Sunday, March 20, 2011

Anti-Semitism is Anti-Christ

One atheist charged, “Christianity is the source of Jew-hating.” He cited the unfortunate words of Martin Luther to prove his claim. Although I have great admiration for Martin Luther, I must disagree with many of the things he wrote regarding the Jewish people. However, his offensive words do not in any way provide evidence that the New Testament is anti-Semitic.

Jesus was a Jew and purposely came as one. Therefore, if we hate Jews, we hate Jesus – an impossibility for a Christian. All the Apostles were also Jewish. Therefore, to hate Jews is to hate the Apostles and also the all writers of the New Testament. (Although Luke wasn’t born Jewish, he might have been a convert.)

Hate, in itself, is against the very fabric of the Gospel. How can we hate when Christ refused to hate us and died for us even when we were His enemies:

• “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:8-10)

Therefore, those who hate are not abiding in the truth of the Gospel. Likewise, those who hate Jewish people as “Christ-killers” fail to have any appreciation of the Gospel and the necessity of the Messiah dying for the sins of all of us:

• “He was despised and rejected by men...Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:3-7)

Thankfulness, rather than hate, should be the response of those who truly belong to God. There are also many reasons to be thankful for the role that Israel has played in God’s plan. Israel preserved the Word of God. Paul recognized this when he wrote,

• “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew...Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” (Romans 3:1-2)

Nor is God finished with His people to whom He promised the world to come:

• “I am talking to you Gentiles...For if their [Israel’s] rejection [of the Messiah] is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch [of Israel] is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” (Romans 11:13-16)

It was Israel’s rejection of their Messiah that had opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. But this situation is temporary. Israel will eventually return to their Messiah:

• “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer [the Messiah] will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob [Israel]’…they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:28-29)

• "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zech. 12:10)

Therefore, a Christian hating a Jew is a Christian hating his older brother. Granted, presently Christians and Jews have irreconcilable differences, but this is only temporary. Any Christian should have eyes for the broad perspective. To hate is to deny the riches and assurances we have in Christ. To love Christ is to love the Jewish people from which the Son of David came. To be a Christian is to acknowledge our responsibility toward the Jewish people:

• “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

To love the Jewish people is to see them through the eyes of faith and the eyes of their Messiah. Anyone who fails to see this, also fails to see the Gospel of salvation.

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