The Signs of the Times (35): Confession

editor - 17 February 2019

‘I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your Name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame.”’
Daniel 9:4-7 (NIV)

Confessing. Just like Daniel did.

Truly and deeply sincere. Not telling other Churches and Christian groups that they have to confess and that they have been wrong. We need to identify with the sins of the church. Someone once said: ‘When you point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointing at yourself!’

We need to be like Daniel who said: ‘we have sinned and done wrong’. He probably was the most pious man on earth in his days, over there, in Babylon. He was a righteous man who trusted in God in a hostile environment and remained faithful to the Jewish dietary laws despite the risks. He refused to eat foods that he was not permitted to eat. It could have costed him his life. But he rather served God than man.

This Daniel identified with the sins of his people. When he saw that the return to of the Jewish people back to the Promised Land was soon to take, because the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 29:10) were almost over, he did not say: “O, let’s see how God will fulfil His promise!“ No, he went to his knees and prayed: O Lord, we have sinned. I have sinned, my people have sinned, my ancestors have sinned. He repented for his sins and for the sins of other people.

He identified with the sins of the people of God to which he belonged – even though he himself had done nothing wrong. In that same way every Christian should say being a part of the Christian Church worldwide in every nation, state or people, in every age and every place: WE have sinned. If this happens, it will lead to new life in the church, to a renewal of the faith, and maybe even to revival. For as long as there are unconfessed sins in the life of a person, or in a group of persons or in a church or a congregation, or a nation, the Holy Spirit cannot fully release God’s blessings, Isaiah 59:1-4.

So this applies not just to us personally, but also to the church as a whole. And it needs to be lived out. It will have its practical consequences. ‘…for a tree is recognized by its fruit…’ Jesus says, Matthew 12:33. Fruits like: not having a haughty attitude full of pride towards Jewish people, but be humble.

Not just with words (as little as possible), but with actions (as much as possible). Not by saying it once or twice how we regret the attitude and the atrocities of the Church and our nations done to the Jewish people or who stood by watching what was happening and silently condoning this without lifting a finger. Surely, there have also been positive exceptions. My parents for instance also have been hiding Jews during WWII as well as many other Christians in other countries of Europe. But the Church as a whole most of the time was silent.

True repentance does not show itself merely in words and deeds or by making formal statements now and then during Holocaust Remembrance days. But by actions of love and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people.

True repentance must be a basic attitude for the church when dealing with Israel and the Jewish people. The Church must stand firmly in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. Such an act of repentance by the Church could have far reaching positive consequences for the Church herself, as well as for Israel and the nations.

It cannot be repeated often enough: Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms and Holocaust/Shoah are also fruits of forms of Christian anti-Semitism, and took place in the Christian world. Have we learned our lesson? Some have. But even today the World Council of Churches apparently rather issues pro-Palestinian statements and rather sides with the enemies of Israel than stand with Israel and the Jewish people. For Jews that comes as no surprise. They have experienced that in the Christian world for the last 2000 years.

The Roman Catholic Church also, in spite of all kinds of positive declarations and cautious statements about Christian anti-Semitism in the past, hasn’t really fully recognized the Jewish State of Israel for years. However, new intentions of the Vatican to achieve better relationship with the Jews seem to take root. This, however, does not mean that Rome will change its Middle East policy in such a way that she will recognize Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of the State of Israel and turn against the nations who deny the Jews that right.


The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ is available in our webshop. Order today!

About the Author