• Archival photographs on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem. Photo: Miriam Alster | Flash90
Teachings

The Signs of the Times (34): Anti-Semitism

Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 10 February 2019

‘O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against Your people; they plot against those You cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against You.’
Psalm 83:1-5 (NIV)

Hatred against Israel is hatred against the God of Israel. And there is Christian anti-Semitism as well. Deeply rooted in anti-Jewish theology. In Europe this has created a climate in which millions of Jews could be killed, time after time. Again and again and again. Not only in the ultimate climax of the immense annihilation during the Holocaust. But in the lands of Christianity it has happened in every day and age during the last 2000 years.

The church must confess the sin of this almost demonic theology and change her theological way of thinking – which for centuries has led to a Christian anti-Semitic climate and the shedding of rivers of Jewish blood. And there is little time left. Soon it will be too late and the church will have to answer before the throne of God. Because the Almighty One will hold her responsible for what she did, Hebrews 4:13, 10:26-27.

We as Christians should also personally examine our mind, our heart and our soul to see if there isn’t any hidden Christian anti-Semitism in us. Because in the end God will confront us with the centuries of Christian anti-Semitism that still continues today in many parts of worldwide Christianity, although fortunately there are also things that have changed for the better.

How can the Church meet with Jesus with Jewish blood on her hands, the blood of centuries?

Many may think: “It’s not my fault. What can I do about what people who called themselves ‘the church’ or ‘Christians’ have done and said in the past? I am not to blame. I have done nothing wrong. I have not practiced colonialism. I wasn’t part of the slave trade. I didn’t oppress and exploit distant lands and nations. I didn’t kill natives. I wasn’t part of the crusades. I haven’t burned any Jews at the stake. Or blamed them for the black plague in Europe. Or said they were ‘Christ-killers or God-killers’. And by the way: isn’t it true that they are the ones who rejected Jesus for the most part and that’s why they’re not God’s chosen people anymore, right? All that persecution of Jews throughout the centuries is awful, but they’re the ones who killed Jesus and now they are being punished by God. It’s judgement of God. They’re the ones who said: ‘His blood be on us and on our children..’ Matthew 27:25. Yes, it is terrible everything that’s happening to the Jews and one can pity these poor people, but it’s a warning to us all! This will happen to people who say ‘NO’ to the Lord and ‘NO’ to His Anointed One! But again, I wasn’t personally involved in the German Nazi occupation during World War II. And I don’t preach replacement theology, or participate in pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activities. Leave me alone!”

Replacement theology –or supersessionism or fulfilment theology or expansion theology – has been preached for centuries and has settled deeply into Christianity. It is the doctrine that says that Israel has been dismissed as God’s chosen people after many of the Jews did not accept Jesus. It’s the doctrine that considers the church as the new people of God and recipient of the divine promises of the Holy Scriptures, while the curses and judgements were and are assigned to the Jewish people and Israel. A Christianity that started saying: “We are the new, the spiritual, the true Israel. We replace Israel and the Jewish people. Today now we, the Church, are the chosen people of God.”

And surely we, the Church, are a chosen people of God. There is no doubt about that. But we have never replaced Israel. There the Church went terribly wrong. And made God into a liar. A God who can break His oath. A God whose Word cannot be trusted. Basically a liar. Compare Psalm 105:7-11. But we know who is the liar from the beginning, the devil, who is also the murderer from the beginning.

Particularly among the Arab and Palestinian Christians this doctrine is still deeply embedded, so that they often have little difficulty agreeing with the hatred and judgements that their Muslim Arab brothers ventilate about Israel.

Worldwide anti-Semitism is on the rise again. Sometimes cloaked in garments like anti-Zionism or anti-Israel attitudes. There should be no doubt that anti-Zionism is a modern form of antisemitism, as best expressed by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s former chief rabbi: “Antisemitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation-state, Israel.” Another way of expressing it is that modern anti-Semitism “has transferred traditional anti-Semitism that blames Jews for ills in society, to blaming Israel for ills in the international community.”

 

The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ is available in our webshop. Order today!

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