Anti-Semetism - Past, Present and To Come
By Frederick R. Erdman
This article is from the February 1934 Moody Bible Institute Monthly.
Pharaoh tried to annihilate the Hebrews, and all the first-born of Egypt died. Amalek tried it and perished. Sibon, king of the Amorites, Og, King of Bashan, tried it and perished. The Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire tried it and passed off the stage of human history, and the eternal Jew lives on. Haman indulged his hatred of the Jew, and almost succeeded in his program of extermination. But he ended on the gallows built for Mordecai. Daniel's envious enemies and their families ended in the lions' den. The Edomites, Esau's descendants, tried to destroy the Jews and perished. Antiochus Epiphanes tried to destroy the Jews and perished. Roman Emperors tried it, and all of Europe tried it through the Dark Ages. Spain, the proudest and most powerful persecutor of Jew, declined in power and prestige for centuries until now it is inviting the Jew back! The Russian czars tried anti-Semitism, and the Jewish communists have triumphed.
As Frederick the Great said, "No nation ever persecuted the Jew and prospered." Hitler is trying to destroy the Jews of Germany and also Germany. Jew-haters never learn anything from history. Jeremiah (30 :15), like all the Old Testament prophets, was supernaturally exact when he said, "All they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey." This has been fulfilled through all Jewish history, and proves, incidentally, that there is a moral government of the universe.
bless me because I have been cursed,
You cannot curse me because I have been blessed."
Anti-Semitism is futile because it is fighting against God. The most obvious lesson to be learned from four thousand years of human history is that the Jewish people are indestructible. They are now more numerous than ever before, and they will continue to exist in the future, both according to many Old Testament promises, and according to the words of Christ, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Very few Christians ever stop to think what Christ's word "until" implies. He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, the religious and political capital of the Jewish nation, and He said Jerusalem would be "trodden down until" the end of Gentile domination of world affairs. Then Jerusalem will become again the religious and political capital of the Jewish nation, and of the world.
The Jew determines most of the thinking of the world. The apostle Paul, a single Jew, confronted the power of the Roman world and the proud culture of Greek civilization with the preposterous proposition that there is no salvation for time and eternity except through a crucified Jew. And this teaching of this Jew, Paul, conquered all the religions and all the philosophies of the world. For two thousand years since that time, most of the literature, most of the political events, most of the wars, relate directly or indirectly to men's attitude toward Christ, the Jew, "On half of the Christian world now worships a Jew and one-half a Jewess."
The Jew now divides the thinking of the Christian Church. Should a Christian preach Christ to Jews everywhere as the apostle Paul did, even if it causes a riot in any city; or, like the liberal clergyman, flatter the Jew and his religion and encourage his unbelief, and in so doing, deny the person and work of Christ?
Even now when the world is getting away from religion, it is still the Jew who leads the thinking of the world, which is divided for and against the communism of the Jew, Karl Marx.
Gentiles cannot escape the Jew in the future. Jesus the Jew said: "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge in the last day" (John 12;48). As Paul told the proud Athenians, "God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
Paul was pursued by his implacable foes, his own countrymen, throughout the Roman world even to the foot of Caesar's throne, and they accomplished their evil but long delayed objective, the death of the apostle. The fate of men and nations is often decided by the Jew. He will be a blessing or a punishment. Joseph saved the Egyptian nation from starvation, and later Moses brought on the same nation the punishment for their ingratitude and anti-Semitism.
God raises up a Nehemiah to be the cupbearer to the king of Persia, or a Mordecai to defeat a Haman and save His people. A Jewess can be an Esther, queen of Persia, or a Poppea, the wife of Nero. If the world rejects the blessings which come from the Jew through Christ, it will receive the curse of communism which also comes from the Jew. Jews will always be leaders, whether in religion, or in politics, or in the business world, or medicine, science, or art.
