I Will Bless Those Who Bless You
Oh, I like those words, don't you? Just the idea of being blessed by God gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. But what about the next part of that verse?
And whoever curses you I will curse.
Okay, good feeling's gone. When you start talking about being cursed by God, well, I'd rather not go there - not at all, thanks. So in order to avoid what has to be a very unpleasant experience, let's see what exactly God is talking about here.
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." - Genesis 12:1-3
So God is telling these things to Abram (who is later called Abraham), and through Abraham to his offspring - the Jewish people. From this short passage God tells us exactly how He feels about anti-Semitism. He hates it and whoever is anti-Semetic is placing themselves under a curse from God. Not a good thing. This curse can be manifest in an individual's life, in the life of a nation, or in the life of an institution or organization - an organization such as the church. Did I say the church? I sure did.
In a recent article - Prophecy in the Book of Ruth - I mentioned that Naomi's “other” daughter-in-law, Orpah, could be representative of the goat Gentiles of the Tribulation period, or of those in the church who turn their back on Israel. Neither of these positions would be a place that anyone in their right mind would want to be if they knew the full score. The goat Gentiles of the Tribulation period will be sent to the place of eternal punishment - a horrible torment that will last for one thousand years, and after that they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Matthew 25). But what about the position of a person who belongs to the church and turns their back on Israel? And why would someone who professes to follow the Jewish Messiah do such a thing? Well, the stage has been set for this for quite some time.
By the second century A.D. the church as a whole was taking a turn away from anything Jewish and even going so far as to become vehemently opposed to Jews. This anti-Semitism in the church has flourished ever since. I will refrain from going into great detail here, but the history of the church is well worth looking into. Excellent resources can be found here.
As time progressed, this anti-Semitism led to horrific atrocities that were carried out in the name of Christ (the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Holocaust are just a few). Unfortunately, today's churches either don't know or don't care about the past, or that they may be fostering anti-Semitism. Then there are some churches who have pulled out all the stops and are actively anti-Semitic, going so far as to side with the enemies of Israel.
Let me pause at this point to say that I do not believe that Israel can do no wrong, but I do believe that they are God's chosen people and that they still have a vital role to play in the world's history. Now, let's move on.
So, the question is what of a Christian who is anti-Semitic? I suppose that in answering that question there should be a distinction between those who call themselves Christians and go to church on Sundays and those who have a vital relationship with God through Christ. One would hope that if a person has that relationship with God through Christ that they wouldn't turn against Israel since their Messiah is Jewish. Unfortunately I have known people who seem to have that relationship with Christ and are still to a greater or lesser degree anti-Semitic. It may be something as seemingly innocuous as believing that the Church has replaced Israel in God's plan. Or it may be something more obvious and out in the open, but I have a feeling that God doesn't like anything that smacks of anti-Semitism. Even in two of the letters written to the churches in the book of Revelation, Y'shua makes it clear that those “who call themselves Jews but are not” are detestable in His sight. (It seems to me that this is a preemptive strike on replacement or covenant theology).
Now, I'm not suggesting that someone can lose their salvation. That is a huge study in itself - one that would be well worth your time and effort. What I am suggesting is that if a believer in Messiah is anti-Semitic they are quite likely putting themselves under a curse as instituted in Genesis 12. What a very sad and horrible state for a child of God to find themselves in! In history these curses have usually taken the form of “in kind” retribution. In looking at WWII Germany, for instance, walls were built around Jewish neighborhoods to keep all the Jews contained. After the war East Berlin was walled off to contain the Germans. With regards to the church and how it has historically treated the Jews, it truly frightens me to think of what may be coming down the pike.
Let me just say one more thing. Well, maybe more than one. Recently there have been a number of places where I have heard teachings on who the “true” Jews are. One teaching states that only those from the tribe of Judah are Jews. Another says that only those from the tribe of Joseph are Jews. Then there are those who say that the people you would automatically think of as a Jew aren't Jews at all, but that those of a completely different race are the true Jews. (By the way, if this last scenario were true then Jesus could not be the Messiah. It should also be noted that there are Jews of every race on the face of the earth.) There are those who deny that Jews have ever experienced any sort of hardships and that they're all rich. (I wonder what my uncle would have said to that, as he had been in both Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camps during WWII.) Suffice it to say, if anyone is a serious student of Scripture and honestly studies the history of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, well, these statements will simply disappear like so much cotton candy in a rain storm.
What is truly disturbing is not the obvious false statements that some purport to be true, but rather the more subtle errors that are spread each and every Sunday morning from pulpits across the world. These errors begin by turning Scripture into allegory, mere Christian fairy tales. From there the sky's the limit as to where the twisting and fashioning of God's Word to suit one's position will end. But whether the error is blatant or subtle, I do believe the roots are one and the same - anti-Semitism. From Scripture we see that the Jews are going to be in for another time of Great Tribulation - a time when two-thirds of the world's Jews will be murdered by the coming world leader. I would hate to think that the church would have helped to pave the way for this coming maniac to be able to do this as it paved the way for Hitler's madness.
I don't know about you, but if I have a choice to either be blessed by God or be cursed by Him, I'm going to go for the blessings. I would hope that you make that same choice.
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