Anti-Semitism is an ancient hatred of the Jewish people that can trace its roots back through Israel’s history, as recorded in the Scriptures. With alarming reports of anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world, it is worthwhile to consider its origins, and how we can best overcome its effects.
A Hated Nation
In the beginning, Israel was welcomed into Egypt as a mere tribe of seventy souls (see Exodus 1:5), but within a generation, the people multiplied to such an extent that the king of Egypt grew concerned with their numbers and enslaved them. They were worked ruthlessly, their lives made bitter with hard labor, and their newborn sons decreed to be killed (see Exodus 1:13-16). In this, the Scriptures say that the Egyptians were “in dread” or “loathing” of the people of Israel (see Exodus 1:12).
Though Adonai eventually delivered them, and birthed Israel into a full-fledged, theocratic nation, this life of slavery and oppression would be the baseline to which all of Israel’s future blessing or punishment would be compared. Israel’s experience in Egypt also establishes an important Scriptural pattern: Israel’s condition is defined and affected by its relationship with other nations. While Egypt’s feeling toward Israel is described only as “dread” or “loathing,” it is hatred of Israel—or, anti-Semitism—that describes the sentiment of all of Israel’s future enemies.
Leviticus 26:14-17 says,
“But if you [Israel] do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you… break My covenant, I, in turn, will do this to you: …I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.” (NAS)
In essence, Adonai is promising Israel that if she nullifies her deliverance by breaking His covenant and not obeying His commands, He will return Israel to an oppressed, persecuted state, under an enemy that hates her. In other words, Israel’s unfaithfulness to God will make her subject to the forces of anti-Semitism. (See Psalm 106:41-43.)
When Will It End?
The good news, however, is that according to Deuteronomy 30:1-10, Adonai promises that when the Jewish people wholeheartedly return to God, all oppression and persecution against Israel will stop, and the curses against her will instead be turned on her haters! This concept is echoed in Isaiah 60:14-15, speaking of Jerusalem:
“The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet…. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated With no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride….” (NAS)
While this theme is repeated many times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (consider also the book of Esther), an interesting excerpt from the book of Revelation may help put things into perspective. In Revelation 12, a woman with a crown of twelve stars is about to give birth to a son, and she is being stalked by the dragon. After she gives birth, the son is taken away to God and His throne, and the woman is pursued by the dragon, which is angry with the woman. Failing to catch her, it goes away to make war with the rest of her seed; specifically, “those guarding the commands of God, and having the testimony of Yeshua.”
According to Revelation 12:8, the dragon is “the ancient serpent,” in fact, “HaSatan.” The son of the woman seems to be the Messiah Yeshua. Who then, is the woman? Given the context, it appears that she is Israel (twelve stars = twelve tribes of Israel); therefore, it is HaSatan that is angrily pursuing Israel. What is even more fascinating are the ones whom the dragon is warring against: the children of Israel who both guard God’s commands, and have Yeshua’s testimony—in other words, Messianic Jews, or Israel’s faithful remnant!
What, then, can we take away from all this? First, while it appears that anti-Semitism is part of the curse against Israel for her national unfaithfulness toward God, her deliverance from anti-Semitism will only come to pass when the Jewish people finally return to God. Second, an attempt to thwart this return will be (or is already being) actively conducted by HaSatan himself. However, the key to this return—as well as the end to anti-Semitism—is only through the Messiah Yeshua, and this is why the work of MJMI is so important, now more than ever.
Proclaiming Salvation in Yeshua
The end to anti-Semitism requires the salvation of the Jewish people, and this can only be accomplished through faith in the Messiah Yeshua. Indeed, it was prophesied of our Master,
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant—As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US.” (Luke 1:68-71, quoting Psalm 106:10, NAS)