As the Jewish holiday of Purim returns each year, we have to ask ourselves this important question: “Why do the nations hate Israel?” The same question was asked by the Psalmist thousands of years ago. This question has also been asked by the Jews every year since that time. The Psalmist asked: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” (Ps. 2:1). At that first Purim, why did evil Haman conspire and plot against the Jews? Had he succeeded in his plan, it would have been a holocaust of unimaginable proportions. He would have wiped out the Jews in much of the known world, for the vast Persian Empire stretched from India to Ethiopia (Esth. 1:1). His plan would have destroyed all the Jews in their age-old centers of Babylon and Israel.
What a plan! Actually, it was far too grandiose to have originated in the small brain of Haman. Psalm 2 hints of an otherworldly source for the ancient hatred that has always plagued the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is far too ancient, too persistent, too well organized to have its origins in the mind of man. Indeed, the scholar Edward Flannery calls it “…the longest and deepest hatred of human history.” So, why do the nations always plot against the Jews?
THE NATIONS HATE GOD
There is a very simple explanation to this question. The nations hate God. Because they hate God, they also hate his word, the Bible, and his people, the Jews. After all, there is nothing quite so upsetting to the Postmodern ear, as to hear of a universal standard of truth or a “chosen people.” But perhaps the real focus of this great and ancient hatred is God’s Messiah. The term “Messiah” is simply the Hebrew word for “Christ.” This hatred comes out clearly as we read the rest of Psalm 2. It says: “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One [Messiah]. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them” (Ps. 2:2-3). The world wants nothing to do with the fetters of Israel, or of God’s word.
Yes, the nations hate God, and they hate Israel. But primarily, they hate the Messiah. This is the problem with the restored Israel. It reminds godless nations that there is a God and that his prophetic word has come true. It reminds them that God has installed his Messiah on Zion’s holy hill (Ps. 2:.6). In this Psalm, God even calls him “my Son” (2:6). Israel reminds the sinful world of God’s rule, and of his laws. People today hate these ideas. Thus we see that anti-Semitism, at its heart, is anti-God, anti-Bible, and antichrist. How truly sad that the Christian church has become entangled in it over the centuries.
The world, apart from Israel and Israel’s gospel, is lost and doomed. To compound this problem, the world has been misled by scores of godless philosophers, beginning with the Greeks and continuing to modern times. The world’s head is full of folly with such ideas as humanism, nihilism, relativism, socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Communism and scores of other “isms.” Yet, there is no room in all their thoughts for God (Psa. 10:4).
It has been a great blessing to spend much of my life in what has been called a “Christian nation.” I can think back to my childhood and remember how America was so richly blessed by her Christian heritage. Our Pilgrim forefathers were not only great Christians, they were great lovers of Zion. Because of this, they helped open the gates of the new nation to receive the world’s outcast Jews. These Jews later greatly blessed the nation by their presence and with their numerous inventions in the scientific and medical realms.
However in recent years, America has effectively thrown off the fetters of God and his law. Today, even though we still have our coins imprinted with “In God we trust,” this is no longer the case. In fact, at least in our great power centers of America, we have become quite anti-God. It is now against the law in “Christian” America for children to pray at school. It is against the law to be involved in many other simple Christian activities. America is trying quite vigorously to erase any telltale signs of its original Christian heritage, and to stamp out any and all evidences of it today.
We are following in the path of once “Christian” Europe. Israel would never have come into existence were it not for a very strong biblical and Zionist sentiment remaining in England and other parts of Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There were great Christian leaders like Lord Shaftsbury, who had “Oh, pray for the peace of Jerusalem” engraved on his ring. There were many other deeply Christian political leaders like Benjamin Disraeli, David Lloyd George, and Lord Balfour, England’s Prime Minister, who was responsible for the Balfour Declaration virtually creating Israel.
Now in all of Europe and England as well, the Zionist sentiment has turned sour. Europe has lost its biblical basis and has become a haven for howling anti-Semites. Many of Europe’s residents still curse the Jews from inside the very houses they once stole from their murdered Jewish owners. So far as Russia is concerned, one writer has described anti-Semitism there as being like the permafrost. It is always just under the surface*. And we remember that the Poles, in whose land half the six million were slaughtered, continued to kill Jews even after World War II ended. They actually killed an additional 350. Incredibly, while Europe has killed most of her Jews, she continues to hate them.
Today the European Union hypocritically poses as a peacemaker for Israel, but in reality, the union despises Israel with a deep loathing.
