Dear Friends in Yeshua,
Anti-Semitism and Purim
The holiday of Purim is celebrated this year on March 21, 2019. Adolf Hitler knew about this Jewish holiday. He banned the observance of Purim and planned several Nazi attacks to coincide with Purim. In a speech given on January 30, 1944, the diabolical dictator declared that if the Nazis were defeated, the Jews could celebrate “a second triumphant Purim.” (Hitler even referred to himself as a “second Haman.”)
The Nazis were defeated, Hitler committed suicide, and Jews all over the world continue to celebrate the holiday of Purim. Although it is not one of the Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23), Purim is based on the biblical book of Esther. At that time, the Jews were in exile in the land of Persia— modern Iran—during the Babylonian captivity of the fifth century B.C. The Persian king, Ahasuerus, had a prime minister named Haman (Boo!) who was a descendant of Agag, the Amalekite king, spared by King Saul in direct disobedience to the Lord. (See 1 Samuel 15:3, 8; Esther 3:1.) The hatred and anti-Semitic spirit of Israel’s virulent enemies found a welcome vessel in the wicked Haman. Israel’s God had wanted Amalek erased from the earth (1 Sam. 15:18), but the spirit of Amalek resurfaced in Haman, the Jew-hater (Ex. 17:14-16; Deut. 25:19).
As the story of Esther unfolds, Esther’s cousin Mordecai, who raised this Jewish orphan, refused to bow down or pay homage to Haman. This infuriated the villain and prompted him to seek revenge on Mordecai’s people, the Jews. His hatred, expanded to encompass an entire people, seems illogical and irrational, and it is. Anti-Semitism is supernaturally evil.
Haman petitioned the king: “There are a certain people scattered and despised among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they are destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries” (Esther 3:8-9).
Annihilate an entire people because they have different laws? Inexplicable. Demonic. But the king acquiesced and gave his signet ring to the enemy of the Jews. Their fate would be sealed with that ring, and lots (Purim) were cast to determine the best time for the destruction of the Jewish people.
The Lord used Esther, a woman and an orphan, to intercede and save her people from complete obliteration. There are still Jews today. But unfortunately, the anti-Semitic spirit of ancient Persia (Iran) has resurfaced today in the Friday prayers of Iranian Muslims shouting, “Death to Israel.”
Anti-Semitism: An Ancient Hatred
What exactly is anti-Semitism and where did it begin?
The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) defines anti-Semitism as follows: “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to insolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudicial or stereotypical views about Jews.” The idea of hatred toward Jews is generally included in most definitions of anti-Semitism.
In 2008, we discovered that Webster’s New World College Dictionary has three pages of listings under “anti-.” Only one listing mentions a people, a culture, or a religion, listed two ways: anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic. The only other “anti-” that refers to a person is “anti-Christ.” These two evils are actually closely related and reveal the source of anti-Semitism.
Genesis 3:15 holds the key. One word summarizes the deep-seated hatred of anti-Semitism: Satan. God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” The conflict of the ages began here, a spiritual conflict between the God of Israel and Satan. The One who would deal a final blow to Satan would be the Messiah, the Seed of a woman. This Deliverer would come through a certain People, the Jews (Gen. 12:3). If Satan could eradicate the Jews, he could eliminate his arch-enemy. That explains his attempt to murder all the Israelite male infants by Pharaoh, and Herod’s murder of the boys under two years of age. Satan attempted to totally annihilate the People through whom Messiah would come, through Haman and again through Antiochus (2nd century B.C. Hanukkah) and again through Hitler.
Anti-Semitism is spiritual. It is anti-Christ in the sense that Jewish people are hated by the devil because they have given the world the Law, the Prophets, and the Messiah. The Jews are Christ-givers, not Christ-killers! This is REALLY hard for Jewish people to understand. They often ask, “Why do they hate us?” The hatred even exists in places where there are no Jews! Consider this: If you are evil and really hate someone and want to hurt them, what better way to do that than to hurt their children. That explains Satan and the Jewish people, God’s children—His Chosen People. It also applies to the Body of Messiah. The enemy hates us too.
