Overcoming Antisemitism Through The Gospel

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Presented at AmZI conference — “Antisemitism Today” — in Germany on 26 Sept 2023 
Based on the Bible, living in Israel, and personal experience 

I don’t know how many of you are aware that this conference began on the evening of the holiest day in the Jewish year – the Day of Atonements.  And here we are at a conference focusing on antisemitism.  Your salvation (and, of course, mine, too) has come through the Jews; in fact, an Israeli Jew. (Mic 5:1-3; Jn 4:19-26; Mt 2:19-21)  Without the sacrificial atoning death of the Messiah, of Christ, we would not have the only Savior from our sins that we now love by the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Yasua.  We have heard many good presentations here about antisemitism and its various manifestations and historical reality.  I have been asked to speak very briefly on how we will overcome it.  How easy is that!?

The Jewish people today who live in the State of Israel are a visible prophetic and historic sign that YHVH, the Creator of the Universe, who is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob/Israel, is the true God and Redeemer. (Ezek 36:16-28)  It is not yet the full-fillment of prophecy, but the LORD is fulfilling prophecy.  People who oppose, or who resent, this truth are usually the ones who are antisemitic, since the Jewish people are the God’s witnesses in the world. He is also the God of the Gentiles, as the Apostle Paul writes, but He remains the God of the Jews in a unique and particular way. (Rom 3:28-31)  God saves us by His grace and mercy, and not because we are righteous. (Ex 3:14-15; Is 11:10-12; 43:1-13; Ezek 36:16-28; Amos 3:1-3; Lk 5:27-32; Rom 11:25-36)

Our love for the Lord conquers fear, because He loves us.  Love is not easily offended.  There is peace and unity in identifying together with Jesus, who is outside our own national and cultural and religious camps, and who Himself is hated without a cause by His own people, and also by those who resent the idea that God has a “Chosen People”. (Dt 7:6-12; Is 43:10-13; Amos 3:1-3) Even the Apostles chosen by Jesus/Yeshua were the will of the Father.   Why didn’t He at least choose a representative from each of the 12 tribes of Israel?  (Jn 17:6-8

Christians in Israel – whether Jewish or Arab or other – live in not only a non-Christian country, but an anti-Christian country.  In the sovereign wisdom of God, He is saving more Gentiles (non-Jews) during this time that the Jewish people’s hearts are still partially blinded against the gospel. (Rom 11:11-15, 25)  Both Rabbinic Judaism and Islam are opposed to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. (1Jn 2:21-25)  Even secularized Jews and Muslims are naturally inclined to resist the gospel.  Our congregation has twice been targets of angry irrational mobs, who were incited by false rumors started and spread by their religious leaders.  This is no different than in the days of Jesus, Stephen, James, Paul.  Jesus tells His disciples that if they hate and persecute us, it is because they first did so to Him, and to the prophets before us.  This is also a proof that they still do not know God the Father who sent Yeshua — His uniquely beloved, only begotten Son. 

The more “Jewish” the Jewish State for the Jewish people becomes, the more we should expect it to be less “friendly” to Christians.  This is partly a consequence of all of the historic antisemitism by Christians towards the Jewish people.  Yet God loves them for the sake of His holy name, because He has cut/made covenants that He is faithful to fulfill in every way. (Ezek 36:16-38; Rom 11:25-29)  To be anti-Semitic and anti-Christian is to be, first of all, anti-YHVH God and His sovereignty.  We are chosen and saved by His grace to glorify Him.  He is holy; He is righteous. His thoughts and His ways and His wisdom require us to renew our minds so that we come to agree with Him, and not lean on our own understanding of how things should be.

A simple act of “giving a cup of water” to my enemy, or to an enemy of the gospel can demonstrate our goodwill and desire to be at peace with him. (Rom 12:17-21)  After all, Jesus commands us to love our enemies, which we can do only out of love for His holy name’s sake and for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  This is a clear demonstration that we are willing to deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  When Jesus was reviled, He did not revile back.  Jesus died for us when we were still sinners, and even acting as enemies against Him.  The gospel demands of us that we forgive those who sin against us.  It can be very challenging, but this is the standard which God our Father has set for those who would be His sons and daughters, and disciples of the Messiah/Christ!  The Jewish people say that the New Testament is antisemitic; but the love of our holy and righteous Father in Heaven spoke to His chosen people in the same way in the Old Testament.  He does expect more from those to whom more is given, and He chastens His children because He loves them/us. (Pr 3:11-13; Heb 12:6-11)  

German Christian believers who accept God’s forgiveness for the antisemitism and participation in the Holocaust against the Jews  through their political and church leaders do have a testimony of the grace and righteousness of the God of Israel:  what a great and wonderful God you have! (Lev 4; Dan 9:3-5) You can speak humbly to them about the truth of the gospel of salvation.  Do not let the devil neutralize you and take away the testimony of our great God and Savior!  I thank God that He had the right Gentile Christian man tell me the truth that he knew when I was finally prepared to hear it for myself.

