Anti-Semitism is Alive and Flourishing In Modern "Christianity"!
Anti-Semitism is Alive and Flourishing In Modern "Christianity"!
The spirit of Anti-Semitism is staging a worldwide revival. Why do so many people hate the Jews? Why do even some of YEHOVAH God's people have a strange fear of anything "Jewish"? Yeshua the Messiah was a "Jew." Salvation is "of the Jews." Why do so many people today fear and tremble at the thought of being identified with the Jews in any way?
Today, there is widespread and growing hatred, bigotry, jealousy, strife, enmity, and hostility toward the Jews, both in Europe, amonst the Arab world, and even in the United States of America! Synagogues have been defaced, graves and tombstones in France have been smeared with paint and swaztikas, and graffiti has been scrawled on Jewish buildings, homes, and businesses.
Why is there so much hostility toward the Jews? Even many "Christians," even some in YEHOVAH's Church, ridicule the Jewish people out of ignorance and self-righteousness .
Yet Yeshua the Messiah said, to the contrary, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do" (Matt. 23:2-3).
Centuries ago, YEHOVAH God said to Abraham, our forefather, and the father of the Jews, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that blesseth thee, and curse them that curseth thee..." (Gen. 12:2-3). In a very real sense, those who bless the Jews will be blessed, and those who curse them and revile and reproach them, will suffer the curses of Almighty God! They are the seed of Abraham, and they are special -- for they are the ONLY people that have maintained and preserved the Torah and the LAWS and Word -- the "oracles" -- of Almighty GOD! (Romans 3:1-2).
Clearly, we should BLESS the people of YEHOVAH God, and BLESS the Jews, who have maintained and preserved the holy oracles of YEHOVAH God so that we can obey His commandments and statutes!
The apostle Paul was no anti-Semite. He wrote, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew" (Rom. 11:1-2). Paul wrote, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."
Paul went on, saying, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:1-3).
Paul loved his brethren after the flesh. He truly sought the conversion and salvation of the Jewish people -- their repentance. He lamented their spiritual blindness. Yet he knew there was a purpose in it all, and that eventually the blindness would be removed.
Paul pointed out, "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall t he receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:12-15).
Paul concluded, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when Ishall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:24-25).
Even though the Jewish people as a whole have not at this juncture accepted the identity of the Messiah, Yeshua of the New Testament, but still remain blinded to this wonderful truth, we must remember that YEHOVAH God can also remove that blindness. Many Jews cannot see the truth of YEHOVAH God regarding the Messiah, today, because of the garbled state of this world's "Christianity" and its perversion of the truth of YEHOVAH God. When they look at "Christianity," they see a religion full of pagan practices derived from the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Babylonians. They see a paganized "Messiah" who is long-haired, effeminate, sallow-complexioned, hanging on a "cross." They also see a "church" which has persecuted Jews, down through the centuries, forcing them to convert or be tortured, confess "Christ" or die on the rack! Some of the most vicious, savage persecution meted out against the Jews historically has come from supposed "Christians" and "Catholics" in Europe!
Nevertheless, YEHOVAH God will bring the Jews back to Jerusalem and Israel, and He will open their eyes and minds to the glory of Yeshua the Messiah! Zechariah the prophet wrote: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zech. 12:10-11).
Why, then, is there so much hatred and virulent hostility toward the Jews in the Christian-professing world, and even among the off-shoots of the Worldwide Church of God?
An Overview of Anti-Semitism
The truth is, the spirit of anti-Semitism is the spirit of Antichrist! This is the same spirit and attitude as that of Antiochus Epiphanes, who viciously persecuted the Jews in 167-164 B.C., because they would not conform to the prevaling worldview of Hellenism and Greek religious philosophy. Those who held on to the Torah and Law of YEHOVAH God were hunted down, tortured, killed, and their property confiscated.
The attitude of the Antichrist was summed up by Emperor Constantine in the fourth century of the present era. He exhorted the so-called nominal "Christians" of the visible church, with its headquarters at Rome, in the council of Nicea in 325 A.D. to establish a worldwide church free from any and all vestiges and influences of the Jews. His attitude was distinctly hostile and full of venom and hatred of everything Jewish. He wrote in a conciliar letter:
"It appeared an unholy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast that we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of the soul...Let us then have NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE DETESTABLE JEWISH CROWD: For we have received of our Saviour a different way...Strive and pray continually that the purity of your souls may not seem in any thing to be SULLIED BY FELLOWSHIIP with these most wicked men...All should unite in demanding that which sound reason appears to demand, and AVOIDING ALL PARTICIPATION IN THE PERJURED CONDUCT of the Jews" (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 3, 18-19, NPNF, 2nd, I, p. 524-525).
Writes Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi in From Sabbath to Sunday, a fascinating study of the origin of Sunday worship, and the history of the early Church:
"The anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Jewish reckoning of Passover could not have been expressed more explicitly and forcefully than in the letter of Constantine. Nicaea represents the culmination of a controversy initiated two centuries earlier and motivated by strong anti-Judaic feelings and one which had Rome as its epicenter" (p. 206).