In Revelation 12 we see the woman with a crown of twelve stars who brought forth the man-child. This is Israel; the devil is seeking to murder all of her descendants. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring…” (Rev. 12:17).
Unfortunately, anti-Semitism, known as the longest and deepest hatred in human history, will not go away until Yeshua the Messiah returns to consummate Satan’s defeat. Derek Prince commented on this: “Until Jesus returns, Satan knows that he will remain free to continue all his activities and to present himself as ‘the god of this age‘ (2 Cor. 4:4). There is therefore one event which Satan fears more than all others and which he opposes by every means in his power: the return of Jesus in power and glory to establish His Kingdom and to banish Satan from the earth. The opposition of Satan to the return of Jesus is the unseen force behind many of the conflicts and pressures in the contemporary world situation.” Israel is key to Satan’s demise. When the Jewish people cry, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord), Satan’s end is near. His goal now: to eliminate the Jews before they repent and return to their God. We love this profound statement of Derek Prince: “Just as surely as Jesus came the first time through the Jews, so surely He will come back the second time to the Jews.”
Misuse of Scripture to Justify Anti-Semitism
We know that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He has, throughout the ages, twisted scripture to vilify the Jewish people. Did you ever wonder about the phrase “Jewing the price down”? This is an anti-Semitic expression that attributes the negative qualities of stinginess, shrewdness, cheating, or stealing to Jewish people. It is based on the Bible—Genesis 18 specifically—and Abraham’s intercession for the people of Sodom when God sought to destroy them. Abraham was being merciful and benevolent when he bargained with God for the lives of whoever might be righteous in the city. “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (Gen. 18:23). Anti-Semitism calls Abraham and his descendents, (the Jews) evil, when he did something merciful and good.
The enemy has twisted John 8:44 for his purposes throughout the centuries: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” Yeshua was speaking to both Jews who believed in Him and some who did not. He was explaining things about God, His Father, and about who was a true son or daughter of Abraham. Some of the Jews were insisting that they were okay, free, Abraham’s children and children of God their Father. Yeshua told them otherwise. But the truth got twisted, and when Yeshua said, “You are of your father the devil…” anti-Semites concluded: THE JEWS ARE THE DEVIL’S PEOPLE. JESUS SAID SO. The logical conclusion of this lie was to fight against the devil by destroying the devil’s people, the Jews (completely ignoring the truth of John 4:22: “Salvation is from the Jews“).
Jewish people have been accused of deicide (killing God) or of being “Christ-killers” based on a misuse of Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children.” This has been referred to as the “blood curse.” Biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine has said that this passage has caused more Jewish suffering throughout history than any other in the New Testament. Who really killed Yeshua? Read Acts 4:25-28, then consider that we all killed Yeshua. The sins of every one of us, Jew, Gentile, male, female, nailed Him to the tree. God was involved as well. It was His plan and His loving provision for fallen mankind.
Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity
Dr. Michael Brown, in his book Our Hands Are Stained with Blood, paints a historically accurate, albeit distressing, picture of anti-Semitism in the early Church. He quotes Raul Hillberg, a foremost scholar of the Holocaust: “Since the fourth century after Christ there have been three anti-Jewish policies: [forced] conversion, expulsion, annihilation. The second appeared as an alternative to the first, and the third emerged as an alternative to the second…The missionaries of Christianity had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as Jews. The secular rulers who followed proclaimed: You have no right to live among us. The Nazis at last decreed: You have no right to live. The process began with the attempt to drive the Jews into Christianity.”
That, of course, was a terrible beginning. No one can be “driven” to salvation. Both Jews and Gentiles can be wooed—by the Spirit of God. Cattle are driven. Sheep must be led. It seems that at first the early church recognized that God chose and loves the Jewish people, His by covenant. To quote Dr. Brown, “But the early Church quickly lost sight of Israel’s special role and of the Father’s covenantal love for His firstborn son. Anti-Jewish cancer had infected her ranks. The disease is still spreading today. It began as some of the greatest ‘Church Fathers’ listened to the insidious lies of Satan. For example, Saint John Chrysostom, known as one of the most eloquent preachers of truth and love, said: ‘The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…a place of the meeting for the assassins of Christ…a den of thieves…the refuge of devils…’ He also proclaimed his hatred of the Jews and told them, ‘God hates you.'”
