The Jews are the key to God’s heart. When they, as a people, rejected Jesus as their Messiah they broke His heart, but when Christians rejected the Jews, God’s heart was broken all over again. Christian anti-Semitism is a blight on history and a stain on the Church and until there is an honest acknowledgement of this fact, the Church is travelling with the hand brake on.
The history of the Jewish people can be condensed into the examination of just two questions:
1. How have the Jews managed to survive so long? How many other people have a history that stretches back 4000 years? The Assyrians, still a distinct people after centuries of dispersion, are their only serious competition, though they are over a 1000 years younger.
2. Why have they been so hated by so many other people for so many different reasons? Christ-killers, Children of Satan, Child kidnappers, Conspirators of Zion, Capitalists, Communists – and that’s just the ‘C’s!
These questions are connected, though, and should be held in tension with each other. In fact, they can become one question, one urgent, anguished plea:
How have the Jews managed to survive so long despite being hated by so many people?
This can be seen to be one of the most central mysteries of history, alongside the big ones (how did life begin?) and knocking the smaller ones (who shot JFK?) into a cocked hat. It’s such a big question because it uncovers a drama that has been unfolding for thousands of years, but hidden to most. The drama is a classic conflict between good and evil, between two great powers that have been in opposition since time began.
If we concede this possibility, then perhaps the evidence can start to make sense. We can see that the reason that the Jews have survived so long is that a Great Power has been protecting them and that the reason why they have been hated for so long is that another great power has been attacking them. This provides us with an answer to our key question.
The reason the Jews have managed to survive so long despite being hated by so many people is because the power that is protecting them is greater than the power that has been attacking them. God against Satan, the devil. No contest.
The story is told of King Louis XIV of France asking Blaise Pascal for a proof of the existence of God. The reply was immediate. “The Jews, your majesty”, replied Pascal.
Why on earth should this be? Could the evidence we have presented be so smothered by the fingerprints of God, that a forensic sceptic would have to be blinkered to ignore it? Can the story of the Jews really point us to God? Can you think of any other explanations? It is, in my estimation, one of the most powerful apologetics for the existence of God and not to be dismissed lightly.
We can imagine King Louis asking a second question, asking Pascal for a proof of the existence of the devil. Equally immediately the answer could have come. “Anti-Semitism, your majesty”, would be the reply, “hatred of the Jews.”
The question that we asked – how have the Jews managed to survive so long despite being hated by so many people? – cannot be answered by referring to the wisdom of historians, philosophers, psychologists, politicians or sociologists. They have all failed. There is only one solution, a spiritual one, but, in our materialist way of peering at the world, it’s probably the last thing we want to hear. It goes against the grain of our secular world-system, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The truth is so plain to see that we should be shouting it from the treetops. There is an awesome unseen battle going on for our hearts and minds. It’s a battle that will continue long after we die and, indeed, the consequences of this battle affect all of us regardless of whether we believe in God or the devil or whatever. At the end of your life you will be pitched into this battle whether you like it or not, whether you have lived your life as a committed Christian or a committed atheist. Truth is truth, it’s not all in the eye of the beholder, it’s a solid, unchanging truth that is going to determine where you end up after death.
To help your understanding on why a loving God could allow the Holocaust, it may help to look at the situation from a different angle. God could have chosen to protect his “chosen people” through these turbulent times when anti-Semitism has ruled the roost. To counter the seeds of hatred planted in the heart of men against the Jews by the devil, God could instead have put a supernatural love in the heart of all Christians, but surely that would have taken away their free will (the devil has no problem with people’s free will, he just wishes to dominate and influence souls in the best way he can). In the final analysis we all have free will to make our own decisions, whether to accept Jesus as our saviour or whether to love or hate God’s “chosen people”, the Jews. The choice is yours – it’s free, but there is, ultimately a cost, so use it wisely.
(This is an abridged extract from Steve’s book How the Church Lost the Way)