A Messianic Jewish minister had written:
- Antisemitism has one cause – Satan.
I responded that antisemitism is not simply Satanic:
“Understandably, you do not want to blame the victim. Nor do we want to give additional ammo to the anti-Semite. Besides, we do not want to give needless offense to the Jewish community and to further alienate them from the Gospel by suggesting that they have played a role in bringing misfortune upon themselves.
However, we cannot deny the reality of Israel’s rebellion either and betray the Word of God in the process. Moses had attributed anti-Semitism to Israel’s unfaithfulness:
- Deut. 28:58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law… 28:64-65 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations… Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.
- Deut. 28:37 You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the LORD will drive you.
The Prophets of Israel also attributed anti-Semitism and the resulting misfortunes to Israel’s unfaithfulness. We must do likewise and warn Israel for their own good:
- Ezekiel 2:3-5 And He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse--for they are a rebellious house--yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Sometimes, we misunderstand the nature of biblical love, thinking that it requires us to only speak comforting words. However, God sending the Prophets with His accusing words was also a reflection of His love for Israel.
Peter, writing to the Jews living in the Diaspora, even went a step further, accusing his people of rejecting their promised Messiah:
- 1 Peter 2:7-8 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” [Quoting Psalm 118:22] and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” [Quoting Isaiah 8:14]. They stumble because they disobey the word.
Peter didn’t make such accusations because of any disdain for his own people. Instead, he evidently knew that Israel needed to hear these words of censure, perhaps to shake them loose from their rebellion.
There are also other verses that my people should have considered about our rejection of our Messiah:
· Isaiah 53:3-6 He [the Messiah] was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 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.
· Isaiah 49:6-7 he says: "It is too small a thing for you [the Messiah] to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." This is what the Lord says--the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel--to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation [of Israel], to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
These might sound like harsh words, but they are also words of love from God, who is trying to call Israel to repentance. However, God will do more than call. He will also open Israel’s eyes to the One whom they have pierced:
· Zech. 12:10 "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 [Israel] 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.”
As He has promised, He will also save His chosen in the end:
· Hosea 1:9-11 Then the LORD said, "Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God." Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited...
· Isaiah 49:14-17 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
· Romans 11:25-29 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so ALL Israel [even rebellious Israel] will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they [Israel] are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Nevertheless, if we love, we will not withhold the necessary words of censure, even if our people has suffered so much already.