22. Jul, 2016

To the Jew first. Why Ant-Semitism is wrong.

I was talking to a friend who made a statement I guess sums up a lot of the Christian world. He asked me “Why would you go half way around the world to help the Jewish people, after all they are their own worse enemy.” He based his observation on his reading of the Book of Deuteronomy, where it talks about the Jewish people's disobedience to their Lord God. He should have kept reading to Deuteronomy 30:3.

I have never ever heard anybody question a person going half way around the world to help any other people group. His statement reminded me of the one said to us when we were working for Christian Friends of Israel, “What are you doing for the Arabs?” When we were working for the Arabs in Bethlehem nobody ever asked us what we were doing for the Jews. A Jewish man said to us, “The way I see it, if you are pro-Arab you are anti-Jew. But if you are pro-Jew, you are not anti-Arab."

Anti Semitism comes in many forms, anything from the boycotting and the destruction of Jewish businesses by the Nazis of Germany during the Second World War, to the denying the many promises to the Jewish people by many Christians in the Church today. We worked for Christian Friends of Israel for twenty years and I can assure you, to get to speak on Israel in the New Zealand churches is very, very difficult.

One of the worse forms of Anti Semitism in modern times is the statement that the Jews have been wiped aside because of their disobedience. To make this statement is to totally disregard the Word of God. Now I could quote scripture after scripture from the Old Testament about how wrong this thinking is.  But I can already hear “That’s the Old Testament and we live in the New Testament.” So let’s go to the person whom we believe was an apostle to the Gentiles and that's the Apostle Paul. [Romans 11:13]

Let's look at some scriptures that he was inspired to write. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. [Romans 3:23] While we were still sinners, [Romans 5:8] and of course what the Disciple John wrote, God so loved the world, [John 3:16] yes the world, every man, woman and child. Yeshua died for all on that day many years ago. In Revelation 5:9 the Word tells us there will be people from every tribe and tongue and nation. From this scripture alone I know the Jewish people will be there as well. When I read the Bible I see a picture of people of every colour and nation praising the Lord standing shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand and every knee bowing to give praise to God. [Isaiah 45:23] – [Romans 14:11]

You might ask how did they get there after all their lack of disobedience? Well the short answer is, because God said they would be. [Matthew 15:24] God said: “I will make a new covenant with them, [Jeremiah 31:31] I will give them a new heart and I will give them a heart of flesh and I will put a new spirit within you. [Ezekiel 11:19] This was never said about the Gentiles, they have a written promise and we live that promise by faith, because through Yeshua we can be part of it all with the acceptance of the Son of God. [Romans 10:9] As we were once far off but now we have been brought near to be part, note part, of the promise. [Ephesians 2:13]

However if we ask the question “How is it the Jewish people will be in the final number after all they have done?” We might ask the same question of ourselves. Why has anti-Semitism controlled the world for so long? I suppose there is one underlying factor, which has created a condition that all humans can be guilty of, and that is jealousy. Of course jealousy is a sin as it is coveting [Exodus 20:13] of something someone else has and in this case the position of the Jewish people in God’s eyes. [Exodus 6:7] They are the apple of God’s eye, [Psalm 17:8] to them and them alone was given the promise of the Land of Israel. [Psalm 105:7-11] From them would come the promised Messiah. [Isaiah 9:6] Salvation would come to the Jew first and then the Gentile, [Romans 1:16] and the big one, the Messiah himself would be Jewish, born of the line of David [Romans 1:3] and this is what many in the world cannot handle. People want what they have, that special position in God’s sight, the one special blessing. [Genesis 27:28-29].

Will anti-Semitism ever end? Probably not, as the basis for this un-godly condition comes from the one who is trying to destroy the very people who will welcome the Jewish Messiah’s return, Satan himself. [1 Peter 5:8] The scriptures clearly tell us as followers of the very one who was sent from Heaven, to warn the people of what is to come and to live our lives in a way to be ready when He does; that warning is for us as well. [Matthew 24:42]

Many horrible things have been done to the Jewish people by people who claim to be Christians. So if the promises to the Jewish people have been removed because of their sins where does that leave us? We look at Christian history and quickly see our record is no better than theirs when it comes to obeying the commands of God. [Romans 3:23] We have forgotten such commandments as ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. [Leviticus 19:18] God’s promises are as true [2 Samuel 22:3] as His Word is real. The Book of Isaiah has forty-three chapters telling the people what they have done wrong and the rest of the book explaining the promises that are to come. We must remember Isaiah 53, the chapter showing the sacrifice of our Lord, is in the Old Testament, we must remember Jeremiah 31:31 is in the Old Testament. These are promises to the Jewish people and as we read in Romans 11, we are grafted in to those promises as wild olive branches, so how much more are the natural branches grafted back in?

 We cannot boast against the people of God for to do so is to boast against God Himself. Our role is to boast in the Lord [2 Corinthians 10:17] and forgive as He forgives [1 John 1:9] to live as He would live and to love as He would love. [Psalm 52:8] Who of us would be angry with a child for a moment and then not still love the child? A child of ours is not a child of ours for a moment in time they are a child of ours for all time. If they do something wrong, does that remove our love for them? Of course not, we love them no matter what. If we are made in the image of God then surely we are doing exactly what God would do, love and forgive. He is merciful to all [Daniel 9:9] there are no limitations placed on His love and grace, we are the ones who place conditions on our love.

God is love and He is love to all. [1 John 4:16] We who are called by His name must love as He loves and cast off all sin [Matthew 5:30] and be thankful His forgiveness is there for both Jew and Gentile, if and when we truly repent for our sins, because as King David said in Psalm 51:4, all sins are against God alone. So surely it is to God we must bow our knee and ask for His forgiveness. We have all sinned and we all sent Jesus to the cross with the cries of “Crucify Him” with our actions of rebellion to the Word of God. We might say we weren't born then, but God knows the beginning to the end. He knows our hearts and knew us before we were born. [Jeremiah 1:5] Yes Yeshua died for all and for all time and for all sins. [Hebrew 10:10] If the Jewish people are guilty so are we, if the Jewish people have been condemned so are we. If we have been forgiven by Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross so have they, if we have been made whole again so have they and if we are loved with an ever-lasting love so are they and if we are forgiven so are they.

It is time to stand hand in hand with the people of the book and no longer claim Gods promises for ourselves but rejoice together that the promises of God are there for all who hear the knock and open the door [Revelation 3:20] and repent and only then will God forgive us our sins and heal our land. Only then will we know true peace and turn from our sin  [2 Chronicles 7:14] of coveting a promise, given to another and know in our hearts a true peace, a true love and know that the Lord is returning for both Jew and Gentile as per the Word of God and then rejoice that we are part of the promise through the grace of God.

 So then, remember that at one time you gentiles by birth were called “the uncircumcised” by those who called themselves “the circumcised.” They underwent physical circumcision done by human hands. At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. You had no hope and were in the world without God. But now, in union with the Messiah Jesus, the blood of the Messiah has brought you who once were once far off near. For it is He who is our peace. Through his mortality he made both groups one by tearing down the wall of hostility that divided them. He rendered the Law inoperative, along with its commandments and regulations, thus creating in himself one new man from the two, thereby making peace, and reconciling both groups to God in one body through the cross, on which he eliminated the hostility. He came and proclaimed peace for you who were far away and for you who were near. For through him, both of us have access to the Father by one Spirit. That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Messiah Jesus himself being the cornerstone. In union with him the whole building is joined together and rises into a holy sanctuary for the Lord. You, too, are being built in him, along with the others, into a place for God’s Spirit to dwell. Ephesians 2:11-22