Miraculous Survival of a People Group
Last week my wife and I returned from our first, and likely last trip to the Holy Land of Israel. It left many impressions on us, some spiritual, some pragmatic, some humorous, some historical, and some miraculous. Earlier I wrote about the Holocaust as the greatest single impact of the experience.
From a historical perspective, not only the persecution, but the preservation of the Jewish people demonstrates the miraculous as one tries to grapple with the question of why. Consider their contemporaries in the Old Testament. How many Edomites, Ephrathites, Midianites, Ammonites, Moabites, Sabeans, Cushites, Jebusites Amalekites, Canaanites, Hitties, Horites, Kenites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Philistines, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Sumerians, Kenizzites and Zidonians are still a distinct, named people group today? The answer is none.
Of course, the Holocaust is but one example of the range of apathy to hatred other cultures and peoples have had toward the Jews since Abraham. Over their 1700-year history, the Jews have been expelled from over 80 different countries. Today, antisemitism is continuing to rise with the Anti-Defamation League offering polling that suggests 2021 was the “highest year on record of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed against Jews”. Further, they expect 2022 results to “look a lot like last year (NPR)”. The HuffPost is quoted as saying,
“Though they make up less than 3% of the U.S. population, Jews are disproportionately targeted in hate crimes in America. Last year, 1 in 4 American Jews said they had experienced antisemitism in some form, according to a survey by the American Jewish Committee.”
A Secular Perspective on Antisemitism
There have been many ideas put forth as to why the Jews seem to stand out as a disenfranchised group of people. Some believe it has to do with jealousy toward their supposed economic success. Yet, between the 17th and the 20th centuries, the Jews (especially in Poland and Russia) were desperately poor. Others have attempted to suggest that they are an inferior race. Ironically, Jews are not really a race at all since anyone, regardless of their race, creed or color, can become a Jew. Still, others try to make the point that Jews are “different” than others, yet the facts are that we are all unique and the Jews (with the exception of the orthodox) have tried very hard to assimilate into other cultures, especially true prior to WWII and the formation of the Jewish state. Finally, there is the theory that the Jews have been tagged with responsibility for the death of Jesus. For many, this holds little significance simply due to the fact that they do not accept the historicity of the God-head Jesus in the first place. Further, the reality is that the Romans put Jesus to death and certainly no one is mad at the Italians for their part in the event. Even Jesus forgave the Jews (Luke 23:34) as responsible.
A Biblical Christian Perspective on Antisemitism
So the question remains, why are the Jews, down through the ages, disproportionately persecuted? The answer is simple. They are the first-born chosen people of God (Deut. 14:2). As Christ, a Jew, and His followers were hated, so are the Jews of today. This remains true even when they distance themselves from any past messianic fulfillment of prophecy (Rom. 11:2). They were God’s people in the Old Testament and are prophesized to return to Him as we move through the End-Times (Rom. 11:25-26).
God places certain attributes into the nature of man. He places a vacuum in our hearts that can only be filled by Him, even though we often try to satisfy that longing with toys (cars, houses, boats). He also places a moral code within us to discern fundamental right from wrong. Finally, I believe, the Lord puts within us an affinity toward Him through the lens of His first and last chosen people, the Jews. Those who are drawn to God are typically drawn to protect the Jews (even if they appear wayward). Those who oppose God tend to consider His people to be their adversaries. There is little else that can explain the continued, historical through present-day animosity toward the Jews.
As Biblical Christians, we would do well to support Israel and the Jewish people, particularly if we are living in the End-Times.
Genesis 12:3 – I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Romans 9:4-5 – They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Deuteronomy 14:2 – For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Romans 11:26 – And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”.