel and the Jewish people throughout their history, even though I'd mentioned specific nations there like Edam and the Ishmaelites, Moab and Ammon, and Amalek, and so forth. Those are just typical enemies that are prototypes, if you will, of Israel's history throughout. And so, I just see this as just an example of Israel's history and the relentless attitude of Israel's enemies. Sounds interesting, you stopped at verse four, but verse five, I think, is very significant because it says, "For they have consulted together with one consent, they form a confederacy against you.” And it's speaking of, not Israel against you, but against you, God. So, this almost is saying, when they formed this conspiracy, this confederacy, to attack Israel, in reality, what they're doing is they're coming against you, oh, God. And I think that goes back to what we were saying.
Chris Katulka: When it comes to Israel, you're always, the idea of what Zachariah says, you're touching the Apple of God's eye. That to poke Israel is essentially to poke God in many ways. Bruce, I love your closing thoughts here in your article. You talk about the relentlessness of God. I mean, you talk about the relentlessness of Israel's enemies, but then you say, "God is relentless too. And he's on Israel's side." Quoting Psalm 124. "His goal is for Israel to survive and to thrive. He has eternal covenants and promises that he has bestowed on the Jewish people." And you talk about Genesis 12, one through three, Ezekiel chapter 36, the holy reputation of God being connected to the promise that was made to Israel and the Jewish people. And you say this, "And he will keep his word that Israel will be a nation before him forever."
Really quickly, Bruce, we only have a moment, but what would you say to a Christian who wonders why Jewish people are constantly being persecuted, or Israel is always being attacked, what would you say to them?
Bruce Scott: I would just remind them, you have to look at life through biblical eyes. You have to look at life through spiritual eyes, and you have to look at Israel the way God looks at Israel. And it goes way beyond geopolitics. It goes to the spiritual battle that is happening behind the scenes. Satan will lose, God will win, Israel, unfortunately, and sadly, will still have to go through terrible times in the future as the prophetic Scriptures indicate. But our responsibility now is to try to stand by them as God does, even though tough times are ahead, God will never leave them or forsake them, and neither should we.
Chris Katulka: And you know what? That really is the answer to the question, "Can Israel survive?" And the answer we know is yes, because God is on their side and God made a promise and it's his holy name, connected to them. And friends, if you're not already a subscriber to our magazine, Israel My Glory, please go to foiradio.org, and there you'll be able to get a one year free subscription, and you'll get our most recent issue, Can Israel Survive. Bruce, thank you so for being on the program with us, we really appreciate it.
Bruce Scott: My pleasure, Chris. Thank you.
Steve Conover: Thank you for being with us today for the program. Chris, why don't you tell us what's coming up next week on the program?
Chris Katulka: We're going to be looking at the new covenant. We see the new covenant in the New Testament, but the new covenant was something that was promised by the prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel looked forward to a new covenant, a new way that we would relate with God, something that Jesus ushered in. And we're going to look at the importance of it from the Old Testament, and how Jesus cast the vision for the new covenant and brought it to us today for the church, a beautiful thing of what God is doing. So be sure to come and join us next week.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka, today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. 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 evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
The Feasts of Israel: Seasons of the Messiah
The Bible is a Jewish book written by Jewish writers with a Jewish worldview. That means the holidays and feasts of the Old Testament have hidden meanings that are clear in a Jewish context that we should know, too!
Written by this week’s special guest, Bruce Scott, The Feasts of Israel: Seasons of the Messiah will teach you the fullness of Jesus’ ministry by explaining the rich symbolism of the feasts of Israel.
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The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.