Gentile Christians and leaders should speak out courageously whenever they become aware of clear physical, verbal, social, political, academic, cultural attacks against Jews or Israel simply because they are Jews, or for being supporters of Israel as a nation in the promised land.  That is not to say that everything spoken or done negatively towards a Jewish person or against certain policies is antisemitic.  We do need godly discernment, and also to know God’s own will and purpose.  We do need to fear the Lord, and to pray that we will not be working against Him by demanding or expecting unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Israel to act as if they are faithful born-again Christians!

Expecting Israel and unsaved Jews to conduct themselves as faithful born-again Christian is to hold them to a standard not required even for ourselves!  It is to require of them a standard not required of any other people or nation, and is, therefore, antisemitic.  On the other hand, God does require more of His own chosen people, and will eventually accomplish that!

Jesus has told us that if they hate Him, they will hate us also.  He is not of the world, and neither are we if we are His disciples. (Jn 17:14-18)  If they call Him “Baalzebub”, then we should expect to also be cursed, and accused of having a demon.  It is not a nice or pleasant thing, but it is something that can and does happen.  Jewish people do not understand why there is antisemitism and why they suffer so much for being Jews; Christians are supposed to understand why we are, and to be willing to suffer false accusations as scapegoats for being identified with the name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. (Lev 16:20-22; 1Pt 4:12-16; Mt 5:11-12; Jn 15:18-25

I believe that unless we understand that antisemitism is a satanic hatred of Jews and Israel, being a spiritual attack against the Creator and Redeemer Himself, we will not be able to be led by the Holy Spirit to respond appropriately in our minds or in our actions to antisemitism or to antichristianism.  Jews and Christians are God’s representatives and witnesses in the world.  This hateful and murderous spirit will strengthen before the Lord’s return. (Rev 12:10-17)   Jewish and Muslim attacks on Christians will continue to increase, as we are already seeing around the world. 

As the Apostle John wrote in the Revelation (the Apocalypse) about an event to still occur:  “Then I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven:  ‘Now, salvation and strength and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Messiah have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Rev 12:10-11

We can overcome only if we love Jesus more than even our own lives; only if we really believe in Jesus and in His shed blood on the cross for our redemption; only if we are willing to be hated because of believing in His Name; only if we believe that our blessed hope is in the return of the Lord Himself and the resurrection of the righteous – all those who have believed in Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father. 

To overcome antisemitism and antichristianism through the gospel, I believe that we must come out of our camps and suffer the reproach of Christ; and, with Him, the reproach of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit. (Heb 13:10-16)  We must love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ above all, which will help us to love even our enemies.  We must examine and judge ourselves first:  how have Gentile Christians, and churches, and denominations done historically to fulfill the calling with the Holy Spirit to provoke the Jews to jealousy for their God and Savior, and to show mercy to the Jews? (Rom 11:11-15, 28-36; Jn 7:1-5) Then, we can humbly and confidently speak the truth in the love and righteousness of God. 

Martin Luther became very antisemitic when the Jewish people did not respond to the gospel like he thought they should, and we know what that led to hundreds of years later just 80 years ago in Germany, and to anti-Israel sentiment among many Christians today in many churches and denominations.  God promised to bless those who bless His chosen people, and to curse him who curses them.  Many pastors and teachers do not speak of why Israel is significant today for Christians and the Body of Christ; and God has tied the destiny of the Church with His faithfulness to fulfill His determination to fulfill all of His covenant promises to the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel. (Mt 5:17-19; Rom 15:8-13; Ps 117

Jesus asked forgiveness on the cross for those who were crucifying Him, because they did not know what they were doing.  Christians who are antisemites never remember that, but they need forgiveness for themselves, as well.  Jews who are antichristian are still partially blinded because of God’s wisdom to temporarily make them enemies of the gospel so that He can save them by mercy and grace, just as He has done with us.  The current government in Israel is being used by God to examine our hearts regarding our love for Him, and for His people, despite their hostility.  We must be willing not only to believe in Jesus, but to suffer for His sake, offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to demonstrate the love of the Father for the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.  God is patient so that more people can be saved.  We need to be, too, trusting Him to finish His work of redemption as we anticipate with faith the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory.

Antisemitism and antichristianism is not going away as long as the devil is the prince of this world. (1Jn 5:19; Rev 20:1-3) The message that our Lord has given us until the end of the age is the good news of salvation and the Kingdom of God to whomsoever wheresoever. (Mt 28:18-20)  Let us not become discouraged or weary in proclaiming the truth and the hope that is in us.  In Yeshua’s name! 

 

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