Even an atheistic Russian Soviet is simply going to insane lengths in its efforts to defy or destroy the Hebrew Scripture.
A hint of the future power of the Jews is the fact that the Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jewish nation. It required a world war and the destruction of the Babylonian empire that Cyrus might give the Jew the chance to return to Palestine. For centuries people have insisted that the Jew never would or could go back to Palestine, but it required a world war to defeat the Turk and now give the Jews a chance to return.
Is it not strange that Christians, who believe that their only hope of eternal salvation is through the grace and mercy of a crucified Jew, can be guilty of hating the Jews? Is it not entirely contrary to the teaching and example of Christ? Why should the Crusaders for many years on their way to rescue Judea and Jerusalem from the Saracen, and all for the sake of Christ the Jew, have found their chief delight in killing and torturing Jews? Christians owe their religion entirely to the Jew. Jesus was a Jew. The twelve apostles and all the first Christians were Jews.
For two thousand years the Jews kept alive the knowledge of the only true and living God in a world of polytheists who were, and still are, devil-worshipers. To the Jew, we owe Christ and Christianity and the innumerable blessings which they have brought to the world. The Jew has done more for the world than all other nations combined. God said to Abraham, "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Blessing can come to the proud Gentile nations only through the Jew.
The Jew made the United States of America possible. The early settlers came to study and obey the Hebrew Scriptures. Its original laws were taken from the laws of Moses. The inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus.
The Gentiles have gotten their material blessings from the Jew. Human society is impossible without some observance of the Ten Commandments, and the prosperity of a nation increases with the degree of its observance of the Ten Commandments. The enthusiasm displayed by people even nominally Christian in their persecution of Jews, often ostensibly for the sins of the Jew's ancestors committed nineteen hundred years ago, is obviously abnormal and quite inexplicable scientifically, something which only the Bible can explain. The persistence of Jew-hating today shows how naturally some day, as foretold in Zechariah and Joel, the nations will gather together around Jerusalem to try to destroy the eternal Jew.
Anti-Semitism proves the supernatural character of the Bible. In Deuteronomy 28-32 is the most appalling description of human, suffering ever written. Though written more than three thousand years ago, it predicts in detail the history of the Jews for three thousand years. It has been fulfilled continuously, century after century, down to the present time, even as today in Germany. "Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb and a by-word among all the nations whither the Lord shall send thee" (Deut. 28:37).
So also in Jeremiah 24:9: "And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them." In Jeremiah 29:18: "And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them."
That the Jew has survived at all for the last twenty-five hundred years is a supernatural fact. No other nation ever has or could endure similar treatment.
This fact is also the supernatural fulfillment of supernatural prophecies written twenty-five hundred years ago.
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord" (Jer. 31:35-37; 30:11).
In fulfillment of reiterated prophecies from Moses to Jeremiah God permitted Nebuchadnezzer and the Roman to destroy Jerusalem and scatter the Jews over the world for the sins of its rulers and people. These are supernatural facts. It is also unique and supernatural in human history that the Jews for thousands of years have preserved their own condemnation, in their sacred writings, sacrificing uncounted thousands of lives to protect this very condemnation. Christ's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple in particular, and its exact fulfillment, is a proof of the supernatural character of the Bible.
Men talk of being "scientific and modern," but their deliberate ignoring of facts is a very ancient and unscientific attitude. Only what they like is scientific.
The anti-Semitic attitude has caused the Church to disobey its first duty to bring salvation "to the Jew first." When the Church began to persecute the Jew, the Dark Ages settled down over Europe. "The true gospel was lost in Church ceremonies and paganism, and by great multitudes has never been recovered, and Israel rises up today as one of the most inimical and subtle enemies of the cross of Christ" (T. M. Chalmers). The Jew is the greatest proof of the supernatural character of the Bible, and only the people who study the Bible have any adequate explanation of anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is commonly a frank admission of inferiority to the Jew. Pharoah said, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we" (Exod. 1:9). Anti-Semitism as seen in Germany is a result of the fear of the Jews' greater abilities, in commerce and in all the professions.
