The Mystery of Anti-Semitism

“. . . there is no doubt about one hard and fast conclusion: the grip of anti-Semitism on the inhabitants of Planet Earth 70 years after the Holocaust remains powerful and perhaps impervious to reason. Why single out one of the world’s tiniest populations for such hatred? To that question, the survey offers no answer . . .” (Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin)

Satan’s hatred is only part of the biblical explanation for what has been called, ‘the everlasting hatred’.

Traditional church interpretation is out of touch with the mystery that alone makes sense of the age old phenomenon of antisemitism. What is our answer? Has the church not abdicated its prophetic calling to point to this unspeakably costly, but fully predicted history of divine contention? The prophetic Spirit does not shrink from pressing this most costly point of divine appeal.

The proverbial elephant in the room is the hugely offensive but unavoidably clear biblical thesis that anti-Semitism cannot be dissociated from the sovereignty of God in judgment. The wrath of God works in profound conjunction with the exposure of the malice of the powers. Israel has been cast upon history as an alabaster box of unspeakable divine cost. They are His witnesses (Isa 43:10). But often, the lessons that this corporate Ebed Yahweh [Servant of the LORD] was intended to teach are too painful to consider or contemplate. Yet, what could be a more unconscionable waste of God’s costly investment, to demonstrate both His mercy and divine severity through them, if we skirt the issues that are raised by such an unique history?

However much it raises the great questions of theodicy, this ancient divine contention is made unavoidably plain by the Hebrew prophets themselves, who were by no means antisemitic. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Gal 4:16). How then are we the prophetic people of the Spirit if we neglect to press the point that has cost God so much to make? A prophet, or any true witness for that matter, is one who presents God’s case, who interprets His action in history.

We have neglected God’s own witness and principal point of appeal in our appointed prophetic encounter with Israel! Blindness to the covenant context of history has made us cowardly and humanistic and therefore negligent to press God’s costly point. Only the sending home of that point by the revealing power of the Spirit will ever explain and ultimately end this otherwise irrational blight and curse on humanity. It is a judgment that works both ways, exposing all equally to the sin of Deicide, revealed no less in the spirit of anti-Semitism as in the crucifixion of Jesus, as neither could discern the mystery sent to expose the true disposition of the heart. Count on it! God always first comes to us incognito as the disallowed stone, in weakness and foolishness, in order to find us out. Thus it is with ‘the Jewish problem’.

How many are willing to consider that the wrath of man, even the opposition of Satan, is not Israel’s (or anyone’s) first concern? Such things are held within the bounds of an absolute sovereignty, so that these secondary causes point to a much more profoundly direct divine contention and holy confrontation.

“Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart” (Isa 42:23-25).

“You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11).

This comes home when Israel is brought at last to consider that the opposition and rage of men is really much more directly the opposition of God Himself. Antisemitism is a continual reminder of the elect nation’s perennial opposition to God and resistance of His Spirit (Mt 23:30-31; Acts 7:51). All the promises are built around an apocalyptic end to this age long contention. It is the tragic side of the covenant (the ‘vengeance’ of the covenant; Lev 26:25; Mic 6:2) that must continue ‘until’ all Israel will be saved according to the promise of the everlasting / new covenant (Jer 31:34; 32:40). All of history groans and travails for this. The church, so far as it is true and in touch with its own calling and nature, groans and travails for this.

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