THE HATRED OF ISRAEL WILL GROW
One thing seems certain. The hatred of Israel will grow. As nations, one after another, lose their Christian underpinnings, there will be no reason left to support Israel. It is never advantageous to support Israel from the natural viewpoint anyway. It is only in the spiritual realm that Israel support makes any sense. After all, Israel has no oil.
Not only is this growing anti-Semitism seen in Europe, but it is rapidly rising throughout the world today. It is truly amazing and even perplexing that nations like Japan, with virtually no Jews, is still quite anti-Semitic.
In the Middle East, 870,000 Jews were expelled from all the Arab Moslem nations when Israel became a state. Most were forced out minus their property and wealth. These nations have few Jews left, yet their virulent hatred of the Jews burns hotter every year. Egypt has only a handful of Jews left, but is one of the most anti-Semitic nations on earth. Her papers are filled weekly with gross anti-Semitic articles and cartoons. All this is in spite of a so-called peace treaty with Israel.
It has been said that Israel has now become the “world’s Jew.” We soon realize that Anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism are twins too identical to separate. Statisticians tell us that in the next few years most of the Jews on earth will live in Israel. This is sure to raise the level of the world’s hatred. As the writer Ron Rosenbloom put it, “The concentration of so many Jews in one place – and I use the word ‘concentration’ advisedly – gives the world a chance to kill the Jews en masse again.” **
The rapid growth of anti-Semitism is seen clearly in the UN. The tiny nation of Israel has much less than one-half of one percent of the world’s population, yet she takes up about a third of the UN’s time and energies, mostly resulting in condemnations. The UN still passes about thirty anti-Israel resolutions every year. The UN, who should be the paragon of fairness, has often openly supported Israel’s enemies. When Israel pushed into Lebanonin 1982 to root out the PLO, she was amazed to find the UN facility there being used as a terrorist training base. Such a thing has happened on more than one occasion. It was UN vehicles that were recently used in the Hizbullah kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers on the Lebanon border. The event was even filmed by a UN member.
THE NATIONS WILL COME FOR ISRAEL
There is one thing for sure and certain. Before this evil age plays out, all the nations of the world will come together in one “final solution” to solve the Israel “problem.” After all, how can we doubt that the nations, who have persecuted Israel for four thousand years, will not follow her home. We could say that the devil will draw them, and in one sense that is true. The Bible tells us that deceiving spirits will come out of the Middle East and lure all nations into this dreadful war against Israel (Rev. 16:14). The actual truth is that God will do the drawing. In Joel 3:2 God says: “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.”
This great battle is the last one for this age, and will in fact end the age. The battle will largely be fought in the beautiful Jezreel Valley near an ancient hill called har Meggido (Mount Meggido). We know it as Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). It is such a strategic spot for the nations to gather and attempt to cut Israel in two. They will probably have easy access at nearby Haifa Port. This invasion will also entail a bloodbath in Jerusalem as we are told. It sounds like an Islamic jihad with the city being captured. Half of it will go into captivity and the women will be raped (Zech. 14:2).
Precisely at the moment, when it looks like all is lost, something truly incredible will happen. The Messiah of Israel will suddenly appear on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). He will be accompanied by the shining armies of heaven. Immediately, he will destroy the Antichrist and all his myriad forces. He will do so with the brightness of his coming and with the word of his mouth (2 Thess. 2:8). The birds of the air will then gather for a great banquet on the flesh of generals and mighty men.
Yes, that is the way it will end, and it sounds rather strange to our Christian ears. We always thought he was coming just for us Gentiles. Yet, our blessed Messiah Jesus is coming back to earth primarily to rescue Israel from the rage of the nations.
With his coming, the world will be ushered into a different age. It will be an age of peace like we have never witnessed. God’s law will go forth from Zion and regulate the affairs of earth (Isa. 2:1-5). Millions from all the nations will flock to Jerusalem to bend their knees to the true God (Psa. 22:27). Israel will begin to be a showpiece of God’s grace and mercy (Isa. 24:23). All the beautiful things spoken of by the prophets will come to pass, and the children of those who hated Israel will come groveling with blessing on their lips (Isa. 60:14).
Instead of persecuting Jews and banishing them, nations will then cling to them. It appears at this time that the world’s long held anti-Semitism will simply evaporate. In Zechariah 8:23, the scripture says of this unusual time: “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
*The Jerusalem Post, 24 Nov. 1998
** Quoted in George Will’s syndicated column May 1, 2002
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