We wish every pastor had a copy of Our Hands Are Stained with Blood. There is still anti- Semitism in the church, not on the surface, perhaps, but it is there. God promises to bless those who bless His People Israel (Gen. 12:3).
The headlines of a local paper on October 27, 2018 read: “Rising anti-Semitism worldwide boils over at Pittsburgh synagogue.” We were all shocked at the deadliest assault on Jews in U.S. history. Eleven people were gunned down on Shabbat as they attended their local Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill, PA. The gunman walked into the synagogue yelling, “All Jews must die.”
Attacks on Jewish people and property in the U.S. increased by nearly 60% between 2016-2017. The rise is believed to be the result, in part, of a significant increase in the number of incidents in schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for two years in a row.
Europe is worse. Slogans and symbols reminiscent of the 1930s are appearing across Europe. The term “Jew” is now often used as a swear word. The United Nations is a hotbed of anti-Semitism. Since its establishment in 2006, the UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel more times than the rest of the world—combined. There is a double standard where Israel is concerned. Fact: Over 1.8 million Muslims living in Israel have full democratic rights. Christians in Israel are flourishing, while in some other Middle Eastern countries, they are on the verge of extinction.
Maoz Israel, a Messianic ministry in Israel that we highly respect, maintains that we in the U.S. are ignorant concerning the relationship between anti-Semitism and Islam. Quoting from an article by Shira Sorko-Ram: “But American Jews are not—I repeat—not aware of the anti-Semitism which is inseparable from mainstream Islam. The 1.6 billion Muslims in the earth are born and raised to hate Jews and the Jewish state.” Still, God loves Muslims and desires that everyone be saved.
This opinion may seem extreme, but maybe not when confronted with examples like Lara Kollab, who worked as a first-year resident at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio from July to September 2018. Posts by this “Dr.” on social media (a hotbed for anti-Semitism) called for violence against Jews. She defended Hamas repeatedly and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. A now-deleted tweet from 2012 said, “I’ll purposely give all the yahood (Arabic term for Jewish people) the wrong meds…” Anti- Semitism can even infect doctors! (The Cleveland Clinic took immediate action and dismissed her.)
Anti-Semitism on College Campuses
Anti-Semitism is rampant on college campuses in the U.S. and across the world. It has taken a new form: Anti-Zionism or Anti-Israelism. Israel is portrayed as a violent oppressor, an evil violator of human rights and guilty of virtually every other abuse imaginable. Students rally against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. The spillover of the accusations against Israel is hatred of individual Jews. That is why most Jewish students no longer feel safe on American college campuses. Showing outward support of Israel invites targeting by anti-Israel, pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) students. Many of those who intimidate Jewish students are members of SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine).
This generation of college students is swallowing extreme leftist and Islamic ideologies as if they were 100% true. Not so. Israel is by no means perfect, but the Jewish state is not the greatest threat to world peace as many claim! Leftist demonstrations inevitably include appeals against “Israeli subjugation of the Palestinians,” the “occupation of the Palestinian lands by Israel,” or simply call for the elimination of Israel.
The truth: Yes, the Palestinians are persecuted, but by their own leaders. Over the last five years the world community has donated $6 billion for Palestinian relief. The average Palestinian has seen almost no benefit from these funds. The Arab world leaders have stolen the money and live in luxury while the Palestinians live in fear and poverty. The Arabs have refused to assimilate the refugees into their countries, making Israel the villain and the oppressor of a “people,” not really a “people” given the name “Palestinians” in 1963 by Yasser Arafat.
Philo-Semitism is an interest in, respect for, and appreciation of Jewish people, their history, and the influence of Judaism, particularly on the part of the Gentile. Within the Jewish community, philo- Semitism includes an interest in Jewish culture and a love of things that are considered Jewish.
That includes YOU, our faithful Jewish Jewels partners. Thank you for agreeing with the Holy One of Israel and standing with us as we stand with Israel and the Jewish people.
For Zion’s Sake, Love,