Antisemitism, also known as the longest hatred, didn’t happen in a vacuum. It progressively grew, morphed and reinvented itself. It has been creatively adapted to fit the times. As one surveys the history of the Jewish people, it quickly becomes evident that it has been and continues to be punctuated by acts of antisemitism.
Forced baptisms and conversions, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Pogroms, the Holocaust and the Middle East crisis are just a few of Satan’s creative ways to turn the world against the Jews. He succeeded in millions of casualties even though God promised never to forsake Israel completely(Jeremiah 31:35-37.)
He has been busy on two fronts toward the same goal: the destruction of the Jews. First, he works hard at turning the Jewish people against Yeshua by erroneously making them believe that following Him is antithetical to remaining a Jew. Second, he has turned many within the Church against the Jews throughout history and even today with the growth and influence of Replacement Theology.
Some believe that antisemitism was at its apex stage during the Holocaust and stopped after that. If history stopped, I could agree with such a statement. Still, almost eighty years have passed, and outside of maybe slowing down a bit for two decades after the Holocaust, antisemitism is alive and well. It has been on an uninterrupted continuum since biblical days.
We can also look at antisemitism as existing on a spectrum throughout the history of the Jewish people. To understand the gravity of the current situation, we must study that spectrum. This will allow us to determine where normalization sits on the spectrum and what it means to us today.
As we study the spectrum of antisemitism, one thing will become evident: Antisemitism doesn’t vacillate through history, going back and forth on the spectrum from non-existent to full force. Instead, it keeps moving in the same direction, never looking back. It might slow down a bit when a particular historical figure appears on the world scene and sees Jewish people with favor, such as–within reason–Charlemagne (747-814) or Napoleon (1769-1821). Still, it never completely ceases, even with their favorable treatment.
So, the spectrum moves only in one direction at various speeds but never reverses direction. It is driven by Satan from one end to the other, without exception.
The starting point of antisemitism is found in the biblical record of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament.) Pharaoh who didn’t know Joseph (Exodus 1), Haman in the book of Esther, the Amalekites (Exodus 17) or even the list of people groups provided by Asaph in Psalm 83. Those are obvious examples of the enemies of Israel. Still, the animosity goes back to Genesis 3:15, when the seed of the serpent (Satan) fights the seed of the woman (Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah).
At the origin, it was nothing more than biblical pagan jealousy. The people around Israel were jealous of the “chosen people” status of Israel declared by God (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 14:2; 26:17-19; 2 Samuel 7:23-24, Psalm 105:8-15; 135:4; Isaiah 41:8). The Jewish people have been set aside by the God of Israel for His purpose, and that makes many people jealous, For You have separated them from all the peoples of the earth as Your inheritance, as You spoke through Moses Your servant, when You brought our fathers forth from Egypt, O Lord God.” (1 Kings 8:53).
Moving into the Greek Scriptures (New Testament), we find many passages that paint part of the Jewish leadership as antagonistic to Yeshua and His followers. This doesn’t validate the antisemitic tone that many have tried to attribute to the Greek Scriptures. That part of the Bible is not antisemitic, but it is not within the scope of this article to address that issue.
After the closing of the Canon of Scripture, from the late 1st century forward, many of the ante-Nicaean Church Fathers contributed to the building of an early anti-Jewish sentiment. The following generations of Church Fathers continued the diatribes. This section of the spectrum could be called theological anti-Judaism. It continued throughout history with various degrees of intensity, peaking at times such as the Crusades or the Inquisition and specific recurring times on the calendar such as Holy Week as it became Classical Antisemitism.
Unbeknownst to him, Martin Luther set the stage for the Holocaust in his pamphlet “On the Jews and their lies.” He never intended for the Jews to be mass-murdered, but his words carried much weight, which led to tragic consequences. Martin Luther couldn’t look forward to the future or Adolf Hitler, but Hitler most definitely looked back at Luther and chose to act upon the theologian’s every word and beyond. There was another shift, and Classical Antisemitism became Racial Antisemitism. Hitler described the Jews as vermin and sub-humans to be eradicated for the betterment of mankind. He tried to support his lethal agenda against a backdrop of science by promoting Eugenics (debunked soon after, but seeing a bizarre comeback in the 21st century).
Then came the interlude—two decades of relative respite for the Jews. The words “antisemitic” or “antisemitism” became taboo after the Holocaust. To be sure, while the words were avoided, the thoughts and actions continued. Yet, it was time for Satan to reinvent the oldest hatred. So, he repackaged it in the form of anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism so that an antisemite could continue their nefarious agenda without being called an antisemite. Most scholars now agree that this period, which continues to this day, is known as the New Antisemitism. It has benefited quite a bit from the advent of the Internet and social networks. People feel good about being social justice advocates while they demonize Israel and the Jews.
Yet, the spectrum is even broader. In 2012, in Toulouse, France, a man killed seven Jewish people total, including a rabbi and two young children at a day school. In my opinion, this attack marks when Jewish people started getting killed again for being Jewish. In 2015, during the “I am Charlie” days, a man entered a kosher supermarket on the east side of Paris, took Jewish people hostages, and ended up killing four of them. Keep in mind that killing four or more people in one event constitutes a “mass killing.” The carnage continues to this day all over the world. This is what I have called End-Times Antisemitism. It is part of the new antisemitism but is a hybrid of classical antisemitism (biblical days to Holocaust) and the new antisemitism (1948 to today).
I believe that there is one more brand of antisemitism coming, and I call it Tribulation Antisemitism. It will be a time of great turmoil and destruction for the Jewish people left behind. According to Zechariah 13:8-9, two-thirds of the Jewish people living at that time will perish, and one-third will survive and become followers of Yeshua the Messiah. As difficult as it is to say and comprehend, it will be a time far worse than the Holocaust for the Jews.
While, again, this is not within the scope of this work, I believe in a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial Rapture of the Church. Believers will be taken up in the air by Yeshua before the start of the Tribulation, also known as the Time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).
The reason why I need to clarify my eschatological position is to avoid being accused of escapism. Some who do not adhere to a pre-Tribulation Rapture feel that those who do are simply buying into a doctrine of escapism to avoid the terrible days ahead. Believing in a pre-Tribulation Rapture should encourage believers to share with the lost before we are all gone. That includes sharing with our Jewish friends who will suffer the most during the Tribulation. I truly cannot wait for Yeshua to call us home, and yet, I can wait for Him to do so, as long as I can be used to lead more people to Him. Time is of the essence as the stage is being finalized for the antichrist and the Tribulation a little more each day.
This is where the normalization of antisemitism comes on the spectrum. While antisemitism has existed since biblical days, there always were people to defend the Jews against the libels and the diatribes. Israel’s advocates continue to be as vocal as they can today, but they are a dying breed.
What will happen when antisemitism becomes normalized and goes mainstream? This shift must occur for the Tribulation events to occur with such intensity. When normalization occurs, it will be open season for the Jews and those who defend them. We are not quite there, but we are very close. In other words, the stage is set for the final iteration of antisemitism… The incentive to share Yeshua with our Jewish friends has never been so palpable!