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Antisemitism: God’s Response and Ours

Psalm 83:1-5 says in part:

O God!…Your enemies make a tumult….They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more”…. For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You…

Thus, the Bible draws an unmistakable parallel between hatred of Israel and hatred of the God of Israel.

In the Scroll of Esther, we find the most detailed, dramatic picture of an antisemitic attack in all of Scripture. The villain Haman hated the Jewish people because they were different-an example of ludicrous antisemitism that would be repeated endless times in history:

When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath…. Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus….Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed 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” (Esther 3:5-8).

Today, Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Lots or Purim to remember how God preserved us and helped us survive yet another attempt to destroy us. Many through the ages will try to ostracize, demonize and even annihilate Jewish people because they appear to be different!

But God has a different agenda. We clearly see God’s providence in connection with the Jewish people and those who bless them – as well as His promised retribution toward their enemies promised in Genesis 12:3-I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

The Council of Nicæa: A Great Divide

Although we know that Jesus and the first disciples were Jewish, few Christians are aware of how quickly the early Church turned its back on the Jewish people. As decades turned into centuries, Church leaders at the Council of Nicæa in 325 AD, who could not or did not wish to relate to the Jewish traditions of the early Messianic believers, deliberately distanced the celebration of the Resurrection from that of Passover.

More decisions at many other Church Councils followed as the chasm between Christians and Jews was constantly and deliberately widened. In addition to this, the Church’s anti-Jewish bias in the interpretation of Scripture led to many unjust laws to “protect” people from this “insufferable devilish burden – the Jews,” in the words of Martin Luther.

Medieval Madness and Murder

As the Jewishness of the New Testament and the Jewish identity of Yeshua (Jesus) were forgotten or brushed aside, antisemitism spread throughout the “Christian” world. The Crusades legitimized the killing of Jews, who were labeled “Christ-killers,” an epithet still used today. The slogan arose: “Kill a Jew and save your soul.”

Those Jewish people who fled the antisemitic reaches of the Crusades and later the Spanish Inquisition found some measure of safety in Eastern Europe. Alas, their security was short-lived, for antisemitism found them again as anti-Jewish forces gained power in the lands where they had previously found a respite from persecution.

The “Pale of Settlement” and the Pogroms

In 1791, a decree was promulgated that allowed the Jews to populate a specific area of Eastern Europe later known as the “Pale of Settlement.” This vast geographical area (one million square miles) was, in fact, a very large ghetto where the safety of the Jewish settlers was soon no longer guaranteed. The Jewish people were once again cast as the scapegoats of humanity as pogroms (ethnic cleansing massacres) broke out against them. This led to a massive exodus of Jewish people to Western Europe and even America in the late 1800s. The Jewish people had no idea what awaited them around the corner of history: the worst chapter had yet to be written.

The Catastrophe

During the 1930s and 40s, there was no longer a place for Jewish people to be safe. Six million Jewish souls perished in the Holocaust as the culmination of antisemitism found its most systematic and powerful outlet. The Jewish community finally realized that they would only be safe in a Land of their own.

God had never given up on “the Apple of His Eye,” and the modern State of Israel was miraculously and prophetically reborn in 1948. “NEVER AGAIN” became the motto of the worldwide Jewish community.

The Status of Antisemitism Today

Unfortunately, antisemitism is alive and well today. We must not ignore the red flags of hatred that are rapidly surfacing all over the globe. Holocaust denial, anti-Israel rhetoric, and rabid antisemitic sentiments abound in many parts of the world. Jewish people are currently suffering greatly in Europe at levels nearing those of pre-Holocaust years. Jews have been killed in France in the last few years just because they were Jews. This same hatred is also spreading to America.

So where is God in all this?

The great prophet Isaiah tells us that God cares about His people Israel and their suffering:

I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD and the praises of the LORD…and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies….In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old (Isaiah 63:7-9).

The Scroll of Esther teaches us that although God is not mentioned, He was nevertheless behind the scenes and totally in control. Throughout the centuries, He has shared the affliction of His chosen people. As we celebrate Purim, let us remember the real reason for the survival of the Jewish people. It is the will of God Himself: “For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God” (2 Samuel 7:24).


Olivier Melnick is a Chosen People Ministries staff member based in Southern California and the author of the recently published book, They Have Conspired Against You: Responding to the New Antisemitism.

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Written by Olivier Melnick


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