JIM SHOWERS | Have you ever noticed the world’s fascination with hating the Jewish people? It’s nothing new. Anti-Semitism has been around since the days of the Old Testament. However, its growth today is alarming, particularly in the United States and Europe.
This year began with numerous bomb threats against Jewish community centers, synagogues, and day schools. In Philadelphia, not far from our international headquarters, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated. Another was struck in Missouri. How cowardly to deface the graves of people who cannot defend themselves.
According to 2015 FBI crime statistics, 53 percent of the religious hate crimes in the United States were committed against Jewish people. The next largest percentage (21) was committed against Muslims. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has reported that since the beginning of 2017 in New York City alone, anti-Jewish hate crimes have more than doubled. In Europe, nearly four out of 10 Jewish people fear to identify publicly as Jewish. In Sweden, it’s 60 percent.
A friend of mine who lives in Jerusalem recently told me that, when he checked into a hotel in Oslo, Norway, wearing his yarmulke (skullcap), he was advised to remove it because it was too dangerous in Oslo to be identified as Jewish.
I am sometimes asked why Jewish people are so hated and if things will ever change. The answer lies in the Jewish people’s unique relationship with God. In Genesis 3, when Adam sinned and brought the curse on God’s creation, God promised to send a male child who would deliver a fatal blow to the serpent, Satan. This Son of promise is known in Scripture as the Messiah. God’s vow to crush Satan through the Messiah puts Satan at odds with God.
We learn in Genesis 12:1–3 that God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to create a great nation through him that would bless the world. Galatians 3:8 tells us God was preaching the gospel to Abraham when He made that promise. From that point forward, Abraham and his descendants through Jacob would be an integral part of God’s plan to redeem the world. The Messiah would be a son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Consequently, the Jewish people became Satan’s target because they are central to God’s redemptive plan. Think about it. If Satan could annihilate the Jewish people, then he would be able to thwart God’s plan and keep God from destroying him. No Jewish people translates into no fulfillment of God’s covenants with Israel and no completion of His plan of redemption. Anti-Semitism is one of the greatest proofs God is not finished with Israel because if He were, Satan would not waste his time persecuting the Jewish people.
In Psalm 83, Asaph cried out to God,
Do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more” (vv. 1–4).
God’s enemies sought to eliminate the Jewish people. However, Psalm 83 says Israel’s enemies are also God’s enemies.
Satan is God’s number one enemy and the author of anti-Semitism. Those who hate the Jewish people are doing Satan’s work and are at enmity with God. Anti-Semitism is rooted in Satan’s conflict with God, and it will continue until the day God judges Satan and ends the rebellion against Him.
What can we do? In Genesis 12:3, God says He will bless those who bless the Jewish people. An important way we can bless them is to stand with them against anti-Semitism. Write letters to the editor; contact your elected officials, both local and federal; attend pro-Israel rallies; speak up against anti-Semitism; and share an encouraging word of support with the Jewish people God places in your path. I guarantee they will appreciate it.