Jews are known for many things, not least of which is as survivors. What can we learn about God’s purposes by studying the Jewish people?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #122 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Jews are in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. Not that it’s their fault. But in the wake of the Israel/Hamas war, antisemitism, i.e., hostility, prejudice, or discrimination, a form of racism – has become a plague throughout Europe, Australia, and in North and South America.
“We know from history that Jew-hatred, the world's oldest and once again most fashionable form of bigotry, is the chameleon of all hates – forever taking on new hues to suit the scapegoating needs of the day. It has always been thus, and it will always be thus.”
Antisemitic incidents in the United States rose nearly 400% in just two weeks after 10/7, this after such incidents reached their highest ever recorded in the U.S. in year 2022.
In a recent congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray “noted in his testimony that while Jews account for less than 3% of the U.S. population, around 60% of religious-based hate crimes target Jews.
Jews are, sadly, no stranger to antisemitism, or more bluntly stated, “Jew hate.”
In the Middle Ages, Jews were called “Christ’s enemies” or “Christ-killers.” They’ve been the victim of what’s called “blood libel,” an antisemitic canard which falsely accuses Jews of murdering Christians in order to use their blood in the performance of religious rituals. In Russia, Jews were massacred in periodic, systematic pogroms, a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.”
And worst of all, beginning with Kristallnacht or the “Night of Broken Glass” in 1938, Hitler and the Nazis killed about 6 million Jews in what they called the Final Solution and history calls the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, a list of notable American Jews is astoundingly lengthy – in every field of human endeavor. And this can be repeated in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
So why, then, are Jews hated historically and globally? Perhaps the principal reason is “because God has a special plan for the nation of Israel, and Satan wants to defeat that plan. Satanically influenced hatred of Israel—and especially Israel’s God—is the reason Israel’s neighbors have always wanted to see Israel destroyed,” and it is the reason why Jews have been despised and persecuted their entire existence.
Ostensibly, the current outbreak of antisemitism on college campuses, in the streets, and, unbelievably, in Congress, is due to opposition to Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians and Gaza and in particular how Israel is prosecuting the war to eradicate Hamas as just retribution for Hamas’s pre-civilizational atrocities against innocent Israelis Oct. 7. But the immediacy and intensity of venom aimed at Jews who had nothing to do with what is taking place in the Holy Land indicates this is an indiscriminate broad-brush racist attack with deep roots in Western Civilization’s ongoing moral collapse.
Yet Jewish people have set a high standard, making contributions in virtually every sector of American society and Western Civilization. Consider these names:
Emma Lazarus, Levi Strauss, Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Benny Goodman, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Seinfeld, Mark Zuckerberg, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Henry Kissinger, Sandy Koufax, Wolf Blitzer, Stephen Spielberg, Bernie Sanders, Monica Lewinsky, Natalie Portman, Gal Gadot, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Doug Emhoff.
This is a small sampling of names quickly grabbed off the internet.The number of notable Jewish Americans who have made our lives immeasurably better is legion.
Prior to World War II, the global Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7 million. Then the Holocaust occurred. Since then, the population has slowly risen again, and as of 2021, was estimated to be at 15.2–19.9 million. Today, Israel’s population (including disputed territories) – 9,000,000. And in the United States – 7,600,000.
Certain biblical teachings and subsequent political developments relative to the Jewish people, descendants of the Old Testament Abraham and Israelites, have given rise to misinterpretations, false accusations, jealousy, and recriminations.
- Jews are called God’s chosen people (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-15). People misinterpret this in several ways, including thinking Jews are given some special spiritual pass to heaven. But this doesn’t make Israel more special; it makes God more special because he keeps his promises. God was setting up the lineage through which Jesus would come. This really is the crux of why God chose Israel to be his chosen people.
- God gave Abraham’s descendants the land of Israel (Gen 13:14-15).
- The Jewish Diaspora resulted in Jewish populations the world over, most subject to persecution, followed in the 19thC with Zionism and a beginning return to the land. To this day, Arabs, or Palestinians, and others fight what are now called Israelis over Israel’s right to exist on the land as the modern nation-state was established in May 1948. So, who owns the Holy Land? If Palestinians are not allowed to live in the land of Israel, what should be done with these hundreds of thousands of people whose ancestors lived in the land?
- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claim Jerusalem as a holy place. Who has claim?
- New Testament Church Age teachings re Israel vs the Church, including Replacement Theology, which “affirms that the Church has completely replaced Israeland will inherit God’s promises to Israel; the covenants, then, will be fulfilled only in a spiritual sense. In other words, replacement theology teaches that Israel will not inherit the actual land of Israel; the Church is the “new Israel,” and ethnic Israel is forever excluded from the promises—the Jews will not inherit the Promised Land as Jews per se.” This theological debate occurs within conservative evangelical Christendom.
What lessons can we learn?
- “The persecutors of Israelwill come and go, but the persecution will remain until the second coming of Christ. As a result, conflict in Israel is not a reliable indicator of the soon arrival of the end times.”
- Scripture makes it clear that “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” Rom 10:12. Or the Bible states it another way: “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too” Rom 3:29.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal 3:28.
- Also in Scripture, the Apostle Paul reminded us that “we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” 1 Cor 12:13.
- And in heaven one day, the Word says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language,standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” – Revelation 12:9.
Jewish people are just that, people, human beings made in the image of God, like all human beings loved by God, and like all human beings, Jews are sinners in need of grace or sinners saved by grace.
If you are Jewish, God bless you and may you be safe, surrounded by support, and given every opportunity of liberty and happiness.
If you are not Jewish, as I am not, then we need to remember that Jewish people, like all humanity including Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, Russians, you name it, are our neighbors, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Clearly, the Lord is not finished with this world. No climate change, no wars or rumors of wars, no natural cataclysms like the sunspot archipelago releasing solar storms, no nuclear nightmare, no genocidal mania perpetrated by any demonically driven people, no end of the world scenario is ever actually going to end the world until God determines the End Times have come.
And throughout the history yet to come, Jewish people will remain, at times under duress, but remain and flourish because the Lord of Heaven deems it so.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.