The spirit of hostility to the truth and people of YEHOVAH God is an age-old spirit -- it is the spirit of Satan the devil, who hates the ways of YEHOVAH God (John 8:44). He reviles the things of YEHOVAH, and tramples on that which is holy. The carnal mind of man follows him in rebellion and enmity against the laws of YEHOVAH God (Rom. 8:7).
However, the spirit of YEHOVAH God LOVES the things of YEHOVAH, the people of YEHOVAH, and the TRUTHS and LAWS of YEHOVAH God (Acts 5:32; Rom. 5:5; I John 5:3).
As Paul wrote to the Gentile Ephesians, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19). Paul wrote to the Galatians, likewise, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:28-29).
"Salvation Is of the JEWS"
Yeshua the Messiah, our Saviour and Messiah, of course, was a Jew. He was descended from king David, himself a Jew, of the tribe of Judah. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews, "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (Heb. 7:14). He is called "the lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5-6). He "came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11).
Yeshua told the Samaritan woman at the well in Samaria, "YE worship ye know not what: WE know what WE worship: for SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS " (John 4:22). The apostle Paul wrote further, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto SALVATION to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
Do these comments suggest in any way that true Christians should repudiate the Jews, or have nothing to do with them? Salvation itself, Yeshua says, comes THROUGH them!
The original Church of YEHOVAH God, founded at Pentecost on 31 A.D., with the coming of the holy spirit, was composed overwhelmingly of JEWISH people, primarily those who had followed or were considered Pharisees (Acts 2:15) -- "devout men, out of every nation under heaven" who were assembled that year in Jerusalem for the holy day of Pentecost or Shavuot! Since the public Temple Pentecost services were conducted according to the rules and customs of the Pharisees, these "devout" men were diligent observers of the LAWS of YEHOVAH God, as taught by the Pharisees! They were, therefore, observant JEWS!
Should YEHOVAH's people today FEAR to be looked upon by others, or apostacizing church members, or friends or former associates, as "Jews" because they observe the SAME HOLY DAYS as the Jews do? YEHOVAH God forbid! Yeshua the Messiah himself observed the same days, and taught us to do so, following in his footsteps (I Pet. 2:21; I John 2:6). Yeshua is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). He will observe the SAME holy days in you today that he observed 1900 years ago, in the days of his flesh (Gal. 2:20) -- and none other!!!
The apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was not ashamed of being looked upon as 'Jewish." He said, "Follow ME, as I follow Christ " (I Cor. 11:2). He wrote, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people by his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach " (Heb. 13:12-13). David wrote, prophetically of Christ, "Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children [not just physical family, but other "church members"!]. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me" (Psalm 69:7-9).
The apostle Paul applied this to the Messiah, saying, "For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me" (Rom. 15:3). If being looked upon as a "Jew" causes you embarrassment and shame, then perhaps you should consider the words of Paul to Timothy, who wrote, "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe" (I Tim. 4:10).
Likewise, Peter wrote, "If ye be REPROACHED for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you" (I Pet. 4:14). "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him NOT BE ASHAMED; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (I Pet. 4:16-18).
True Christians should not be ashamed of being called "Jew," "Jewish," or any epithet, which identifies them with the customs and LAWS of YEHOVAH God as revealed in the Torah, the Scriptures, and the entire Word of the living GOD. Paul wrote, to the contrary, "For he is not Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom. 2:28-29).
We should not be ashamed of being looked upon as "Jewish" merely because we TRULY follow in the footsteps of Yeshua the Messiah, who was a TRUE JEW in every way. The apostle Paul wrote, "What advantage therefore hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the ORACLES OF GOD" (Rom. 3:1-2).
The apostle Paul refers to the Jews as "the natural branches" of YEHOVAH God's olive tree (Rom. 11:16-24), and Gentiles as "a wild olive tree, grafted in among them" (verse 17). We should not despise or look down our noses at the "natural branches," but rejoice that together we can stand by faith and obedience to YEHOVAH God, through His holy spirit!
Getting Back to Our "Jewish" Roots!
Those of us who truly desire to follow the Messiah, and the apostles, and recapture the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), need to re-examine our attitudes toward the Jews and the things regarded as "Jewish." Ignorance creates fear. But as the old song goes, "To know, know, know him, is to love, love, love him." To really get to know the Jews, is to LOVE them. To live in ignorance and fear of them, is to grow in hatred, hostility, enmity, and folly.
The day is coming, very soon now, when as the prophet Zechariah foretold, that the whole attitude of the world will change toward the Jews. Zechariah declared:
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
"Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of HIM THAT IS A JEW, saying, we will go with you: for we have heard that GOD IS WITH YOU" (Zech. 8:20-23).
If we are truly converted people, then in YEHOVAH God's sight we are "true Jews." The truth of the Hebrew Roots does not deny either the laws and commandments of YEHOVAH God, the Torah, nor does it deny the Messianic aspect of the Hebrew Roots and our Hebrew Messiah Yeshua and His message -- and its fulfillment in the Messiah, Yeshua! Hebrew is the language and DNA of our God and Messiah Yeshua, and that DNA is in all of us, whether you want to recognize that or not. So if you are indeed a "true Jew," then rejoice -- for your name is written in Heaven and in the Book of Life! Amen!
In Yeshua Messiah’s Service,
Rabbi/Pastor Hector Gomez