What’s behind this present surge of Antisemitism?
The one question I have been asked repeatedly since Hamas terrorists brutally attacked Israel almost a month ago is, ‘Why are the Jewish people so hated?’ Whether it’s on college campuses where protests against Israel are occurring in record numbers or at world capitals, without a doubt, hatred for the Jewish people has once again raised its ugly head.
If there is any good that came from these attacks, it is that this recent action forced into openness the hatred of the Jewish people. Yet the truth is, this rise of Antisemitism is not at all a new phenomenon but has existed for as long as there have been Jews on the earth. Anyone who carefully reads the Scriptures will realize this fact. Scripture records many times throughout history when hatred for Jews manifested. Whether it’s the evil Haman who sought to destroy the Jews of Persia or King Herod killing the babies of Bethlehem, Scripture records multiple times when hatred for Jews has spilled out into violent acts.
But still, the question remains, ‘Why is there such hatred for the Jewish people?’ Many today believe that it is primarily politically motivated, due largely to the fact that Israel has occupied the land which formerly belonged to the Palestinians. But digging deeper, we find there is more to it than merely a land dispute. Organizations such as Hamas make it plain in their charter that they wish nothing less than the total destruction of the State of Israel. Some are going further than that, being unabashedly committed to the destruction of all Jews from the earth.
Why is the Jew so hated? There may be a chapter in the last book of the Bible that sheds light on this matter. Let’s read carefully the first six verses of Revelation chapter twelve:
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon
under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was
crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in
heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads
seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore
her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations
with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled
into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished
for 1,260 days.
This chapter begins with a sign in heaven: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” This clearly is a picture of Israel, as evidenced by the reference to her having a crown of twelve stars on her head. This sign is reminiscent of Joseph’s dream in which he saw the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowing down to him (Genesis 37:9). His father, Jacob, rebuked him: “But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” (37:10).
Jacob clearly interpreted this as referencing the eleven tribes of Israel (the twelfth being Joseph himself). The woman is pregnant about to give birth to a Child and she writhes with labor pains. It has been said before that the history of the Bible is a history of a pregnancy. But suddenly, the scene shifts to a fiery red dragon who is standing in front of the woman, prepared to devour the woman’s Child the moment he is born (12:4). But he is unable to do so because the Child is caught up to the throne of God (12:5). The next scene is that of the dragon warring with Michael and his angels in heaven which eventually leads to the dragon being cast down from heaven to the earth (12:7-12). The words that begin the next paragraph are vital to properly understanding why the Jew is so hated: “And when the dragon saw he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman” (12:13 italics mine).
Do you see why the dragon pursues the woman to destroy her? Because she gave birth to the Child (Jesus) who would ultimately destroy him (the dragon). This helps us to understand why there is such hatred against the Jewish people. And it didn’t begin after the Child was born in Bethlehem but extends back from the beginning of Old Testament history. Why was Cain so enraged that he killed his brother Abel? The dragon sought to destroy the Child’s family line. And that is how we should interpret each attempt to wipe out the Jewish people recorded in Holy Scripture. Why did wicked Haman seek to annihilate the Jewish people rather than be content to remove Mordecai the Jew alone? Again, it was an attempt by the dragon to do away with the Jewish people whom he hates because of the Child she gave birth to.
And it isn’t limited to the Old Testament alone but extends into New Testament history. It was the dragon’s rage that inspired Herod to slaughter the babes of Bethlehem. By this, the dragon sought to eliminate the Child who was the true King. And over the last two thousand years of Christian history, the dragon was at work seeking to destroy the woman as well. Whether we speak of the Inquisition or the Pogroms, not to mention Hitler’s Final Solution to annihilate the Jewish race, the dragon was continuing his bloody attempt to eradicate the Jews from the earth. And that brings us to the attack of October 7th by Hamas. The dragon certainly inspired this wicked attack, as evidenced by the ferocity and savagery that occurred.
As previously stated, if there is anything positive that resulted from this barbarous attack a month ago in Israel, it is that the thin veneer which previously hid the insidious nature of Antisemitism has been removed, showing its ugly face. It can be clearly seen in all of its irrationality and venom both on college campuses as well as in the United Nations, not to mention many capitals of the world. Much of the world seems caught up in the dragon’s venom.
To speak this way is not to suggest that Israel always does things right politically or militarily. But it is to demonstrate that this present crisis does not have a political solution but is spiritual in nature. That doesn’t mean nations shouldn’t work together for peace, for they certainly should. But in the case of Israel, we are not only dealing with political issues but spiritual realities as well. To understand this present crisis, we must realize that the dragon will not rest until he has utterly destroyed the woman and her offspring. To borrow a phrase from the Revelation, “then the dragon became furious with the woman.”