Anti-Semitism on The Rise
“As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of” (Romans 11:28, 29, all Scriptures from Revised Version Improved and Corrected, RVIC).
On January 5, throngs of demonstrators, including elected officials, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in solidarity against antisemitism. Attacks on a December Hannukah celebration north of New York City had left five people wounded, and a shootout at a kosher grocery across the river in Jersey City, New Jersey had left one dead. A bridge marcher interviewed said, “Anti-Semitism is growing so quickly and it’s just frightening the speed … it seems very real and very possible that this could be the start of something.”
In Europe, several memorable anti-Semitism events made the news last year:
● On May 24, a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Bordeaux, France. ● On May 26, Germany’s anti-Semitism Commissioner warned Jewish men not to wear a kippah (head covering) in public due to a spike in attacks against Jews. ● On May 28, the United Kingdom’s national human rights institution launched a formal investigation into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. Later in the year, after suffering its worst defeat in elections since 1935, ousted Labour party lawmakers blamed the defeat in part upon “repeated unwillingness to stand up to the stain of anti-Semitism.”
In its second annual survey published in December 2019, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), 16,400 Jewish respondents in 12 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), and home to 96% of the EU’s estimated Jewish population, reported:
● 28% had been harassed at least once during the year about being Jewish.
● 34% did not attend Jewish public events for fear of being terrorized.
● 38% have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe as Jews.
● Overall, 70% of the respondents consider the Member States’ efforts to combat antisemitism as ineffective.
In Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, a lone gunman attacked a synagogue and live-streamed the attack on the gaming site, Twitch. The attack failed only because the attacker’s weapons were defective. He then killed two people in nearby Lansberg and injured two others. Earlier that week, a man with a knife overcame the barrier outside Berlin’s Neue Synagogue before being stopped by armed security guards.
A CNN poll among 7,000 residents of Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom showed that one in three adults said that Jews “have too much influence” in finance and business across the world. Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, a scientific adviser to the FRA, says that “the kind of anti-Semitism that permeates these societies makes Jews feel they cannot live like others and that they cannot live as Jews in their home countries.”
Source of Anti-Semitism
The apostles and other early Christian leaders were mostly Jewish. After these men died (Matthew 13:25), false leaders arose in Christianity preaching that Christians had inherited the Old Testament promises given to Israel. This idea accelerated through Jus- tin Martyr (c. 160 AD), who wrote to the Jews, “The scriptures are not yours, but ours.” Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (177 AD), wrote: “Jews are disinherited from the grace of God.” At the Council in Elvira, Spain (305 AD), Christians were forbidden to share meals with Jews, to marry Jews, and to observe the Jewish Sabbath. The Edict of Milan (313 AD) outlawed all synagogues in the Empire. In 321, Constantine popularized Christianity as the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.
Privileges previously granted to Jews were withdrawn; rabbinical jurisdiction over Jews was abolished; Jews were excluded from the military and high civil office. Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli (370 AD) taught that the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures were transferred to Christians and that the Christian church superseded Judaism.
Anti-Semitism rose to a new level when John Chrysostom, Bishop of Antioch (387) gave eight sermons against the Jews. He proclaimed, “The synagogue is not only a brothel and a theater; it is also a den of robbers and a lodging for wild beasts. No Jew adores God … Jews are inveterate murderers, possessed by the devil, their debauchery and drunkenness give them the manners of a pig … Jews are abandoned by God, and for the crime of deicide [Latin for “God-killer”], there is no expiation possible.”
Jews became servi camerae, “serfs of the chamber.” They were forced into money-lending because it was believed that “usury” — lending at interest — was forbidden and endangered Christian salvation. Since Jews were lost anyhow, it would not matter. They thus became prominent in trades such as commerce and money-lending.
God’s Plan for the Jew
Jesus never taught his followers to condemn the Jews nor was Israel to be cast off forever. Amos 9:11- 12 reads: “In that day will I raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that thy may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith Jehovah that doeth this.” James quotes these verses in Acts 15:14-17 during the Jerusalem conference. The “booth” is the Hebrew word sukkoth, which is used in Zechariah 14:16 for the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), a Millennial picture showing all nations coming to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah. Apostle Paul declares that “a hardening in part hath come to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25-26). The Jewish nation was rejected from its place of favor (Matthew 23:38) until its prophetic double was complete (Isaiah 40:1, 2) and the completion of the Christ (fullness of the Gentiles). Jehovah has kept the Jewish people, for the most part, separate and distinct through these persecutions until a future time when he will restore the nation to covenant relationship and fulfill the promise to Abraham: “Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah … I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-33). This will fulfill God’s promise to Abraham and Jacob that the earthly seed of the Abrahamic promise would be centered in fleshly Israel: “And thy (Abraham’s) seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the ground be blessed” (Genesis 28:14, 13:16).
The re-establishment of Jews in Palestine in the late 19th century, culminating in the birth of the nation in 1948 is testimony that the promises of Jehovah are true. “And I will bring back the captivity (Hebrew: restore exiles or former state of prosperity) of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God” (Amos 9:14-15). From less than 600,000 in 1948 until today, immigration to Israel has grown to where there are now, more Jews in Israel than in any other country.
However, largely driven by anti-Semitism, Israel today is regathered in unbelief. Although a religious element permeates all aspects of the land, Israel will remain blind to a certain extent until Jesus has completed his bride, the church.
The land is being restored and built up; the desert is beginning to blossom as the rose; advances and discoveries in scientific and technical knowledge, are beginning to spill over into the wider world to the greater benefit of man generally. In old-times Isaiah said, “And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities; the desolations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:4). Soon the nation will be saved by Jehovah from Gog (Ezekiel 38) and then purified and converted, learning to trust God implicitly for every kind of defense and protection, Jehovah’s hand is accomplishing it, and no amount of anti-Semitism can stop it.