A man's attitude toward the Jew classifies him at once, as to his knowledge of history, of the Bible, of Christ. If he is an actual anti-Semite, he has learned nothing from history and is a menace to the world and to himself. If he is a Christian but not interested in all missions, including those for the Jew, he is disobeying Christ's Great Commission. If he is not definitely interested in the future for which the Jewish nation has been miraculously preserved, he is lacking in curiosity or interest in prophecy.
Since so many other prophecies concerning Israel have been fulfilled, one shows considerable temerity not to believe that "as ye were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah, and house of Israel, so will I save you and ye shall be a blessing" (Zech. 8:13).
Anti-Semitism involves some very solemn warnings to Christians and to Gentiles. In view of the incredible amount of suffering which even the Jews, "the chosen people," have gone through in thousands of years because of their sin and disobedience to God, should we be influenced by the opinions of those comfortable well-fed men who say that there is no future punishment? Has the moral government of this universe of law ceased?
In view of the awful suffering of Jews for two thousand years largely because they did not believe some obscure Old Testament prophecies and rejected their Messiah, how shall we Gentile Christians escape if we ignore those large sections of the New Testament which speak of His second coming in power and glory "on the clouds," taking vengeance on them that obey not the gospel? Calling such scriptures figures of speech did not save the Jews.
The Jews failed to carry out God's plan of blessing the nations through them. This should be a warning to all Christians who are failing to carry out the missionary purpose of the Church, and also to those Christians who do not believe that the Church also will become apostate, as the New Testament says of "the perilous times in the latter days," when the Church will have "a form of godliness but deny the power thereof." Anti-Semitism emphasizes the warning of Romans 11, which teaches that Gentile Christians are only wild olive branches grafted on to the true olive tree, Israel, and that God is able to graft Israel in again, if and when the professing Church fails.
All Gentiles who have any religion at all should take warning from Israel. They tried to attain salvation through good works. They tried to become just before God through their own efforts. Their whole history should prove to the world that this is impossible; and yet this is the vain attempt not only of all heathen religions of the world ancient or modem, but also of many of the most intellectual and "modern" clergymen in the United States.
The Jews are God's chosen people, but they were not chosen for their superior goodness. The nation was plainly told it was not chosen "for thy righteousness or for the uprightness of thy heart," "for they are a stiff-necked people" (Deut. 9:5, 6), but to show God's grace. "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord" (Jer. 9:23, 24).
All Christians are "saved by grace." The whole Bible is written to show God's grace. This idea therefore that men will be saved by their goodness, is contrary to the Bible; it is an affront to God "who gave his only begotten Son," and it is a complete rejection of the work of Christ who came "to seek and to save that which was lost." "How shall we escape if we neglect 'so great salvation?"
History has proved the futility and danger, and therefore the folly of anti-Semitism. It has proved so that the greatest spiritual and material blessing came to the world because a few Jews accepted their Messiah.
Is it not the obvious privilege and greatest duty of the Church to carry the gospel as commanded, "to the Jew first"? As Peter said to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Act 3:19-21).
If a few Jews brought Christianity and all its benefits to the world, how much more the conversion of the Jewish nation? It will be like "life from the dead" for the world (Rom. 11:12, 15). One Jew, the apostle Paul, with God's message, defied and overcame the religious and political power of the Roman Empire.
All human plans for political and social perfection are doomed to failure because of one obstacle, obvious in the newspapers as well as the Bible-human depravity. The Bible teaches in Romans 11 and Acts 15, that "all the Gentiles" will not be converted until after the conversion of Israel. Even the material prosperity of the Gentiles, according to God's Word, can only follow the prosperity of the Jews. Human history revolves around the Jew.
The Jew is God's promised channel of blessing to the world. What then is anti-Semitism?
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